The Sportaloosa - the horse for all the family

The horse for all the family

The Sportaloosa is a unique modern spotted sport horse, bred to be user friendly for all the family. They are competitive in dressage, jumping and eventing, as well as the showring, western events and pony club.

Apart from their distinctive coat patterns, the Sportaloosa is characterised by a balanced and uphill frame, keen intelligent head, medium to long neck, prominent withers with a short to medium back tying into powerful hindquarters. They should have strong bone and good hard open hooves, with long muscling to give them their athletic ability and speed.

Sportaloosas come in a variety of body types and heights, from tall, big striding horses ideal for dressage and jumping to shorter, nippier types well suited to western, pony club or cattle work.

Regardless of their frame, they have three things in common though:

  1. a cool head
  2. serious athletic ability
  3. a unique coat pattern.

On average, Sportaloosa horses stand between 15 and 16.2 hands, but can be both shorter and taller. Sportaloosa ponies stand less than 14 hands and are catered for by the Sportaloosa pony registry.

Coat patterns

Think Sportaloosa and you think ‘spots’. Coat patterns range from outrageously loud to extremely subtle and fall into 3 groups.

  • The ‘leopard’ pattern has spots covering the body from nose to tail 
  • The blanketed horse has his spotted pattern concentrated around his rump 
  • The varnish roan has white through his coat but few or no defined spots. These horses are generally born with little visible white through their coat and they develop more as they age, while the bony areas such as the head and legs remain dark, leaving distinctive varnish marks. 


Ask Sportaloosa owners what they most love about the breed and the answer is alway ‘their temperament’. No matter what their body type or height, they should have an uncomplicated nature with high levels of trainability, strength and stamina.

The inheritance of the key spotted gene, known as the LP or Leopard Complex gene, makes the Sportaloosa a very special animal. Not only does this gene have a visible impact on the horse’s appearance, allowing a spotted coat pattern to appear along with other unique traits such as white sclera around the eyes, striped hooves and mottled skin, it also seems to have an exceptional impact on the horse’s temperament. It seems that the same gene that creates the unique appearance of this animal could be responsible for its calm, tractable and very trainable nature… and a great temperament is a great reason to ride a spotted horse!


The Sportaloosa can get his spots from the Appaloosa or Knabstrupper (many are dual registered with Appaloosa and Knabstrupper organisations) and can be outcrossed to Warmblood, Thoroughbred, Arabian, Andalusian, Lusitano, Friesian, Lippizaner, Stock Horse or Quarter Horse breeds of appropriate athletic type. Crosses to grey, classic roan, paint or pinto are not eligible. 

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