Palominos: The Golden Ones

The Palomino Horse has a colorful history. Myths and legends about gold-colored horses are told throughout the world. The beautiful horse of golden color was the choice of emperors, kings and queens. Horses of golden hues were painted on walls and tapestries in Europe and Asia centuries ago. Said to be tamed by Native Indians, Palominos have made their mark on TV and movies, too.

Digging for Gold

Where did they come from? The word ?Palomino? is a Spanish surname which comes from a Latin word for ?pale dove.? Once called the ?Golden Dorado? in Spain, it is believed they descended from the Arabian and Barb.

Myths and Legends

Some say that Pegasus, the winged flying horse in Greek mythology, had a golden coat.

To the New World

When Christopher Columbus set out to discover the New World, Queen Isabella of Spain paid for his voyage. The Queen was enraptured by the beauty of the golden horses and wanted them to live on in the New World. With hundreds of Palominos in her royal stable, she chose six ? five mares and one stallion ? to make the journey to what is now Mexico. From there her golden horses spread north to Texas and California, and then on to the rest of the United States, passing on their blonde coat to their foals. Today, they are found throughout the world.

All that Glitters

The golden horses with white-colored manes and tails come in different shades. The ideal color is like a newly minted 14 karat gold coin, but the shade can vary from light to medium to dark gold.

Shining Stars

Famous TV and movie horses Mr. Ed, Trigger and Trigger, Jr., were registered Palominos. The King of Rock and Roll, Elvis Presley, loved his Palomino horse named Rising Sun. Palominos continue to leave their mark. For more than 60 years running, the Long Beach Mounted Police Unit’s all-Palomino horse troop captures hearts and attention each New Year?s Day in the Tournament of Roses Parade.

What’s in a Color?

What do you get when you cross dark brown and beige? If you’re lucky, a Palomino. To get the beautiful blonde shade, these horses have a chestnut color gene and a cream color gene. For that reason, breeding Palomino horses can be tricky business. Even if both parents are Palominos, there’s a 50/50 chance they will be too dark or too light in color.

Learn more from the Palomino Horse Breeders Association at

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