The Nez Perce Horse
This breed is the cross between an Akhal-Teke and an appaloosa. Like the Teke tribe, the Nez Perce tribe, originally from eastern Oregan before relocation, hold a great reverence for their horses. In 1877, the Nez Perce tribe was ordered by the US Army to leave their home in the Wallowa Valley of eastern Oregon and relocate to a small reservation in Idaho. The Nez Perce tried to flee, but were soon caught after a battle in Montana. The Nez Perce chief, Chief Joseph, made the famous statement: “fight no more forever.” Their war-horses, bred over generations, were either scattered or taken and the breed disappeared.
The appaloosa breed commonly associated with the American Old West is a very different breed than the war horses of the Nez Perce. In the journal of Meriweather Lewis (of Lewis and Clark) notes on February 1806, “Their [the Nez Perce] horses appear to be of an excellent race, they are lofty, elegantly formed, active and durable; in short many of them look like fine English coursers and would make a figure in any country.” The 'English coursers' Lewis refers to is the English Thoroughbred. In fact, it is the belief that the Nez Perce war horses resembled thoroughbreds more closely than the stocky form of today's appaloosa (see bottom black and white photo compared to colour photo).
In 1995, in an effort to boost reservation income and moral, a new registry was created for the newly defined Nez Perce horse. A farm donated four Akhal-Teke stallions to be bred with 33 appaloosa mares. This was the beginning of a breeding program with a goal of creating the lost war horses of the Nez Perce tribe. The Akhal-Teke was chosen because many believed it to be very similar to the first Spanish horses that were introduced to the Americas.