Although there are a lot of gaited horse breeds out there, there is not really a gaited breed that is known as a stock horse. The only gaited stock horses that I have found are the old foundation lines of Appaloosas. Some of these horses do a type of smooth running gait that Appaloosa breeders call the "Indian Shuffle".
When I tried to locate a shuffling Appaloosa, I discovered that it was not going to be an easy task. In fact there has been so much dilution of the original Appaloosa genetic pool that there are very few gaited Appaloosa's left. Fortunately there are some dedicated Appaloosa breeders are working hard to save the foundation genetics in their breed. Occasionally there are a few foals born from these foundation lines that can do the "Indian Shuffle". Unfortunately, it will take a few more years before we see a large number of Appaloosa's that are well gaited and consistently pass this gait on to their offspring.
Where did these foundation Appaloosa horses get their gait? Well, it has been proven that the original Appaloosa horses trace their ancestry directly back to the Spanish horses that were brought over by the conquistadors. Some of these Spanish horses had the LP gene, that is responsible for the colourful spotted coat pattern.
The superior quality of the Spanish horse dates back to the eighth century, and the Moorish invasion of Spain. The Moors brought with them their finest Barb horses. Over the next few centuries these Barb horses were crossed with the native Iberian horses to produce a number of horse breeds that were considered far superior to any that had come before. As Spain's influence as a world power grew, it established remount stations in the Caribbean to supply horses for the conquistadors, and all the countries that the Spaniards colonized. It was in the Caribbean that the blood of the Andalusian, the Barb, and the Spanish Jennet were blended together to produce a tough, smooth riding, hard working mount that would become known as the Paso Fino - the horse with the fine step!
The offspring of these Spanish bred horses eventually made their way to the Americas. For hundreds of years, these Spanish horse were the only equine representative in North America, and all of the New World breeds carry its blood! It was this Spanish blood that became the foundation of most of the modern North American breeds, including the three main stock horse breed - the Quarter Horse, the Paint, and the Appaloosa. Even though the Paso Fino, as a breed, is a relative newcomer to North America the Paso genetics have had a huge influence on the stock breeds that we know today!
Generally, the Paso Fino has proven to be a horse for all seasons and capable of competing in all sports. These Spanish bred horses excel in many areas including endurance, western riding, and agility. The Spanish horses were considered the king of the stock horses and Spanish bred horses have worked at close quarters with bulls for well over 1,000 years! In Venezuela the Paso Finos, like their forefathers the Andalusian's, are used for working bulls - Brahma Bulls -some of the most violent bovines in the world!
Breeders of versatile, hard working, smooth gaited horses.
Appaloosa + Paso Fino = Gaited Stock Horse
I have been very impressed with the quality of the foals that I have seen when Spanish bred horses were crossed with the Appaloosa. In fact I was so inspired that I began to look for a gaited stallion with Appaloosa genetics to breed to our Paso Fino mares.
When all the virtues of these two breeds (the Appaloosa and the Paso Fino) are combined they produce an outstanding example of equine strength and beauty! This cross produces a riding horse of extraordinary talent, gait and intelligence. The offspring have a hybrid vigor and an inbred hardiness not found in most breeds today.
Truly the offspring of the Paso Fino bred to the Gaited Appaloosa inherits the best of both breeds: