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Use Her Name
01-12-2009, 02:05 AM
Possibly, let's get a discussion going on horse colors. How do you get the right color.

I was watching some old youtube footage of race horses Holy Bull and his son Macho Uno, and I started to think about horse colors. Both were very dark when they won their famous races. Now, as older stallions they are nearly white. I've noticed that some greys are "grey" as colts and fillys, and some get lighter as they get older. Can anyone tell me what the genetics are? I know that lipazans are born dark and become nearly white also. What about Andeluceans?


Anyone know anything about Roans? I know that more bettors will not wager on a Roan because they like Bays and Chestnuts better. Is here is some sort of human predjudice against roans?

I usually work only with race-horses, but other horse colors have my fancy as well. The Rocky Mountain horse is dark brown yet a spotted pattern in the dark skin, and they have a flaxen tail and mane. I love the Leopard horse. Overo, or Tabiano?

Anyone have favorites they like to draw or paint? Does any color defeat you? We should have a horse color thread in equine art.

Shari Erickson
01-12-2009, 02:36 AM
I find painting black horses to be frustrating, well actually, not the actual painting of them but the reproduction of them. It's awfully hard to get a decent photo of a painting of a black horse!

As to color genetics, this thread could get really long! There is a good website somewhere or other that has a lot about horse colors. Maybe I'll try and find it and post a link to it later.

I have a grey andalusian who was born black and is now white at age 16. The gene that causes a horse to turn "white" with age overrides it's base color. So my horse is a black with the gene for grey. It works the same with all breeds of horses not just andalusians and lipizzans. These two breeds are known for being grey though they come in other colors and many breeders are breeding andalusians for colors other than grey these days. The rate at which a grey horse turns white is determined by it's family lines. Some grey out faster than others.

Shari Erickson
01-12-2009, 02:42 AM
Check out this site:
http://www.equinecolor.com

Use Her Name
01-12-2009, 03:27 AM
I'll check your thread out. I've been at Wet canvas for nearly 4 years, so I don't mind having a long thread, or a long conversation.

Carey Griffel
01-12-2009, 08:17 AM
Excellent idea for a thread. :)

Shari, thanks for that link. I've only just started to look at it, but it's got some very useful and interesting information!

I have a request myself...there are a lot of different names for horse colors, does anyone have a good site to concisely reference the names and colors?

~!Carey

ColorsoftheRainbow
01-12-2009, 09:06 AM
Speaking of grey horses.... my favorite greys are the ones who are black, then turn slowly turn grey but keep their black points for a long time. Dapples are always a plus!

I had a foal who was born chestnut who greyed out. She was what you would refer to as a rose grey because for a time she had a pinkish hue where the grey was coming thru but there was remenants of the chestnut.

Greys usually go thru several changes thru out their life as far as color changes. They reach a white stage and then start to revert to a flea bitten grey. Flea bitten grey is almost like a freckling of small darker specks.

I find photographing a painting of black horses to be challenging too.

One of my favorite coat colors would be liver chestnut or any of the duns. I seem to collect chestnut horses though. 3 of my 5 are chesnut. LOL!

TABCgal
01-12-2009, 09:31 AM
Interesting topic. I have a 19 year old Arabian who is completely white (considered a grey because of his black skin), however he was a bay in his younger years. I do know that the grey gene dominates, so if one parent is grey, the foal will be also....I think this is true in all breeds, but particularly so in Arabians and Andalusions.

Here is a link that may be helpful:

http://www.equusite.com/articles/basics/basicsColors.shtml

Crias
01-12-2009, 10:39 AM
there are a lot of different names for horse colors, does anyone have a good site to concisely reference the names and colors

Well there are a lot of different colors... so I don't think you can have a real short list to describe all of them. I will try and come up with something.

Here is a list... http://www.learningabouthorses.com/savvy/horse_colors.html I don't consider that list complete (personally) but it will get you started.

Use Her Name
01-12-2009, 11:31 AM
Bay is interesting because it is a pattern more than a color. Bays revert to the default "wild" horse pattern of a black "ferel" stripe down the back to the tail just like a wild ass, and they often have faint, or even sometimes obvious zebra stripes on the upper part of the legs, so when you are painting a bay, you have to look at the individual horse really closely.

Night Horse Studio
01-12-2009, 02:04 PM
Horse colors...it's good that you brought this subject up.

As far as roans go, they are born solid, but usually roan out within their first year. My mom has some roans (Standardbreds). She has a roan mare who she bred for years to a black and white overo paint stallion. Every year she would throw a different color...roans, paints, solids. I used to have a blue roan...he was gorgeous.

As far as race horses go, at least for standardbreds, people will usually not bet on greys or roans, sometimes sorrels too. I think some may be predjudiced because of their color, they think they aren't able to go as fast as say your bays. Like the Standardbred stallion Jet Laag, his progeny are usually grey, like him.

Right now we have 9 horses -- 3 Paints, 1 Quarter horse, and 5 minies. The paints are mares...1 Breeding Stock (solid), a Tobiano (whose bloodlines go back to Man O War on the top side), and an overo.

As for which color I like to draw/paint, I really don't have a preference. I've painted blacks, sorrels, and bays. But for pencil work, I think Paints are fun. I've put our breeding stock paint mare in alot of the work I've done. She has a bald face. One eye has dark eyelashes, and the other eye has white eyelashes. If you see a horse with a bald face in my work, there's a good chance it's her :).

Stephanie

Lisa M
01-12-2009, 03:45 PM
Some mention has been made of the "zebra stripe" pattern. It's called brindling, and can occur either all over the coat or on just the legs as in this example (clearly a colt! sorry, best photo of him) from a quarter horse breeder's herd in my childhood neighborhood. I don't know which mare was his mother, but most of the mares in the rather large group were light bays, duns and sorrels. The stallion (of all the foals visible here and of the entire herd, all looking similar but only some with brindling) is either a light bay or very dark buckskin. I couldn't guess his registered color. He's a beauty though! Here's the photo of the brindled legs; it looks like the brindled foals will shed out a bit darker.

(Oh--and, that dark strip down the back that has also been mentioned is a dorsal stripe, typical to a range of colors I won't expound upon because I can't name them all--duns and buckskins for sure though.)

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/12-Jan-2009/100809-horses_GregA_brindling_resized.jpg

KerryOriginals
01-12-2009, 06:53 PM
Your basic horse colors are bay, chestnut and black. All other colors are one of these affected by another gene that will change the appearance of the base color. For example, the dilution gene gives the palomino and cremello colors on chestnut, buckskin and perlino on bay and black or black cream on black. Dun factor is the dorsal line, leg barring and a more dilute version of the base color and gives yellow dun (buckskin has no dorsal or leg barring) red dun, bay dun, and grullo (black/dark brown). Other factors that affect the base colors, are the greying gene, champagne (the chocolate colors with light manes are in this) and many others including the appaloosa pintos and so on. Color genentics in horses is really facinating learning and valuable information to know (the basics at least) if you paint horses!

Snuzin Susan
01-12-2009, 07:21 PM
So many colors, and so many variations. This could go on and on...especially when you get into face and leg markings, mane and tail variations and what not. Oh the wealth of information that could be divulged. I used to "know it all" from doing several presentations on horse colors and markings...but all that knowledge seems to have slowly slipped away. Art wise I love doing paints. Strawberry roans are my favorite (I used to show one of the most gorgeous ones I have ever seen and he had a bald face with a watch eye. He was all a 17 hand beast, but I loved him!) Roans are so fun. I have never tried, but I imagine the flea bitten horses, and several coat variations produced by appaloosa's would be very difficult to reproduce. Perhaps we could share some techniques on how we can produce these colors in a realistic/artistic way?

-Susan

ironhorse
01-12-2009, 08:37 PM
Some mention has been made of the "zebra stripe" pattern. It's called brindling, and can occur either all over the coat or on just the legs as in this example (clearly a colt! sorry, best photo of him) from a quarter horse breeder's herd in my childhood neighborhood. I don't know which mare was his mother, but most of the mares in the rather large group were light bays, duns and sorrels. The stallion (of all the foals visible here and of the entire herd, all looking similar but only some with brindling) is either a light bay or very dark buckskin. I couldn't guess his registered color. He's a beauty though! Here's the photo of the brindled legs; it looks like the brindled foals will shed out a bit darker.

(Oh--and, that dark strip down the back that has also been mentioned is a dorsal stripe, typical to a range of colors I won't expound upon because I can't name them all--duns and buckskins for sure though.)

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/12-Jan-2009/100809-horses_GregA_brindling_resized.jpg

Sorry your wrong here. In that photo is a dun factor colt with zebra baring on his legs. Some duns and gurllas have some don't. Brindle is a completely different genetic modifier. You can see Brindle at the site Shari gave:
http://www.equinecolor.com/unusual.html#brindle

I am big into the model horse hobby and the topic of horse colour and the genetics involved is very big. I can highly recommend these books but the the leading authority on the subject Dan Phillip Sponenberg:
Horse Color (http://www.amazon.com/Horse-Color-D-Phillip-Sponenberg/dp/0914327461/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1231809963&sr=1-2)

Equine Color Genetics (http://www.amazon.com/Equine-Color-Genetics-Phillip-Sponenberg/dp/081380759X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1231809963&sr=1-1)

Here is another great article by one of the hobby leading experts on the subject. Lesli Kathman. She is writing a book on it too.
What is possible (http://www.horsecolor.info/BreedColors2008.pdf)

Oh and buckskins don't have dorsal strips.
Twyla :D

ironhorse
01-12-2009, 08:54 PM
Your basic horse colors are bay, chestnut and black. All other colors are one of these affected by another gene that will change the appearance of the base color. For example, the dilution gene gives the palomino and cremello colors on chestnut, buckskin and perlino on bay and black or black cream on black. Dun factor is the dorsal line, leg barring and a more dilute version of the base color and gives yellow dun (buckskin has no dorsal or leg barring) red dun, bay dun, and grullo (black/dark brown). Other factors that affect the base colors, are the greying gene, champagne (the chocolate colors with light manes are in this) and many others including the appaloosa pintos and so on. Color genentics in horses is really facinating learning and valuable information to know (the basics at least) if you paint horses!


Actually the chocolate colour horses (Like the Rocky Mountain Horse (http://www.silveradomountainhorses.com/Resources/silv1a.jpeg)) Is actually caused by the Silver gene and are often called Silver Dapple horses. Champagne is another different gene that modify the base colours. They are more of a gold colour and are often mistaken for the cream gene.
Champange (http://www.equinecolor.com/champagne.html)

Twyla :D

Night Horse Studio
01-12-2009, 10:41 PM
I found a website for you all that's interesting.

http://www.horse-genetics.com

It tells about silver dapples, appaloosas, paints, roans, and alot of other colors. Hope this website helps :).

Stephanie

Use Her Name
01-12-2009, 11:05 PM
I was going to say though that painting horse colors is different than looking at them. So, I've been painting a chestnut and I find that the best shadows are a wine, almost merlot, and a grape color. That is for me though. I paint in a sort of loose California, or Southwestren Impressionist style. The chestnut color itself (in this case) is cadnium red medium and raw sienna. That seems almost too bright, but I work chaioscura, starting with a middle tone. The undertone was "grape" -- dioxazine purple with white. A wash of cadnium orange and raw sienna with white went over the purple-- the shadows were black and diox purple. The cad. red and raw sienna went full strength (no white). the shadows were cad.red X diox. purple (what I called "merlot" and more purple. I used some of the colors pure (from the tube) and others were mixed. but so far, those are the only colors used on the horse. Raw Sienna, Diox. Purple, Cad. red and orange, white and black.

KerryOriginals
01-13-2009, 04:56 AM
I'm using a similar color scheme on a bright liver chestnut, too. My palette on this one is dioxazine violet, light red, naples yellow, cad. yellow deep, and white, and, a bit of ultramarine for the white markings. Just diox. violet and lt. red for most of the middle value color...very purple! Lt. red, naples, and cad yellow for the highlights and mane n tail. :)

boatnerd
01-13-2009, 05:13 AM
I'm thinking that people may not want to bet on a roan race horse because the feet may be light colored and not so strong? Do they bet on horses with socks or stockings with light colored feet?....do most race horses have no socks?

Hoofnpaw
01-16-2009, 10:26 PM
An excellent ref is "The Color of Horses" by Dr. Ben Green...not even sure if it is in print anymore---illustrations by Darol Dickinson.

I have one small correction to make....someone said something like "so if one parent is grey, the foal will be also...." not necessarialy true. One parent MUST be grey to produce a grey, but if one parent carries a gene for another color, they MAY produce that color. For example, if I breed a grey mare that carries both a grey gene (she has to carry the gene to express the color) and a bay gene, to a stallion who also carries a grey gene and bay gene, I only have a 50% chance of producing a grey. I also have a 50% chance of producing a bay in that particular scenario......Now, if I breed a grey mare, that carries two grey genes, to ANYTHING....she will never produce anything but a grey. Clear as mud, right???? LOL

Sean

ironhorse
01-16-2009, 10:44 PM
An excellent ref is "The Color of Horses" by Dr. Ben Green...not even sure if it is in print anymore---illustrations by Darol Dickinson.

Sean

The illustrations in the book are fantastic but the information is completely bunk. It's all made up and not true in any way. Dr. Green is not a real Dr at all. He has a honorary doctorate and that is all. Sad but true. But still very nice because of the illustrations.
Twyla :D

Crias
01-16-2009, 11:16 PM
Thanks for the link Shari and Twyla... I learned something new! I asked the owner of this young Arab stallion about the white pots on his neck and she had no clue about them (ok, hadn't even noticed them until I asked) and now I believe they are likely Birdcatcher Spots. I have photos of him from April and I can only see a very few spots, but by mid July he has quite a few of them. Maybe because they were still covered with shaggy winterish coat in April, or maybe they really formed in that short time.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/16-Jan-2009/2921-milagroapril.jpg

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/16-Jan-2009/2921-milagrojuly1.jpg
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/16-Jan-2009/2921-milagrojuly2.jpg

Hoofnpaw
01-17-2009, 12:14 AM
Twyla,

What specifically do you feel is bunk about it? I would agree if you are referring to his forward in the book and some of his color descriptions---but for the sake of the illustration of each of the colors, I think the book does a fine job showing the diff between blood bay and mahogany bay, or a grulla and a buckskin...I guess in retrospect what I must like the best is the illustrations....<smile>

Sean

Use Her Name
01-17-2009, 12:15 AM
I'm thinking that people may not want to bet on a roan race horse because the feet may be light colored and not so strong? Do they bet on horses with socks or stockings with light colored feet?....do most race horses have no socks?

This is an "old wives tale."
Here are some variations on the poem:
http://www.answerbag.com/q_view/647334
(I've also heard "three white feet, fast as the wind" it was supposed to be a horse buying guide.)

White stockings and socks are pretty normal on bay TBs, and bay tends to be the default race horse coloration. Also, I've seen that many of them have white hooves (or at least light gray as opposed to black). A horse will have weak feet or leg trouble if he is from various genetic stock. TB's have been bred for short term running and then breeding, and not sturdiness. Now, with the new tracks that are more like turf, they are breeding some European turf horses to American, and strengthening the legs and feet (turf feet as opposed to dirt feet suposedly have better walls).

I'm no expert though.

mustangsandy
01-17-2009, 03:34 PM
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/17-Jan-2009/169560-hawaii_041.jpg

This is a picture of my grulla mustang mare and her half Andalusian filly. Nochecita, the mustang, has a dorsal stripe, two tone ears and slight zebra striping on her withers and front legs. Nochecita is Spanish for Twilight or Dusk...I named her that since grulla is a dilute of black, so she wasn't quite midnight! Cita also has "bear claws" or small black spots in her white socks.
Daisy's sire was a dark red bay with one white hind foot. I was hoping the dilute factore would carry over and she would be a dun, but bay is such a dominant gene, it didn't. You can't see in this picture but Daisy has different white socks on her front feet....the only go on the inside half of her pastern, so if you see her from the side, you can barely tell she has socks at all and if you see her from the front, her socks form a triangle of white. She has bear claws too.
Sandy
www.thepaintingmustang.com

mustangsandy
01-17-2009, 04:08 PM
Someone posted this bit of Arab horse color mythology on one of my horse lists...thought it was cool!

Ben-Dyab, a chieftain enowned throuhgout the desert, who lived about the
year 905 (counting from the Hegira), found himself one day being pursued by
Saad-el-Zanaty, sheik of the Oulad-Yagoub. He turned towards his son and
asked: "Which of the enemies' horses are in the lead?"

"The whites," answered his son.

"That is well. We'll get on the sunny side and they will melt as if they are
made of butter."

A little later, Ben-Dyab turned to his son and demanded:

Which are the horses now that are closest to us?"

"The blacks," his son shouted at him.

"Good. We'll take to rocky ground and will have nothing to fear: they are
like the Negress of the Sudan who cannot walk barefooted over pebbles."

They changed their course and very soon the black horses were out-distanced.
A third time Ben-Dyab asked:

"And now which horses are in the lead?"

"The liver chestnuts and the brown bays."

"In that case," yelled Ben-Dyab, "Sweat, my children, sweat and heels to our
horses, for those (horses) could easily overtake us if during the entire
summer we had not given barley to our own.

Always choose solid and dark coats and distrust those which are light and
washy.
The white. "Take the white like a silk flag, without bare patches, and with
a black ring around the eyes."

The black. "He should be black as a night without moon or stars."

The bay. He should be almost black or golden

"The mahogany bay says to an argument: "Come no closer"

The chestnut "Desire him to be toasted (liver). When he flies under the sun,
he is the wind. The prophet was fond of chestnuts."

The dappled dark gray, which they (The Arabs) term the gray of the wild
pigeon. "If he is like the stones in the river, he will refill the camp when
it becomes empty, and he will save us in combat on the day when the firearms
clash."
Grays are, in general, esteemed when their heads are less dark than the rest
of their coats.
The wolf color, the green (a dun). One would desire him to be dark with a
black mane and tail.

White, that is the color of princes, but cannot stand the heat.

The black brings good luck, but fears rocky ground.

The chestnut is the swiftest; if someone assures you that a horse flew, ask
what color he was, and if you are told chestnut, believe it.

The bay, he is the hardiest and the most sober. If someone tells you that a
horse leapt to the bottom of an abyss without injuring himself, ask what
color he was, and if you are told bay, believe it.

The colors held in contempt are:

The Pied. "Fly from him like the plague, he is the brother of the cow" "The
couscous comes when he has departed and quarrels begin the moment he
appears".

The yellow dun with flaxen mane and tail. A chieftain would not ride such an
animal and there are even tribes who would not permit him to spend the night
in one of their camps. They call him "The yellow of the Jew" That color
brings misfortune.

The iron gray and the yellow of the jew if his master returns (from combat)
cut off my hand.

The gray roan. He is termed a sea of blood; his master will be taken
prisoner and will never fight again.

From "the Horses of the Sahara" by General E. Daumas first published in 1850

mustangsandy
01-17-2009, 04:16 PM
Oh, BTW, both Daisy's Andalusian grandparents were grey, and the only one in her lineage that was bay was a great great grandmother! I guess the bay gene can be carried a long ways!
Sandy
www.thepaintingmustang.com

mustangsandy
01-17-2009, 04:25 PM
Hope you all don't mind one more....from an artist or art history standpoint, I think this is interesting!
This one is on Arabian Horse markings!

Observations of the Emir Abd-el-Kadar:



"Colors. The most highly regarded horse is the black with a star on his
forehead and white markings on his feet.

"Next comes the blood bay with a black mane.

"Then comes the bright chestnut with a red mane.

"The horses of other colors are all placed on the same line, with the
exception of the pied which the Arabs do not ant at all.

The Prophet has said: "If you wish to go to war, buy a horse with a star on
his forehead and three white feet, but that the off-fore be not white."

"The horse with four evenly white feet is like a man who sways gracefully on
walking, the sleeves of his mantle floating in the air."

"The Prophet has said: "If after having gathered together in one place all
the horses of the Arabs, I were to make them gallop together, it would be
the chestnut that would out-distance them all."

"According to these traditions, the black horse has the supremacy because of
the loveliness of his form and his attributes; the chestnut for his speed.

"The Arabs have this proverb: "If you have a chestnut, use him. If you have
nothing but a poor chestnut, use him anyway."

"Oh! He is blessed, the horse with a star and white socks.

"The Prophet detested a horse with four white socks."

"The horse with a white stripe that does not reach the upper lip,
accompanied by a white off-fore, carries the worst of all auguries and he
who sees him prays to God to spare him from the evil that he presages; he is
like an hour's poison (that which carries off its victim within the hour).

The swiftest of horses is the chestnut;

The most enduring the bay;

The most spirited the black;

The most blessed is he that has a white forehead.