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Jun 17, 2010 9:28 AM by Sharlee Barriere

New Iberia: Historic Horse

NEW IBERIA, La. (AP) - Known by horse enthusiasts for its
distinctive speckled markings and rich history, the Appaloosa is
seen as more than just a horse of a different color.
The Louisiana State Appaloosa Club came the SugArena on New
Iberia to celebrate the horse breed on a recent Saturday afternoon
with the "Too Hot to Handle" horse show.
The organization began three years ago and is comprised of about
125 members throughout Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas, member Ken
Wagley said.
He and his wife, Melanie, own Diamond W. Appaloosa Farm in
Church Point. He said he has always had a love for the spotted
horses and has been raising breed for more than 20 years.
"I've always been an Indian pony type of guy," he said.
The horses are known not only for they unique coat, he said, but
also for their speed and endurance.
"Indians rode them for a reason," he said. "You have to
remember, they were used to hunt down buffalo."
Club organizer Jeannine Prather said about 30 horses competed in
Saturday's all ages show, which drew about 100 local specters. The
competitions ranged from barrel and pole racing to halter
competitions. She said the club puts on two shows a year, the next
will be Oct. 9 in Monroe.
Wagley said the club has been trying to get more youth involved
in equestrian activities because they believe it can be a deterrent
to criminal activity.
One of the event's top riders was 10-year-old Elizabeth Gilmore
of Bourg. She came second place in halter competition and first
place in showmanship with her 2-year-old Appaloosa "Scooter."
"I had a lot of fun," she said. "I won a lot and it went so
fast I didn't have to wear chaps."
The club's mission is to preserve the breed which Prather said
has a substantial history.
"The Appaloosa horse is a very unique and versatile breed with
a long, long history," she said. "There have been cave drawings
found in ancient China of Appaloosas."
She said the horses became vastly popular in the U.S. in the
late 1800s and early 1900s.
Wagley said he hopes the shows will encourage more people to
join the club or simply become more acquainted with fellow
equestrian enthusiasts.
"Horse people are good people," he said.

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