Light Horse Breed Appaloosa

Horses October 10, 2014 Print Friendly and PDF
Appaloosa Stallion

Ashley Griffin, University of Kentucky

Appaloosas were Spanish horses that were managed by the Nez Perce Indians. The term Appaloosa was first used to describe these spotted horses of the Palouse region around the late 1800s. The Palouse, or Palouse Country, is the area of Washington and Idaho drained by the Palouse River. Early white settlers referred to the spotted horse of the area as a Palouse horse. Over time the 'a' and Palouse were slurred together to first form the name Apalousey and later Appaloosa.


The Appaloosa (color breed/stock type/hunter type) has six basic color patterns and must have white around the eyes like humans;

  • Mottled skin, especially around the nostrils
  • Vertical black-and-white stripes on the hooves to be classified as a bonafide Appaloosa for registry.


An Appaloosa is considered to be short-coupled, of stock horse type, and standing 14.2 to 15.2 hands on the average. Appaloosas are vibrant in color and are best suited for riding, ranch work, rodeos, showing, parades, and circus acts.

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USDA / NIFA

This work is supported by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, New Technologies for Ag Extension project.