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American Paint Horse
North America

Breed Organization Information

American Paint Horse Association
P.O. Box 961023
Fort Worth, Texas 76161
Telephone: (817) 834-2742
Fax: (817) 222-8466
[email protected]

About the Breed
Descended from horses introduced by the Spanish conquistadors, Paints became part of the herds of wild horses that roamed the Western deserts and plains. Once domesticated, because of their working ability and heart, the Paint was cherished by cowboys for cattle work. Native Americans revered the Paint, which they believed to possess magical powers.

While over the years the conformation and athletic ability of those rugged mounts of the Old West have been improved by breeders, the unusual coat patterns and coloring remain the same. The stock-type conformation, intelligence, and willing attitude make the American Paint Horse an excellent horse for pleasure riding, ranch work, rodeo, trail riding, racing, showing, or simply as a friendly mount for the kids.

Breed Characteristics
Built for versatility, the American Paint Horse is generally short-coupled, strong-boned and well balanced. Yet Paints display a remarkable degree of refinement and beauty, especially about the head and neck.

The Paint Horse's colorful coat pattern defines the breed, because it is perhaps the most obvious trait. However, Paint Horses must also possess a distinct stock-type conformation. Paints come in an endless variety of patterns. Their coat is always a combination of white with any of the basic colors common to horses: black, bay, brown, chestnut, dun, grulla, sorrel, palomino, gray and roan. Regardless of color, no two horses are exactly alike in coat pattern.

For registration and breeding purposes, American Paint Horses are categorized by three distinctive types of coat pattern. The tobiano (pronounced: tow be yah' no) pattern is distinguished by head markings like those of a solid-colored horse; their heads may be completely solid, or have a blaze, strip, star or snip. Generally, all four of the tobiano's legs are white, at least below the hocks and knees. Their spots are regular and distinctly oval or round, extending down the neck and chest, giving the appearance of a shield. Usually a tobiano will have the dark color on one or both flanks - although a tobiano may be either predominantly dark or white. The tail is often two colors.

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. Generally, one or all four legs will be dark. Also notable is that overos have bold white head markings, such as a bald face. Overos generally have irregular, scattered markings. The horse's tail is usually one color.

Not all coat patterns fit neatly into the tobiano or overo categories. For this reason, a number of years ago the APHA expanded its classifications to include tovero (pronounced: tow vair' oh) to describe horses that have characteristics of both the tobiano and overo patterns. What is especially fascinating about Paint Horse breeding is that the genetics of coat color inheritance is still not readily understood. Like when diving for treasure not every oyster produces a pearl, not every breeding of two Paint Horses results in a colored foal. This makes each Painted foal that much more valuable.

Significant Paint Horses
Painted Joe
Painted Joe, a 1939 black tobiano stallion, made a name for himself long before the APHA was formed. He was a living legend to racehorse enthusiasts because of his running ability. Both a Champion performer and Champion sire, Painted Joe's progeny that were successful on the track and in the show ring.

Yellow Mount
The first horse to become an APHA Champion was the 1964 dun overo stallion Yellow Mount. Sired by a Quarter Horse and out of Lady Yellow Jacket, the APHA's Lifetime Leading Dam of World Champions, Yellow Mount greatly influenced the Paint breed. Of the 39 horses who have earned the title of APHA Supreme Champion, one is Yellow Mount and four are his progeny.

Mister J Bar
Another early Paint who proved to have the conformation to win at halter as well as the athletic ability to claim performance titles was Mister J Bar, a sorrel overo foaled in 1961. During his show career, Mister J Bar earned five APHA National and Reserve Championships in halter and roping, and as a sire. Tracing back to the immortal Thoroughbred stallion Three Bars, Mister J Bar's progeny went on to win numerous championships and produce the champions of today.

Breed Organization
The core mission of the American Paint Horse Association is to register American Paint Horses, but members have come to enjoy a wealth of benefits. APHA maintains a variety of programs that help its members, all around the world, enrich their experiences with their Paint Horses and increase the value of their horses.

Not satisfied to be only a color breed based entirely on coat patterns, the founders of APHA set strict standards of conformation, athletic ability and performance, as well as demanding intelligence, a calm temperament and a willing disposition. As proof of their commitment to these ideals, the founders instituted a stringent stallion inspection program that remained in effect until the breed was well established.

American Paint Horses have strict bloodline requirements and a distinctive stock-horse body type. To be eligible for the American Paint Horse Association's Regular Registry, horses must come from stock registered with one of three recognized organizations: the APHA, the American Quarter Horse Association or the Jockey Club (U.S. Thoroughbred Registry). At least one parent must be a registered American Paint Horse.

The APHA also maintains minimum color requirements for registration in the Regular Registry. Stallions, mares and geldings that meet the bloodline requirements and have a ?qualifying area? of a white color spot on a dark horse, or dark color spot on a white horse, are placed in the Regular Registry.

The colorful coat pattern is essential to the identity of the breed, and preserving these unique coat patterns is the purpose for which the association was formed.

Those horses that do not have sufficient qualifying color areas for the Regular Registry, but meet APHA bloodline requirements, can be considered for the solid Paint-Bred Registry.

The American Paint Horse Association has come a long way since its formation. At that time there were approximately 3,800 horses in the registry. Since then, the APHA and its members have so effectively nurtured the breed that today the registry contains the pedigrees of more than 900,500 horses. This number continues to grow as nearly 40,000 foals are registered each year.

Once an organization promoted and operated from a kitchen table in Gainesville, Texas, the APHA now conducts business from Fort Worth, Texas and on a global scale and has become one of the fastest-growing breed registries. While the association's main purpose is to record Paint Horse pedigrees, it is also dedicated to preserving and promoting the history, breeding, training, racing, showing, sales and enjoyment of American Paints.

The American Paint Horse Association is at the hub of a wheel made up of over 100,000 members. The strong network of regional clubs and international affiliates are the spokes of the wheel, keeping members in close contact with one another so they can share their interests and activities.

Each year, APHA hosts a World Championship Paint Horse Show to showcase the talents of American Paint Horses. Show highlights include:

  • 14 days of continuous horse show events
  • Approximately 2,000 competitive horses
  • Visitors from 16 nations attended the 2006 World Show
  • Exhibitors from throughout the United States, Canada and other foreign nations
  • More than 5,500 entries made by horse show competitors
  • Three different arenas on an 85-acre complex
  • More than $264,000 in prize money and prestigious World Championship titles
  • Approximately 145,000 visitors over the two-week duration of the show
  • Free educational outreach programs and horsemanship clinics for the public