Meet Tattoo, a Splendid Appaloosa Horse with a Distinctive Spotted Leopard Coat.

Meet Tattoo The Appaloosa, A Horse With Leopard Spots As Cool As Him

Have you ever seen an animal that is both extraordinary and strikingly beautiful? I think all horses are awesome. However, I recognize that there are those horses that really capture our attention and leave us speechless. He is testament to how incredible certain horses can look for an Appaloosa horse aptly named Tattoo. Tattoo is a leopard-colored Appaloosa, and his striking coat is truly something to behold.

Meet Tattoo The Appaloosa, A Horse With Leopard Spots As Cool As Him

How did tattoos come into your life? I was a sophomore in college, and my riding coaches (John and Debbie Letham at Letham Stables) allowed me to intern at their breeder stable for my main riding team requirements and riding lessons. He could watch over the mares that were about to foal that spring. I was able to bond with each of the five mares, check their behaviors and observe signs of foaling. Tattoo came into this world on May 18 and his mother gave birth to him early in the morning. I met babyTattoo when he was only an hour old, soaking wet and learning to stand up.

When I was standing and nursing, it was my job to get into the barn and get used to people! My parents came to the barn to see Baby Tattoo later that day, and they still say that when they came into the barn I was in the barn, holding Tattoo in my lap, crying my eyes out. I fell madly in love at first sight. They both said “oh no…” We all knew that raising and training my own horse was my dream, but this colt wasn’t mine, but deep in my heart I knew I wanted it to be.

Meet Tattoo The Appaloosa, A Horse With Leopard Spots As Cool As Him

My internship was a dream, and not much later in the week, all the other mares gave birth to healthy babies. I worked with each one, but Tattoo was always the first one I played with every minute I could be in the barn. He let me hold him while he napped and even let me hold him at three weeks. His mother trusted me a lot and so did Baby Tattoo. When he was only six months old, my trainers told me that Tattoo had been sold and that I should prepare myself and him to say goodbye. Those were the hardest two months of my life because not only was I in love with babies, but Tattoo had become my favorite. I had told myself that he wasn’t mine, even from the beginning. So, I vowed to finish my internship, it had lasted longer than it should have anyway, and said goodbye to the almost-yearlings.

Just 3 months later, on Christmas morning, I sat with my family around the tree and was handed the last box. It was “all of them” and when I opened it it was a photo of Tattoo, a tiny spotted horse model. I cried a lot, knowing that he had said goodbye and that he would remember it. Then my parents urged me to look under the paper at the bottom, and there were the words “Transfer Ownership” in bold letters. Then the words Appaloosa Horse Club flashed before me with Tattoo’s show name written in black (Shining Royse). My parents had bought Tattoo over six months ago! I had no idea. Owning a young horse was terrifying, because I felt like I wasn’t good enough as a trainer since I’d never done it before, and I was in college! But my parents and sister believed in me, and to say we all cried is an understatement. I cried for weeks! Even when I went to the barn as his owner that Christmas Day, I cried and hugged him so many times! I admit that I still do it to this day. He is my dream come true and I have experienced many “firsts” with him at big shows that I never dreamed of competing in with my own trained horse.

How did Tattoo get its name? His name “tattoo” means “a rhythmic tapping or percussion” and we named him that because seeing him literally launches my heart to play the percussion, ever since I met him. My mother is actually the one who gave him that name.

What are Tattoo’s favorite hobbies? Getting into things! He is the loudest horse I have ever met. If he can touch it with his nose, then he’s going to get into it. His other favorite things are running the fence with his pasture neighbors, and he loves to play chase with me. It’s like a cat and mouse game we play where I run and hide behind the hay bales. He comes running to where I jumped and scares him. Then we circle around the hay chasing each other in turns. It’s surprising that he keeps coming to investigate my hiding place, huffing, when he knows I’m going to jump. It’s all safe fun.

What is your personality like? Completely calm, silly and mischievous. I was taught as a child that young horses are very spontaneous and can be dangerous, but Tattoo is one of the best horses I have ever ridden and known. Since he was a 𝑏𝑎𝑏𝑦 learning to halter, he has been incredibly curious, so even now when we are riding or leading he wants to investigate everything he can. Your eyes will be wide open, your body relaxed, and your ears attentive to whatever has caught your attention. Surprising to say he’s not creepy, he’s just very curious and wants to touch things with his nose and smell them! Many people are surprised to see how silly, fidgety and clumsy he is when I’m on the ground next to him, but the moment I sit in the saddle, he’s a completely different horse. His gentle and curious side comes out and he is ready to work, but he is calm, collected and focused. His mind goes so fast that there are no “breaks”, he wants to keep working and trying new things under the saddle. His favorite riding class is trail riding, he loves to smell and touch every obstacle and see where his feet go, although we would get penalties for touching obstacles!

Meet Tattoo The Leopard Spotted Appaloosa - Stable Express

Does Tattoo share the spotlight with other horses? Yes, although Tattoo is the most “popular” of our online learning, I have 2 other horses. I have a 28 year old Tennessee Walking horse named Sunny Boy, who was my first horse when I was 7 years old. Skip Dancin’ Tango is 26 years old and was my first “real” show horse. Tango taught me how to ride competitively at 15 years old. The two older horses taught me so much, but Tattoo is my first “homebred.” All of these horses have taught me in many different ways and each one has taken me further than I ever dreamed. Without them, I wouldn’t be the person I am.

What is something special that you would like people to know about Tattoo? Hmm…he’s obsessed with miniature horses and donkeys! Many horses are terrified, but not Tattoo. At shows, his eyes widen, his nose flares, and he almost drags me into the mini to try to make friends. He is strangely offended! His neighbor at home is a mini donkey we call “Peter.”

He has also had a girlfriend, a horse! Usually at shows, he’s calm and curious, not really interested in other horses unless they get too close, but at one show in particular, a roan quarter horse mare caught his attention. She was only 4 years old, still learning to ride under the saddle and her first show, but he was completely in love with her. I’m not sure if it was his age, or what, but he wanted to stand in front of her, touch her with his nose, and follow her. It was so strange, but the owner was so funny and left them standing together when we were waiting for classes. He called her and paid no attention to any other horse except her. He was very in love with her!

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