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I am looking at purchasing an Appaloosa. I will be meeting him on Saturday. I know nothing about the breed. A few people have said they heard they can be difficult. Looking for opinions. I have ridden a few over the years and they seemed lovely. At 58 I am looking for what probably will be my last horse and want one that is safe. I have enjoyed two wonderful horses over the years but have also had a few mishaps on ones that I did not know which has given me a bit of anxiety. Thanks in advance for input.
 

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I rode an appy gelding for about 2 and half years. He was sweet as can be. Very athletic and willing to please, although at some times he could be stubborn he usually wasn’t. I’ve met a quarter lesson horse that was more hard headed then him.

An amazing breed. But then again every horse is different. Good luck!!
 

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I've had nine appaloosas over the years, and I love them. They tend to be smart, surefooted, athletic, versatile, and kind. It has been my experience that they can be stubborn. I had one that would lay down if she didn't like her rider. I've been told that mules will do that. They tend to have uveitis, but only one of mine had it, and I kept it under control with baby aspirin when she had a flare-up. I love appies and hope that yours is a good one.
 

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While some breeds tend to have like characteristics, it is not so much the breed but the individual horse. For example, there are a lot of people saying not to get a Thoroughbred (TB) unless you are extremely experienced due to them being incredibly unpredictable, hot, and flaky. While many TBs may be like that, that is no reason to label them all as such and give people a reason to potentially fear their horse simply for being a TB.

I will not comment on their supposed temperament, but I will say that they tend to be more prone to eye and some skin problems compared to some other breeds.
 

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I learned to ride on an appy mare. I was 7 and she pulled the tricks on me like holding her breath and lifting her head in the air when I went to bridle her. But I loved her to death. All horses are different though. I rode another appy gelding as a lesson horse (he was actually a rescue) and he was an amazing little boy. I've also ridden an appy/draft cross who was a giant baby.

Some Appaloosas are bred for more ranch style work, others are bred for jumping and some for racing (I think). If you know where the horse comes from it could give you an idea on temperament. A lot of the time race horses are more high strung than ranch horses.
 

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There is nothing better than a good Appaloosa. There's nothing worse than a bad one.


I like the chunky, old-style Appaloosas, but they are smart and will take advantage if you let them. They are great horses, but they do not suffer fools. Treat them right and fairly and a good one will be a wonderful partner.
 

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We've owned two and still have one and I've been around another at the farm where my daughter takes lessons. The word I used to describe the three I'm familiar with is reactive. You never know what is going to set them off. Our first horse was an Appaloosa mare and while the learning curve was steep, we survived, and its made dealing with every horse that came after that much easier. I've watched our Appaloosa mare abuse a rider just for fun when she figured out he didn't know what he was doing even though he claimed to have horse experience. A couple of years ago my daughter did her science fair project on determining horse intelligence using the methods developed to screen minis for guide animals. All of our other horses completed the tests to the best of their abilities but the Appaloosa mare refused. My vet's favorite joke is that God offered the Appaloosa either spots or brains and the Appaloosa chose spots. While our Appaloosa mare has a home for life I'm not looking to get another one.
 

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If I were forced to label all the appaloosa's that I have met (which is a small handful of them) it would have to be "sense of humor". They just seem to have a knack for it.
 

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I like the ones I've ridden.

They did seem a bit 'smarter,' or perhaps more particular, about how they learned things. Once they understood what was needed they didn't seem to forget (need tune ups).

My daughter had one with an interesting personality. She would lay down when saddled by some people, but not others. Male or female, no pattern. And, if she wasn't in (ranch) working shape, like an 8 hour day, she would quit when she'd had enough. Would not push herself like other horses. Act like she could barely take a step. Until she was within 50 yards of the barn. Then she would fairly skip into the corrals.

Once a male friend offered to bring her out so I could load her into the trailer. The mare walked along nicely until he got to the gate. Then she opened her mouth and put her teeth around his forearm. And just stood there looking at him and glancing over at me.

She was amusing.
 

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I'm not a fan. I like horses that are in-your-face knuckleheads because they make me laugh. All Appies I encountered seemed to be on the autism spectrum. Not being very outgoing and exuberant myself, I don't know how to take that.
 

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Of course, different breeds/types have different traits, but generally, it's people's attitudes & expectations that count for a lot - eg. the ones that expect 'dumb bloods' will only come across silly warmbloods. The ones that expect 'psycho, schitzo' arabs will meet arabs of that disposition... Tends to be a self fulfilling prophesy. I have had more to do with appies over the years than any other single breed, and I'd just say they're horses. They are all similar, but all have different personalities. But if I had to generalise about them all, I'd have to say friendly, bit goofy, easygoing. Very personable horses.
 

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There are good and bad temperament horses in any breed. There are lots of rumors about app behavior, but I never really noticed them being different than any other stock horse. I have started a lot of apps under saddle over the years and most all turned out to be good solid horses.

The key to buying a good horse is to be looking at the level of training, temperament and how well you specifically get along with the horse. Breed & color need to be 2nd thought. If possible do not make a decision on the first visit. Try the horse out several times to make sure its a good fit for your abilities before committing if possible.

Best of luck in your decision.
 

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Most modern Appaloosa lines have a great deal of Quarter Horse blood in them. I personally am not a fan of categorizing traits for a specific breed. Especially the stock breeds (Appaloosa, Paint, Quarter Horse) there has been so much cross breeding of these breeds it is nearly impossible to say that my horse is an Appaloosa (as in 100% pure Appaloosa no Quarter Horse etc)

Each animal is an individual, and reacts to people in different ways. Some are more stubborn, docile, friendly etc.
 

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Ive met 2....one was a small pony like gelding, was told his past was unknown. He was probably the worst horse Ive ever had to handle on the ground, would try to bite, kick, strike, anything he could to get at you. Even came teeth barring at my face the one day, luckily he got my hand instead which Ill forever have a reminder of. Under saddle he was incredible and would jump literally anything you put in front of him.

The second was a decent sized mare, literally the sweetest horse Ive ever had the pleasure of being around, was extremely friendly, respectful, and just an incredible mare!

All in all its the individual and not the breed! Go see the horse with an open mind, dont expect any certain characteristics, might just be the exact horse you're looking for! Best of luck!
 

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I'm not a fan. I like horses that are in-your-face knuckleheads because they make me laugh. All Appies I encountered seemed to be on the autism spectrum. Not being very outgoing and exuberant myself, I don't know how to take that.
I don't you understand how hard I laughed at this! Everyone in the study hall is staring at me now, I understand what you're talking about.

Reminds me of the time I opened up Justices stall to let him go back to the pasture with all his friends after our ride. He just stood there for 10 minutes staring at me and blinking. The BO said if he didn't want to go out I could keep him in for another hour and groom him and just hang with him until my ride showed up. So I got up and clipped the chain back up. As soon as I turned my back he decided to make a run for it and ran into the chain. He flipped over and stood up with half of his body over the chain and the other half still in his stall. Since then he has been a bit strange about walking out. He's definitely "special." Anyways, I found that TBs and Arabians at the barn have a bunch more personality, brain, and reactions to things then then the appies there.
 

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I've known some really nice Appys also have seen some that were knotheads. But like all breeds there are good ones and not so good ones.

The Appys now are much nicer looking then the old type appys who in my book were ugly. I won't own a rat tailed sparse maned horse. Or one with pink skin around eyes think it's ugly.

I'd have no issue owning a nice looking appaloosa.
 

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Best way to describe them: [email protected] It is what you get when you have many years of breeding for color instead of for temperament and conformation etc. Some are awesome, some are terrible.

As with any breed, but even more so with this one, you just have to evaluate them on a horse by horse basis.

Some breeds you can generalize a bit e.g. Arabs tend to be more sensitive as a breed than other breeds and science has shown us that they have by and large a larger prefrontal cortex than say a quarter horse.

Within quarter horse lines you can find some that are just basically born broke by and large.

You really can't do that with appaloosas because for many many many years they were simply bred for color so for all the other things like conformation, temperament etc. you basically get what you get in that individual horse and you can't make any generalizations.

Just evaluate the horse with no prejudice and if you like riding it and get along well with it and it has no issues then buy it. If there is anything you don't really like about it, pass on it. That goes for any breed.

There are too many good horses out there in need of good homes to spend even an extra minute with the bad ones.
 
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