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The Walkaloosa Registry, managed by the Walkaloosa Horse Association, was developed to preserve the naturally gaited Appaloosa horse. Unlike other horse registries, the Appaloosa horse does not allow gaited horses to be shown and they are considered to be less than desirable in the breed by the Appaloosa breeders. Any horse showing the Appaloosa shuffle, more commonly known as the Indian Shuffle, in competition is severely penalized and may even be disqualified from the event. The shuffle, a natural four beat lateral gait similar to a running walk is used in place of the standard trot, a pace for non-gaited horses. Throughout the development of the Appaloosa breed the gaited trait has been bred out of the show Appys, resulting in a large number of beautiful, gaited horses that cannot be shown or typically are not used for breeding. One of the reasons that the gaited Appaloosa is not used in breeding programs is that the gaited movement is almost 100% passed down to offspring so a gaited horse will continue to produce gaited horses unless under very specific breeding conditions.
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The Walkaloosa Registry was developed by a group of Appaloosa lovers and owners that loved the gaited horse and wanted to preserve the variation that was being slowly bred out of the purebred, registered Appaloosa horses. While the Appaloosa shuffle is the preferred gait for the Walkaloosa, other gaits such as the paso gaits and the single-foot are also allowed in the registry. Outbreeding with gaited breeds such as the Tennessee Walking Horse may be used to enhance gaits and there is some outbreeding with other gaited horses as well. Emphasis is placed on color and movement, with several different body types being allowed into the registry.
The future of the Walkaloosa registry seems to be bright and promising. Many horses registered in the Walkaloosa registry are also registered with the Gaited Horse Registry which allows may different types of gaited breeds. The advantage of a separate Walkaloosa registry from the Appaloosa registry and the Gaited Horse Registry is that potential buyers can now screen for both color and gait, making the purchase and selection of a gaited, Appaloosa patterned horse much easier.
Many members of the Walkaloosa registry believe very strongly that the Walkaloosa is closer to the original Spanish spotted horses than the Appaloosa, simply because they have the wonderful four beat gaits that were so prized by the Spanish and European horse breeders. The future of the Walkaloosa gaited horse in endurance and trail riding events is assured with many of the horses placing in the top levels of competition and becoming increasingly more recognized as an ideal endurance and trial ride horse. Although still not considered a show gait, there is increasing interest in having a Walkaloosa class that would include the Appaloosa shuffle as one of the required gaits in the show ring, something that is a goal for many Walkaloosa owners, breeders and riders in the future.
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