|HISTORY OF THE APPALOOSA HORSE
The first sighting in North America of Appaloosa horses by non-native Americans
was recorded by Meriwether Lewis of the famed Lewis and Clark Expedition in 1806.
However, the horse's roots go back much further, perhaps as far as 1400 B.C.
Horses with spotted coats appeared in the art of the Egyptians, Greeks, and other
Nomads in Central Asia were believed to have possessed spotted horses around
100 B.C. Later they were bred in Austria and Denmark. Some spotted horses
were brought to Mexico by the Spanish in the 1500s, and eventually the descendants
of these horses made their way northward into the area of the Palouse River of
northern Idaho and into the herds of the Nez Perce Indians.
The sturdy sure-footed equine with the unique markings served the tribes with
distinction. For the Nez Perce these horses were more than just transportation,
they were wealth and prestige and the centerpiece of the economy of the tribe.
As conflicts between settlers and the Indians escalated, an all out war was under
way by 1877 between the Nez Perce and the U.S. Cavalry. By the time Chief Joseph
and his tribe surrendered, after a trek of over 1,100 miles, only about 1,000 of their
horses survived, among them the hardiest and toughest of the spotted horses.
What happened next was definitely not the proudest or most honorable moment
in American military history. Because the Nez Perce had evaded capture for so
long, the military decided to neutralize their method of transportation to prevent
them from fleeing again. Many of the spotted horses were killed or sold to settlers
who bred them without regard for conformation or preservation of their unique
coloration. The carefully cultivated breed was nearly destroyed.
In the early 1900s remnants of this colored breed caught the eye of horse lovers.
In 1938 the breed association known as the Appaloosa Horse Club was formed by
Claude Thompson, and headquartered in Moscow, Idaho. Settlers in the Pacific
Northwest had begun calling these horses "A Palouse" horse, that evolved into
"Palousey", "Appalousey" and other derivatives, and finally the name
was selected for this distinctively colored light stock horse breed. More than
630,000 Appaloosas have been registered since the founding of the ApHC and today
it is common to find specimens of the Appaloosa Breed in every horse related
endeavor. They excel at working cattle, reining competition, hunter/jumper events,
and are used as endurance mounts and trail horses. The Appaloosa is an excellent
versatile family horse. Currently, there are horses registered with the ApHC that have
pedigrees with 5 generations of Appaloosa to Appaloosa breeding containing no out
crossing to other breeds.
Members of the National ApHC and the Tennessee State Regional Club are proud to carry
on the work of preserving and promoting the wonderful unique equine known as the