Lets talk coat color and genetics

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The coat color of horses is a very interesting subject. There are differences of coat colors versus coat patterns. For example a pinto/paint is a color pattern and the paint horse is also further restricted to breeds. Within that color pattern there are 2 major patterns of either mostly white or mostly non-white. Yes it gets complicated. Back to the subject of color, there is a wide assortment of colors.

To the untrained eye, a brown horse is simply a brown horse. To those who have a bit more knowledge that brown horse could be a bay or a chestnut. To those who have studied a little more about horse colors, that bay might a dark dun with dorsal stripe. It is those subtle differences in genetics that determine what true color the horse is.

I started to get interested in color genetics when I bred my first mare. Her sire was a black and white tobiano but she was a black bay. I wanted a black and white tobiano from her, just like her sire. I had to choose the right stud for her to mate to get the color I wanted. Yes it was successful.

The next time that color genetics was interesting to me was when I bought a little miniature horse. He was just 3 months old and was a mousy grey color. I was hoping that he would shed out to be the same color as his mother, a blue roan but I found out that he was a smokey black because of his sire’s color, a palomino.

Yes, color genetics can be very strange at times. For more information on color genetics in horses try this website: Mustang horse colors.

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