The Appaloosa is one of the most distinctive breeds in horsedom. These horses are often spotted and have a unique coat pattern that’s unlike any other horse’s. They are recognized for their spotted patterns that cover part or all of their body and they also have mottled skin, white sclera eyes, and striped hooves. It’s hard to see an appaloosa and not be wowed by its beauty. They are beautiful, talented, and versatile and are known for their ability to perform in dressage, eventing, hunter/jumper, and barrel racing.
Most people think of the spotted blanket when they hear of appaloosas, but there are many different patterns that appaloosas can have. In fact, there are 13 base coat colors that the Appaloosa Horse Club recognizes and it’s possible for a horse to have multiple patterns.
In order to be considered a patterned Appaloosa, a horse must have at least some PATN genes and the leopard complex (LP) gene mutation. LP causes the changes in color of a horse that cause it to have the distinct Appaloosa spotting pattern. A horse without LP will not have any spotted characteristics and is a solid.
Appaloosas are named after the Native American tribe that they originated from, but their spotted patterns predate their existence. The LP gene mutation allows for the development of a wide variety of spotting patterns, and it can occur on any base coat color.
The spotted blanket is one of the most common Appaloosa patterns, and it involves a solid-colored horse with a striped blanket of white on its back. This pattern is reminiscent of the leopard, so it’s no wonder that this is the most popular Appaloosa coat pattern. The spotted blanket can have no spots inside it, or it can be full of small spots and flecks. It’s also normal for a spotted blanket to develop more and larger spots and flecks as it gets older.
Some horses are born with a patch of white roan over their hips and this is referred to as the frost pattern. It’s also normal for these patches to grow as the horse gets older. It’s also common for a horse with this frost pattern to have a striped blanket of white on its rear haunches.
Other patterns that are often seen on Appaloosas include the splotch, leopard, and snowflake. Splotch horses have dark spots over a light background, leopard horses have white with black blotches on the body, and snowflake horses have clusters of white spots or flecks all over a darker body. It’s also normal for a snowflake Appaloosa to develop more and larger white spots or flecks as it grows. Regardless of the pattern, most Appaloosas have a unique and interesting look that draws attention from all those who see it. They also tend to have a lot of energy and make for wonderful companions. They are fun and playful, but also intelligent and willing to please. This makes them great for kids to learn about and play with.