Are Palomino Horses a Breed? Origin, Colors and Facts

Are Palomino Horses a Breed

Horses, perhaps one of the trickiest and most exclusive of pets to own. Many have said that horses are one of nature’s most majestic animals. Whether you own one for recreation, shows, or competitions, horses can be a joy to care for and interact with. Palomino horses are one of the most commonly mentioned types of horse. If you are not a horse owner, you may not be aware of what exactly a Palomino horse is.

A Palomino is not a breed of horse. It is a color classification, namely the cream, yellow, or gold-colored coats with a white or silver mane and tail. Since many kinds of horse can have this coloration, the Palomino classification can actually span across several breeds. The most recognized organizations that register horses as Palomino are the Palomino Horse Breeders of America and the Palomino Horse Association.

If you would like to know more about Palomino horses, like how they are bred, where they originated, or even the breeds of horse most likely to be classified as Palominos, read on. We will cover all theabove-mentioned topics and more in this article.

Where Do Palomino Horses Originate From?

The exact origin of Palomino horses is unknown. Part of the reason for the lack of knowledge is the obscurity from the fact that numerous myths and legends provide. Some of the earliest stories concerning Palominos come from the time of the Crusades.

It is said that the Crusaders fighting in the Middle East saw “the desert chiefs of Saladin” riding them. It is even said that Saladin offered a Palomino horse to Richard Lionheart as a gift. The land of Arabia is generally seen as the original source of Palomino horses.

However, the word “Palomino” is of Spanish origin. Further stories tell of Queen Isabella of Spain sending golden Palominos to Mexico. From there, these horses spread out, making their way up into Texas and the rest of the Southwest United States.

Fun fact: although many people do not consider Palominos a breed of horse nowadays, when Queen Isabella sent them over from Spain, they were widely seen as a distinct breed. Over the years, cross breeding has erased that distinction and made it possible for many breeds to be considered Palomino.

What Breed of Horse Makes a Palomino?

Many different breeds of horse can be considered Palomino. However, since Palomino is a color classification, the color of a breed of horse can make it more likely to be classified as such. Light-colored breeds have a better chance, whereas darker-colored breeds have the opposite.

Two of the most common breeds to be considered as Palomino are the light-colored Arabian or American Quarter Horse. Other breeds such as American Saddle Horse, Thoroughbreds, Standardbreds, and Tennessee Walking Horses are not as likely to be Palominos as Quarter Horses, but still have a greater chance than average. There are many more possible breeds, but these are some of the most likely.

What Color Horses Make a Palomino?

Throughout history, Palomino horses have been described as beautiful and golden. Their coloring is what makes them so sought after.

Modern day Palominos have similar coloring: a yellow or golden coat with a white or silver mane and tail. The exact color and shade of a Palomino horse can vary depending on the type of the horse and their breeding. The golden color of the coat is usually pretty standard across breeds. However, the shade of the mane and tail can vary from white to light yellow.

On top of their coat, mane, and tail coloration, Palominos have other typical color characteristics. A Palomino’s eyes are usually dark colored. They are allowed to have some dark spots on their coat, but they must be on the legs, no higher than their knees.

What Color is a Palomino Horse at Birth?

As babies, the color of Palomino horse can vary much more widely than as adults.

Some foals have a coloring fairly similar to their adult Palomino coloring, only lighter, others have a whiter, more washed-out coloring. Still other foals are born with a rosy-colored coat or a cream-colored coat.

As they grow, usually around their first birthday, their colors begin to darken and become more alike and transition into the more common golden color of Palominos.

A Palomino horse’s coat does not stop changing when they reach maturity, though. Although to a smaller degree, their coat color can change depending on the season. In winter, a Palomino’s coat will become lighter, while the opposite can happen during summer.

What are Palomino Horses Known For?

First and foremost, Palominos are known for their beauty and striking coloration. The white/silver mane and tail contrast pleasantly with the dark, rich gold/yellow of their coat. Because of their pleasing aesthetics, Palominos are often used as show horses.

In history, Palomino horses were considered good gifts to give to others, especially if you were a rich noble or distinguished royalty. After all, horses were very precious back in the day, and who wouldn’t like their very precious horse to be beautiful as well.

A Palomino’s worth does not stop at good looks, however. These horses are often praised for their durability, versatility, and hard work. For this reason, you can most likely find Palomino horse on ranches or farms helping with the work. They are also used for racing, pleasure riding, trail riding, and jumping competitions. In fact, there is hardly a horse-related activity that a Palomino cannot do.

Are Palomino Horses Rare?

Palominos have been considered a beautiful and rare breed throughout history. However, thanks to centuries of interbreeding and breakthroughs in modern genetic research, breeding a Palomino is as easy as ever.

Because of the above reasons, Palominos are not a rare type of horse to see. They can be found in just about any equestrian sport or activity and can even be found on ranches or on the race track. Nowadays, Palomino horses are far from rare. There are several breeds of horse that can easily produce the Palomino coloring with even more adding to the count every day.

Can a Palomino Have a Dorsal Stripe?

A dorsal stripe on a horse is very similar to the identically named dorsal fin on fish. Only, on horses, there is no bodily protrusion on the back. A dorsal stripe is simply a change in coloration, in the form of a stripe, that runs down the horse’s back.

Palomino horses do not have dorsal stripes. Though there are bound to be some exceptions, Palomino horses’ golden-yellow coloring is uniform across their entire body.

The dorsal stripe is most common in horses with the dun gene. The dun gene is a dilution gene, which means it lightens the coat on the body but leaves the mane and tail the same darker color of the base coat. This is the opposite coloration of a Palomino (darker gold-yellow coat with a lighter silver-white mane and tail).

What is a Palomino Horse Used For?

Palomino horses, though very beautiful, are not only known for their looks. This type of horse is also widely known for its ability to work long and hard. It is not uncommon to find a Palomino horse on a ranch or farm, getting down and dirty in honest work.

You can also find Palomino horses in races, jumping, and other equestrian competitions. And, of course, you will find many Palominos in parades, shows, and other showy scenarios being used for their striking coloration and head-turning beauty.

How Much is a Palomino Horse Worth?

Determining the exact price of Palomino horses in general is a tricky task. Since so many breeds can have the proper coloring and, thus, be considered Palomino, their worth varies just as much as their breed.

A quick internet search will show you that there are Palomino horses being sold for as little as $3,000 or for as much as $18,000 or higher. To know how much you will be spending on a Palomino, that is if you are in the market for one, you will have to narrow your choices of breed down first.

Your choice of breeder is a decision that can save you a lot of hassle and headache. If you go through a reputable dealer, you can rest assured that you will get a fair price and your money’s worth in the end. If you end up with an unreputable dealer, well, you know the opposite of fair and worth it, right?

The price your breeder asks for can vary depending on multiple factors, one being the breed that is for sale. Local market factors and supply of Palomino horses can also affect the price. If you get the feeling that you are paying too much for what you would get, or getting too good of a price for what the breeder claims they are selling, chances are you will be right.

What is the Difference Between a Buckskin and a Palomino?

Are Palomino Horses a Breed

Two colorations of horses that often get confused are Buckskins and Palominos. The confusion comes from the similarity in coloring of the horse’s coat. Both types’ bodies will have the light to deep golden-yellow coloring.

The difference between these two horses comes in the details. Whereas a Palomino’s mane and tail will be a lighter color than their coat, typically white or silver, a Buckskin will have a black mane and tail. They will also have black coloring on their lower legs. This simple yet distinct difference is the key to telling these two horses apart.

How Do You Get a Palomino Horse?

The question of getting a Palomino horse is easily answered through some genetic explanation. Breeders achieve the Palomino coloring by using a cream dilution gene on a red base coat. The exact color of base coat that works best for producing Palomino horses is chestnut. Because of this, the best horses to pair together to breed a Palomino are a red chestnut with a light mane and tail and a golden Palomino with no dark hairs or smut marks.

Can You Breed Two Palominos?

It is possible to breed two Palominos and have the offspring be a Palomino as well. Two Palomino parents will give you a fifty percent chance of having a Palomino offspring. The other fifty percent is broken into halves, one twenty-five percent going towards a chestnut foal and the other favoring a cream foal.

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