Originally, the horse was ridden bareback by Bob Johnson, who wore a headdress in the style a of 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 by a score of 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. After a fall, 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.