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He's a Ghost Wind—athletic and intelligent, fierce and loyal. His bloodlines flow against the current, defying those who sought to systematically slaughter him and all of his kind.
He holds his head high and prances proudly, displaying his fiery personality and the three black spots on his strong jaw that are distinctive to him alone. In the quiet moments he drops his head, nuzzling gently into awaiting hands in acts of communion.
The early Nez Perce tribes of the USA’s Pacific Northwest revered him, honoured him and prized him. He was their medicine horse. They built breeding programs around each of their Ghost Wind appaloosa stallions, keeping only the fastest and the strongest.
The Ghost Wind’s natural camouflage of white with black spots allowed him to fade in and out of sight in rain, snow, mist and fog. His strength made him a warrior and his gentleness made him a legend.
The Nez Perce were a force to be reckoned with because of the incredible herds of “foundation” appaloosas they had developed. When the US Calvary battled the Nez Perce in the 1800s, they knew they’d have to extinguish the Ghost Wind and all traces of its ancestry if they wanted to be victorious. And so it was that by the time Chief Joseph surrendered to the US Calvary in 1877, almost all of the blood of the Ghost Wind had been spilled.
But legend has it that several Nez Perce braves fled with the best horses, freeing 200 foundation appaloosas into the wilderness. It is suspected that the mighty Ghost Wind had a second chance to escape extinction as US soldiers spared the best appaloosas and transported them to New York.
In the 1950s, on a farm in Michigan, a passionate horse breeder by the name of Frank Scripter began raising spotted appaloosas. After decades of research, he found a Ghost Wind stallion whose bloodlines linked directly back to the obliterated Nez Perce tribes.
Scripter worked tirelessly to bring the Ghost Wind back from the brink. He figured out the pairings that produce the prized and rare leopard patterned appaloosa. His breeding program miraculously threw a foundation, leopard appaloosa stallion who would produce a spotted colt every single time he was bred, even if the mare was solid. This extremely rare stallion is named Apache Polar Star, and as a result, Scripter earned his own title—Lord of the Leopards.
But Scripter was suffering from cancer and could no longer continue his breeding program, so he found a man who would honour the breed like he had. He trailered his most prized horses, including Apache Kid Galahad, to the farm of Washington appaloosa breeder Gerry Messer. Messer lived and breathed appaloosas as well and he would not let the legendary leopards or the rare Ghost Winds die. But Messer, too, developed cancer. On his deathbed, he had one wish—to keep the Nez Perce appaloosa bloodline alive.
Enter Bill and Joanne Greenwood, and their Greenwood Ranch in Odessa, Sask.
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