The Tiger Horse


Introduction To
 The Tiger Horse

From centuries old art to
The Tiger Horse of the 21st century

We call this Living Art



What Is A Tiger Horse? 

This is A Tiger Horse (above right),

but so are these foals on the left.

After 20 years of concentrated development,
several Tiger Horses are now also eligible for the

Soulon Seal Of Approval.

 AKA The TIGRE Horse, it is a modern day Breed founded on the genes of extinct horses that once grazed at the foot of the Heavenly Mountains, on the Chinese/Siberian border. Known there as "Heavenly Horses," they are depicted in Chinese art as first being used to hunt the Siberian Tiger, but more importantly as War Horses.   Before going extinct, some exhibiting a spotted coat pattern, found their way into Spain which was known in all of Europe as the horse breeding capital of the civilized world.         

During the 11th century, Spain developed the art of  riding "a la Genetta," a sport dominated by men riders who were known as Spanish Genettes. Horses and riders had to be trained to the highest levels possible in order to qualify for the title "Genette."    It was during this period that Spain began crossbreeding Heavenly Horses with local gaited stock, creating a gentler seat for the ladies.   Later when Spain discovered that shipping horses to the new world via the Americas was a highly lucrative business, every horse available,  including the partially developed spotted " Spanish Jennets,"  were included in the mix.   

(right) From a private collection,  a very old painting of a "Spanish Jennet."  Many of our modern day Tiger Horses closely resemble this lanky Spanish version of El Caballo Tigre (The Tiger Horse).

Before TIGRE came into the picture, this original import, or what was left of it after inheriting genetics from a variety of feral horses,  would now be referred to by early Breeders as; The Appaloosa Horse.  Some Appaloosas still exhibit the middle gaits of the first imports from Spain, but gait is discouraged by the Appaloosa Horse Club, and approved outcrossess to non gaited breeds has further removed the animal from the gaited horse Spain intended.

Now Enter: The Tiger Horse
Tall and flat muscled by design, the Tiger Horse has an efficient cooling system which allows the animal to cover great distances quickly, and in an energy saving and comfortable gait.  It is the luxury ride of the 21st century.  The new breed was started in 1992,  in Mena Arkansas by founding Tigre  member; Victoria Varley.  Public and wide spread promotion of Tigre and The Tiger Horse breed, was begun 5 years later to protect the new breed, encourage others to join, and to offer breeding guidelines for the successful production of these exotic creatures.

It is not just any spotted, gaited horse, rounded up and named a "Tiger Horse." It is not a "Spanish Jennet." Nor is it an Appaloosa, or an Appaloosa crossed with TWH, or Appaloosa crossed on any other gaited breed. It is not merely a spotted gaited horse without a home. In fact, it has it's very own respectable profile, a specific breed description that members are encouraged to follow, and is a new improved American version of a once famous, but extinct War Horse from China.
That said! Individuals from any of these groups that can meet our highest standards, are encouraged to apply for registration.  Only those horses that exhibit the desirable characteristics of the ancient Soulon,  an extinct animal from the China T'Ang Dynasty
(around 618 BC), will be considered for original entry registration


TIGRE, The Tiger Horse Breed Registry,
has recently divided the Tiger Horse Breed into three groups. 

  The Founder's breeding program at Annandale's Tiger Horse Farm, began in 1992. Today it embodies multiple generations with inherited genetics that help to ensure future foals will exhibit the ancient Soulon's pheno-type. Members are encouraged to follow the Founder's successful breeding formula, plus staying focused on quality, rather than quantity.
          Many of the first 100 foundation horses registered with Tigre, bear the prefix A. or ANNANDALE.  Similarities between Tigre registered horses and those seen in Museums, on Chinese canvas, or ceramics, share an amazing likeness, in particular the Heavenly Horses and The Soulon.

        "As one lifetime is not long enough to breed good horses,"  certainly two lifetimes are needed to introduce this new breed.  It is therefore important for Breeders to stay focused on our successful breeding formula, and for first time buyers to know the difference.  All who wish to join the ranks of Tigre, can benefit from Tigre's breeding guidelines.        
          THE REGISTRY -  We now have two divisions.  Royalty for gaited Tiger Horses, and Heavenly for non-gaited Tiger Horses born from at least one Royalty registered parent.
In the beginning, gaited horses were used with Appaloosas to bring back the Tiger Horse. Once 35 suitable horses had been produced, the Founder created TIGRE, The Tiger Horse Breed Registry but what was to be done for the foals of these unions that did not inherit gait?  Many were fine specimens and could be used again to create gaited foals.  They certainly needed a registering body and so we created The Heavenly Horse division for them.  Promotion of the Royalty types is ongoing, and breeding for the middle gaits is encouraged.  Every registered horse including the non-gaited ones, from inception to the present day, has been vetted for gait, phenotype, and color. The first 100 Foundation horses were blood typed.  Today we use DNA collected from hair follicles. This practice will verify parentage for centuries to come, and there will be credible value in quoting Tigre "blood lines." 

Anyone wishing to join Tigre and have "original entry" horses accepted will need to provide the following REGISTRATION APPLICATION which may be downloaded from the Internet. 

Tigre plans to close the Royalty and Heavenly stud books once 500 eligible Soulon look-alike specimens have been registered. 100+ horses are currently on the books. This includes both types. In 2010, a few have begun qualifying for

The Soulon Seal Of Approval.

 The Heavenly Horse files were originally created as "probationary files," and offered registration for foals born from Royalty types that did not fully qualify, perhaps preferring to trot. We have since recognized the value of these individuals and have identified the little known "gait" some inherit. and which deserves to be recognized as "The Glide."
 Applications from original entries of both types, are invited for the foreseeable future.
For more information on the various gaits that Tigre recognizes visit the

Visit all our pages and LIFETIME MEMBERS
See how the Breed is evolving into the 21st century.


Telephone: 1-540-459-8848
Fax: 1-540-459-7884

©1992 TIGRE The Tiger Horse Breed Registry All photographs copyright 1993 Victoria Varley


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