Welcome To Tigre

The Soulon Tiger Horse Breed Registry

We are Tigre, a modern-day Tiger Horse Breed and Registry. We are working hard to bring back many of the earliest characteristics of the magnificent legendary spotted breed of horses that grazed at the foot of the Heavenly Mountains. Horses that caused wars over possession, and the eventual extermination of all of them. They were coveted by many nations. Some went to China and evolved further. Others back to Europe.

This is Annandale’s Gait Keeper born from two registered Tiger Horses. His gait appears to be diagonal and will sort itself out upon maturity. Worthy to be registered.


A Wonderful Spotted Breed of Horse
The Tiger Horses that are considered a beautiful spotted breed of a horse of today are no longer used to hunt Siberian tigers but descend from those legendary equines that were once used in that way. Many related spotted horses descend from the same region, but none in a direct or unbroken line. Our spotted horse breed is no exception. In fact, we are not certain where the Siberia/China border horses came from themselves, but they must have been a pure strain when they first arrived with migrating humans. Cave paintings of spotted horses and other animals in La Scalle, France have been carbon-dated around 25 thousand years old. The caves themselves are millions of years old. Back then spotted breeds of horses would have numbered in the thousands. Sad to say none of the originally spotted horse breeds are alive today in France, and none of their descendants on the Siberia/China border either, unless we include the pony-sized Altai that are farmed for table food at the foot of the Altai mountains, and even they are in the process of change. Draft horse Percherons are being used for cross-breeding and to infuse the disease-resistant qualities of the little Altais into the mix. The Altais may be the last true remnants of an ancient breed.
We are Tigre, a modern-day Tiger Horse Breed, and Registry. We are working hard to bring back many breeds of spotted horses of the earliest characteristics of the magnificent legendary spotted horses that grazed at the foot of the Heavenly Mountains. Horses that caused wars over possession, and the eventual extermination of all of them. They were coveted by many nations. Some went to China and evolved further. Others back to Europe.
Despite their age-old reputation for stamina and bravery, like ours, we bet they were also extremely sweet natured and sociable. Perhaps that was another reason that everyone wanted them? Ours are athletic, exhibit controlled spirit, and are a great people loving family horse. They excel in distance riding or saddle seat show ring events, and are magnificent to look at.


It takes commitment and passion to support any important venture. Bringing back the Tiger Horse involved the rescue of rapidly vanishing genes and bringing them back together in a new breed of horse. We are building a gene pool that gives us the ability to create an exotic, gaited, horse breed that will breed true time after time. When Tigre’s founding members Victoria and Mark Varley began this venture, a great deal of research went in to selecting the right type of horses from a variety of breeds, that would give them the end product quickly. “One lifetime is not long enough to breed excellent horses, let alone start a new breed of horse” says Victoria, who manages the breeding operation and Tigre Registry at the Varley’s farm Annandale’s Tiger Horses. Varley sorted through a myriad of unwanted genetics during early selections, from modern day horses descended from wild horses, especially Appaloosas, the caretakers of the leopard complex gene. Unfortunately they include a wide range of types, not all of which are suitable for re-introducing The Tiger Horse. Gaited breeds were needed for their middle gaits and these included individuals from the Tennessee Walker and Missouri Fox Trotter group for the most part. Nature is not as selective as a human might be but she did combine similar genetics to the ancient Chinese Soulon for us so we could get started immediately. Annandale’s Love Story below is one such treasure and qualifies for The Soulon Seal Of Approval. With the birth of several individuals like Love Story Tigre sprang into action to promote and protect the new breed, and only 5 years after the first youngsters were born, Victoria created Tigre, to promote and protect the work now 20 years in the making (2012)


The Horse Breed Registry continues to be owned and operated by Victoria and Mark Varley and operates out of their farm in Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA for the specific breed registry for horses. Here strict records are kept of every registered horse breed in our horse registries and certificates on parchment paper are mailed to members after DNA mapping has been done. Non breeding stock like geldings and neutered/speyed mares are not required to show DNA information but a veterinarian certificate is necessary to confirm status.

Not to be confused with any other gaited spotted groups, we are not a place to register any gaited spotted horse, but an organization with standards for the breed. We focus on a certain pheno-type (what they look like) and we will not be recognized as any other breed but with spots. We have our own identity and are working to develop a breed that closely resembles and even rivals the ancient Chinese Soulon, a horse developed during the T’Ang Dynasty when China was at peace and enjoying extreme wealth. While we encourage anyone with a spotted gaited horse to apply for registration, not every horse will be accepted. All “original entries” (those not born from registered parents), must be gaited and exhibit Appaloosa spots, or characteristics, ie, striped hooves, mottled muzzles and genitalia (sometimes spots arrive years later). Size and type are also important, along with conformation and a people loving disposition

The Tiger Horse, “What’s in a name?”

It depends on which branch of history you research to know whats in our name. Our horses distant ancestors had several names to describe them. As they grazed at the foot of the Heavenly mountains, they were known by some as Heavenly Horses. The spotted ones seen from a distance, wet with the sweat of battle, were known by some as Blood Sweating Horses. Those that gaited (most of them), were recorded as Horses Of The Air. Heavenly Horses was our first choice but during the first three years, Tiger Horse became the final decision and the name has stuck. Tiger Horses were once used to hunt the Siberian tiger but the name “tiger” is relatively new, and invented by Spain probably around the 11th century when there was no word for “leopard?” Apparently any spotted animal was described as a “tiger spotted.” Spain’s spotted horses were “el Caballo Tigre,” (the Tiger Horse) which they created by crossing gaited Asturions from the Basque region with spotted horses from the Siberia/China border. Spain’s Tiger Horse enabled ladies and gentlemen to ride quietly and look unruffled as they wafted along country trails in smooth middle gaits but not all Spains Tiger Horses were gaited. The non-gaited ones went to the Spanish Riding school where the Genets would school them in the art of Dressage and ride in the style of “a la Genetta.” Gaited horses are not suitable candidates for dressage. They are smooth riding trail and saddle seat show ring horses, hence their popularity with ladies and gentlemen of the royal court. Anglos corrupted their name to “Spanish Jennets” asserting they were a breed but this is incorrect because they did not have time to become a breed before Spain shipped every last horse they had to the new world. Once here they became a favorite mount of some of the Indian tribes and ended up with the name Appaloosa because they were seen by Anglos grazing on either side of the Paloose River where the Nez Perce kept the reds on one side and the roans on another. You can understand how “a Paloose horse,” eventually became known as an Appaloosa horse. The Nez Perce tribe are credited with breeding fine horse flesh “finer than any seen in all of Europe, as reported by Lewis and Clark during one of their expeditions to map the West. Eventually turned loose to fend for themselves, our modern day Tiger Horses have inherited many of their genes and as you can see here, “finer horse flesh than seen in all of the USA.”

How We Did It

Since 1992, the Founder’s breeding facility Annandale’s Tiger Horse Farm has acted as Tigre’s Headquarters. The breed was developed there and a few years later a Registry was created to promote and protect it. Information and assistance for members is freely and readily available and the founders willingly share their formula for success in the hopes that numbers will increase, and help to put this horse back on the map of no longer extinct exotics. Anyone interested in participating in this very exciting venture is invited to join and help us bring back the Tiger Horse.
Tigre is the Registry’s logo. It stands for Tiger Registry. During a 20 year period the breed has been refined and established with its own identity. We are not just spotted gaited horses, but horses with a breed profile. We focus on maintaining the highest of breeding standards therefore not every applicant is acceptable for registration papers. Over 110 horses have now been accepted as Tiger Horses, and are blood typed or DNA profiled and registered with us. Horses are considered for acceptance based on their “presence.” We want to see horses apply that resemble the ones on these pages. We do not accept spotted horses if they do not gait, or if they gait and are not spotted. ie., “Appaloosa coat patterns” and middle gaits are a must. Sometimes a foal is born from registered parents that do not gait. This can occur when a non-gaited horse for its type, is bred to a gaited horse for its gait. Foals tend to inherit the gait of the opposite-sex parent. We register foals that are solid in color or not gaited, provided one parent is Royalty registered. Original entries are registered as Royalty Horses. Their probationary foals are registered as Heavenly Horses and can be used to produce Royalty.

Tigre’s formula for success

To get the new breed started, homozygous Appaloosas with distinctive profiles were selected for their ability to guarantee spots on any foals they produced, even those born from nonspotted stock. Partners from gaited horse breeds with the best middle gaits and desirable profiles were also selected. From the start, the results were exotic in the extreme, but not all the offspring inherited middle gaits or spots. It was a disappointing setback and sent us back to the drawing board. How to protect Breeders whose foals did not qualify for registration? The setback meant it would take a lot longer to develop the breed than hoped but the foals that were not qualified were fine horses. We decided to create a probationary file for the foals that did not qualify. The file is known as The Heavenly Horse file. Sometimes horses develop later in life. This probationary file gives them a chance to do that and they can be upgraded to Royalty at a later date or be used with Royalty registered horses to produce the desired results. Meantime all was not lost. The data collected over the past 20 years as to how gait and color are inherited, was invaluable information. The breeding of non-gaited Appaloosas to gaited non-spotted horses, helped us discover HOW GAIT IS INHERITED IN EQUINES. “One doesn’t throw good horses away just because they didn’t get spots or middle gaits,” says Victoria Varley,” and she set about creating the two registering divisions for the two types that make Tigre possible.
The Heavenly division is for non-gaited foals born from either a Royalty or Heavenly registered parent. Diagonal gaits are harder to identify in youngsters as they go through trotting phases for a very long time. Once mature, any that are in doubt can be upgraded from Heavenly files to the Royalty files which are our permanent files. We have these two divisions to help protect not only the horses but also the breeders. Solid-colored horses are welcome in either division provided they are born from a Tigre registered parent. Solid-colored horses help to keep good facial and genital pigmentation in the breed which protects against sunburn Appaloosas are prone to get. To help Breeders stay enthusiastic, Tigre’s advice is “Try not to be barn blind! Not every horse in the barn is breeding quality. Some should be gelded or not used for breeding. Know the difference. ”Tigre horses have a unique identity of their own, but we have a ways to go before every registered Tigre horse conforms 100% to the third and final stage in development, ie The Soulon Tiger Horse Profile. Above are a few of Tigre’s Soulon qualified horses.
Apart from their intended splendid physiques, their amazing dispositions, their high degree of intelligence, and array of exotic coat patterns, our Soulon approved Tiger Horses are one of a kind. They are antiquity revisited. A perfect 21st century replica using the same formula that China used for the creation of her legendary but extinct SOULONS during the T’Ang Dynasty (618-780). Ours are very much alive!