The Nez Perce and other Native American tribes of the Pacific Northwest are credited with the development of spotted horses that would later come to be known as Appaloosas. Although the exact origins of the Appaloosa remain unclear, it is generally agreed that they are at least in part descended from the horses of the early Spanish settlers. A piece of Nez Perce oral history relates that the Russians brought leopard pattern horses to the Pacific Northwest in the mid 1600s, and these also played an important part in the development of the first Appaloosas. Recent evidence suggests that much of the early Appaloosa lineage does indeed come from the Russian area of Asia. Some think that these leopard pattern horses are descended from the famous "Heavenly Horses" of ancient art and literature.
Putting the original sources of the Appaloosa horse aside, the Nez Perce were certainly among the premier horsemen of the 1800's and one of the few Native American tribes to practice selective breeding. Their horses were well known for outstanding performance and stamina, and as such were highly valued by those fortunate enough to get an authentic "Appaloosa" horse. The Classic (or "Foundation") Appaloosa is bred from the bloodlines of these earlier horses and it carries on the tradition of performance, versatility and outstanding disposition.
We specialize in Classic Appaloosas from well-known Nez Perce and ApHC foundation bloodlines, with a focus on those having the leopard coat pattern and the "Indian Shuffle" gait. Although it is a matter of debate as to whether or not the leopard coat pattern was prevalent in the herds of the Nez Perce, we utilize some excellent bloodlines that can be traced directly to their famous horses. Our other leopard bloodlines trace to well known ranch horses that very likely had the same roots as those of the Nez Perce.
Below are links to information and news articles about Appaloosas and their characteristics.