The Nez Perce tribe were the first to breed the Appaloosa horse breed. They lived in the Northwest Pacific in America, the Palouse River running through their land. It was because of the river that the settlers who moved into this region named the breed Palouse horses, which later developed to the name of Appaloosa. They were mostly bred as carthorses and farm horses and were not considered favorable to race. But in the late 1900s the almost forgotten horse breed started to make its way onto the horse racing circuit.
The Albuquerque race course in New Mexico was the scene of the first Appaloosa horse racing event in 1962. In 1976, the legendary We Go Easy, Appaloosa champion, upstaged the well-known Thoroughbred, Right Pocket, at the Detroit Race Course, by running home victorious. An Appaloosa, named Undercover Willie in California, in the year 1982, beat another Thoroughbred favorite, Grey Moon Runner. Over the years the Appaloosa has shown its strength and endurance during middle distance races, being comfortable during races of 220 to 350 yards and four to eight furlongs.
Even though the original breeders of the Appaloosa horse breed, the Nez Perce tribe, used to race their horses to determine which horses were best suited for hunting, it took many years before the breed was considered a serious racing contender. With their unusual spotted coloring and patterns, no one took the time to realize how extremely intelligent the Appaloosa horse breed was, which led to its natural talents, such as its stamina, remaining undiscovered for ages.
Today there are, almost ten American states that are active in the Appaloosa racing industry, with approximately forty racecourses across both the United States of America and even in Canada. The Appaloosa has managed to finally prove that it deserves a rightful place in the horse racing industry. Not because of its striking good looks, but because of its endurance, exhilarating speed and classical style. It is a horse breed that is breathtakingly graceful and their eyes are always alive with understanding and curiosity.
Appaloosa racing is a fast growing industry that has taken America by storm. The racing establishments pride themselves on the safety and care that is given to the horses and riders, and have set the same standards in Appaloosa racing that are found in Thoroughbred racing. The Appaloosa has survived persecution and near extinction, and has become a horse that is not only beautiful to look at, but a racing powerhouse.