Clip Clop is the official newsletter blog of Model Horse Fun Club.

All articles are used here with permission from their copyright holders. No article on this blog may be reproduced in any manner without explicit written permission from the person who submitted it. This means you can't copy/paste/print with the intent to distribute in any form unless you are the one who sent it in. You may however link directly to the blog post.

*All articles are the opinions and views of the article's writer and may or may not represent the views of Model Horse Fun Club.*

Monday, June 4, 2012

Paints and Pintos: Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Spots But Were Afraid to Ask

[b]Paints and Pintos: Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Spots But Were Afraid to Ask[/b]
By Anna Bentley

I do love a spotted horse. I always have.  My first rocking horse was a black and white pinto named Blaze:

 I rode Blaze on the most incredible adventures, and I guess he is what started my obsession with spots.  As I grew up, I began studying everything I could get my hands on about horses, and in that process, I learned about Paints.

Er… Pintos.


So, what is the difference, you ask?

Glad you asked.

Paint is a breed. Pinto is a color. Simple, eh?  Paints are registered with the American Paint Horse Association (APHA) and to be registered can only be of Paint, Quarter Horse or Thoroughbred breeding. Interestingly enough, Paints don’t ALWAYS even have to be spotted; they can be registered under breeding stock and be solid colored. But when they are colored, Paints are always Pintos, but Pintos are not always Paints. If you want to frustrate me beyond belief, tell be you have a paint half Arab. No... you have a PINTO half Arab.

Pintos, on the other hand, can be of most any breed. There are Pinto part Arabs, American Saddlebreds, Tennessee Walking Horses,  Shetland Ponies… almost any equine breed can be a pinto in color. The four types officially recognized by the Pinto Horse Association of America (PtHA) are: Stock, Pleasure, Hunter and Saddle. More recently, two Utility types have been added Gypsy and Drum.  Let’s take a look at each type.

Stock type is pretty obvious, of Quarter Horse or Paint breeding predominantly. Typically used for western riding and sports, these horses are usually built to work.

Pleasure type Pintos are usually of Arabian, Morgan, Andalusian, etc. type. These horses can be used for either English or western type riding and even in harness.

Hunter type Pintos are most commonly of Thoroughbred or warmblood breeding, and used for huntseat, jumping and dressage.

Saddle type Pintos are the peacocks of the show ring, ridden saddleseat with a cut-back saddle or driven in fine harness. They are of lighter build, of Saddlebred, Tennessee Walker and Hackney type, commonly gaited.

Both in Paints and Pintos, coat patterns fall into categories; the two biggest are overos ad tobianos and this is where the largest part of my discussion shall fall, as it is where I see the most mistakes being made when entering model shows.

Tobianos are probably the most common pattern in the real horse world, and in the model horse world, probably the most commonly misrepresented.  A tobano’s face is marked like a solid colored horse, with a star, stripe, blaze snip, etc, or even solid colored.  A tobiano will ALWAYS have four white legs. ALWAYS. (This is one of my biggest beefs when judging, to see an otherwise lovely tobiano and then find that it has one or more dark legs. Automatic disqualification for me.) On a tobiano, the white usually will cross the horse’s spine between withers and tail, and the tail itself is commonly bi-colored.

Overos on the other hand, will rarely have white crossing the spine between withers and tail. The tail is usually one solid color, and it is not uncommon for an overo to have all legs dark, although they CAN have all four legs white.  Their faces are almost always predominantly white and blue eyes are quite common.

Of course none of these rules are hard and fast, especially since the patterns are commonly bred together- called a tovero- and then there is also sabino to consider.

It’s enough to make you see spots.

Some interesting Paints & Pintos:

A minimal tobiano- notice that he still has the four white legs:

This was the closest I could find to a dark legged tobiano that wasn’t a model horse:

Very typical tobiano, showing the common chest shield and flank markings:

He is quite the handsome fellow!:

A nice example of a tovero, showing characteristics of both overo and tobiano:

A gorgeous buckskin overo, with all dark legs:

And an overo with all WHITE legs:

Overos can be mostly white, but note- she still has dark over her spine!

…and overos can be mostly colored with very little white:

And the there is the splash overo, which will look as if it has been dunked in white paint:

I hope that you enjoyed this discussion of the most colorful of horses, and maybe learned something. If you have any questions feel free to ask and I will try to find the answer for you!

Happy trails!  And a bonus question for YOU: what pattern did my beloved Blaze display?

1 comment:

  1. Oh, cool article! I'm glad you pointed out the different between Paint and pinto. There seems to still be some confusion over those terms in the hobby and real horse world. You could even go so far to differentiate them by capitalizing Paint since it is a proper noun by being a title of a breed (albeit the shortened version), and pinto being an adjective :D

    I do want to point out that while dark legged tobianos are really rare (probably about as rare as a chestnut Friesian! hehe) they are still out there. Minis, especially, seem to pop out dark-legged tobianos for some reason. I also have come across a dark-legged Pintabian one time while I was researching the breed.

    I would guess your Blaze is an overo, since his head has a lot of white pattern on it, but it's hard to tell for sure without seeing his topline (darn saddle ;) )!