Appaloosa Horse: History, Care & Cost

appaloosa horse picture

The Appaloosa breed dates back to the Nez Percé Indians of the American Pacific Northwest. The name “Appaloosa” is derived from a Palouse River crossing near present-day Lewiston, Idaho in the early 1800s. It was here that Chief Joseph and his band acquired spotted horses from neighboring tribes.

The breed is known for its endurance and agility, so they are often used in pleasure riding, trail riding, and show jumping. They also excel at Western events such as reining, roping, and cutting.

Physical Appearance

Appaloosa horse size

The Appaloosa horse is typically a medium-sized horse, standing between 14.2 and 16 hands high (58 to 64 inches, 147 to 163 cm).

Appaloosa horse weight

Their weight ranges from 1000 to 1,100 pounds (450 to 500 kg). They possess strong hooves and good bone structure which allows them to carry heavy riders. Appaloosas have muscular bodies and can easily carry heavier riders than much other horse breeds their size.

Appaloosa horse colors

They are well known for their unique spotted coat patterns, with the traditional leopard pattern being the most popular. The coloration of an Appaloosa can vary greatly; from white and brown, to black, gray, or dun. Commonly seen are white blankets, with darker spots of color over the neck and back, as well as mottled overall body coloring.

Appaloosa horse temperament

The Appaloosa breed is friendly and gentle, making it great for family rides. They are also known to be intelligent and willing to learn new tasks, which makes them a perfect choice for competitive events. Appaloosas tend to bond with their owners easily and they love human interaction.

How Long do Appaloosa Horses Live?

Appaloosa horses have a life expectancy between 26 and 30 years, although it is not uncommon for them to live past this age. Generally speaking, an Appaloosa that is properly cared for can easily reach thirty years of age or more.

American Appaloosa Horse Price

The price of an Appaloosa horse can vary greatly, depending on its age, gender, bloodlines, and conformation. A young filly or colt could cost anywhere between $1,500 to $7,000; a trained adult Appaloosa might be sold for anywhere between $10,000 or more. An Appaloosa horse with an exceptional pedigree and natural athleticism could be sold for tens of thousands of dollars. Ultimately, the quality of individual horses will determine the price range. If you are looking for a 15-year-old leopard-piebald mare from Poland with superior conformation and bloodlines, expect to pay more than over 24,000$.

Regular Monthly Appaloosa Horse Expenses

When you consider the cost of owning an Appaloosa horse, you must take into account regular monthly expenses such as feed, veterinary care, farrier services, and others.

  • Feeding – An Appaloosa horse should be given high-quality hay and grain appropriate to its age, activity level and nutritional needs. Depending on size, the average cost of feed per month ranges from $50-$200.
  • Veterinary Care – Routine visits can cost between $200-$300 a year but may vary depending on the services needed. Vaccines, de-worming and dental care should all be performed regularly.
  • Training – Starting a young Appaloosa horse can be expensive and the cost of professional training can range from $500-$2,000.
  • Farrier Services – Hooves should be trimmed every six to eight weeks with costs ranging from $25-$35 a month.
  • Dentistry – A dental exam and float should be done at least once a year, often more depending on the horse’s age.  The cost of this service will vary depending on location but can range from $150-$300.
  • Saddle, saddle pad, brushes, bridles, and bits – Expect to pay anywhere from $500-$1500 for the necessary tack.

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