Piebald, skewbald, pinto or paint

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Piebald, skewbald, pinto and paint are all terms that describe coloration patterns for horses. We will examine the difference between the terms piebald, skewbald, pinto and paint, where the terms come from and some examples of their use in sentences.

A piebald horse is a horse with colored splotches on a white background, primarily black splotches on a white background. The skin under the darker splotches may or may not be pigmented, the skin under the white background is not pigmented. Sometimes, the abbreviation pied is used as an adjective to describe such a horse. The term piebald is taken from the magpie, which is a black and white bird, coupled with the word bald, referring to the white background. Its is primarily a British term, it is sometimes used to describe the colors of other animals besides the horse.

A skewbald horse has a coat colored with white splotches on a dark background of any color except black. The skin under the darker background is usually pigmented, and the skin under the white splotches is not pigmented. The word skewbald is taken from the Middle English word skued and the word bald. It is primarily a British term.

A pinto horse is a horse that consists of any two colors. The Spanish Conquistadors brought the pinto to the United States and some of these horses escaped into the wild or were captured by the Native Americans. For this reason, many horses that were owned and bred by the Native Americans were pintos, and became the image for the Indian pony. The term pinto is a borrowed Spanish word, literally meaning spotted. Pinto is an American term.

A paint horse is a pinto horse that is a quarter horse or thoroughbred. It is closely associated with the history of the American West. The American Paint Horse Association is the second largest horse registration in the United States, established in the 1960s. Paint horse is an American term.


Prosecutors filed charges Friday against a Park Hill man accused of illegally harvesting a rare piebald buck that was somewhat famous in the Keys area. (The Talequah Daily Press)

Skewbald stallion Alfie disappeared from his field in the West Midlands on 28 May. (Horse and Hound Magazine)

Parsons, 56, and her Paint gelding, Pistol Packin’ Picasso, also known as Oscar, completed a successful show season in 2016, culminating in earning Reserve High Point Amateur All Breed honors, four Reserve Champion class medallions, and a fourth-place medallion at the Ranch Horse Congress hosted by the Pinto Horse Association of America in Tulsa, Okla., in November. (The Garden City Telegram)