DECEMBER 1995 BACK ISSUE
Part of Horse Previews Magazine website. Posted on 12/1/95; 10:00:00 AM.
Appaloosa - An Outstanding Breed
The word, Appaloosa, brings different images to peoples' minds. Some think of spotted horses, others envision outstanding athletes, while still others are reminded of reliable mounts for the entire family. No matter what vision one has, each is correct.
The Appaloosa, first found in ancient cave drawings 20,000 years ago, is rich in heritage. Although found in Europe & Asia, it wasn't until the Spanish Explorers exploration of the North America, that the Appaloosa found its way to America. But once they did, there was no turning back for this breed of horse. The Nez Perce of the Northwest, sophisticated horseman in their own rights, recognized the early Appaloosa & selectivity breed for specific traits, retaining the best & trading away those that were less desirable. When the settlers first came to the Northwest & that of the Palouse region, the spotted horses valued by the Nez Perce were called "Palouse Horse" and/ or "A Palouse Horse." Eventually, over time, the name was shortened to "Appalousey", then to that of what we know them as today... "Appaloosas".
In the late 1800's, the Nez Perce were told to move to a reservation, but a group of individuals, women, children & men, led by Chief Joseph, decided instead to flee to the Canadian Border to stay with another tribe in Canada. Mounted on their Appaloosas, and bringing their complete village with them, they evaded the U.S. Cavalry for several months, traveling over 1,300 miles of punishing rugged terrain. Eventually surrendering in North America, their horses were dispersed of to various settlers, while others were killed. While researching various Indian nations, Dr. Francis Hines came upon the records of this fascinating horse & in 1938, he, along with a group of dedicated horsemen, formed the Appaloosa Horse Club to preserve & improve the Appaloosa horse, which at that time was diminishing through misuse & abuse. It was fitting to have this breed's headquarters situated in the region where the Appaloosa was first found by the white settlers. Moscow, Idaho is the home of the Appaloosa Horse Club, along with the Appaloosa Museum & Heritage Center. Once, almost distinct, the Appaloosa has proven its stamina by becoming one of the largest breed of horses in America & recently increasing in popularity around the world.
While the Appaloosas grow in numbers, so do the activities one can be involved with these fine horses. The Appaloosa Youth Association has a 15% increase in members who aren't just limited to exhibiting their horses, but have an opportunity to compete in Appaloosa art & essay contests & even are given the opportunity to attain college scholarships, to name a few. The Appaloosa Youth Association is the longest standing youth organization in the equine world! Another popular event is that of the Miss Appaloosa America pageant which is held each July at the Appaloosa National show. First started in 1962, this program offers single women 18 years & older the opportunity to act as the breed's ambassadors traveling throughout the world. For those who prefer equine activities outside of the show ring, there are three major trail rides that are sponsored by the ApHC. The most noted is that of the Chief Joseph Trail Ride which retraces the path of the Nez Perce Indians when they were fleeing the U.S. Cavalry, back in the 1800's. Held each year, the ride covers one 150 mile segment each time, taking 13 years to cover the entire journey of the Nez Perce. The other two rides are the Apache Land held in Gallup, New Mexico & the Sheltowee in Brandy Creek, Tennessee. There are other opportunities besides these trail rides, one being the quite popular Saddle Log Program, which rewards riders for their time in the saddle & has a special division for impaired riders. Then there is the Racing division which features a wide range of racing, which in themselves have converted racing enthusiasts of other breeds to the world of the Appaloosa. Two other programs increasing in popularity is that of the Breeder's Trust Fund & the Breeder's Cutting Futurity. The Breeder's Trust Fund offers cash award incentives for nominated stallion owners & foal owners, as well as the original foal nominators until the horse is 5 years old. Although the Appaloosa Breeders Cutting Futurity is a relatively young program, it is a well received one, giving an added incentive to produce the best Cutting horses. This event is open only to the foals by sires & dams that were nominated at the time of breeding.
There are many aspects of the Appaloosa & the Appaloosa Horse Club that one can attain information on by simply writing or calling the Appaloosa Horse Club: P.O. Box 8403, Moscow, Idaho, 83843, (208)882-5578. For those who would like to visit the club, the opportunity is available along with a tour of the Appaloosa Museum, which in itself attracts over 5,000 people annually, educating visitors about the rich history & opportunities within the world of the Appaloosa horse.