The Appaloosa's heritage is as colorful and unique as its coat pattern. Usually noticed and recognized because of spots and splashes of color, Appaloosas can be identified solely by their coat patterns. From just a sprinkle of white to an all spotted "leopard", they come in a variety of colors and combinations. They also can be identified by other characteristics such as striped hooves, mottled skin around the muzzle and eyes, and white sclera which make their eyes look similar to human eye.
The Spanish introduced horses to North America as they explored the Americas. Eventually, as these horses found their way into the lives of Indians and were traded with other tribes, their use spread until most of the Native American populations in the Northwest were mounted by about 1730.
The Nez Perce and Palouse tribes of Washington, Oregon and Idaho became especially sophisticated horsemen and their mounts, which included many spotted individuals, were prized and envied by other tribes. Historians believe they were the first tribes to breed selectively for specific traits - such as intelligence, speed and endurance - keeping the best and trading or gelding those that were less desirable.
When white settlers came to this Northwest region, it is believed that they called the spotted horses they saw by the Palouse River or owned by the Palouse tribe "Palouse horses" or "a Palouse horse." Over time the name was shortened and slurred to "a Palousey" and then "Appaloosey."
During the Nez Perce War of 1877, Appaloosa horses were among those that helped the non-treaty Nez Perce elude the U.S. Cavalry for several months. The Nez Perce fled over 1,300 miles of rugged, punishing terrain under the guidance of Chief Joseph and other Nez Perce leaders. When they surrendered in Montana, their surviving horses were given to soldiers, left behind or dispersed to settlers.
Nothing was done to preserve the Appaloosa until 1938, when a group of dedicated horsemen formed the Appaloosa Horse Club for the preservation and improvement of the spotted horse, whose numbers had diminished to just a few hundred. The name of the horse officially became Appaloosa at that time.
Today more than half a million Appaloosas are on record, with about 10,000 new horses registered annually. Appaloosas are now found in nearly every discipline - they are used for show, parade, cow horses, pleasure, trail, jumping, polo, and racing. Noted for endurance, speed, good legs, feet, and easy keeping, the Appaloosa is eager-to-please and possesses a gentle disposition.
At Long Meadow Ranch we strive to fully develop these attributes by breeding sound horses with exceptional dispositions and training them to be safe and versatile in a wide array of ranch and family settings. Our broodmares have bloodlines tracing to Prince Plaudit, one of the breed's most important stallions.
*Based, in part, upon material created by the Appaloosa Horse Club