Palomino horses can be found on ancient tapestries, paintings and other artefacts of Europe and Asia and in Chinese and Japanese art over two thousand years old. Royalty and warlords revered these golden horses.

Palomino is a color and not a breed. Breeding a palomino to a palomino does not guarantee a palomino foal. The offspring can be chestnut or cremello. The horse to the right is Saphiro, a handsome cremello stallion.

These horses vary in shade from pale cream to a rich golden color. The mane and tail is usually white but may be gold and/or have dark hairs. Like chestnuts palomino horses may be affected by the sooty gene, when they display dark dapples. The effect is not unattractive but is nevertheless considered to be “incorrect” when compared with an “ideal” palomino. The coat of many palominos changes shade from cream in the winter to golden in the summer (seasonal palominos).

Pale palominos are sometimes called Isabellas, after Queen Isabella de-Bourbon of Spain, who is much remembered for pawning her jewels to fund Columbus' voyages to the “New World”. The word Palomino is itself a Spanish surname, derived from a Latin word meaning pale dove. Queen Isabella kept a hundred golden horses (but forbid her commoners to own one!). She did, however send a Palomino stallion and five mares to her Viceroy in Mexico (then called New Spain) to perpetuate the horse in the “New World”. North America palominos originally came from the Spanish settlements, presumably descendants of Queen Isabella’s horses.

Genetics of palomino:Palominoes have a base coat color of chestnut (i.e. of genotype ee, eaea or eea at the extension locus) and genotype C+CCr at the C locus (the cream dilution gene). The CCr allele is semi-dominant and dilutes red pigment to yellow in a single dose (i.e. in palominos). The wild-type C+ allele is effectively recessive since it needs to be homozygous for there to be no dilution of the base color. (Horse Genetics.com)

The two horses in the photos are Lusitanos, which originate in Portugal.

I personally owned Andalusians, and palomino is not an Andalusian color.

Andalusians are supporting actors in Hot Spanish Nights, an erotic novella, by Bianca Swan, now available from The Wild Rose Press.

18 comments

  1. P.A.Brown // February 18, 2011 at 9:32 AM  

    I like palominos, but I always preferred the darker ones. But I also have an affinity for dappled coats, so for me a palomino with dapples would be beautiful.

    I also love the dapple grays of course. Another color I'm partial to is the buckskin. The gold with the black points? Beautiful.

  2. Nickie Asher // February 18, 2011 at 9:39 AM  

    I always wanted a golden palomino. I think I've owned horses of every color but palomino. LOL

  3. Autumn Jordon // February 18, 2011 at 9:52 AM  

    I've been in love with horses as far back as I can remember. My first was a pinto, Candy, but in my heart I always wanted Trigger. Roy's palomino was my dream horse. I even had a statue of him.

    Beautiful horses.

  4. Autumn Jordon // February 18, 2011 at 9:55 AM  

    P.A., My buckskin, Charley, had the black points. He was so handsome. Loved the kids. Hell, he was a big kid. I miss him.

    I agree, dapples are awesome too. I also like Apps with signture blankets.

  5. Nightingale // February 18, 2011 at 10:58 AM  

    My Bonito (Andalusian) was dappled with a black mane and tail. I've never owned a palomino or a buckskin but I love both colors. Lusitanos also come in buckskin!

  6. Mary Marvella // February 18, 2011 at 12:42 PM  

    Great post, Linda. What beautiful horses! I crushed on Roy Rogers and his awesome horse! Of course I wanted Fury, too.

    I hadn't realized palomino was about color instead of breed.

  7. Mary Marvella // February 18, 2011 at 12:44 PM  

    By the way, after you comment here, go back to the post and punch the tab on the right of the post to improve our standing.

  8. Joanne // February 18, 2011 at 12:45 PM  

    I love horses, and these pictures are beautiful. My daughter took riding lessons years ago, before her teen years set in. Now she likes cars better than horses, especially if a cute boy is driving one.

  9. Mary Ricksen // February 18, 2011 at 1:01 PM  

    I love horses! I once worked at a stable where a palomino let you ride him once, and he's be fine. After that, no one could get on him. Boy did that horse need to be whispered to!
    I spent my entire growing up years obsessed with horses, now I'm too old and messed up to ride. I miss it terribly1

  10. Beth Trissel // February 18, 2011 at 6:01 PM  

    What a fascinating post! Gorgeous horses. To die for. I love palominos. I also remember Roy Roger's gorgeous horse Trigger. The dream horse.

  11. Nightingale // February 18, 2011 at 7:00 PM  

    Joanne, I'm into cars and good looking men driving them too. ha ha. I don't ride anymore either Mary, but like you I miss it. Trigger was a fav of mine. I wonder what breed he was.

  12. Hywela Lyn // February 19, 2011 at 9:15 AM  

    What a great post Linda, and I've been looking at the comments and it's great to know there are so many other horse lovers out there.

    I've always loved paolominos. I have a Breyer model of roy Rogers' Trigger on my windowsill here in my 'office'. I suspect he may have been a Quarter Horse, but I'm not sure on that one. I used to have a golden buckskin mare who was my 'endurance horse' in Wales. She was lovely, with dark points and black tipped ears. If her 'points' had been white instead of black she'd have been a palomino, but she was beatiful just as she was. She died at 34 and I still miss her.

    One of the most beautiful palomino stallions I ever knew was 'Llanarth Braint' a champion sire and very well known in the UK. He started out golden with dapples, and darkene with age, so that by the time he died in his 30s, he was almost bay, but still with the silver mane and tail, and very striking. He was also a real 'gentleman'.

  13. Nightingale // February 19, 2011 at 9:49 AM  

    Lyn, I admire people with the stamina to do endurance riding. I bet your buckskin was gorgeous. Once, I hunted a buckskin quarter horse belonging to a friend. 16 hands he was.

  14. Judy // February 19, 2011 at 1:10 PM  

    What beautiful horses!! Thanks so much for sharing. Didn't Roy Rogers have a Palomino? I know its name was Trigger... Anyway, Thanks for sharing... OH, I see by the others posts Roy's horse was a palomino...And, Mary, Fury was a gorgeous horse! I read all the Walter Farley books...

  15. Scarlet Pumpernickel // February 20, 2011 at 8:59 PM  

    Beautiful pictures Nightingale. You give such great info about horses. If I ever need to have an expert opinion for a story I know who to call.

  16. Scarlet Pumpernickel // February 20, 2011 at 9:05 PM  

    http://www.royrogersworld.com/Trigger.htm

    Interesting article about Trigger. His original name was Golden Cloud and his first movie role was as Maid Marion's mount in Robin Hood.

  17. Barbara Monajem // February 20, 2011 at 9:23 PM  

    What gorgeous horses. Thanks, Linda!

  18. Lusitano Stallions // April 2, 2013 at 5:50 PM  

    I agree, palominos are gorgeous! This lusitano stallion had dapples when he was younger too.