American Paint Horses
are highly valued for their color and markings, but also a favorite for their
unique refinement and intelligence. They have long been used in performance
competitions as a show horse.
American Paint Horses
comes in various colors, including bay, chestnut, black, palomino, gray,
buckskin, and blue roan. Plus they have distinctive white markings. The marks
vary in size but the patterns are standard. The two predominant coat patterns
of Paint Horses, the overo and tobiano, are distinguished by the position of
the white coloring on the body.
(Spanish, for “like
an egg”) patterned horses have white spots extending across their back between
the withers and the tail. Typically, all four legs are dark-colored, but in
order to be considered, at least one leg should be dark in color. Scattered and
irregular white markings also appear all over the body.
have a solid-colored head with a white spot at front, which can be of various
shapes (e.g., blaze, star, etc). Their legs are white, with an appearance of
white stockings. Apart from these distinctive markings, the spots on the rest
of the horse’s body are in sharp contrast to the colored areas. These markings
are commonly found on the neck as well as the chest. Spotting may be oval or
round, and the amount of white varies as well. Some Tobiano
have a large amount of white, while others have so little white that they
appear not to be spotted at all. Tobiano horses
dark brown eyes and bicolored tails.
Around 500 A.D., during the invasion of the Roman
Empire, several barbaric tribes brought spotted Oriental horses from Eurasia to
Spain, where the spotted horses were interbred with the native horse stock. The
breed thrived in Spain, and began to resemble what is commonly referred to as
the standard Paint Horse markings. Records dating back to 700 A.D. show the
spotted horses that have the standard tobiano and overo patterns.
In 1519, the explorer
Hernando Cortes carried two horses described as having pinto markings on his
voyage. This is the first known description of such horses in America. By the
early 1800s, horses with Paint coloring were well-populated throughout the
West. Throughout the 1800s and into the late 1900s painted horses were called
pinto, paint, skewbald, and piebald. In the early 1960s, interest grew in
preserving and promoting horses with paint coloring and stock horse builds. In
1965 the American Paint Horse Association formed, and today, the American Paint
Horse is extremely popular in traditional stock-horse western events as well as
a variety of other riding disciplines.