This was the territory inhabited by the Nez Percé American Indians, and it’s to their forward-thinking horsemanship and breeding practices the Appaloosa owes its success.
Although the Nez Percé developed this seen breed, the history of spotted horses is a very long one, with pictures of spotted horses emerging in ancient European cave paintings from around 17,000 B.C.E. Spotted horses-in particular the Austrian Noriker and the Danish Knabstrup – were extremely popular in Europe and were in good demand from the nineteenth century to do from the increasingly popular Riding Schools.
Horses introduced into the Americas by the Spanish conquistadores carried the potent spotted coat gene, which spread into North America since the Spanish continued their explorations. The Shoshone tribe from southern Idaho became great horse dealers, and it was mostly from the Shoshone the Nez Percé, whose land was further west and north, obtained their stock of horses. The Nez Percé’s property, with its fertile plains and sheltered locations, was highly acceptable for raising horses, and the tribe immediately established a substantial breeding stock. Only the best horses were stored as stallions, whereas those of poor quality were gelded. The tribe maintained the best of its breeding stock and got rid of the weaker horses through trading with other tribes. The quantities of their horses climbed rapidly, and the Nez Percé became a wealthy tribe according to their massive stock of horses. From the early 1800s, the American explorer Meriwether Lewis (1774-1809) explained the Nez Percé’s horses as”of an superb race; they’re elegantly formed, active, and durable.”
Shade was a significant consideration for the Nez Percé, not only for ornamentation and decorative purposes but also for camouflage. However, their main concern when breeding was to create an all round horse of excellent stamina, speed, and endurance, and one which managed to survive on lean rations. Their horses became famous for those qualities and were as effective at pulling a plow since they had been of covering enormous distances at speed with a rider. The most prized of the horses were used during biblical campaigns and were swift, agile, and smart, and the most admired of them were the ones that were spotted.
The name Appaloosa wasn’t given to the strain until 1938 with the creation of the Appaloosa Horse Club, established to carry on the breed. Some fifty years earlier, but the plucky, seen strain was all but wiped out during the Nez Percé War fought between the American Indians and the U.S. government in 1877. The Nez Percé was able to outwit and outrun the U.S. cavalry for over three months and around 1,300 kilometers (2,092 km) of treacherous terrain, solely due to the fortitude and endurance of the Appaloosa horses. The Nez Percé were undefeated in battle but finally surrendered to stop additional hardships to the people hoping to weather the frigid Montana winter. The conditions of the surrender stated they are permitted to return to their lands in the spring with their horses, but instead they were sent to North Dakota and lots of their cherished and precious animals slaughtered. Some escaped, and others were rounded up by ranchers and sold or used.
Following this, a few of the horses which had survived were quickly dispersed at auction and obtained by a few private people and ranchers who recognized their own inborn qualities and started to breed them. In 1937, the magazine Western Horseman printed a post on the Appaloosa composed by Francis Haines, sparking public interest in the breed. The next year, Claude Thompson, a breeder of the spotted horses, combined with others and established that the Appaloosa Horse Club to preserve and encourage the horses. Just three years later, under the direction of George Hatley, the team had a phenomenal amount of over 300,000 horses registered, which makes it the third-largest light-horse breed registry. In this regeneration of the Appaloosa there was a introduction of Arabian blood and significant influence in the Quarter Horse, which may be observed in the muscular framework of the modern Appaloosa.
In 1994 the Nez Percé tribe based in Idaho started a breeding program to develop the Nez Percé horse. The intention of this application, which relies on breeding old Appaloosa inventory with Akhal Teke stallions, is to create an elegant, tough, versatile, and agile horse that’s equivalent in its attributes to the horses of the Nez Percé. Some, although not all, of those horses exhibit the spotted coat pattern of the Appaloosa heritage, even though they generally stick to the sleeker, finer framework of the Akhal Teke. Today, Appaloosa is considered among the most beautiful horse breeds