The non-profit Tiger Horse Association was fully incorporated in 2004, making it one of the newest of the horse associations in the United States. The registry exists to maintain the characteristics of the Tiger Horse that was the famous hunting horse in Siberia throughout the 18th century and before. Even though the actual original Tiger Horse breed is now extinct, horses with the genetic components of the Tiger Horse are identified and can be registered as a Tiger Horse in an effort to refine and preserve the genetics that produced the original Tiger Horse line.
To register a Tiger Horse the horse must pass the visual inspection as per the Tiger Horse Association's listed breed standards. Basically the horse must meet specific physical qualifications that include the general shape of the head and body as well as the frame and size of the horse. Horses must be between 14 and 16 hands to be registered, and must also have the Tiger pattern in the coat. This pattern is different from the Appaloosa genetics although there are some similarities especially in the blanket, spotting and even the snowflake and frosting pattern. The horses must have the mottled skin pattern as well as the white sclera around the eye that is clearly visible. A solid colored horse that has the mottled skin and is from Tiger Horse parents may be registered for show or breeding, may not be considered in the Model Horse Category and is not typically considered an ideal representative of the breed. These solid colored Tiger Horses may, however, produce the typical spotted coat in offspring. White spotted horses, known as Ghost horses, are part of the breeding program and actually have the spotting pattern, it is just very dilute.
The other main criteria for registering a Tiger Horse is the gait. All Tiger Horses are naturally gaited with an intermediate, lateral four beat gait between the walk and canter. The gait must be long and free flowing and must be able to be sustained by the horse for significant amount of time and distance. The gait should cover a lot of ground with each step and the foot falls should be in an even four count cadence at all times during the gait. Tiger Horses cannot be taught the gait, it must be natural. Registration cannot be completed if the judges believe that the gait has been developed or enhanced through any other type of mechanical, chemical or shoeing technique.
A Tiger Horse may be registered in the Appaloosa registry as well, but no Appaloosas can be registered as Tiger Horses because the Appaloosa is not a naturally gaited breed. To complete the registration the horse must be videotaped exhibiting the four beat gait and the video, as well as documentation of lineage and even DNA testing must be sent in with the registration. Since the registry is relatively new additional bloodlines are considered for approval in order to build up the breed, but all outbreeding horses must be approved in advance by the Tiger Horse Association.