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Use and characteristics of the American Paint Horse
The primary consideration when planning to buy an American Paint Horse is that it is a colour breed, which means both colour and quality are usually essential for registration. Technically, the colour is pinto, which can be found in other types and breeds. Important bloodlines also mark Paint Horses out as a distinct breed. Only American Paint Horse and selected Quarter Horse and Thoroughbred lineages are permitted. Registered breeders who sell an American Paint Horse maintain these strict standards of both ancestry and coat colour patterns. Standing between 15 hands (60 inches/152.4cm) and 16 hands (64 inches/162.56cm) high, the modern American Paint Horse combines a refined appearance with intelligence and strength. Powerful hindquarters that instantly provide forward propulsion when required are also a feature. Coat colours should be a combination of a base colour, such as black, sorrel, chestnut, brown or bay, plus white, although the solid-coloured foals of two registered Paint parents can also be registered. The two basic coat patterns are tobiano, the most common, and overo. Tobiano horses often have solid-coloured heads with markings such as a blaze, snip, star or stripe, with dark colouring on their flanks, and white legs. Overo consists of dramatic splashes of white scattered across the coat, with dark legs. Tovero is a mixture of both, and there are subdivisions of overo colouring, such as sabino and splashed white.
Origin and history of breeding the American Paint Horse
Horses with attractive coat colours like the American Paint have existed since ancient Egyptian times. The tomb of Menna, an important official who lived in the reign of King Amenhotep III (1400–1352 BCE), has an image of a pair of spectacular chestnut and white chariot horses. Beautiful and refined horses with Tobiano colouring appear in Persian miniatures centuries years later. Experts on the breed suggest that horses with paint colouring were brought by some of the early Spanish arrivals to North America. While some people, including the native Americans, revered and cherished the horses for their colour, intelligence and sensitivity, others found them unattractive and excluded them from events. This form of prejudice also existed in the UK historically. Recognition of their fantastic qualities came in 1962, when Rebecca Lockhart and other supporters of paint stock horses decided to celebrate them by creating the American Paint Stock Horse Association. Now combined with the American Paint Quarter Horse Association, the APHA has one of the biggest registries on the planet.
American Paint Horses in equestrianism
The APHA actively encourages its many international members and their talented horses to take part in activities as diverse as racing, showjumping and western classes. Foundation stallions include Painted Joe and Mr J Bar, while mares Calamity Jane and Crystal Eye were famed at cutting and racing respectively.