If you love Westerns, you've gotta love horses. In the 19th Centuray, horses were the primary means of transportation, whether for riding, pulling wagons, or packing. One of the most interesting breeds of horses is the Appaloosa.
Okalahoma State University has a nice overview of the Appaloosa's history. You can look up nearly every breed of livestock imaginable so this is a great site to visit if you need to reseach whether a certain type of animal is appropriate for your story.
If you want a detailed account of the history of Appaloosas, head on over to the Appaloosa Museum. This article follows the development of the breed from prehistoric times, to Spain, to the Spanish invasion of the Americas, to the Pueblo Indian slave revolt and subsequent escape to the north, to the Shoshones in southern Idaho, and then the Nez Perce.
Just about everyone's seen or at least heard of the 2008 movie, Appaloosa, starring Ed Harris, Viggo Mortensen and Renée Zellweger.
And of course Wikipedia has a fairly decent entry for Appies, with a good color chart that describes patterns as well as colors, with pictures.
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