How did this beautiful, tough breed of Mongolian horse come to the New World? Perhaps the Russians via the North or the Spanish brought the breed via ship when exploring. The Mongolians traded their horse throughout the world, so the history remains unknown.
Appaloosas du Pech
The Appaloosa is a horse breed best known for its colorful leopard-spotted coat pattern. Each horse’s color pattern is genetically the result of various spotting patterns overlaid on top of one of several recognized base coat colors.
In the 1600’s French trappers noticed the colourful horses inhabiting The Palouse River Valley. This region, running through what is now Washington and Idaho, was home to the Nez Perce Indians. The trappers began referring to this type of horse as ‘a Palousie’ which later became Appaloosa.
The Nez Perce realized their value for hunting and war in the high plateau country, long skilled as dog breeders, the Nez Perce where the first selective breeders of American Appaloosas.
The animals seemed tame and intelligent and would come right up to them.
In the 100 years that they had them, the Nez Perce-bred horses were hardy with endless stamina.
‘The Nez Perce Appaloosas were taught to catch a running herd of buffalo and put their riders alongside for the kill. The sound of the arrow leaving the bow was the horse’s cue to move in and cut the wounded buffalo from the herd – a dangerous and demanding job, to say the least. When trading horses the Nez Perce would proclaim, “one Appaloosa worth ten ordinary ponies.”
Les Appaloosas du Pech in Montouliers has beautiful Appaloosa horses. They are young, fit and healthy, and some actually act more like dogs than horses. I watch the people working with them, and no one seems afraid they may kick, in fact they have never had a incident.
These horses on Camille’s ranch are among the best kept secret in the region.
The ride winds through the forests of Montouliers, to a high point where you can see the beautiful valley below. The smell of pine brushes up against you, while walking along the dirt trails. On cooler days you can take the horses on a gallop, on warmer days it is only a trot, but either way, it is worth the 17€ to visit these magnificent creatures.
After, we visit the horses in the stables and in the corrals. Here a new mom and her foal come visit the gate to see if we have any food. Next time I will remember the carrots and apples.