Preserving Appaloosa horses long-term goal for Moscow club


Executive Assistant Lauren McCleary explains the current National Appaloosa Show that the club is a part of in Texas. 

JACOB MOORE, Former Evergreen sports editor

Moscow is home to the International Headquarters of the Appaloosa horse breed. The club and museum can be found just outside the Washington border.

“I feel like a lot of people don’t even know it’s here,” Executive Assistant Lauren McCleary said. “This building has been here since 1974, and the club is celebrating its 80th anniversary next year … It’s one of the unique things that we can talk about that’s specific to Moscow.”

McCleary said the goal of the club is to preserve and promote Appaloosas because they originated on the Palouse. The museum teaches that the Nez Perce tribe used Appaloosas, but preservation attempts began well after the Nez Perce War of 1877.

The word “Appaloosa” evolved from the words “a Palouse horse,” according to the club’s official website, leaving an imprint on the Palouse’s history.

Appaloosas are known for their spots but can come in a solid color, Registry Services Supervisor Terry Hutton said.

“I had a couple little solid babies,” Hutton said. “A baby can be born solid with no identification of an appaloosa, but they can continue as they age and color-up to get characteristics or get a co-pattern.”

To continue sustaining preservation efforts, the club relies on memberships, shows and other various events, McCleary said.

One of those events is currently happening in Texas. Chief Executive Officer Steve Taylor and others are at the 70th National Appaloosa Show. Appaloosas of distinct colors and spots are showcased by their breeders in competitions. The World Championship Appaloosa Show takes place in Texas during the fall.

More localized events include the Appaloosa Museum Benefit Horse Show in Spokane next month and “Spirits of the West” in Deary, Idaho. The latter combines teachings, competitions and a silent auction with wine and brew vendor stations.

Horse owners are also encouraged to sign up for the 2017 Chief Joseph Trail Ride in Joseph, Oregon, in mid-July.

However, club members with a horse are not the only ones who can get involved, McCleary said. There are multiple membership plans that start as low as $15. There’s diverse levels of membership to support the club.

“Maybe someone doesn’t ride but they used to have an Appaloosa and they still want to keep supporting the club, so they might still become a member,” McCleary said. “That’s how the club survives.”

Members receive discounts, newsletters and eligibility to vote in the club, McCleary said.

Members can also register their horse, Hutton said. There are newer requirements for registering compared to years past, though.

“Now, they’re doing more DNA testing,” Hutton said. “They have to meet certain bloodline requirements to be eligible.”