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Studies of this art history reveal the early existence of what we recognize today as the Pinto Horse.


Though commonly associated with the Native American for its legendary magical qualities in battle, the Pinto horse was actually introduced to North America by European explorers, chiefly those from Spain, bringing their Barb stock that had been crossed with native European stock years before. It is believed that the Pinto patterns may have arrived in Europe via the Arabian strains, as Pinto markings appear in ancient art throughout the Middle East. However, evidence of the more dominant Tobiano pattern among the wild horses of the Russian Steppes suggests the introduction of Pinto colouring to Europe possibly as early as during the Roman Empire.


After the arrival of these European horses, great wild herds infused with the flashy colour patterns we know today began to develop across America, eventually to be domesticated by the Native American. The white man continued to import many of the well-established and stylish European breeds as his foundation stock. Over time, however, with the civilization of the Native American and the white man's migration to the frontier, it often became necessary to cross these fancy, but less suitable breeds of the Eastern seaboard with the wild mustang stock to increase size and attractiveness as well as availability of a horse better suited to the strenuous working conditions of the day. This Western-bred horse became a fixture of America, especially the uniquely marked Pinto whose colourful presence in parades and films always added a little extra glamour.



The Paint Horse share a common ancestry with the Quarter Horse and the Thoroughbred. To be eligible for registry with the PHANZ Paint Horse Association of NZ, horses have to come from registered TB or Quarter Horse stock. You can be dual registered with both the Paint Horse Assn and Pinto Horse Society if your horse matches the Pinto Horse Society colour requirements.

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