An Overview of the American Paint Horse Association

An overview of the American Paint Horse Association (APHA) must begin with the sole purpose of the organization which is to preserve color and conformation in breed registration for Paint horses. The colorful spotted coat pattern is essential to the breed but it must be present along with the distinctive body type of the stock horse. The American Paint Horse Association has stringent bloodline requirements for pedigree preservation. APHA is instrumental in promoting the breed through programs, publications, a foundation, a general store and exhibitions.

Registration Requirements

Both the dam and sire of the Paint must be previously registered with the APHA and a registered thoroughbred or a registered quarter horse. One of the parents must be registered with the American Paint Horse Association. The three general APHA recognized coat patterns are tobiano, overo and tovero and the horse must have a minimum amount of white hair without any color.

Genetic Guidelines

The American Paint Horse Association refers breeders to a series of articles published in the 1994 Paint Horse Journals by the genetic scientist Dr. D. P. Sponenberg. These articles represent research in breeding the Paint horse as it relates to the color requirement. The Paint Horse Journal is one of the official publications of the APHA.


The APHA Breeder’s Trust Program is a trust set up to help defray costs in showing registered Paint horses. Horses nominated at APHA events are awarded points that equate to cash dividends. The cash dividends are paid to the owner of the horse, the nominator of the foal and the subscriber of the stallion. Nominated foals are also eligible to compete for prizes in the APHA Breeders’ Futurity events. The Gelding Plus, Paint Alternative Completion, Paint Racing, Ride America and APHA show competitions are additional programs.


The American Paint Horse Association events include and annual convention, judging seminars and contests, trail rides, workshops and a summer and fall world championship competition.


The American Paint Horse Association preserves and promotes the history, training, showing, racing, sales, enjoyment and breeding of the American Paint Horse. Membership in the organization includes voting privileges, officer and judge eligibility, a variety of discounts and services, recognition programs and breeding services. Yearly dues range from under fifty dollars to one hundred dollars. A lifetime membership is around five hundred dollars. All due are used to support the APHA operational costs, research and promotion of the Paint horse.