Appaloosa Territory

Opinions -and Other Things - about Appaloosas

There have been brilliant and eloquent pieces written about the Appaloosa. Below are some that I think are to the point.

Let's Talk, Publicize and Raise Appaloosas by Larry Gardner

Larry Gardner was new to Appaloosas and said he studied the Appaloosa News for five years "like a parson studies the scriptures". What prompted him to write to the News was an ad he encountered where the Appaloosa part of an advertised Appaloosa's pedigree was "almost apologized for" having Appaloosa breeding, while making a big issue of the non-Appaloosa part if the pedigree.

Larry continues: "I believe it is the responsibilty of Appaloosa breeders to brag about the Appaloosa breeding int their horses. Many running Quarter Horses are 1/2 to 3/4 Thoroughbred, but the owner is proud of his breed and stresses the Quarter Horse."

The point I'm trying to get across is this: our Appaloosas are great horses...and they don't have to be brothers or sisters to any other horse to be great."

Larry was not against outcrossing, but feels once outcrossed, the product should be returned to the breed. He states: "An outcross crossed out to an outcross that was crossed to an outcross, etc.,
is not an asset to our breed, but it is merely a deterioration of our breed."

My thought: I think Larry perceived the situation very well. Why indeed do many of those who breed "Appaloosas", extoll the virtues of anything and everything BUT the "Appaloosa-ness" of their Appaloosa?

His opinion piece was published in the Appaloosa News, July 1963, page 12.

Letter from Appaloosa owner, Mrs. Marian Erd, Ruswin Ranch, Montello, Wisconsin which was printed in the Appaloosa News January 1963:

He's suspense in spring, looking for the spots; spirit in summer, as he tries out those new legs; wonderment in fall, big world without her protection. He's amazement in winter, as he constantly astounds his owner with the zest for living he contains and as a yearling he's a picture, one no artist can quite capture. And as a two year old, he's on his way to being the best all around working horse a man ever sat astride of. And at three, he's cutting cows, jumping, spinning, turning, racing, and in his spare time, entertaining the kids. And at four his colts are on the ground, and you find (not much to anyone's surprise) that you have a Daddy to some of the finest Appaloosa colts around. All this time, without you quite knowing it, he's worked his way into your heart.

Suspense, spirit, amazement, zest, ability, and a working horse, he's a memory, a never forgotten, golden memory...The horse With A Future From the Breed With a Past is the Appaloosa.

Laura Lyon of Eastowest Appaloosas has published a page on the different "profiles" of the Appaloosa from before the formation of the Appaloosa Horse Club, through the current, Orren Mixer, profile as the epitome of the Appaloosa.

"My horse fights with me and fasts with me, because if he is to carry me in battle he must know my heart and I must know his or we shall never become brothers. I have been told that the white man, who is almost god, and yet a great fool, does not believe the horse has a spirit. This cannot be true. I have many times seen my horses soul in his eyes." Chief Plenty Coups (also referred to as Chief Many Coups), Crow

Cogginitis - not only for Appaloosas, but all horses...

The following is excerpted from a Letter to the Editor of some horse magazine, in the 70s. I have always felt this way about the Coggins test, and this vet, Dr. R.A. Greene, expressed it very clearly.

Cogginitis is a new disease that began sweeping through our country in 1972. By January 1976, it had been responsible for killing horses in over 34 states.

It's an unusual disease, because the majority of its victioms are apparently healthy horses. ...we're not sure that all the victims of Cogginitis still have the EIA virus in them. We only know that they have antibodies against the virus. We know THAT, because the Coggins test tells us so.

Cogginitis is far more deadly than EIA. Last year 9614 apparently healthy horses were killed by it in the US. In most cases there are no symptoms to Cogginitis. You find it by Coggins testing. If the test is positive, you simply KILL or quarantine the horse, because you know it has Cogginitis. You don't know, however, if it has EIA.

In the first four years of Coggins testing, we killed a total of 26,060. yet, nobody knows for sure how many, if any, of these victims of Cogginitis are capable of transmitting the virus of EIA to other horses. The Coggins test only proves the presence of antibodies, NOT the presence of the virus.

We do know from the USDA records that the peak, post-war year for symptomatic cases of EIA prior to the Coggins test was 1968. In 1968, there were 452 confirmed cases of Swamp Fever (EIA) out of our entire equine population. (circa 8 million)

Doesn't it seem ridiculous to you that in four years of living with compulsory Coggins test and slaughter laws while testing considerably less than 5 percent of our equine population, we have killed almost 60 times as many apparently healthy horses as the disease made sick out of our entire equine population in 1968?

Some of you will say, "But there are no compulsory test and slaughter laws, there are only test and quarantine laws! Nobody has to kill their horses..."

In the fiscal year of 1975 in New Hampshire, 5812 horses were tested. 42 were found positive and none had any symptoms of the disease. Yet today only three of those horses are still alive today! In Massachusetts 15,188 horses were tested in 1975. 147 were found positive, none had any symptoms, yet less than a dozen are alive today.

You have been led to believe that EIA can be eliminated by test and slaughter laws, or at the very least, the incidence of the disease can be reduced. OK, how much are you willing to pay to eliminate a disease that kills far less than 500 horses annually out of our entire equine population? If we assume the value of the average horse is $600 and the average Coggins test is $12.50, then the first four years of Coggins testing has cost us $30,328,775. Using the same basis, we spent $13 1/2 million dollars in 1975 alone.

Let's compare that with 1968 when we had 452 cases of EIA. 452 dead horses at $600 plus 452 Coggins test at $12.50 each adds to $276,850. But our loss for the first four years of Coggins testing added up to one hundred times that amount!

100% testing is the only way we can ever hope to eradicate the disease if we use a test and slaughter program. If we are to believe Dr. Coggins, there would be at least 300 thousand more out there who would remain undetected by his test. In other words, we would miss far more than we would find. Does that sound like an effective eradication program to you? Like any test that is based on detection of antibodies, the Coggins test also misses horses that are in the incubation stage.

100% testing and slaughter began in Japan in 1929. After 19 years, in 1948, they recognized that the program to that point had been a dismal failure. So, they amended the law...made it more strict, and began to see it was rigidly enforced. From 1948 on every horse in Japan was inspected for signs of EIA at least once a month. If they were in a high incidence area, they were inspected twice a month. EVERY HORSE THAT SHOWED SYMPTOMS OF THE DISEASE WAS TESTED. EVERY HORSE THAT TESTED POSITIVELY WAS DESTROYED. IN 1965, 36 YEARS AFTER THE ORIGINAL PROGRAM WAS BEGUN, THE INCIDENCE OF EIA IN JAPAN WAS OVER 50 TIMES AS GREAT AS IT WAS IN THIS COUNTRY BEFORE WE BEGAN TO USE THE COGGINS TEST.

It was horsemen who were responsible for getting those laws passed in the first place. Four years of experience has taught us we've made a mistake. Let's all get busy and get it corrected. We created the disease Cogginitis in our rush to eliminate the disease, EIA. The cure for Cogginitis is available now. Let's get those laws repealed. Let's use the Coggins test for the purpose it was intended..not as a screening test for test and slaughter laws..but as a fast, reasonalbly accurate method to confirm a diagnosis of EIA in a SICK horse.

(My guess for the reason Cogginitis will probably never go away - $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$. You know, follow the money trail! ~Gretchen)

More to come...

End of (Appaloosa) Opinions


This page last updated on January 22, 2008.   © 2005-2008 Wolf Oak Appaloosas/Appaloosa Territory