The Pinto horse is a color breed in contrast to most other breeds which are defined by their genetic ancestry. In America, the Pinto is regarded as a proper breed. Pintos have a dark background coloring and upon this color random patches of white. The Pinto coloration may occur in any breed or specific conformation. However, the Pinto Horse Assocation of America does not accept horses with Appaloosa or Draft breeding or characteristics. In the American west, the Pinto has traditionally been regarded as a horse the American Indian favored as a war horse since its coloring provided a natural camouflage.

Pinto, A Physical Description

The Pinto does not have consistent conformation since it is bred for color. When the darker color is black, the horse is often described as Piebald. When the darker color is anything but black, the horse is described as Skewbald. Pintos may be from a variety of breeds, ranging from Thoroughbred to Miniatures. There are four acknowledged types of conformation however: the Saddle type, Stock type, Hunter type and Racing type. Each type is shown in appropriate tack. Pintos standing between 12 and 14 hands are registered as ponies; those between 14.1 and 16 hands are registered as horses.

Origin of the Pinto

Since Pintos come from many different breeds, their origin is variable. It is claimed that when Cortes came to America in the 1500's, he brought with him two Overo type horses. The term Pinto is derived from the Spanish word for painted: Pintado.

Notes of Interest

There are two color patterns acceptable for registration, "Overo" and "Tobiano". Overo is a type created by the recessive color gene and the solid (darker) color predominates. Tobiano is a type created by the dominant color gene and white is the more predominant color with markings of colors other than white.