Idaho named the Appaloosa the state horse in 1975. They are identified by their colorful spotted patterns of their coats, mottled skin, striped hooves, and white outer coating around the eye. It is one of the most recognizable breeds. They were bred by the Nez Perce of the Northwest for both its mystical appearance and other properties. The Nez Perce Indians are well known for their horse breeding and by the 1800's they were highlighting the spotted color in their breeding color. First called "Palouse horse" named for the river that runs through the area but over time they became the Appaloosa.
The Appaloosa horse is known for its intelligence, stamina. They come in several different colors such as chestnut, black, bay, buckskin, palomino, gulla and dun. Their spotting patterns are unique and characterized by blanket, leopard, few spot leopard, snowflake, varnish and frost with different spotting variations in each. The typically stand 14-16 hands tall and weigh between 430- 570kg.
Considered one America's most popular breeds, they have an athletic build with heavy muscling being undesirable. They resemble the hunter type thoroughbred and the quarter horse. But they do come in a variety of body types including race horses, trail horses, stock horses and sport horses.
Idaho is the first state to offer a custom license plate with a horse on it and they feature the Appaloosa.
The Appaloosa Museum and Heritage Center was started in 1976, and it traces the history of the appaloosa and the Appaloosa Horse Club. It is in Moscow, Idaho, open year round and has activities for children and adults alike. The Appaloosa Youth Association is also in Moscow.
The Appaloosa Horse Club is nationwide, and there are 130 regional clubs. These are local clubs that are officially representatives of the Appaloosa Horse Club. They are people who get together to enjoy common ground of being involved with and riding Appaloosas. They ride in parades, trail ride and events such jumping, reining, cutting, etc. that the Appaloosa can adapt to.