Friday, February 13, 2015

Git Along Old Paint, Part 2

It has come to my attention that, while I posted Part 1 (it's HERE if you would like to review it), Part 2 of this article never appeared. Mea culpa and here is the long-awaited second half of the article.

Git Along, Old Paint
(Appearance and Breeding N-Z)

The horse was as ubiquitous in the Old West as the automobile is today. Everybody who could afford one had a horse, and the affluent usually kept several. A handsome "turnout," or carriage and team, was a must when the wealthy wished to be seen out and about town, and even the lowly cowboy had a Sunday horse treasured for its fine appearance and behavior.

This is Part 2 of a two-part column

Paint, Pinto: a horse of more than one color, usually with the colors in generously-sized patches of black and white or brown and white or even all three colors; today's debate over the difference in the two terms was not heard in the Old West, and the two terms were used interchangeably

Palomilla: a white or cream horse with a white mane and tail
Palomino: a horse of a particular golden color thought to be the gray-gold of a dove
Piebald: having patches of black and white
Quarter horse, Short horse: a quick-starting horse breed that can sprint short distances
Roan: a horse whose coat contains white hairs mixed with the base color
            Blue roan: a horse with a bluish-gray coloration
            Red roan: a bay with white flecks
            Strawberry roan: a chestnut with white flecking that seems almost pink
Sabino: a red roan with a white belly
Shave-tail: a working horse with its tail plucked; cowmen did not like a full tail
Skeebald, Skewbald, Stewbald: a horse with fairly substantial patches of white, or a non-black base coat
Snip: a small mark, usually white, on a horse's muzzle
Sorrel: a reddish-color, possibly of a golden tinge, but never with dark manes and tails as with a bay; a variant of chestnut
Spanish Horse: the Barb brought to the New World by the Spaniards. A big pony, it stood about 13 hands high, weighed on average 600 pounds, and had one less vertebra than the American horse (imported from the States). It was the horse of the plains Indians, and made a terrific reputation as a cowpony because it was tough and sturdy. It was the ancestor of the mustang.
Spotted horse: spotted horses have been known since prehistoric times in Europe
States blood: Eastern blood introduced to the mustang strain
White: a true white horse is born pure white and remains that color throughout life; mane and tail contain only white hairs


A Dictionary of the Old West, Peter Watts, 1977
Dictionary of the American West, Win Blevins, 1993
Equusite (

J.E.S. Hays


  1. I didn't know there was a difference between Spanish and American horses. Thought they all descended from the horses brought by the Spaniards. Thanks for the info.