Appaloosa Horse Temperament. Top Experts’ Advices

Appaloosa Horse Temperament 

Noticing some unusual spots? Maybe, you’re just seeing an Appaloosa horse for the first time! Appaloosa’s are a breed native to North America that was originally used as a mount for Native Americans.  Today, Appaloosa is known for being a diverse and intelligent breed of horse, used for trail riding, western pleasure, jumping, and more. Let’s talk about Appaloosa horse temperament.  

Thus in this article, I will discuss the Appaloosa horse’s temperament, and how it contributes to activity, training, and other important topics.     

Appaloosa Temperament Qualities 

The Appaloosa horses’ entire temperament is based on their high intelligence levels.  This is because, appaloosas are extremely smart and because of this, they have big personalities.  Like, they are smart enough to know when they can or cannot trust a human. So, it would be very good, if you have a good relationship with your appaloosa, and bad if you don’t.

They know when they are being mistreated, and they know when they are being treated well.  If they can trust the people that surround them, Appaloosas aim to please and have a partnership with their riders.  

Appaloosas are known for being hardworking and loyal to the people they love.  They have fantastic work ethics, and always enjoy their jobs. They can be great children’s horses, and they do their best to look out for their people. 

Learn more fun facts about Appaloosas here: 

How Activities Affect Appaloosas’ Temperament 

Appaloosas, like many horse breeds, thrive on a regular schedule of exercise and turnout.  Given that the breed is athletic and has a lot of energy; they like to be outside for long stretches of time, as they love having jobs too.  

Most horses that live in stalls receive turnout (time in the pasture) for at least four or five hours a day, if not more.  Other than that, some horses live outside year-round. 

An Appaloosas would thrive on either schedule and require time, to be in open space to remain happy and healthy.

Appaloosas also enjoy having a job. They don’t need to be exercised every day and don’t all need to be show horses because they thrive on having something to do. As long as you’re giving your Appaloosas jobs weekly, they will always remain in good spirits.

How Activities Affect Appaloosas’ Temperament 

If Appaloosas do not have adequate turnout time or exercise, they could become irritable, or “sour.”  Remember, Appaloosas are smart. If they know their people aren’t giving them the time and attention that they need, this can affect the relationship between the two.  Appaloosas need something to focus their attention and energy on. With ample turnout time and with a job (even a part-time one), this is not difficult to provide.  

When given proper attention, Appaloosas can excel in nearly all disciplines.  While preferred by western riders for cutting, pleasure, reining and roping, Appaloosas can also excel in English disciplines such as eventing, dressage, and hunter/jumper.  I have personally seen Appaloosas in the hunter ring as noteworthy kids’ horses, as well as Appaloosas in the mountains as trustworthy trail horses.

How to Train Appaloosa Horse Based on Their Temperament 

Training will be different for every horse, but there are certain things that Appaloosa enthusiasts recommend keeping in mind when training these spotted beauties.  Firstly, is their intelligence and wit. Appaloosas are smart, and it will show when they are being trained. They will sometimes do quirky, though rarely dangerous things in order to test their riders.  Often times, the only way to gain their respect in these circumstances is to outsmart them. 


A staple of any horse’s training is groundwork, and Appaloosas are no exception.  Appaloosas are big on trust and respect, and this starts from the ground, not the saddle.  Lounging, in-hand, and liberty work are all ways to establish respect and trust on the ground.  And these things could be crucial in establishing a relationship with an Appaloosa, before getting in the saddle. Groundwork is also important to revisit if a communication issue occurs in the saddle.

Once you have established a positive, respectful relationship with your Appaloosa, it will be easy to finish them, to excel in whichever discipline you wish.  Not only do they have good work ethics and learn extremely quickly, but Appaloosas are also versatile and can be taught a lot of different skills. If you use a watchful eye and gentle technique, an Appaloosa will fit any mold you build for it. 

Is Coloring Linked to Personality with Appaloosas? 

While some believe that there is a connection between an Appaloosa’s color and its personality, perhaps due to some examples of potential correlation, no connection has been scientifically proven.  Of course, if one trainer has better luck with bay blanketed Appaloosas being good for kids, such trainer will probably think it has to do with that color. On the other hand, if another trainer has an ill-luck with dun leopard Appaloosas, such a trainer will likely think that it’s a character trait of that specific color.  Thus, judgment is often objective.

And while some individuals may swear by this, nothing has been proven so far.  It is merely speculation, the same way connecting hair color with personality traits in people is purely speculative.  Some riders and trainers will favor certain coat colors for certain events, but no true correlation can be proven. A chart listing the color variations of Appaloosas is shown below:  

Is Coloring Linked to Personality with Appaloosas? 


The Appaloosa horse’s temperament is important to consider in training, in activity, and in all aspects of horse ownership.  They are very athletic and intelligent horses, and their care must reflect that in order to form a successful partnership.  

Also, Appaloosa’s are versatile and if respected and cared for, can do nearly anything you ask of them.  I hope this article helped you understand Appaloosa in its entirety and gave you an interest in this beautiful breed! Please ask questions and share your Appaloosa stories with us!

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