Appaloosa horses are an American horse breed known for their spotted coat patterns. They are a versatile breed that excels at many English and Western riding sports, sprint racing, and halter competitions. It is one of the most recognizable and popular horse breeds in the United States.
A Very Brief History
In North America, native people of the Pacific Northwest developed the original Appaloosa horse breed. Modern Appaloosa horses can trace their bloodlines to the foundation bloodstock. It has a partially open studbook that allows some Thoroughbred, Quarter Horse, and Arabian horses to be included in the breed which influences the body types of Appaloosas. Learn more here…
The Appaloosa color coat can have small round spots or speckles. They can have a dark base coat with light spots, white with dark spots, roan with patches of spots, or have a dark base coat with a white “blanket” and spots over the hindquarters.
Chestnut horses (also known as sorrel) are a reddish-brown color with the same color or lighter mane and tail. They vary from light golden-red to dark brown known as Liver Chestnut. The mane and tail may also be a blond color, also known as a Flaxen Chestnut.
Bay horses & ponies have a brown or reddish-brown body with black points on their legs, and a black mane and tail.
Palomino horses & ponies have a golden colored coat with a white or cream colored mane and tail.
Cremello colored horses are not white, but are cream colored from birth. They have a light mane and tail, pink skin and blue eyes.
A Brown colored horse looks like black, but has a brown sheen in the sunlight. It also looks like dark bay, but not all points are black.
Dun colored horses & ponies have a golden colored body with a black mane, tail & legs. To be considered a Dun, the horse must have a dark dorsal stripe & many will display dark striping on their shoulders, legs & forehead. If they do not have the dorsal stripe, they are considered a Buckskin.
Grulla or Grullo colored horses have the Dun gene and appear to be mouse-colored or tan-grey. They have dark tips on their ears, a dark face and legs, and have a dorsal stripe that runs down their back. Grulla horse & ponies often have dark stripes on their legs, forehead, back, shoulders or neck.
Black horses & ponies have no brown or red hair. They may have white markings on face or legs.
Buckskin horses & ponies have a golden colored body with a black mane, tail & legs. They are very similar in color to a Dun, although they will not display dark striping on their shoulders, legs & forehead, or a dorsal stripe down their back.
Play the Appaloosa Horse Game
How to Play: Go to the Choose Your Appaloosa game. Click the green flag to begin. Choose the horse’s markings and colors. Go to the Main Tail page or Tack Room page to choose more details to customize your horse and add a saddle, bridle, and leg wraps. Click Done to see your final horse design and add the horse’s name.
Coat patterns don’t always stay the same as the horse ages; they tend to evolve over a horse’s lifetime.
For example, Appaloosa horses with a varnish roan coat pattern are not always born looking like roans. Often they are born with spots and as the foal ages, those spots gradually turn into patches of varnish roan.
Did you know
In the Appaloosa breed, coat patterns are variable and some horses display patterns that doesn’t fit neatly into just one specific category.