What is a paint horse? If you have ever seen one in person, then you are probably already aware of how lovely and exquisite these horses are. Paint horses get their special name because of the very unique gift that they carry- their coat and pattern. A paint horse is one which contains one of three known patterns– Overo, Tobiano or Tovero. The paint horse is marked by some percentage (great or small) of white hair over un-pigmented skin. The rest of the horse is covered in another color. This other color could be brown, tan, black or gray as well as a combination of any of these.

To fully understand the paint horse, you have to understand the markings and what they represent. This will help you identify different types of paint horses. The Overo pattern refers to a paint horse where the white markings do not happen between the withers and tail. An added characteristic is that one if not all of the horse’s legs will be a solid color- brown, gray, back or tan. The markings on the face may be standard but most of the markings on the rest of the body will be irregular and scattered.

The Tobiano pattern is different, however. In this pattern, the markings and white spots are regular. Spots are often oval or round and all four of the legs are white. The tail will typically be two colors- white and dark.

The paint horses with the tovero color pattern have at least one blue eye but often both eyes will be blue. Where the white splashes of colors are located with the tovero pattern is not as important as the location of the dark color markings. The dark pigmentation will be around their mouth, ears and flanks. Dark spots can also be found around the base of the tail and on the chest or neck of the horse. However, the color pattern is not the only thing that distinguishes the paint horse from other breeds.




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Suzanne Scholl