The Flashy Pinto

The Pinto (or Paint) horse is one of the most eye-catching horses.

The Pinto was used by the Indians many times because they were swift, beautiful, and courageous.  Evidence has also been found that these were the horses the Conquistadors when they came to America.  Nowadays Pinto horses are bred almost exclusively in the United States of America.

Pinto horses have three basic coat colors .  Piebald – any pinto pattern on a black base, Skewbald – any pinto pattern on an other-than-white-base, and Tricolored – a pinto with one color base and two un-base colors.

These are the coat patterns – I copied this from Wikepedia because it was to much to type for me.

  • Tobiano: The most common type of pinto, tobiano is a spotting pattern characterized by rounded markings with white legs and white across the back between the withers and the dock of the tail, usually arranged in a roughly vertical pattern and more white than dark, though the ideal is a 50-50 distribution, with the head usually dark and with markings like that of a normal horse. i.e. star, snip, strip, or blaze. Tobiano is a simple dominant trait caused by a single gene. All tobiano horses have at least one tobiano parent.  A DNA test exists for tobiano. Tobiano is not associated with any health concerns.
  • Overo: A collective term used primarily by the American Paint Horse Association (APHA), overo essentially means “pinto, but not tobiano.” It is used to describe frame, splashed white or sabino patterns, described below. These patterns are characterized by irregular markings with a horizontal orientation. The white rarely crosses the back, and the lower legs are normally dark. While most currently-identified overo patterns appear to be dominant traits, overo foals (called “cropouts“) are occasionally produced from two apparently solid-colored parents.
  • Frame or frame overo: Frame is a popular and easily recognized type of non-tobiano pinto. This spotting pattern, in the absence of genes for other patterns, is characterized by horizontally-oriented white patches with jagged, crisp edges. White patches typically include the head, face and lateral aspects of the neck and body, and the eyes are often blue. Frame overos may have very modest markings that are not obviously “pinto.” This quality allows the pattern to seemingly “hide” for generations, and is thought to be responsible for some cases of “cropouts.” Frame is an incomplete dominant trait; those without any copies of the “frame gene” (N/N) will not possess this pattern, while those with a single copy (N/O) usually exhibit frame patterning (though sometimes in a very minimal form). However, foals born with two copies (O/O) have lethal white syndrome and die shortly after birth. N/O frame horses do not have any known health defects, but may produce lethal white foals if bred to another N/O horse.
  • Splashed white: An uncommon type of non-tobiano pinto pattern, splashed white coats have horizontally-oriented white markings with crisp, smooth edges and make the horse appear to have been dipped, head lowered, into white paint. The face has significant white markings, and the eyes are usually blue. Most splashed white pintos have normal hearing, but the trait is linked to congenital deafness.
  • Sabino: Sometimes confused with roan or rabicano, sabino horses possess a slight spotting pattern characterized by high white on legs, belly spots, white markings on the face extending past the eyes and/or patches of roaning patterns standing alone or on the edges of white markings. Some forms of the sabino phenotype are thought to be polygenic or a gene complex. However, one form, produced by the sabino-1 (SB1) gene, is a dominant. Horses homozygous for SB-1 are often completely white, but sabino-1 and other sabino patterns are not associated with any health defects. Though genetically unrelated to frame or splash, sabino is classified with the “overo” family of patterns by the APHA. Sabino is not necessarily classified as an overo pattern by other breed registries, particularly those whose horses do not carry the genes for the other two overo patterns.
  • Tovero: The tovero spotting pattern is a mix of tobiano and overo coloration, such as blue eyes on a dark head. Horses can carry multiple spotting genes at the same time, producing characteristics of both patterns.
  • Dominant white: A family of sabino-like white spotting patterns, all dominant white coats are dominantly inherited, analogous to human piebaldism. While some forms are associated with pure white coats and are considered “true white,” not pinto, most actually show great variance in the amount of white. The 11 known forms of dominant white have all occurred spontaneously in the past century from non-white parents. Many forms of white spotting that were called “sabino” by their owners and fanciers are now classified as dominant white. The distinction between sabino and dominant white is unclear, as they are visually similar and involve closely related genes.

 Overall, the Pinto is a flashy horse with a lot of class.


8 thoughts on “The Flashy Pinto

  1. I love any breed, but the pinto for me is the absolute favorite ever since I saw the movie spirit when I was a kid! It has been my favorite breed ever since! 🙂

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