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On March 25, 1975 Idaho Governor Cecil Andrus signed a bill naming the Appaloosa, (E. f. caballus ,) as Idaho state horse. This is a deserving honor for a horse that has been an integral part of Idaho history.
The Appaloosa has a very long history. Spotted horses have been seen in art as far back as cave drawings 20,000 years ago. The Appaloosa was seen in ancient Persian literature as the horse of a great Persian hero.
The Appaloosa is a horse breed best known for its colorful leopard-spotted coat pattern. There is a wide range of body types within the breed, stemming from the influence of multiple breeds of horses throughout its history. Each horse's color pattern is genetically the result of various spotting patterns overlaid on top of one of several recognized base coat colors. The color pattern of the Appaloosa is of interest to those who study equine coat color genetics, as it and several other physical characteristics are linked to the leopard complex mutation (LP). Appaloosas are prone to develop equine recurrent uveitis and congenital stationary night blindness; the latter has been linked to the leopard complex.
They were seen in China in ancient times as well, dating back to 206 BC, during the Han Dynasty. The Spanish introduced horses to Mexico in the 1500s. Following the Pueblo Revolt, horses rapidly spread throughout North America, reaching the Northwest around 1700. Historians believe the Nez Perce and Palouse tribes of Washington, Oregon and Idaho were the first tribes to breed horses for specific traits - intelligence, speed and endurance. White settlers call these horses 'Palouse horses.' Over time they came to be referred to as 'a Palousey' and the 'Appalousey.' During the Nez Perce War of 1877, Appaloosa horses helped the non-treaty Nez Perce, under the guidance of Chief Joseph, elude the US Calvary for several months. The coloring of the Appaloosa coat is distinct in every individual horse and ranges from white blanketed hips to a full leopard.
The hallmark of the Appaloosa is his striking and distinctive spotted coat. Dark oval or round spots are seen on their coats. Some display the spots only over their white hips and loins, while others have them all over their bodies. The loin and hip areas are usually the most spotted. Some have white spotting on dark backgrounds and others will display white all over their bodies. The spots range greatly in size from as large as four inches to others that are so small they are merely flecks. Each Appaloosa will possess a unique pattern much like the human's fingerprint. In addition to their spotted coats, the skin of the Appaloosa is also mottled with spots.
The Appaloosa is an intelligent, fast and hard working breed. An easy going disposition and exceptional abilities give this horse a great deal of versatility that no doubt contributes to its rapidly rising popularity. Once the warhorses of the Nez Perce, today the Appaloosa serves as a racehorse, in parades, ranch work and youth programs. The coloring of the Appaloosa's coat is distinct in every individual horse and ranges from white blanketed hips to a full leopard.
The law designating the Appaloosa horse as the officialIdaho state horse is found in the Idaho Statutes, Title 67, Chapter 45, Section 67-4506
Idaho Statutes TITLE 67
STATE GOVERNMENT AND STATE AFFAIRS
67-4506. STATE HORSE DESIGNATED. The Appaloosa horse is hereby designated
and declared to be the state horse of the state of Idaho.
Idaho Session Laws, 1975, page 239.
AN ACT, AMENDING CHAPTER 45, TITLE 67, IDAHO CODE, BY THE ADDITION THERETO OF A NEW SECTION 67 4506, IDAHO CODE, TO PROVIDE THAT THE APPALOOSA IS DESIGNATED AND DECLARED TO BE THE STATE HORSE OF THE STATE OF IDAHO.
Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Idaho:
Section 1. That Chapter 45, Title 67, Idaho Code, be, and the same is hereby amended by the addition thereto of a new section, to be known and designated as Section 67-4506, Idaho Code, and to read as follows:
67 4506. STATE HORSE DESIGNATED. The Appaloosa horse is hereby designated and declared to be the state horse of the state of Idaho.
Approved, March 25, 1975.
Taxonomic Hierarchy: Appaloosa Horse
Species: E. ferus
Subspecies: E. f. caballus