Next Horse Lovers Blog Carnival will be March 28

13 03 2007

, originally uploaded by stevacek.

OK peoples, get your blog on! The next Carnival will be March 28, hosted at Horse Approved. You can submit up to two posts here. Please don’t be shy; we love new contributors.

Horse colour demystified: the basics

13 03 2007

Horse & Brenna, originally uploaded by FAUX_REAL.

Herewith the first in a continuing series on horse colour. There are a lot of misconceptions, myths and general BS on the subject, which is criminal when there is so much good information available.

To begin at the beginning…All horses have one of two possible base colours: black and red (chestnut). Every other possible colour, pattern, combination and permutation builds on these.

Every horse receives one gene from each parent. Black is dominant to red; if a horse has one black gene and one red gene, it will be a black-based colour. We know that the chestnut in the picture above received one red from the sire and another from the dam. The black horse may have gotten two black genes, or one red and one black. A horse with two copies of a gene is homozygous for that gene, meaning it will always pass it on.

Chestnuts can vary in colour from almost palomino, to red, to dark brown, to nearly black. The latter shade is particularly common in Morgans.

Chestnut crossed on chestnut will always give chestnut; no exceptions.

Yer basic bay

Black + agouti = bay (Image credit)

The first and most common modifier is agouti. Agouti turns a black horse into a bay or brown by restricting the black to the “points” of the horse. Think of agouti as pulling the black to the margins of the horse, so to speak, letting the red show through; thus, the red or brown body. French researchers found that brown horses (called black bay in some breeds) tested positive for the agouti gene; it may be that this is a weaker form of agouti which doesn’t pull the black back as far, so to speak, so that the red only shows through on the muzzles and flanks of the horse. Brown foals are usually very bay-looking at birth, then shed off to reveal the darker colour underneath.

Yer basic brown

Brown horse; note the lighter areas on the flank, elbow and muzzle

There is also a rare form of bay called wild bay, in which the black on the legs is restricted to low “anklets”; the horse might look like a dark-maned chestnut at first glance, although it is genetically bay. You can see a few examples here.

Red factor and agouti can be detected through genetic testing.

A red horse can carry agouti, but not express it (because there is no black body pigment for it to act on); it could still pass it on. Our horse in the picture may have had a bay parent (which passed on the red but no black) and received an agouti gene from that parent; we just can’t see it. If our agouti-carrying chestnut were bred to a black, then bay would be possible.

Horse colour demystified: the cream gene

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13 03 2007


Leave a comment with your best shot. 😉


John Lennon’s (purported?) carousel horse on eBay

13 03 2007

A carousel horse once said to have been owned by the late musician is now up on eBay. Auction link (via Bayraider).

Horses on auction list lead to fears of sale for slaughter

13 03 2007

From today’s Globe and Mail. While I think horse slaughter is despicable, I agree heartily about the overbreeding. People need to start thinking in terms of what their breed needs, and what their discipline demands, instead of just throwing horses together because they can. (And get your damn dogs and cats fixed while you’re at it) We also need tougher animal cruelty laws in Canada and elsewhere.

An Ontario animal-welfare agency was thrown on the defensive yesterday after an auction notice listed for sale four animals in its care. Horse lovers had feared the animals might be sold for slaughter.

On the weekend, word spread on a horse fanciers’ discussion board that the Claremont Horse Auction, which takes place in a town just north of Toronto, included four animals from the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in its website’s description of lots for a March 15 auction.

The OSPCA is empowered to seize neglected or maltreated animals, which are cared for until they can be adopted or found a place in one of dozens of operations that care for abandoned animals.

Representatives for the OSPCA, which acknowledged before a legislative committee last year that it is having difficulty matching donations to expenses, insisted yesterday that there was never any question of auctioned animals being sent to a slaughterhouse.

Read the rest of this entry »

Call for submissions: A Cup of Comfort for Horse Lovers

13 03 2007

You Are Wonderful, originally uploaded by Ever Upward.

The bestselling Cup of Comfort book series is actively seeking inspiring true stories for six new volumes (see below). We seek narrative nonfiction stories that read like fiction. Stories must be uplifting, original, in English, typed, titled, and 1000-2000 words.

$500 grand prize; $100 ea. all other stories; copy of book. No entry fee.

Email submissions to No attachments; one submission per email. Include full name, mailing address, email address, phone number.

For detailed writer’s guidelines:

A Cup of Comfort for Horse Lovers

This anthology celebrating the powerful, almost magical, bond between horses and humans will feature inspiring true stories that reveal the extraordinary impact these magnificent creatures have on the people who ride, own, raise, train, race, care for, and rescue them. We want stories that portray horses as companions, helpers, messengers, healers, teachers, heroes, and inspirational forces in people’s lives as well as stories about the incredible things that people do out of love for a horse or horses.

Submission Deadline: 5/15/07

(Info via Writes Like She Talks)

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