Palomino VS Pinto Horse: Differences & Questions Answered

Horses with various colors are simply fascinating to see.

Palominos and Pintos are some of the horses that own fascinating shades and patterns.

Your eyes will surely sparkle when you see them in front of you!

So, what are their similarities and differences? If you are to choose, which will you pick as your horse?

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Palomino

Palomino Horse

Seeing a Palomino horse up close is like watching an exceptional movie scene that will take your breath away.

It is simply magnificent with its crystal yellow or deep gold body coat fused with a mane and tail that are either white or light cream.

The origin of the golden shade of Palominos is yet to be known. There are various studies, but none precisely explain the roots of this color.

It is safe for us to assume that these horses have existed since ancient imperialism like Rome, Persia, and Japan as they are portrayed in arts and literature.

Palomino horses deeply captured the heart of Queen Isabella, a recognized Spanish royalty.

During the 1500s, she held a hundred Palominos exclusively for aristocrats and nobles.

As she carried her New World exploration, she included five mares and a Palomino stallion to the journey. These horses were the ancestors of Palominos in the Northern part of the United States.

There are two associations responsible for the registration, breeding, and caring of Palomino horses in the United States. These are the Palomino Horse Association (PHA) and the Palomino Horse Breeders of America (PHBA).

PHA has a less strict set of qualifications compared to PHBA. Some horse breeds that can own a Palomino color are Quarter Horses, Thoroughbreds, Morgans, Arabians, American Saddle Horse, and Standardbreds.

Quarter Horse is the top breed to possess the Palomino color. Half of the population of Palomino horses are Quarter Horses.

Speed

The speed of Palomino horses is not affected by their colors.

Their capabilities depend on their breed, the kind of training they have, and the nutrition they are getting.

If their breed is that of the fastest horses, then they will definitely possess a swift speed.

A Palomino Quarter Horse can run at the fastest speed of 55 miles per hour or 88.5 kilometers per hour.

Other breeds that a Palomino can possess run around 30 miles to 35 miles per hour (48 kilometers to 56 kilometers per hour).

Size

Palominos are one of the tallest horses standing between 14 to 17 hands. That is equivalent to 56 inches to 68 inches.

With their tall height comes massive weight too!

They are heavier than average horses, weighing 1,250 pounds or 567 kilograms.

Character

Talking about mesmerizing coat colors, Palomino horses will surely be included in the listing!

Their pretty shades come from the cream dilution gene. The four common shades of Palomino horses are golden, pearl, light, and chocolate.

Golden Palominos are the most famous and desired by horse enthusiasts. During the winter season, these Palominos become lighter as their hair grows longer.

Pearl Palominos are one of the most uncommon shades that can typically be seen among the breeds of Lusitano and Andalusian. The pearl gene dilutes the dark red color of the coat, turning it into a shimmering cream color.

Light Palominos can have sandy shades. They retain their light cream color and will not achieve a deep gold coat even as they mature.

Chocolate Palominos are the darkest shade as true to its name. They are not common with their dark color that looks like brown. Nonetheless, they still possess the white mane, but in some cases, their mane and tail will have a combination of black hair.

Palomino’s skin can be black, brown, gray, or motley. As for their eyes, these can be of black, blue, brown, or hazel shades.

These horses are also versatile and capable that you can commonly see them in jumping competitions aside from dressage and typical riding activity.

Pinto Horse

Pinto Horse

Horses with different coat patterns are undoubtedly pleasurable for the eyes, and Pintos are one of them.

The Pinto horses were originally from Spain. The Spanish and European explorers were the ones who introduced their ancestors to North America. They brought Barb horses that were outcrossed with local European horses.

Since then, Pinto horses had become a favorite of Native Americans and cowboys.

Various horse breeds can produce Pintos such as Gypsy Horses, Miniature Horses, American Saddlebred, and even ponies.

Meanwhile, some breeds are exclusively Pintos such as the Spotted Draft Horse and Spotted Saddle Horse.

The two major associations responsible for the registry of Pinto horses are The Pinto Horse Association of America and The National Pinto Horse Registry.

Though there are lots of breeds that can produce Pintos, only 4 conformations are acknowledged which are the stock type (like Quarter Horses), hunter type (like Thoroughbreds), pleasure type(like Morgans), and saddle type (like Tennessee Walking Horses).

Speed

The speed of Pinto horses is based on their breed, training, and diet.

If a Pinto owns a Thoroughbred or Quarter Horse gene, you can expect it to be one of the fastest.

The fastest clocked speed of a horse is 55 miles per hour or 88.5 kilometers per hour which can be achieved by a Pinto horse.

Pintos can run between 30 miles to 35 miles per hour possessing those breeds with average speed.

Size

Pinto horses are known to be of different breeds. Different breeds simply mean having diverse sizes too.

In fact, there are four group sizes of Pintos, which are the standard horses, miniature horses, ponies, and miniature B.

Standard horses are those standing from 14 hands to 16 hands; that is 56 inches to 64 inches. Ponies stand between 9.5 hands to 14 hands.

As for miniature horses, they can only be as tall as 8.5 hands or even shorter. Miniature B pintos are in the middle of ponies and miniature horses which can grow between 8.5 hands to 9.5 hands.

The standard horses are the only ones allowed in the registry which is greatly influenced by height; the other 3 groups are disqualified.

As for the weight, standard Pinto horses weigh 1,050 pounds or 476 kilograms.

Character

Pinto horses are primarily described by the color pattern of their coats. Their three coat patterns are called tobiano, overo, and tovero.

Tobiano has a white body with large patterns of color all over.

Overo is having a body with a base color plus uneven patterns of white on the body sides.

Tovero is possessing a coat pattern that reflects the combination of tobiano and overo patterns.

As for the base colors of Pinto horses, there are four kinds which are the piebald, skewbald, colored, and tricolored.

Piebald has a base coat of black. Skewbald is the exact opposite of piebald. It can be of any color except black.

The colored kind is owning both piebald and skewbald. Tricolored is having 3 colors wherein the white spotting is counted.

As for the Pinto’s temperament, it is challenging to assess their personality since it will depend on their exact breed.

Nonetheless, they are generally smart, easy to handle, strong, and athletic.

Differences Between Palomino and Pinto Horse

Palominos and Pintos are different when it comes to their skin color, coat, and life span.

Palominos’ skin colors are usually black, brown, gray, and motley.

On a different note, Pinto horses commonly have pink skin. This pink skin is highly sensitive to direct sunlight, causing sunburn or blisters.

Signs of photosensitivity can be also observed on this pink skin with too much exposure. During winter, it is advisable to keep Pintos’ hair longer to protect their skin too.

Another difference between a Palomino and a Pinto is their coats.

The hair of the Palomino is only one shade; it may be golden, pearl, light, or chocolate with a white mane and tail.

The coat color of the Palomino also changes depending on their food, water, and weather.

If the kind of water it consumes has a high level of iron, the color of its mane and tail will have some shade of red.

If its diet consists of high-protein food like hay or grain, its coat will be darker or even gets dappled.

Coat colors of Palominos also changed according to the seasons. Some will have lighter-colored coats during winter as their summer hair sheds off.

As for the Pinto horse, its body color will be a combination of coat color and coat pattern.

Its coat will not change color regardless of its food, water, and season.

The last dissimilarity between Palominos and Pintos is their life span.

Palominos can live longer, usually 25 to 30 years. Whereas, Pintos have a life expectancy of about 20 to 25 years only.

Below is a simple table showing the differences between Palomino horses and Pinto horses:

DifferencesPalomino HorsesPinto Horses
Skin Color* black, brown, gray, and motley. *Palominos’ skin are not sensitive  *Commonly have pink skin. *This pink skin is highly sensitive to direct sunlight and icy weather.
Coat*Coat is only one shade (golden, pearl, light, or chocolate with a white mane and tail) *Coat color changes depending on their food, water, and weather.  *Body color is a combination of coat color and coat pattern. *Coat will not change color regardless of its food, water, and season.
Life Span25 to 30 years20 to 25 years

Are Palominos Faster Than Pinto Horses?

Both the Palomino and Pinto horses can run at the same speed. This is because they can be of the same breed since they are just both horse colors.

A Palomino and a Pinto’s speed cannot be directly compared since they are not horse breeds.

Their speed will be based on their breeds and not because of their colors or patterns.

They can simply be of the same kinds. For instance, they can be both Quarter Horses – a Palomino Quarter Horse and a Pinto Quarter Horse.

The Quarter Horse is one of the fastest breeds that can run up to 55 miles per hour. Thus, they can run up to 55 miles per hour as well.

Which Horse Can Carry More, Palomino or Pinto Horse?

Palomino horses can carry more compared to Pinto horses as they are heavier.

According to the American Standard, it is recommended for a horse to carry only 20% of its body weight.

Basically, the heavier the horse, the heavier you can load on it.

Palominos are one of the heaviest with a weight of 1,250 pounds. Considering 20% of its weight, it can carry up to 250 pounds or 113 kilograms.

Pinto horses only weigh 1,050 pounds; thus, they can only carry 210 pounds or 95 kilograms.

Which Horse Is Bigger, Palomino or Pinto Horse?

Palomino horses are bigger than Pinto horses as they are heavier and taller.

Palominos can stand as tall as 17 hands or 68 inches while Pinto horses can only grow up to 16 hands or 64 inches at maximum.

In addition, the shortest Palomino stands at 14 hands or 56 inches while a Pinto can be as short as 8.5 hands or 34 inches.

Palominos are way heavier than Pintos as well. They weigh 1,250 pounds while Pinto horses only weigh 1,050 pounds.

Which Are More Preferable, Palomino or Pinto Horse?

Palomino is more preferable to Pinto as it is bigger, stronger, has a longer life, and easier to maintain.

If you want a horse that is not only versatile and robust, rather visually mesmerizing as well, the Palomino horse is the right choice for you!

Palominos will not only warm your hearts with their golden color as they can help you with anything you need, too!

They are not just physically appealing horses as they are highly strong and intelligent.

They are the golden horses that are big and robust enough to carry heavy loads and perform various tasks.

Palominos are also easy to maintain as they are not too sensitive.

They also have a longer life expectancy (up to 30 years) so you can spend more time with them.

Meanwhile, Pintos are undoubtedly charming as well with their patterns, but they are not as big as Palominos which means they can carry fewer loads.

Pintos also have a shorter life span (20 to 25 years).

Their pink skin is also sensitive to too much heat or coldness so you must always be prepared for summer or winter. You should ensure that their sensitive skin will not get burned under the heat of the sun and protect it from the icy weather.

References:

Fish Subsidy. (2020, March 16). The Palomino horse breeds: History, origin & cost (2020). https://fishsubsidy.org/palomino-horse-breed/

PetGuide. (2016, July 6). Palomino horse information and pictures. https://www.petguide.com/breeds/horse/palomino-horse/

Pinto Horse Association of America, Inc. (2021). PtHA® Mission Statement. Home. https://www.pinto.org/index.php/en/association/about-us/ptha-mission-statement