palomino horse, American light horse that, contrary to popular opinion, is not a breed but a color type. The palomino is a characteristic golden, creamy tan, with an almost white mane and tail. White stripes on the face and white stockings are common. This coloring occurs in several breeds of light horse. Palominos were probably first selected for their beautiful color in Spain. They accompanied the conquistadors to the New World, where they were perpetuated by early Mexican horse breeders. They were discovered by Americans in California during the Mexican-American War, and are now popular parade and show horses; fanciers in the United States are trying to establish the palomino as a breed. Palominos have Arabian or Thoroughbred features, stand about 15 hands (60 in./150 cm) high, and weigh about 1,100 lb (500 kg).
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.