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The Tiger Horse is a spotted horse most commonly used for trail riding; their coat color is very similar to the color of the Appaloosa. The have a gait that is often referred to as the "Indian Shuffle", this was an intermediate four beat gait that was considered rare. When other horses of were worth around thirty dollars, these horses usually fetched around fifty. They are a unique breed. There was a time where they weren't very popular, but today they are well known. The Tiger Horse excels in trail riding and is becoming well known in the show ring. They are a quiet horse but intelligent and love to be around people; they are also very gentle, but, at times, can be very spirited.
Throughout history these horse have been favored by all types of people, from people of wealth all the way to kings. It was their gait and their unique color that made them very popular among the affluent. There was even a law that was passed in Spain called the "Gentleman's Law." It stated that all fine men or wealthy men were required to ride stallions. When it was realized that not all "fine men" were competent at riding a horse, breeders took notice and began the process of developing a horse of mild temperament and smooth ride.
During the 1500s, many horses were being brought to the Americas by the Spanish and breeding centers were being established; it didn't take long before the Native Americans took notice and the horses were spread all across the Americas. During the American colonial era, the Tiger Horse was losing favor and being traded off to Canada for other goods. As it sometimes happens, these horses began to fade out. The Native American tribe called the Ni Mee Poo, or the Nez Perce, were responsible for the preservation of the breed and assisted in its recovery. The tribe denies that they had anything to do with the overall development of the breed, but they traded to acquire them whenever they could. The Tiger Horse was a major part of their breeding programs; the tribe had one of the better breeding program established. Meriwether Lewis, of Lewis and Clark fame, was a horse breeder and even he recognized these horses as a special and unique breed.
In 1994, the Tiger Horse Association was launched and ordered to gather and preserve what was left of the breed. Since that time, it has had remarkable success locating what is left of the herd. In order for a horse to be registered, it must display the characteristics such as the Leopard Complex, which is the Appaloosa coat pattern or something similar. In addition, a video tape must be submitted to the Association displaying the unique four beat gait and completed registration form in which it will be evaluated by the board of directors.
The offspring of the registered Tiger horses may not always display the characteristics. Yet, they are still registered, but are not eligible for a Permanent Championship. If the horses do not show the potential to perform the four beat gait and other requirements, they won't be accepted into the register.
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