The Walkaloosa Horse
Although the Walkaloosa Registry is fairly new, the Walkaloosa horse has been around for centuries.
Appaloosa breeders claim to have the oldest recognizable breed known to man, a claim which is backed by drawings of spotted horses in the pre-historic ice caves of France. Paso Fino breeders consider their breed to be the oldest breed in the Western Hemisphere; the ancestors of the Paso Fino came to the New World with Columbus on his second voyage from Spain. The Paso Fino horses were the preferred mounts of the Conquistadors; Paso Fino literally translated is “smooth gait” and some of those horses also carried the spotted coat patterns of what is known as the Appaloosa today.
As horses made their way north, the Nez Perce Indians eventually claimed them and wisely preserved their color and smooth gait through selective breeding. They were very proud of their spotted horses and well pleased with how these versatile horses could move their households quickly without undo jarring of belongings or rider. These horses eventually became the horse of the rancher, who appreciated the unique gait, calling it the Indian Shuffle. Cowboys were said to be willing to pay up to $50.00 more for a “Shuffler” because the easy gait saved wear and tear on the cowboy and his gear, as it had for the Spaniards and the Indians before him. With the large percentage of Quarter Horse, Arabian and Thoroughbred in today’s Appaloosas, many breeders today have never even heard of a “Shuffler”. The Walkaloosa Horse Association was founded in 1983 to preserve the history and pedigrees of these fantastic pleasure, work and performance horses.
In order to qualify as a Walkaloosa, a horse must have Appaloosa coloring and perform an intermediate gait other than the trot. Horses must meet one of the following three criteria:
Be the progeny of a registered Walkaloosa stallion & registered Walkaloosa mare, or
Show Appaloosa coloring and demonstrate an intermediate gait other than a trot, or
Be the product of verifiable Appaloosa blood and gaited horse blood.
I have worked with a number or Walkaloosa Horses which were crosses of Appaloosas with MFT, TWH, and other gaited breeds. Many of them gait well and have all the common positive characteristics of gaited horses along with the coloring popular with Appy enthusiasts.
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