"We will never know just exactly what horses
were brought to the New World, but early records
are of a wide variety of colors and markings.
Some of the color names used to describe Cortez's
horses are almost assuredly describing spotted
horses as well as routine white marks.
This is evidence that white marks and at least
some body spotting patterns appear early in the
Colonial Spanish era. These patterns, and white
marks in general, therefore strike me as very
consistent with an Iberian origin."
D. Phillip Sponenberg, DVM, PhD
When Charles V, the Holy Roman Emperor, divided
the House of Hapsburg he gave Spain to his son
Philip II and Austria to his other son Ferdinand.
The brothers from time to time exchanged lavish gifts.
In 1560 a gift of horses from Philip II of Spain to
his brother, Ferdinand of Austria introduced spotted
horses into Austria. The gift was a group of Andalusian
stallions and mares that eventually came to reside at
the head of the Adriatic Sea at Equile Lipizzano. They
came to be known as Lipizzans and were raised mainly to
furnish mounts for the royal family of Austria.
Art depicts a number of horses at this stud as spotted.
The training school at Vienna(training the horses
originating in Spain - thus Spanish Riding School)
displays pictures showing many of the horses as spotted.
Below, a Danish "tiger horse"
Below, a famous painting
from the 18th century - Lady Conways spanish jennet.
About 3,500 years ago, somewhere in the steppe region of Asia,
horses were domesticate. The spotted horses were especially
eye-catching and so they frequently became models for the local
artisans. Some of those relics have endured to present day
leaving us some record of horses during ancient times.
The area known as Ferghana (a frontier province of Persia)
became a source of supply of spotted horses in prehistoric
and ancient times.
There are spotted horses in the art of ancient Egypt dating from
1500 - 1300 BC. Spotted horses are depicted in Mycenean art from
the 14th century BC.
As early as 1109 spotted horses appear in Spanish art and are
a recurring phenomenon to the 17th Century. Spotted horses appear
in French art from the 11th C. on. From the 12thC. on spotted
horses begin to appear regularly in the art of Central Europe.
Spotted horses in England began appearing during the 12th C.
usually carrying saints or nobles.
Time line of legendary spotted horses in the ancient world:
500 BCE - the Persian Empire: legend tells of hero Rustam
with his spotted stallion Rakhsh; claimed to be the founder
of all spotted horses.
120 BCE - the Han Dynasty of China desired the famed "blood
sweating" Heavenly Horses from Ferghana. (Note: the Ferghana
Valley is just north of Bactria in the Persian Empire on the map left)
The most famous export from the region were the 'blood-sweating'
Heavenly Horses which so captured the imagination of the Chinese
during the Han dynasty, but in fact these were almost certainly
bred on the Steppe, either west of Bukhara or North of Tashkent,
and merely brought to Ferghana for sale.
1220 ADE - Genghis Khan, Mongolia, conquers the Khwarezmian Empire
which ranged from Bactria north and west (the same area as noted for
producing the spotted "Heavenly Horses")
The image below represents Genghis Khan watching the Khwarezmian
army - with horses showing pinto and LP spotted patterns (center black
horse with LP spotting). Click the image to enlarge.