When it comes to American history, no other animal is more closely associated with the story of this country than the horse. Inseparable from the Wild West, and indistinguishable from the image of the American cowboy, horses will be forever identified with the picture of early Americana. But no breed of horse is more interconnected with this cherished history than Paint horses.
But as closely associated with American history as they are, ironically, Paint horses had their start in America via Spain. When Spanish explorers came to the New World in 1519, they brought with them an enormous amount of supplies and a number of horses. These Paint horses eventually dotted the landscape in wild herds, and by the 1800s tribes of American Indians were using the breed for riding.
There were a variety of names attached to these spot covered horses throughout the 1800s and 1900s, but the name that seemed to stick was the Pinto horse. However, a group of horse enthusiasts, dedicated to preserving more than just the unique color patterns of this particular breed, formed in the 1960s calling themselves the American Paint Stock Horse Association - a group that went on to eventually identify and classify the different varieties of Paint horses.
Paint horses - under this strict classification system - must not only adhere to strident color pattern regulations but must have at least one parent that is a registered Paint horse in order to be identified as part of the breed.
The color patterns specific to paint horses include any combination of the color white and another color standard to horses such as brown, gray or black. Their distinctive coloring often looks like splashings of paint - or markings - over the horse's body but actually fall into three color classifications that a horse must have in order to be considered a Paint horse.
The three color patterns are: tobiano, which generally features four white legs, round or oval spots across the chest and neck area, and a two-toned tail; the overo pattern wherein the prominent color is either white or dark, four dark legs, white head coloring, and single colored tail; and a combination of tobiano and overo that is referred to as tovero and used to describe those Paint horses that have common qualities of both.
Paint horses today are often seen in modern day rodeos, as well as in horse competitions such as racing and showing. The American Paint Horse is a naturally intelligent breed that is extremely amiable and easily trained. As such, they are also often used for trail riding and as a temperate ride for children.
The image of paint horses conjure up thoughts of the American frontier where battles were waged on open land and under endless skies. This particular breed of horse encapsulates all the romanticism of these primitive beginnings. But the modern paint horses stay true to their history while taking their place in modern times both as a competitor and as a companion.
For more information on horses, try visiting http://www.interestinghorses.com - a website that specializes in providing horse related tips, advice and resources including information on the paint horse.