The American Appaloosa: State Horse of Idaho

Caption: Two Nez Perce men with an appaloosa, about 1895.

The American appaloosa horse breed was developed by the Nez Perce people of North America. Early white settlers referred to the horse as the "Palouse horse." It was named after the Palouse area around the Palouse River that ran through the middle of Nez Perce country. The name gradually evolved into "appaloosa."

The Nez Perce people once lived in what is now eastern Washington and Oregon and central Idaho. They got horses from the Shoshone people in the early 1700s. It was excellent horse-breeding country, and they were fairly safe from the raids of other tribes. The Nez Perce developed strict breeding selection practices for their animals. They did not allow an inferior male to breed. They traded away any of their poorer stock. By the 1800s, they were noted for their excellent horses.

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