Ashley Griffin, University of Kentucky

The Paint Horse (color breed/stock type/hunter type) was introduced into the United States by Spanish explorers. It is primarily comprised of stock type horses such as Quarter Horses. Some have Thoroughbred influence.

American Paint Horse

The two characteristic coat patterns of the Paint Horse are tobiano and overo.

  • The overo pattern has no white crossing over the back; has one or more dark legs; is often bald-, apron-, or bonnet-faced; has body markings that are irregularly spotted or splashy; and has a tail that is usually one color.
  • The tobiano pattern is white with colored spots and does have white crossing over the back; includes a solid-color face with traditional markings; has white on all legs; has regular body spots, and is dark in one or both flanks.

The Paint Horse usually stands 14.2 to 15.2 hands tall at the withers, with a body style very similar to that of the American Quarter Horse. Paint Horses are short in their heads and have very powerful, short-coupled bodies.

Paint Horses are versatile and very colorful, which makes them eye-catching while being ridden, useful for ranch work, and competitive in rodeos, showing, or racing.