Choosing the Perfect Paint Horse Names


It’s an inevitable conundrum for horse owners everywhere. Now that you’ve bought a horse, you stand there looking at it, wondering: what on Earth should I name this beautiful creature now standing in front of me? Fear not, for if you have bought a paint horse, then we’re here to give you the perfect American Paint horse names suggestions for your new equine friend.

Given the linked history between Native Americans and the American Paint Horse, one of the best name types that you could choose for your little horse would be of Native origin. However, other horse owners like to name their horses after famous racers that have won past sporting events like races or jump shows. To this very extent, we’ve decided to group the best possible names for American Paint Horses into two categories: Native American Paint Horse names and Champion Paint Horse names.

Brief History of the American Paint Horse

You may remember from our general article describing the American Paint Horse breed that this particular type of horse had its origins in the early 16th century. In 1519 to be precise, when Spanish explores, such as Hernando Cortes, used to travel great distances across the whole of the newly discovered Brave New World, in search of all kinds of riches.

For this very purpose, these explorers brought with them teams of horses to help them explore the vast expanses. According to the reports of Diaz del Castillo, one of the historians adjoined to these expeditions, the horses brought along were both American Paint Horses. However, that’s not what they used to be called back then. Castillo identifies the ancestral equines as pintos, one of them having white stockings (a typical mark of the Paint Horse), and the other displaying white patches upon a dark roan coat.

A dark roan Paint horse. What would you name it?

As you would imagine, over the next three centuries, these horses became quite popular all over North America. And who would benefit from the widespread availability of these extremely strong and sturdy horses? Well, the Native Americans of course. As many historical sources point out, the Natives, and particularly the Comanche tribes became very fond of the Paint Horses, and soon enough developed quite efficient and foolproof techniques of domesticating these beautiful steeds.

What Is an American Paint Horse?

The American Paint Horse is a horse breed that combines the conformational characteristics of the western stock horse with the pinto spotting pattern of white or dark coat colors. From a base of spotted horses with Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse bloodlines, the American Paint Horse Association breed registry is currently one of the largest in North America. The record allows some non-spotted horses to be registered as “Solid Paint-Bred.” The APHA considers the American Paint Horse as a breed with distinct characteristics, not just a color breed.

Aside from bloodlines, a horse must exhibit “a natural paint marking” to be eligible for the Regular Registry of APHA. Natural Paint markings must cover more than 2 inches and be located in certain areas of the body.

A Paint horse has a combination of white and a particular color of the equine spectrum. Usually, Paint horses have white spots combined with black, brown, bay, chestnut or sorrel. Some horses have spot colors influenced by dilution genes like a palomino, cremello, buckskin, perlino, pearl or “Barlink factor,” champagne, various shades of dun, or various shades of roan.

Spots can be any shape or size and can be located anywhere on a Paint’s body: head, body, legs, mane, or tail. Although these horses come in a variety of colors with different markings, they are grouped into four defined coat patterns: overo, tobiano, tovero, and solid.

Robust colored offspring of 2 registered Paint parents are also eligible for registration, with certain restrictions. They can participate in some Paint breed shows. If a solid colored horse is bred with a regular registry Paint horse, it’s possible to produce a spotted foal. In some cases, a solid-colored horse may still carry genes for color. But in the case of the dominant tobiano patterns, a Breeding Stock Paint won’t take color genes, although it may retain other desirable traits.

Native American Paint Horse Names

While some Native American tribes, such as the Nez Percé, preferred the Appaloosa of all the horse breeds, most natives liked the Paint Horse better. The very first tribe to learn of the existence of horses from the Spaniards were the Pueblo Indians. The Puebloan peoples quickly adopted the animal, despite the efforts of the colonizers to keep the knowledge of horsemanship from them.

Therefore, some great names for Paint Horses could be Taos, Acoma, Zuni, Hopi, or Keres. These are in honor of the Indian tribes that bear the same name and that survive the Puebloan culture and lifestyle.

The second tribe to come into contact with Spanish pintos brought by colonists were the famous Navajo Indians. Their tribe of people used to be in continuous expansion during the time in which the Spanish were colonizing the region of New Mexico. It’s said that for that very colony, they brought with them almost 7,000 horses. The Navajo, realizing the practicality of these majestic creatures, raided the Spaniards and took their horses. So, naturally, some amazing names can be inspired by Navajo names:

If your horse is male, you could give him names like Ashkii (which means boy), or if it’s covered in white patches, you could call it Yas (which means snow). If you’ve got a red dun Paint Horse, you could call it Kilchii, meaning red boy. If your horse is female, call it Awee (which means baby). If it’s a blue roan Paint Horse, you could call it Doli, which in Navajo means blue bird. Other great names could be Mai – bright flower, or Iina – life.

The Kaw and the Comanche tribes were both very keen on horses. The Comanche got their horses from raids on the Pueblos. The Kaw are said to have acquired their horses via fair trade, and proceeded to breed these horses and then sell them at overinflated prices. If you would like to honor these tribes you could call your horse Kamanchee, Camachi, or Kansa. Kansa is just another name for the Kaw people. As you may have gathered, Kansa is the origin of the name Kansas.

Another tribe famous for endorsing paint horses are the Cheyenne. If you would like to honor the tribe and their horse based culture, you could name your female paint horse Asha (hope), or Chameli (flower), Elina (intelligent), Lona (beautiful), or Nandita (happy). For the male paint horses, there are names like Viho (meaning chief), or Hiamovi (whirlwind) if it’s fast enough to deserve the name.

Here we see a Native American riding what looks to be a chestnut tobiano American Paint Horse.

Champion Paint Horse Names

Still, some people would prefer to name their horses after great champions of the same breed. So here are some of the most famous paint horse champions:

One of the two first APHA champions.

The champions of the very first competition organized by the American Paint Horse Association were Yellow Mount and Painted Lasan. Needless to say, these would both make great names for your own horse. As is common among horse owners, you could also change these names so as to keep them original while still paying tribute to the two champions. Change mount to steed, use synonyms – if your horse is a splashed overo, you could name him Splashed Lasan, for example.

The first winner of the youth championship, respectively, was called Mighty Miss. Another great name could be Slow Danger – give it a twist by changing it to Rapid Danger, or Slow Peril. Another pretty name is Skippetta – the beautiful paint horse which won the first All Around award in 1975. Or you could use Delta – the name of the first Paint Horse to be entered in the Hall of Fame of the National Cutting Horse Association. Add an adjective, like the owner of the 1986 youth competition did with Delta Flyer.

Other cool-sounding champion horses names are: Painted Joe, who won every chance it got against American Quarter Horse champion Grey Badger II, Bandit’s Pinto, the first eve registered Paint Horse, Calamity Jane, Wahoo King, Tuff Cat, or RR Star. If you would like more serendipitous names, you could go for the likes of Color Me Smart, or Colonels Smokingun.

Other Suggestions for Paint Horse Names

Black and white Paint horse names are not easy to come by. Some of the names you can choose from include Checkered Flag, Domino, Ebony and Ivory, Milky Way, Penguin, and Starry Night. If you have a predominantly black horse, you can consider Ace of Spades, Black Beauty, and Black Pearl. For a mostly white horse, you can opt for Crystal, Innocence, Marshmallow, Jack Frost, or Ice Princess.

Final Thoughts on Paint Horse Names

If you really love your horse, then it’s a given fact that you will spend long hours deciding on its name. Many people go to the internet to search for female Paint horse names for their filly or mare, and male Paint horse names for their colt or stallion. If you happen to have a nice Paint horse you’re thinking of naming and would like an opinion, let us know! Leave a comment in the space below and we will give you our honest opinion of your horse name.

Still, the main trait of horse names is usually the catchy element. It must be easy to pronounce and easy to remember. That’s why, of all the Native American names we could find, we’ve only selected those that fit these two criteria. Don’t forget that, no matter how much you think about it, everything comes down to your feelings. After you’ve picked a few interesting Paint horse names, go down to your stable and have a seat next to your equine pal. Look him in the eye and say the name out loud – maybe he will even have a positive reaction.

In any case, we hope we’ve given you the advice you need to give your American Paint horse the name it deserves. However, no matter whether it will be called Mighty Steed, Great Awee, or Blue Ashkii, it will still be your horse, and most importantly – your friend.

Image sources: 1, 2, 3

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