Clip of the Week – female Appaloosa horse grooming a male

Clip of the Week

This week’s clip shows a female Appaloosa horse grooming a male, and it was filmed near our hometown of Bristol by Ben Gillett. The name Appaloosa is derived from the Palouse River, where these horses were originally bred by the Nez Perce Indians. They were selected for their colourful coat pattern, and to be the strongest, fastest, hardiest, most tractable and versatile horse breed. 

Appaloosa horses today

The Appaloosa breed was almost wiped out when the Nez Perce Indians finally surrendered to US cavalry in 1877, and their horses were confiscated. But it was resurrected again by Claude Thompson of Oregon who started the Appaloosa Horse Club in 1938, with only a handful of stock. Today the ApHC has over 600,000 registered horses, and the breed is flourishing. The original characteristics of versatility, hardiness and tractability of temperament continue to make Appaloosa horses highly sought after. 

Ben shares how he shot the footage

I was out walking in some nearby fields and came across two horses minding their own business. After their initial competition for handfuls of fresher grass from my side of the stone wall, the pair contented themselves with a little mutual grooming within easy lens-reach of my position. Using their teeth, they scratched and bit at one another’s necks, between the shoulders. They did this for no more than ninety seconds or so; just long enough for me to record the behaviour in slow-motion. The stills I shot at the same time failed to illustrate the nature of the mutual delight the back-scratching delivered.