Guide to Identifying an Appaloosa
are most commonly recognized by their
colorful coat patterns, they also have
other distinctive characteristics. The
four identifiable characteristics are:
coat pattern, mottled skin, white sclera,
and striped hooves. In order to receive
regular registration, a horse must have
a recognizable coat pattern or mottled
skin and one other characteristic. Horses
which receive regular registration are
issued numbers (no letters precede the
number.) Those not displaying a coat
pattern or mottled skin and one other
characteristic will be classified as
non-characteristic (N/C)) and their
registration numbers preceded by the
letter "N." Horses which completed
the Certified Pedigree Option (CPO)
program were issued numbers preceded
by the letters "CN."
or Parti-Colored Skin
This characteristic is unique to the Appaloosa horse. Therefore, mottled
skin is a basic and decisive indicator of an Appaloosa. Mottled skin is
different from commonly found pink (flesh-colored or non-pigmented) skin
in that it normally contains dark areas of pigmented skin within its area.
The result is a speckled or blotchy pattern of pigmented and non-pigmented
skin. When identifying mottled skin, it is important to not confuse it
with simple differences in pigmentation, patches of light and dark skin,
and pumpkin skin.
White Sclera The
sclera is the area of the eye which encircles the iris -
the colored or pigmented portion. The white of the human
eye is an example. All horses have sclera but the Appaloosa's
is white and usually more readily visible than other breeds.
All horses can show white around the eye if it is rolled
back, up or down or if the eyelid is lifted. Readily visible
white sclera is a distinctive Appaloosa characteristic provided
it is not in combination with a large white face marking,
such as a bald face.
Many Appaloosas will have bold and clearly defined
vertically light or dark striped hooves. Vertical stripes
may result from a injury to the coronet or a white marking
on the leg. Also light colored horses tend to have thin
stripes in their hooves. As a result, all striped hooves
do not necessarily distinguish Appaloosas from non-Appaloosas.
Look for other Appaloosa characteristics if any of these
situations apply to your horse.
In reviewing the descriptions of various coat patterns, the necessity
of correctly specifying anatomical regions of the horse probably became
quite apparent. The five classifications of blanket pattern locations used
by the Appaloosa Horse Club are:
2. Loin and hips
3. Back and hips (markings extend over a portion of the back,
4. Body and hips (markings extend from the hips, inclusive of a portion
of the shoulders and/or neck, but do not cover the entire horse.)
5.Entire body (markings cover the head, neck, shoulder, back, loin hips
and upper legs.)
Specific terms are used when identifying a horse's facial markings.
The illustration depicts locations of face markings. True white markings
are distinguished by pink or light-colored skin beneath the white hair.
These white markings are evident at the time of foaling and do not change
throughout the life of the horse. Be careful not to confuse roaned areas
with white markings. Please refer to the accompanying illustration for
examples of the listed markings. Star: A star is always found on the forehead and may be of any
size or shape.
Stripe: A stripe is a vertical marking found below eye level
and above the imaginary horizontal line connecting the top of the nostrils.
Any mark in this area regardless of size is referred to as a stripe.
Snip: A snip is any mark found below the top of the nostrils,
down to and including the lower lip. Snips can enter into one or both nostrils,
or extend to the lip.
Blaze: A blaze is a large or wide marking which connects a star,
stripe and snip. A blaze is always a combination of all three of these
marks and therefore will never end above the nostrils. It extends close
to the eyes, wide over the center of the face and bridge of the nose, and
either extends almost the width of the nostrils or over part of all of
Bald Face: A bald face refers to a very large blaze, which can
extend outside of the eyes in the forehead and/or center of face. It will
generally cover the width of the nose and the entire muzzle. A horse with
a bald face will often have a large snip on the lower lip which can extend
to the under lip area or chin.
Leg markings are also important in identification. Please refer to
the accompanying illustration for examples of the listed markings. Please
refer to the accompanying illustration for examples of the listed markings.
Heel: A horse has only one heel on each hoof. A white marking
may be found across the entire heel or just on one side.
Coronet: The coronet occurs as the first inch above the hoof
and extends all around the hoof including the heel.
Pastern: A pastern extends from the top of the hoof to the bottom
of the ankle or fetlock joint. A pasterns marking which is irregular and
extends to the ankle joint at only one point is called a partial pastern.
Half-Pastern: A white marking that extends to midway between
the coronet and the ankle.
Ankle: An ankle marking extends from the top of the hoof to
the top of the ankle joint.
Stocking: Any white marking extending from the hoof and covering
the leg up to or above the knee or hock is considered a stocking.
Half-Stocking: This white mark extends from the top of the hoof
to the midway point on the cannon bone, not the midway point from the ground
to the knee or hock. Partial markings can occur in both the stocking and
Lightning Marks: Irregular white markings on the legs that do
not contact the hoof.
Base Coat Colors - The Appaloosa
Horse Club recognizes the following base colors: (Click
on any picture to see a larger version)