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Pinto Horse Breed History and Coloring

During filming of movies depicting Native American Indians, they were authentically shown on Pinto horses, known for their coloring rather than breeding. Their coloring provided a degree of natural camouflage that was favored by the Indians.
There is no conformation considered for the Pinto horse breed as they are bred for their coloring and any breed can be considered a Pinto, from miniature to thoroughbred. There are, however four conformation types acknowledged for the Pinto. Saddle, hunter, stock and pleasure with horses and ponies classified simply by size. A horse is any paint breed that will mature at over 56 inches. Those up to 34 inches are considered miniatures with a separate classification of miniatures between 34 and 38 inches.
Of the four accepted conformations, the saddle type is typically an English horse of predominant Saddle or Tennessee walking horse, and the pony is known for sharing those same traits with a combination of the Shetland and Tennessee Walking Pony. The hunter type would be considered to be dominated by thoroughbred breeding and the pony shows conformation associated with the thoroughbred horse and the Connemara Pony.

A western horse showing the predominance of the quarter horse and paint conformity is commonly referred to as a stock type with the pony displaying characteristics of the quarter horse and Shetland pony. The pleasure type shows the conformation of the Arabian horse and the pony shows either the Arabian horse or Welsh Pony conformations.

Breeders are encouraged to maintain breeding in the specific type and in competition, they are shown in their own class. Pinto breeders are in agreement with other breeders that conformation is what helps define how the horse helps its riders compete successfully.
The coloring of the Pinto horse breed is defined as a dark background color with splashes of white and there are two recognized patterns for the coloring. Tobiano, which appears to be white with large spots of color with the while generally crossing the horse’s back. Overo, which appears as a white horse with color patches. It is thought that to attain a Tobiano coloring, one of the parents had to be of Tobiano colors.

During the 17th century in England, horses with colorful spots were treasured, however the fad of the horse’s coloring wore off and they became unsellable, they were shipped to America by the thousands. Many were sold but others were set free to roam the plains. As the colorings became popular among the Native Americans they continued to be bred for their colorings.

The stock type Pinto horse breed, with its heritage traced to thoroughbred and quarter horses it has been named the American Paint. Breeding is the only factor separating a Pinto from a Paint as a Pinto can be any breed, with some restricted to include all breeds except draft horses while a Paint must be registered with bloodlines including a registered quarter horse, a thoroughbred or a Pain horse. Because of these restrictions not all Pinto horses qualify for registration as Paints, but all Paint horse can qualify as Pintos.

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