Monday, January 6, 2014

The RULE of Buckskin, Palomino, Dun, Gray and Roan Horses

A few years back I wrote a post about Horse Color genetics in an attempt to lay out the basics in such a way that was easy to understand. You can find that post here. This evening I found this website which does a far better job than I ever did in explaining the often puzzling rules of horse color genetics. Here is a link.

Also, I just wanted to note a horse color mistake that I often see come up in horse ads. Sellers will often claim to have a solid colored mare (bay, sorrel, chestnut, black etc.) who produces colored offspring (palominos, buckskins, dun). This is genetically impossible. In order for a mare to produce a palomino or buckskin one of the following MUST be true:

1. She is a palomino, buckskin or smoky black (she carries the crème gene)
2. The stallion she was bred to must be a buckskin, palomino, or smoky black (he cares the crème gene)

The crème gene is responsible for producing palominos and buckskins can not skip a generation. This is also true of dun, roan and gray.

 The most common explanation for why it may appear that a solid color mare produced a colored foal is that either the mare of the stallion is actually a colored horse but it is just reeeeally hard to tell. I have a friend who had a buckskin mare that looked bay (she was a sooty buckskin) and palomino mare that looked like a sorrel with flaxen mane and tail (her coat color was a light sorrel and her mane was more yellow than white). Both mares had been genetically tested so we knew their true colors but a lot of people would have been fooled in to thinking that they were solid colored horses.

There are all sorts of other color genes that can change the way a horse appears or make it impossible for the human eye to even determine the true color of a horse.

The easiest way to think of horse colors is to picture a horse as having a base coat of either red, black or bay. The wildest colored horse you've ever seen is essentially either red, black or bay under all that chrome! Crème genes, dun genes, sooty genes, roan genes, gray genes, rabicano genes or a combination of two or ALL of the above is possible!! But if a horse is dun, crème, gray or roan either it's dam or it's sire also carried the gene for that color.

1 comment:

  1. Great bit of education! Thank you for sharing your knowledge and research. I particularly liked, "The easiest way to think of horse colors is to picture a horse as having a base coat of either red, black or bay." So interesting!