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|Country of origin||United States|
|Distinguishing features||Gaited, leopard complex coloration|
The gaited horse with leopard patterning has been documented in history for hundreds, even thousands of years. Then in 1938 when the animals who exhibited the leopard complex (the genetic factor that causes the spotting of the Appaloosa Horse) were brought together to form the registry that became the Appaloosa Horse Club, the gaited animals were lumped together with all leopard-patterned horses as the stock that became Registered Appaloosas.
Although the ApHC has years of crosses with many other styles of horses that became the breeds of Quarter Horse, Arabian and Thoroughbred, the breeders shied way from including the naturally gaited animals in their breeding program due to the dictates of the show ring. The Appaloosa Horse Club will, in fact, no longer accept for Registration, any foal with Appaloosa coloring and a parent from a "gaited" breed. In spite of this exclusion, many full blooded, registered Appaloosas still perform a natural ambling gait often referred to as the "Indian Shuffle". However, the gene pool within the ApHC is rather slim and very few breeders strive to perpetuate this tendency.
The Walkaloosa Horse Association was formed in 1983 to preserve the gaited Appaloosa-patterned horses for future generations. The goal was a simple one: preserve, improve and perpetuate the natural smooth gait in a spotted patterned animal that can perform a smooth gait as the intermediate gait under saddle. There are many horses within the registry who are 3rd or 4th generation Registered Walkaloosa and new animals are being accepted as the books are still open by inspection. Just as all breed registries had to at some point gather the animals that met their criteria to acknowledge and certify as the type the Registry wishes to perpetuate, the WHA is continuing that process.
In order to qualify as a Walkaloosa, a horse must meet one of three criteria:
- Be the progeny of a Registered Walkaloosa stallion and mare or
- Show Appaloosa coloring and demonstrate an intermediate gait, other than a trot or
- Be the product of verifiable Appaloosa and gaited horse blood.
Walkaloosas range from 13–16 hands (52–64 inches, 132–163 cm) high with 14–15.2 hands (56–62 inches, 142–157 cm) being desirable. The head may be of any profile though a Roman nose is undesirable. The neck conformation varies between gait type and sex. The throatlatch should be clean and allow for proper flexion and breathing. The topline should be level or slightly uphill, the back's length can vary but should have a well-muscled loin. The angle of the shoulder should allow freedom of movement and the withers should be well defined but not pronounced.
Walkaloosas may not exhibit severe overshot or undershot jaws, common or coarse heads, pig eyes, or parrot mouth. Other faults include a thick throat latch, a thick neck, a low neck set, ewe neck, some downhill horses (particularly with no withers), a square outline, or the horse being taller than it is long. Faults relating to the back are: an excessive length, especially when coupled with a weak loin connection, extreme downhill conformation, thick, coarse or overly muscular appearance, insufficient muscling to the loin, or any crookedness of the back.
- (See Appaloosa News, 6/78)