The Tiger Horse is the name given to a gaited breed of horse that has been developed from a base of the Spanish Jennet horses. It has a smooth riding gait and distinctive Spanish conformation that set it apart from other gaited breeds of horses such as the Appaloosa and Noriker horse.
The horse’s name is misleading because it does not roar or have any tiger stripes. In fact it has only the slightest connection to a tiger as the name originated in Spanish and is used to refer to any patterned animal. The term “tiger” has no association with the spotted color pattern of this horse, but rather to its eye catching and exotic appearance.
It is a breed that has been around for thousands of years and was first recorded in cave drawings where it was depicted with riders wearing rope halters. Today, the breed is making a comeback and is being bred for its natural gaited ability and its unique appearance. It can be found in various countries in the world and is gaining popularity amongst horse lovers.
The breed is a working saddle horse and in addition to a walk and canter, must be able to perform an even and natural intermediate four beat gait. This comfortable and smooth gait is often referred to as an Indian Shuffle, and has long been prized by cowboys. The Tiger Horse is also capable of performing a running walk, stepping pace and diagonal fox trot.
To meet the requirements for a Tiger Horse, a horse must be homozygous for the Leopard Complex gene. This means that the horse must be a light spotted horse such as a few-spot, leopard or snowflake, or roan with or without spots. It is important that any tiger pattern horse have a current and consistent color and pattern.
Breeders strive to produce horses with a convex profile as opposed to a straight profile. They must also maintain a good shoulder height and a balanced hindquarters. These horses are known for their calm and intelligent temperaments, which make them very popular with children. They are also known for their willingness to learn and can be ridden by all levels of riders.
Mane and tail hair should be either completely natural or fully groomed to match the rest of the body. Braiding, roaching and trimming are strictly prohibited, and any offspring that do not display the required characteristics will be disqualified from competitions, including the Model Category.
The Tiger Horse Association is attempting to preserve and promote a breed that has been lost in the mass breeding of gaited horse to trot. To achieve this goal, it is actively seeking base foundation stock that is Leopard Complex (Appaloosa patterned) and has the ability to perform an even and natural intermediate four beat Gait. These horses may come from the Appaloosa breed, the Spanish Mustang, any of the Paso breeds, Native American herds and wild horse herds.