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There are more than 550 horse breeds in the world today.
There weren’t as many back when and not too many of those ended up in America.
These are most of the horse breeds one have might expected to encounter in the old west.
It’s possible I didn’t always split the hairs of the various modern horse breeding organizations to their pleasure, so there may be issues…
…and I might have left out some important flavor of horse? Let me know.
Types of Equine Breeds:
Coldbloods – Larger, gentle horses for working or hauling. – Clydesdale, Belgian, Percheron, Shire
Hotbloods – Swift, fast horses used for racing and speed. – Arabian, Throughbred
Warmbloods – Good for equestrian sports and competitions. – Appaloosa, American Paint Horse, American Saddlebred, American Standardbred, Morgan, Mustang, Paso Fino, Quarterhorse
American Paint Horse (1500’s)
The American Paint Horse is descended from horses introduced by the Spanish conquistadors. These color patterns definitely appeared in the herds of wild horses that roamed the Western plains and still do today. Prized by Native Americans and widely used. Some believed a horse so marked, to possess magical powers.
Today, the Paint’s coat markings fall into three classes:
Tobiano (white with dark markings).
Overo (dark with light markings).
-The overo (pronounced: oh vair’ oh) pattern may also be either predominantly dark or white. But typically, the white on an overo will not cross the back of the horse between its withers and its tail.
Tovero (pronounced: tow vair’ oh) to describe horses that have characteristics of both the tobiano and overo patterns.*
Most will stand between 15 and 16 hands.** Weighing in at between 1,000 and 1,200 lbs.
The breed combines both the conformational characteristics of a western stock horse with a spotting pattern of white and dark coat colors. They were developed from a base of spotted horses with Quarter Horse and Thoroughbred bloodlines. For a horse to be registered as an American Paint Horse, it must have registered American Paint Horse, American Quarter Horse or Thoroughbred parents. The registry allows some non-spotted animals to be registered as “Solid Paint Bred”. The organization considers the American Paint Horse to be a horse breed with distinct characteristics, not merely a color breed.
“Paint” and “pinto” are sometimes both used to describe spotted horses, but in modern use there is a clear difference between the two terms. A Pinto differs from a Paint solely due to bloodlines; Pinto (Sp. paint) horses are a “Color Breed” (see Pinto below). Note that this “breed” did not exist in the old west.
*Dictionary – Medicine Hat horse
The Originals Index – Resources & Hazards – Animals Index – Mammals – Horse Colors – Paint
*Color Breeds – below