American Painted Horse (Pinto) Breeds 2022 – Origin, History, Types


The Pinto, or Painted Horse, of America, must be well known to all readers of Wild West stories, and the word, which is of Spanish derivation, has come to be applied to all those queerly marked black-and-white and bay/brown-and-white horses which we know in this country as piebald and skewbald.

Examples of this peculiar coloring, which is the result of the combined action of albinism (whiteness), melanism (blackness), and erythema (redness) on the skin, are found all over the world and in most breeds of horses, but more especially in the primitive types, so it cannot be said that the Pinto is a breed in the strict sense of the word.

It is a fact, however, that horses of this coloration are widely prevalent all over the North and South American continents, and the modern Pinto is recognized as a distinctive American horse. In recent years society has been formed in the United States called the Pinto Horse Society, with the general objects of gaining recognition for, and the improvement of, typical Pinto horses and ponies, to study and perpetuate the type, to go in for scientific breeds and to establish a register of Pinto horses.

There is no doubt that the ‘painted’ horse is most attractive and spectacular to look at, especially if the markings are produced in the best of any of the established types. Horses of this coloration have had a reputation the world over for toughness and endurance, and for that reason, with the added advantage of natural camouflage, were always favorites with the Native American as war and ceremonial horses. They are now equally popular with the American riding public, and ranches in Canada and the United States are devoted solely to breeding them.

There are no physical features peculiar to the Pinto, except that most specimens appear to have thick necks and rather heavy shoulders, but the types of marking are interesting. There are two distinct patterns, known as Overo and Tobiano, the names derived from the Spanish, and are used in the Argentine by the Criollo Registry.

In Overo markings, the white patches always originate from the belly and extend upwards. The back, mane, and tail are generally dark: dark and white alternate on the legs, which are rarely all white. White faces and glass (blue) eyes are fairly prevalent. There is no fixed rule about the size of the patches.

The Tobiano pattern can be distinguished from the Overo by the fact that it has no regular place of origin, white patches starting often from the back, and that the white and coloured areas are usually larger and nearly always solid rather than patchy. White legs are more often found, but the white face and glass eye are not so frequent. The dark patches in both cases are mostly black, brown, and bay. Tobiano horses tend to be larger and heavier than the Overos. There is no limit to the size and shape of the markings, which certainly contribute to the charm and variety of this distinctive type of horse.

Breeding results show that the Pinto strain is very potent and will reproduce itself fairly constantly. Special classes for these horses have been introduced into American shows, and the accepted judging rule is 50% for markings and 50% for conformation and performance.

In the days when horse dealers were found in great numbers in the British Isles, they claimed that they could always sell an ‘odd-colored horse, as it was called. The reason for this was that because of its often-strange marking, and the vivid effect caused by the white background, the horse would always draw the attention of the public.

In short, it was, especially if put to a smart butcher’s, baker’s, or other tradesman’s cart, a very good advertisement. That market, and how very great it was, has been lost and will never be recovered. As a hack of the riding school type the horse is in demand but not for hunting, where its color is looked upon as too noticeable.

Horse breed has amazing characteristics in them. You can find more useful hints to know about pinto.

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