The Appaloosa horse is going the way of the dinosaur. The Appaloosa Horse Club is aiding in the extinction of the noble horse of the Nez Perce. That’s right the club founded to protect and preserve the Appaloosa horse has been instrumental in leading to the decline of the very breed that profess to protect. Two recent decisions have specifically highlighted this issue. In 2009 and early 2010, the Appaloosa Club Board of Directors (BOD) voted to basically remove the requirement of an ApHC registered parent. This left the door open to allow the registration of any foal born with appaloosa characteristics from any of the ApHC approved breeds to be registered with full showing and breeding privileges. That means any full blood registered Quarter Horse, Thoroughbred, Arabian or any combination of the three born with appaloosa markings registered as an Appaloosa. One example is the AQHA stallion Reminic in Spots who was born with a loud appaloosa blanket. Under this ruling he would have been allowed to be dual registered with the ApHC as well as holding a registration with the AQHA. It also means that if the owner of an Arabian registered mare bred such mare to a stallion like Reminic in Spots and produced a foal with appaloosa characteristics, that same foal would also be eligible for full registration. Under current ApHC rules, it has been acceptable to have a horse that is only 1/8th or 1/16th Appaloosa bloodlines and 7/8th or 15/16ths of another (approved) breed as long as the horse has appaloosa characteristics and pattern. But to have a horse with no documented ApHC registered lines being allowed full registration rights based on color and documentation of pedigree from one or more of our acceptable cross breeds has proven to much for the membership to handle. ApHC membership immediately went to work on the BOD and directed them to rescind that ruling at their June 2010 BOD meeting.
However, not long after that ruling was overturned, the ApHC National show results were posted. The posting of those results has stunned the ApHC membership. The current 2010 weanling ApHC National Champion “You Can’t Be Serious” is sired by a Paint (APHA) World Champion stallion “Seriously Secure” with two Paint (APHA) registered parents. Yes that’s right a PAINT stallion. The Paint stallion in question is also dual registered as an American Quarter Horse and based on the ApHC rules, AQHA horses are acceptable cross-breed horses. When the AQHA removed their excessive white rule restrictions and started registering all horses regardless of the amount of white, ApHC also created a new ruling that forbid the use of horses that have been branded with “undesirable” white markings by the AQHA. Unfortunately that leaves a few horses in the loop of acceptable breeding for the ApHC. But in addition to the above rule ApHC also has a rule that states that horse cannot be from known Paint, draft or pony breeding. A dual registered stallion shown as Paint but not as a Quarter horse and with two documented APHA/AQHA dual registered parents and multiple APHA registered siblings would certainly fall in the category of “known Paint breeding”. Additionally the stallion is being advertised as a Paint with statements like “85% color producer on Paint mares”. Unfortunately the ApHC registrar did not see it that way and allowed the foal to be registered because the stallion also had approved AQHA papers. Additional the foal is also a non-characteristic (does not have appaloosa characteristics) and is dual registered with the Palomino Horse Breeders Association who does not allow appaloosa characteristics or pattern to be acceptable for registration.
The foal was then allowed to be shown and has been chosen by the judges to be ‘representative’ of the ApHC breed standards. If this is the ‘representation’ the ApHC accepts as their standard then the ApHC is nothing more than a bunch of cross bred barely appaloosa horses. The ApHC is dying and members are splitting off to one or more of the many other developing Appaloosa registries. The members are jumping ship and refusing to support this continued downward spiral of Rule breaking and lack of integrity brought on by the Club’s want for money and recognition. The problem is with each new rule brought up in an attempt to “fix” the decline in memberships and registrations the only thing the ApHC has done is continued to isolate and irritate their membership. They are out of touch with what their membership and even the general public thinks about the Appaloosa horse and the ApHC in general. The ApHC will never gain membership with the direction It is headed.
With the acceptance of this colt as an Appaloosa and his National Championship award, the club formed to protect and preserve the Appaloosa has become nothing more than a Quarter-Paint-aloosa stock horse registry. Individual ApHC members have vowed to fight to have the registration of this colt revoked and also have him disqualified as an ApHC National champion. Lawsuits are in the works by individuals to sue the ApHC for breach of their own rules.
Many ApHC members or former members have moved to develop or work with the lesser known Appaloosa registries that have formed over the years. Some former members have even gotten completely away from ApHC as the primary registry for their horses. Registries such as the Colorado Ranger Horse Association, International Colored Appaloosa Association, American Appaloosa Association, Foundation Appaloosa Horse Registry and the International Purebred Appaloosa Association are drawing membership away from the ApHC. Even the Nez Perce Tribe who originally developed the “paloose horse” has turned away from the ApHC because of the path that the ApHC has chosen. Most of these registries do currently rely on the ApHC as a basis for their horse pedigrees, but several are stand alone registries that do not require registration first with the ApHC. These ‘splinter’ registries as they have been called are providing a service to members who want to see more of a secure future for the Appaloosa horse. Each registry has specific requirements for registration including the requirement to not have excessive “paint” white markings and prohibits the known paint bloodlines. The National Champion colt in question would not be eligible by pedigree or by pattern to any of the known “splinter” Appaloosa Registries, yet he was the one chosen to be a ‘representative’ of the ApHC. The U.S Cavalry attempted to kill off all these great horses once before and the ApHC is now trying to finish the job, but rest assured, there are still breeders out there trying really hard to preserve the Appaloosa even if it means dumping the ApHC and building a whole new registry.
One thing to think about, the AQHA is one of the largest breed registries in the world. If the AQHA disappeared today many people would be upset. On the other hand if the ApHC were to disappear today, less than 1/3rd of the membership would really care or have a problem with them going. It’s time for the ApHC to stand up and put a foot down and do what is really truly right by the Appaloosa horse because if you fall, there are already a whole lot of people saying “don’t let the door hit you on the way out”, and I with my four appaloosas will be right there with them. I’m sadden to think that the registry built to preserve this fine breed is slowly ripping it apart and reducing it to nothing more than a colored horse without a lineage back to the noble Nez Perce horse of the past. I can no longer support a breed registry that is set on destroying the heritage of the horses they claim to be preserving.