Appaloosa



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 What:  This horse was the dearest possession of the American Indian of the Columbia Plateau region. When these people were in a survival situation they would be sustained by tapping the great vein behind his left front leg to drink the blood. Appaloosa came from a corruption of people saying 'a Palouse Horse'. Spotted horses have had an important place in the history of man's interaction and love of the horse, but near here the Palouse and Nez Perce tribes bred the spotted horse to be able to run over any kind of terrain for long periods with power. They called it the Horse of the Iron Heart. Chief Joseph and his large family was able to lead 4 armies on a chase over 1300 miles because the horses were so superior to the armies'. It became illegal for an Indian to own a spotted horse. The spots became a mark of death as they were shot on sight. Colonel Wright had 7 hundred killed at one time to demoralize and immobilize the Indians. In 1937 there were only few such animals still alive. Today there are hundreds of thousands. When the tribes battled each other in older times, the horse's body was marked with the glories of the fight and in this way the horse shared the glory with its riding warrior. So often the warrior fresh from battle would slap the horse on its rump with his fingers up to congratulate the horse so with red paint the hand was painted there if the warrior and horse combination were of the highest valor. Once an Indian was trapped and ambushed by a warring tribe. His last act was to slap the horses front right shoulder with his bloody hand. The horse ran all the way back to its encampment where its tribe was warned of the coming battle by the red hand with the fingers pointing down. Then if any warrior was going into imminent danger that red hand would be painted there. A circle would be painted around the horse's eye to help him see danger. Many such patterns were painted on the animal, its mane and tail were tied, woven, feathered, and laden with other art.