Appaloosa Horse Club turns 70

The ApHC celebrated its 70th birthday in 2008

Through the centuries spotted horses have been given names ranging from the mystical Celestial Horses in China, to the Knabstrupper in Denmark, to the Tigre in France. The name Appaloosa joins in this history around the late 1800s. It was during this time that the term Appaloosa was first used to describe the spotted horses of the Palouse region. 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 term Palouse were slurred together to first form the name Apalousey and later Appaloosa. The word Palouse most probably has its origin in the Sehaptin language spoken by the Nez Perce and Palouse Indians who used the horses.

The Indians used their spotted horses for travel and warfare, but early settlers–and later the U.S. government–forced the Indians onto reservations. As a result, the number of spotted horses began to decline.

The Appaloosa Horse Club (ApHC) was established in 1938, with a mission of preserving, promoting and enhancing the Appaloosa breed. At 70 years old, the ApHC has registered more than 670,000 Appaloosas, which are known for their distinctive color and even temperament. True to their reputation as an extremely versatile breed, Appaloosas can be found in nearly every discipline, including racing, endurance riding or serving as reliable family horses.

To learn more about the Appaloosa and its heritage, visit



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