"It's for a good cause," I assure her.
Soxy was so good for our trip to school today. I was prepared with several facts to share with the kids, and questions to get them talking about what they've already learned about appaloosas and their relationship with the Nez Perce. But it was all for naught. The kids just wanted to pet her and giggle about how bad she's shedding. One boy said, "I've never seen a real live horse before!" as he petted her. I totally love how horses get kids so excited. A couple of the kids seemed scared. I was surprised that one normally very outgoing girl seemed afraid to approach. Nobody pushed the kids to pet Soxy, of course. I can totally understand being afraid of such a big animal with such hard feet. They all drew a picture of her, with her stripey appaloosa hooves. You kind of have to imagine the spots on her body at this time of year. They all blend into shades of grey.
Soxy didn't even poop in the parking lot. :)
My lovely assistant was Katia, armed with the camera. She didn't have school today, how handy is that? Guess what else? She got student of the month for academics this month! She has almost straight A's. Her only B is in agriculture. Yeah, we're hicks, all the kids take ag. And apparently the teacher doesn't always tell them exactly where to turn in their assignments (or at least that's her excuse for the B). I'm so proud of her!
John came and helped too. I wanted to make sure to have as many horse-savvy helpers as possible, but it turned out Soxy just stood there like a statue and not much extra help was needed.
Some appaloosa facts:
"Knowing it was their remarkable Appaloosas that nearly had nearly let the Nez Perce escape, the cavalry confiscated all they could catch and auctioned them off. A bounty was paid on the heads of any Appaloosas that had escaped and hundreds more were hunted and destroyed. The cavalry so feared the Appaloosa as a weapon that a federal law existed until 1935, prohibiting the breeding of Appaloosa to Appaloosa. Nearly all the Nez Perce surviving stock was outcrossed generation after generation until the original mountain horse became a lost breed."I have read that that (separate from the Appaloosas and the Nez Perce war) after the battle of Steptoe the US killed the Indians' horses, clubbing the foals to death to save bullets. The Indians were appalled at this cruelty and knew that with the loss of the horses they'd lost their ability to fight. The US was sending out word that they wanted to talk peace, but when Chief Qualchan rode in to talk to them, they hung him and his wife and several others. That is how Hangman Valley south of Spokane got its name. Sad, sad, sad.
But back to the appaloosa. Did you know it got it's name from this region? It used to be called "a Palousey pony" as recently as my grandma's time.
And to tie it in with the mustang horse, there are still appaloosas, probably tracing back to equine escapees of the Nez Perce war, running free in Oregon. They are quite common in the Warm Springs herd. I want one someday. Far, far in the future when my current horses are gone.
When Lewis and Clark came through, they compared the quality of the Nez Perce's appaloosa horse to fine English coursers.
The Nez Perce were the only Indian tribe who selectively bred and culled horses to produce a superior breed. The horses were fast, strong, and smart. I read that they purposefully bred for a sparse mane and tail that would not get caught in brush.
Soxy is obviously not of the breeding the Nez Perce were aiming toward. She's more of a quarter horse with spots. She even has some Arab breeding way back. But however she's bred, she's one of those old horses who is worth her weight in gold because of the love she brings out in little kids.