|Photograph of "Zip Me Impressive"|
Not a horse from the movie but a beautiful
example of an Appaloosa.
Thank goodness Conor Woodman filmed the journey to find the True Appaloosa so that we could ride along from the comfort of our living room.
This video speaks to me because of the attention to horses. This story also inspires me because of the passion displayed by a 69 year old woman who wanted to do something and just went off and did it.
Most people in the horse world believe that the Appaloosa breed was brought to North America via Spain when the US was being explored and settled. A smaller group of people - primarily Scott Engstrom - believed that the horses originally came across the Bering land bridge connecting what is now Russia and Alaska.
No matter how the Appaloosa horses originally arrived in North America, all agree that the Nez Perce tribe were the first North American people to selectively breed these beautiful spotted horses.
Appaloosas have some notable characteristics: mottled skin under the tail, mottled skin on the muzzle, striped hooves, white sclera around the eyes and often (but not always) a spotted coat.
At times when I was young we owned horses. My favorites were the Arabians and the Appaloosas. People familiar with these two breeds are often puzzled by this statement, since these two breeds are very different. But the Appaloosas from my childhood were beautiful and reliable. My sister owned a beautiful Appaloosa mare - so beautiful that I later purchased a painting of a similarly colored horse.
The Adventurous Spirit of a Woman
Scott Engstrom loves her horses. A lot. So much that she contacts a man from a documentary solely because he had in his possession an Appaloosa horse in an Asian country.
Not only did she make contact, she made plans to travel from her home to Kyrgyzstan, in search of the foundation Appaloosa herd. She knew enough to be prepared to provide documentation, photos, measurements, and material for DNA testing if she found this herd.
The specific horse that Mr. Woodman had traded was not able to be found. And the search to find any Appaloosa horses dragged on - from one dead end to the next. Finally, they are told to go to a valley located between the mountains and near the border of China. This is where the "Char" (spotted) horses can be found. The only problem is that this area is only accessible by crossing the mountains on horseback. Is this a journey that a senior citizen can make successfully?
Filmmaker Conor Woodman
Conor Woodman filmed a documentary Around the World in 80 Trades. One of his trades was trading horses in Kyrgyzstan. One of those horses was an Appaloosa.
Ms. Engstrom was channel surfing one day and came across Mr. Woodman's documentary - and his horse-trading. She contacted him and he agreed to go with her (and film) her search for the horse that he traded.
Sometimes people meet others through chance. I'm so glad these two met, went on their adventure, and filmed it for the rest of us to see!
I watched True Appaloosa through my Amazon Prime account and I loved it so much that I watched it again the next week. Because I'm considering watching it again today, I decided to make sure to spread the word about this video. True Appaloosa is the documentary about Scott Engstrom's love of Appaloosa horses. Her commitment to this breed takes her to Kyrgyzstan in search of the disputed origins of the Appaloosa breed.
For more information, an interesting travel destination, or gift ideas for the horse lover you know, check out the Appaloosa Museum in Idaho.
I have always loved the realism of Breyer Model horses. And their selection of Appaloosa horses is no exception.
photo credit: Intro photo courtesy of wikimedia commons under the CC BY SA 3.0 - photographer: Kersti Nebelsiek
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