Warpaint is a mascot paint and pinto horse for the Kansas City Chiefs National Football League (NFL) team, currently in its third incarnation. The horse is associated with the Chiefs' glory days at Municipal Stadium when the team won two American Football League (AFL) championships, and the horse led the team's victory parade after its win in Super Bowl IV. After the original Warpaint's retirement in 1989, the team used K.C. Wolf as their lone mascot from 1989 to 2009. In keeping with the celebration of the AFL's 50th anniversary, the Chiefs decided to bring back the tradition of Warpaint for the 2009 season, introducing the new horse at the team's home-opener against the Oakland Raiders.
Originally, the horse was ridden bareback by Bob Johnson, who wore a headdress in the style of a ceremonial American Indian regalia headdress. Warpaint circled the field at the beginning of each game and after each touchdown. In a 1975 game against the Oakland Raiders, the Chiefs won 42–10, prompting Warpaint to circle the field for each of the Chiefs' six touchdowns. Raiders head coach John Madden, following the loss, quipped that "We couldn't beat the Chiefs, but we damn near killed their horse".
The first Warpaint was foaled in 1955, and the second in 1968. The second Warpaint died in 2005 at the age of 37 at Benjamin Stables in Kansas City where it is now buried. The horse made an appearance at a 1997 Chiefs game where it received a standing ovation from a sold-out crowd.
In its later years, the horse began having trouble and would often lose his footing on the track that surrounded the astroturf field at Arrowhead Stadium. Then, at a game,[when?] it fell at one point, after which the original horse and bareback male rider combo were retired. Charges were also made that the horse and rider were demeaning to Native Americans, helping to end its use as the team's mascot.
On September 20, 2009, a new Warpaint was unveiled at the Chiefs' home opener against the Oakland Raiders at Arrowhead Stadium. The horse is ridden by Susie, a Chiefs cheerleader, in contrast to the original headdress-clad rider in its first incarnation. Due to a positive response from fans at the first appearance, Warpaint and Susie now appear at all home games, including at pregame events.
- Chiefs cheerleaders and mascots Accessed 15 March 2008, archived 10 Feb 2012.
- Veterinary Medical Review University of Missouri-Columbia Fall/Winter 1999 (pdf)
- Echlin, Greg (2009-09-21). "KCUR: Warpaint returns to Arrowhead Stadium". KCUR. Retrieved 2009-09-21.
- "Warpaint". Kansas City Chiefs. Retrieved 2013-12-10.