The American Paint Horse combines both the conformational characteristics of a Western stock horse with a pinto spotting pattern. This combination of colour and conformation with natural intelligence has made the Paint Horse one of the most popular breeds in the United States.
The origin of the American Paint Horse can be traced back to the new world expedition of Spanish Conquistador, Hernando Cortes. Descendants of these colourful horses spread across the Western plains of America and attracted the attention of the American Indian and cowboy. Their unique and unusual coat patterns and colouring have remained the same.
The American Paint Horse was developed from Quarter Horse and Thoroughbred bloodlines. And to be eligible for registry with the American Paint Horse Association (APHA), a Paint Horse’s sire and dam must be registered with the APHA, the American Quarter Horse Association or the Jockey Club (thoroughbred), and at least one of the parents must be a registered American Paint Horse.
There are two categories of registration: Regular registry and Solid Paint-bred. Solid coloured Paint Horses do not have any white that constitutes a recognized spotting pattern.
- Average size: 14.2 to 16 hands;
- Body type: Western stock horse, including a broad chest and well-muscled hindquarters;
- Colour: Combination of white with common horse colours;
- Coat patterns: Tobiano, overo, tovero and solid;
- Country of origin: United States of America;
- Estimated population worldwide: Over 1 million;
- Uses: a variety of equestrian disciplines, most commonly Western.
Known for their distinctive colour, Paint Horses come in a variety of patterns. Each horse has a particular combination of white and another colour of the equine spectrum. Most common are horses with white spots combined with black, bay, brown, and chestnut or sorrel.
Their markings often look like splashings of paint over the horse's body. However, these patterns actually fall into four defined colour classifications: tobiano, overo, tovero and solid.
More information on the breed can be found on the American Paint Horse Association website.Photo credit: APHA