Equine Breed Menu

Paint Horse

Paint Horse

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Breed Organization
American Paint Horse Association APHA
Website: http://www.apha.com
Native Country
United States Of America
Other Names
Average Height
Adult Weight
Rider Experience Level
Based on level of training.
Not satisfied to be only a color breed based entirely on coat patterns, the founders of APHA also set strict standards of conformation, athletic ability and performance, as well as demanding intelligence, a calm temperament and a willing disposition. As proof of their commitment to these ideals, the founders instituted a stringent stallion inspection program that remained in effect until the breed was well established.

To be eligible for registry with the APHA, horses had to come from stock registered with one of four recognized organizations: the American Paint Quarter Horse Association, the American Paint Stock Horse Association, the Jockey Club, or the American Quarter Horse Association. Today, the three recognized organizations are the APHA, the AQHA and the Jockey Club. And even though solid-colored horses with Paint Horse bloodlines are included in the APHA registry as breeding stock, the association maintains color requirements for registration in the Regular Registry.

The colorful coat pattern is essential to the identity of the breed, and preserving these unique coat patterns is the purpose for which the association was formed.

The American Paint Horse Association has come a long way since its formation. At that time there were approximately 3,800 horses in the registry. Since then, the APHA and its members have so effectively nurtured the breed that today the registry contains the pedigrees of more than 362,000 horses. This number continues to grow as nearly 41,000 foals are registered each year. Once an organization promoted and operated from a kitchen table in Gainesville, Texas, the APHA now conducts business on a global scale and has become one of the fastest-growing breed registries. It is the second-largest equine registry, in terms of the number of horses registered annually, in the United States. While the association's main purpose is to record Paint Horse pedigrees, it is also dedicated to preserving and promoting the history, breeding, training, racing, showing, sales and enjoyment of American Paints.

The American Paint Horse Association is at the hub of a wheel made up of nearly 62,000 members. The strong network of regional clubs and international affiliates are the spokes of the wheel, keeping members in close contact with one another so they can share their interests and activities.

Breed Description
Built for versatility, the American Paint Horse is generally short-coupled, strong-boned and well balanced. Yet Paints display a remarkable degree of refinement and beauty, especially about the head and neck.

The Paint Horse's colorful coat pattern defines the breed, because it is perhaps the most obvious trait. However, Paint Horses must also possess a distinct stock-type conformation. Paints come in an endless variety of patterns. Their coat is always a combination of white with any of the basic colors common to horses: black, bay, brown, chestnut, dun, grulla, sorrel, palomino, gray and roan. Regardless of color, no two horses are exactly alike in coat pattern.

For registration and breeding purposes, American Paint Horses are categorized by three distinctive types of coat pattern. The tobiano (pronounced: tow be yah' no) pattern is distinguished by head markings like those of a solid-colored horse; their heads may be completely solid, or have a blaze, strip, star or snip. Generally, all four of the tobiano's legs are white, at least below the hocks and knees. Their spots are regular and distinctly oval or round, extending down the neck and chest, giving the appearance of a shield. Usually a tobiano will have the dark color on one or both flanks - although a tobiano may be either predominantly dark or white. The tail is often two colors.

The overo (pronounced: oh vair' oh) pattern may also be either predominantly dark or white. But typically, the white on an overo will not cross the back of the horse between its withers and its tail. Generally, one or all four legs will be dark. Also notable is that overos have bold white head markings, such as a bald face. Overos generally have irregular, scattered markings. The horse's tail is usually one color.

Not all coat patterns fit neatly into the tobiano or overo categories. For this reason, a number of years ago the APHA expanded its classifications to include "tovero" (pronounced: tow vair' oh) to describe horses that have characteristics of both the tobiano and overo patterns. What is especially fascinating about Paint Horse breeding is that the genetics of coat color inheritance is still not readily understood. Like when diving for treasure not every oyster produces a pearl, not every breeding of two Paint Horses results in a colored foal. This makes each Painted foal that much more valuable.

Descended from horses introduced by the Spanish conquistadors, Paints became part of the herds of wild horses that roamed the Western deserts and plains. Once domesticated, because of their working ability and heart, the Paint was cherished by cowboys for cattle work. Native Americans revered the Paint, which they believed to possess magical powers.

While over the years the conformation and athletic ability of those rugged mounts of the Old West have been improved by breeders, the unusual coat patterns and coloring remain the same.

The stock-type conformation, intelligence, and willing attitude make the American Paint Horse an excellent horse for pleasure riding, ranch work, rodeo, trail riding, racing, showing, or simply as a friendly mount for the kids.

Horse Herd