The American Paint descended from horses introduced by the Spanish conquistadors. Paints became part of the herds of wild horses that roamed the Western plains. Native Americans widely used the Paint, and some even believed this horse to possess magical powers.
Some of you may even remember a famous Paint Horse. His name was Scout and he was owned by Tonto, the Lone Rangers long-time friend and side kick. Scout was a gift to Tonto from Chief Thunder Cloud whom he swapped with a horse Tonto called White Feller.
The Paint horse was known to be one of the hardest working breeds and that is why they were popular with Native Americans, cowboys, farmers and legendary characters alike.
The modern Paint Horse is a naturally intelligent breed that is amiable and easily trained. The stock-type conformation, intelligence, and willing attitude make the Paint Horse an excellent horse for pleasure riding, ranch work, showing, rodeo, trail riding, racing, or simply as a friendly mount for the entire family.
Individual Colours and Markings
Each Paint is an individual, colourfully different from all others due to the distinctive colours and coat markings. When you see a Paint horse in person you are soon be aware of how exquisite and distinguishable this breed of horse it. The Paint horse get their special name because of their unique markings of their coat pattern. This distinctive patterning falls into three categories.
- Overo – The Overo pattern refers to a paint horse where the white markings do not happen between the withers and tail. An added characteristic is that one if not all of the horse’s legs will be a solid colour- brown, grey, back or tan. The markings on the face may be standard but most of the markings on the rest of the body will be irregular and scattered.
- Tobiano – The Tobiano pattern is different, however. In this pattern, the markings and white spots are regular. Spots are often oval or round and all four of the legs are white. The tail will typically be two colours- white and dark.
- Tovero – The paint horses with the tovero colour pattern have at least one blue eye but often both eyes will be blue. Where the white splashes of colours are located with the tovero pattern is not as important as the location of the dark colour markings. The dark pigmentation will be around their mouth, ears and flanks. Dark spots can also be found around the base of the tail and on the chest or neck of the horse. However, the colour pattern is not the only thing that distinguishes the paint horse from other breeds.
The ability to recognise these patterns and understand the genetics behind is essential for Paint Horse Breeders. A comprehensive knowledge of these coat patterns helps breeders and owners accurately describe their horses. An understanding of the genetics behind this patterns helps the breeders increase proportions of spotted horses in their foal crops.
Paint or Pinto?
The Pinto is the Spanish word for “paint”. Most Paints are also Pintos, but not all Pintos are Paints. This is determined by the relevant Paint Associations according to their blood lines. A pinto may be of any breed or combination of breeds. For a horse to be registered as an American Paint Horse however, it must have registered Quarter Horse or Thoroughbred parents. Therefore all Paint horses could be registered as pintos but not all Pintos qualify to be registered a Paints.
Importance of Registration
The value of a registered Paint horse is enhanced over one that is not. The registration certificate is a documentation of the animal’s bloodlines, an indication of probable athletic ability and life-time identification, no matter where he goes. This certificate, properly kept up-to-date, provides ready reference to previous owners and is the key to researching past performance as provided by the records of the relevant Paint Horse Associations.
Paint horses have the ability to perform well in a wide variety of events. The breed is a capable and versatile equine athlete that can turn in star performances in a wide variety of events, endearing themselves to their riders and rousing admiration and accolades from all those who see them. They are easy-riding trail and pleasure horses, hardworking ranch hands, standouts in every type of show ring class, rodeo champions, stakes-winning race horses, dependable gymkhana mounts. They are tops at cutting and are the favoured breed chosen for youth activity projects. Just like elite athletes who train and work hard the Paint horse can also be susceptible to injury and can show stress related tendencies under working conditions. It is important to watch for the signs or symptoms of Gastric Ulcers in this hardworking horse.