We bought a Appaloosa mare back in November 2009. We have had many people say she has perfect conformation. But this is our first appaloosa and I was wondering what an appaloosa's conformation is supposed to look like and what makes an appaloosa an appaloosa. Thank you for reading my post and the time you spend in answering my questions (if you do.)
Appaloosas bred to be shown specifically in Halter classes at Appaloosa Horse Club shows are usually bred for conformation similar to what is winning in all of the major stock horse breeds-- in otherwords, their build will resemble a winning halter-bred Quarter horse, Paint, etc. This has been the case for decades.
Appaloosas bred for other disciplines will have varied conformation according to the job they are expected to do. So "perfect" is often in the eye of the beholder.
There are Appaloosas bred to resemble their "foundation" ancestry, and their comformation will vary according to the breeders' preferences and the jobs bred for as well.
There are some shared conformation traits that most walk-trot-canter-type riding breeds are expected to have-- a well angulated shoulder, relatively short strong back, a long strong hip, a neck put on so it flows smoothly from the withers on top and is set on high into the chest underneath, legs that are straight and correct with comparatively longer strong forearms and gaskins, relatively short cannon bones, pasterns with sufficient angle, etc.
Here are some examples of "ideal" Appaloosa conformation thru the years as depicted in ApHC/ApHC approved literature (OK the first one was not from ApHC literature, as it pre-dated the Appaloosa horse Club-- founded in 1938--, but I found it interesting as an illustration of what was termed an "apelusi" in an old book on breeds and types)--
Oh wow, what an informative post Eastowest. I used to have an appaloosa, so it's interesting to see this. She didn't look much like any of these horses though, but she was just a grade with unknown bloodlines.
I think I prefer the way the foundation appaloosas look better than the modern ones. They look more like their own breed then, and now they look like quarter horses with spots. They're all beautiful though.
>>>> I think I prefer the way the foundation appaloosas look better than the modern ones. They look more like their own breed then, and now they look like quarter horses with spots.
One interesting thing about "foundation-bred" Appaloosas to me is that they are/can be IMO even more varied in their conformation amongst themselves than they are different as compared to the more stock-horse type.
The "Phippen" drawing (early 1960's in my previous post) is the 'standard' that some "foundation" breeders use, but others prefer horses to look more like their actual specific Foundation-numbered Appaloosa ancestry. Breeders who breed along certain Foundation lines vs. breeders who prefer other lines might be produucing very different looking Appaloosas from each other-- and justifyably so, since the F- numbered ancestry each program is utilizing to breed forward would not necessarily have had consistent or similar type/conformation. But the Appaloosas from both would still be called "foundation-bred"...
The ApHC issued almost 5000 Foundation-prefix registration numbers from 1938 -1962. To say that there was some variety amongst those early foundation Appaloosas would be an understatement. Here is a sampling of several WELL KNOWN Foundation-numbered Appaloosa stallions--
(I have more I could add, but Horseforum limits attachments to 15)
So if you hear someone talking about "true Foundation type and conformation", they could be talking about any of the above--
EVERY stallion above has an F prefix, and has been written about and lauded as a significant influence on the Appaloosa breed by one or more breed historians-- many were early show champions, and several are inducted into the Appaloosa Hall of Fame. ALL have descendants in the ApHC-- some have even had breeder groups and sub-registries formed around them.
Which would you pick as the "ideal" Foundation type?