Appaloosa Horse Temperament and Personality

Appaloosa Horse Temperament and Personality

The Appaloosa horse is one that is courageous, intelligent, and very independent. It is also a breed that has a very fierce personality. That is why it was often the breed of choice for those who had to go into a difficult situation. It is also why the temperament of an Appaloosa horse must be considered before deciding to own or ride one.

It is true that Appaloosas are considered to be one of the best riding horses one can have today. To get the most out of this breed, however, it is necessary for the rider to know how to properly handle horses. They can be playful, mischievous, and quite stubborn – especially if they feel like they have someone who is inexperienced at the reins.

In many ways, it would be fair to compare the Appaloosa to the American Quarter Horse in terms of overall temperament. If you are able to give them some scheduled activities and a regular routine, then you will have a successful experience with this full-sized breed. 

How Do Activities Effect Appaloosa Horse Temperament?

For the most part, Appaloosa horses are typically a trustworthy horse. When there is a little give-and-take in their relationship with people, then they tend to excel. They are quite gentle and respectful when they believe their relationship is solid, but can be stubborn and somewhat aggressive if they feel like they are being abused in some way.

Appaloosas are a horse of great strength and stamina and can be a horse that is willing to please. They are a versatile horse as a breed and can be taught to be quite disciplined. You’ll find this breed working cattle, racing, and entering dressage or jumping competitions.

There may be a direct effect on the amount of energy that that Appaloosa has and the type of temperament that you’ll see on any given day. Certain horses within the breed are bred to have certain performance traits, which can lead to different personality temperaments. Appaloosas that are generally bred for racing tend to have higher energy levels on a regular basis, which means they’ll have more of a fiery disposition than an Appaloosa that was bred for riding a trail.


Every Appaloosa requires some level of activity in order to work with their natural energy levels. You’ll see more negative behaviors as an owner if the horse is kept in the stall most of the time or turned out into a small pasture or fenced-in area. Appaloosas like a certain amount of freedom to indulge their curiosity. If that isn’t allowed, then you’ll begin to see an increase in the aggressiveness that tends to come with a high spirit.

Stall toys and other distractions can help when there are times when the horse just can’t be out of the stall or a protected area for some reason, but it is a temporary solution. Appaloosas like a regular change of scenery and if they get it, then they become a very loyal companion. If not, then the horse may very well decide that it needs to be in charge instead of you. 

Is Coloring Linked to Personality with Appaloosas?

There are some that believe the coat color of an Appaloosa horse is a reflection of the temperament that the horse will have. Many are particularly attracted to those that have a dun coat. They are often described as having a wonderful, gentle nature that is quite amenable to anyone.

In reality, coat color has nothing to do with personality. You’ll know if you have an Appaloosa that is going to be somewhat difficult in temperament if the horse is quite opinionated. If you receive protests or behaviors with every request you have, then the horse is going to be less willing to cooperate. 

There are some who believe that the Appaloosa horse temperament develops based on its parents. When the dam and sire are somewhat unpredictable and stubborn, then there is a greater chance for the foal to be when it grows up as well. For this reason, many try to meet the horses that will be responsible for parentage before going through with the process since there is the thought that personality is a somewhat genetic trait. 

How Smart Are Appaloosa Horses?

It is generally agreed that Appaloosas are playful, sociable, and quite intelligent. It would also be fair to say that some Appaloosas are somewhat stubborn, especially when it comes time to get to work. Could it be possible that the stubbornness seen within this horse breed is more a reflection of their desire not to do something and so they pretend to be something that they are not?


Countless Appaloosa owners have described times on forums, Q&A sites, and their own blogs about times when they felt like their horse was pulling the wool over their eyes. It would be fair to say that if an Appaloosa can fool and experienced owner or trainer, then it is also entirely possible that this breed is capable of outsmarting the average person who isn’t as familiar with horses.

So if they are being stubborn on purpose as a way to get out of doing something or to keep doing something they prefer, what would be the reason behind such a behavior? Some might do it just to have some fun, but in reality, it is more up to a personal interpretation.

How Much Space Do Appaloosa Horses Need?

Many Appaloosas were brought up in the expansive fields of the Great Plains. There is a certain need for space and openness built into the breed. When it is received, then the temperament of the horse tends to be calm and cooperative. They also prefer to have a large water source that is readily accessible to them.

One of the most common reasons that an Appaloosa can become suddenly temperamental is the fact that this breed is very susceptible to parasites. This is because of their intense curiosity that causes them to constantly explore. The regular grooming, veterinarian care, and preventive precautions provide the horse with an added level of attention it enjoys and will keep the parasites away, so it’s a win/win situation for everyone. 

The bottom line is this: an Appaloosa horse has tons of personality and isn’t afraid to show it whatsoever. They may not be the best possible horse breed for everyone, especially for those who are just thinking about owning their first horse, but they are a loyal companion that will offer whatever is received. 

This is why it is such an attractive horse for so many, so as long as the energy levels can be properly managed, the Appaloosa horse temperament that is laidback and gentle can come forward to be seen.

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