View Full Version : Horse colours

Cinder (Guest)
11-04-01, 12:48 PM
OK all you colour experts out there tell me this,
I bred a brown mare to a bay stallion and got a chestnut with a cream mane and tale.
I also bred a bay mare to a chestnut stallion and got a foal that was born chestnut but turned grey by the time it was 6 months old.
I have just bred my brown mare to the bay stallion again and I think I have got the cutest brown (logical) filly you have every seen. The foal was born on March 11 and is now losing her hair and getting a summer coat! Should I rug her or will she get hairy soon. I don't want her getting cold. She is in a paddock with a bit of scrub in it and can get into a stall if she wants to.

11-04-01, 11:08 PM
Hi Cinder, I've got a query with your bay mare. For her foal to have turned grey, the foal would have received a grey gene from one of its parents. This gene could not have come from two non-grey parents. Grey is not recessive, so does not just pop-up unexpectedly. For the bay and the chestnut to have produced the grey, one of them would actually need to be grey! So, the mystery starts. Could your mare have been paddocked with a grey colt about the same time she was served by the chestnut stallion? Was the foal accepted for registration with any breed society? Blood-typing would give a fairly accurate result regarding the sire of the foal. Ie, it would tell you if it wasn't the chestnut. Do you know how old the chestnut stallion was when he served your mare? I have heard of one buckskin colt who didn't show any signs of turning grey until he was about 3 years old. When his winter coat fell out, the buckskin colour went with it. Did your foal totally go grey or did it just roan out?

11-04-01, 11:43 PM
re the chestnut foal, not uncommon. Both parents carried recessive chestnut gene. My bay stallion has sired a number of chestnut foals out of bay mares.

jk (Guest)
12-04-01, 05:03 AM
I was just wondering, I have a chestnut mare that I'm thinking of breeding with a bay stallion. Does anyone know the colour posiblities of this combination?

Jan Heine
12-04-01, 05:46 AM
Cinder I am completely useless on colours and thank god each and every day that the colour has no effet on their jumping ability because it is way over my head BUT I have a much bigger question for you - where are you based as you post on April 10th and talk about foals getting summer coats - where I live right now it is freezing cold and raining (hooray at last) and we are heading into winter - so where are you?

12-04-01, 06:18 AM
jk, it depends whether the bay stallion carries a gene for chestnut, if so you will get 50% possibility of a chestnut foal, 50% bay. If he does not carry chestnut, your foal will be bay.

If either of the stallion's parents are chestnut, or if he has ever sired a chestnut foal then he definitely does carry a chestnut gene, if not then he still may have it, you will have to wait and see!

Cinder (Guest)
12-04-01, 10:29 AM
Thanks for replying guys
Firstly, SNH thanks for the info. No the Arab society refused to register her as a part arab as they said it was impossible for that combination of colours to throw a grey. Heres where it gets interesting. The chestnut stallion was 18 years old and his sire a grey! There were no other stallions on the property and there were no horse around for approx 15 kilometres in any direction that I know of let alone stallions.
Surely there are throwbacks or weird things that happen in evolution?

Jan I live in the SE of SA and it has been quite warm here, except for today and a few chilly autumn nights. It is weird that she is getting her summer coat. I wondered whether it is because she is very much an out of season foal. It seems weird that she started losing her foal coat at 2 weeks of age. She was actually 2 weeks premature and was bottle fed for the first two weeks of her life, but that's another story!! (Yes it wore me out!) Maybe her weird start to life has thrown her body clock out. I thought foals lost their foal coats a lot later say around 3 or 4 months. Any ideas?

Once again thanks for the messages



PS She is a veryyyyyyy cute baby.

12-04-01, 11:33 PM
Cinder, you've got me stumped, and more than a little curious about how this has happened. All the genetic books tell me that grey just cannot skip a generation and become a recessive gene. It's always dominant. The buckskin that changed colour "later" was part arab too. They found out that while his dam was a double dilute (perlino, or similar), she was carrying a grey gene which had been masked by the dilution genes. I guess, in effect maybe that made her grey and not perlino? There's also the TB filly that was born white from two solid coloured parents. She wasn't grey, but actually white so she could be registered. What colours were the parents of your bay mare? Has the bay mare had any other foals and if so what colour were they from what colour stallions? There is a "black" stallion in America who isn't actually black because he has a dilution gene and throws just about every colour in the rainbow. That's not helping you with your grey problem but it's interesting.

I think that you'll find your baby is just losing the baby coat. Mine started losing hers at the same age, looked very patchy for a while but it was all gone by 4 months. She's now got a very woolly winter coat. Yours will probably get her winter coat through with the new coat.

judi (Guest)
13-04-01, 06:36 AM
SNH, I breed, and my old stallion is grey and has always only ever produced greys, his son, who is out of a grey, put to a grey has produced two chestnuts, and to a brown has produced a chestnut. None of these have turned grey. His other progeny have, of course, turned grey. So the mystery continues.

SNH (Guest)
13-04-01, 06:53 AM
Hi Judi, sounds like there's a fair chance that your stallion is homozygous grey. If he is, the son would have inherited a chestnut gene from his dam (who probably has a chestnut and grey gene) and a grey gene from your stallion. The grey mare he was bred to would have a chestnut and grey gene and the brown mare would have a chestnut and brown gene. This is why he is producing chestnuts. My own bay mare is out of a bay and by a grey stallion. She will never produce a grey when bred to a non-grey.

Cinder (Guest)
13-04-01, 11:21 AM
Thanks SNH! I have no idea what colour her parents were but she was a registered Welsh APSB & ASSP, bred by the Dalpura Stud in the Adelaide Hills. Thinking about it, with her being a Welsh Section A there is a fair chance that she would have a grey gene in there too. If the stallion had a grey parent and the mare had a grey gene kicking around there somewhere too, would that be the reason that they produced a grey?
I only know of one other foal that she produced and that was before she came to me. It was a black! Very weird!! This all happend back in the late eighties but has always had me intrigued.:D :D

13-04-01, 11:22 AM
Ditto, I bred a chestnut with flaxen mane & tail out of a grey mare by a grey stallion. However, I am interested to know how you can breed a grey from two non greys.

13-04-01, 12:53 PM
You can't breed a grey from two non-greys, there must be some other explanation, maybe a grey horse breaking into the paddock or a grey colt foal no-one thought would be old enough to do the job. The grey gene is dominant, meaning if it is present it is visible (the horse is grey). Grey genes are never carried (kicking around in there ;-) ) by non-grey horses.

SNH (Guest)
14-04-01, 01:25 AM
Cinder, are you sure it's not a type of roan pattern? That could possibly have come through via the Welsh breeding. Has the "foal" stayed the same "grey" colour as it's gotten older or has it done the usual grey thing and lightened each year with the loss of winter coat? If it's done the normal grey thing it sounds like there's been another male involved. Was the foal born close to the expected due date or was it a few weeks early or late?

Cinder (Guest)
15-04-01, 11:24 AM
SNH, Bingo!! That has to be it. :7 I never thought of her as being a blue roan. When I sold her she was rising 4 and had not got lighter in the coat. I guess I thought that happened when grey horses got old. (Dumb!) Is it possible for the Chesnut and the Bay to produce a roan?


PS Happy Easter everyone. And I hopoe the easter bunny comes!!:9

Mel (Guest)
16-04-01, 04:48 PM
first off I'll try and explain this simply...each horse carries two colour genes..one they carry genotypically(invisible) and one they carry phenotypically(which they appear)the brown mare or the stallion would carry a chestnut recessive thats how you got chestnut.If you looked somewhere in the pedigree I think you'll find either the one of the stallions or mares parents were chestnut.
As for the grey...you need one grey parent to throw grey.It does not skip a generation.Its a dominant gene and therefore has to be passed on directly from parent to foal.Grey is not actually a colour really its a factor.It masks the base colour.A homozygous grey will throw all greys regardless of the other colour of the parent.Two grey horses CAN throw a solid colour foal though.
The roaning gene is quite different to grey.The horse will always have a dark head even though the rest of the body lightens with age.There is no roaning gene in the purebred arabian.Quite often people mistakenly refer to ticking or white hairs through the coat as roan..these horses are not roans in the true sense of the word.
If i were you I'd be looking for a grey colt close by on the property where your mare was served!!Amazing how many times a just gelded colt turns out the sire as well.
One things for sure the sire is GREY!
cheers Mel

17-04-01, 07:49 AM
judi, there's no mystery in that one at all really. As SNH said, your old boy is probably homozygous grey, and crossed with any colour will always produce grey. Any babies of his from heterozygous grey mares have a 50% chance of being heterozygous grey and 50% chance of being homozygous grey. Therefore, his son would be heterozygous grey, and any of his babies from heterozygous grey mares have a 50% chance of being non grey. Looking back through registration papers at the colours of parents, grandparents etc doesn't always give a clear impression as to whether a horse carries the recessive chestnut gene, as they will often not have their birth colour recorded, and will just be 'grey'. Both parents have to carry the chestnut gene to produce a chestnut foal. What colour was your stallion and his son when they were born? I have a grey filly born chestnut from a homozygous grey born black stallion, and out of a bay mare.

17-04-01, 07:52 AM
I forgot to add that homozygous grey crossed with non grey gives 100% heterozygous grey.

judi (Guest)
18-04-01, 05:02 AM
I find this subject totally fascinating - if a little difficult to keep abreast of. The stallion was 4 when I bought him (18 years ago) but I would suspect was born chestnut. He is renowned for producing "pink" ponies. The sone was born dark liver chestnut and is still quite dark, although now well dappled. He is 6. I have always wondered is there any "test" you can do on your stallion/mare which will identify what colour genes they do actually carry, or is it all guesswork and trial by elimination?

18-04-01, 06:57 AM
I have heard from a vet in America that you can DNA test for the chestnut gene, but they haven't pinpointed the dilute gene as yet, so if you have a grey pony that could be a dilute (born buckskin or palomino), you have to be aware that crossing them with another dilute (or grey born dilute) gives a 25% chance of a double-dilute foal (BEC). By 'pink' I guess you mean 'pink-grey' rather than pink-skinned though? My filly was a really rich cherry red chestnut and turned very pink! As a yearling she has almost completely lost her 'pinkness' though, and is just plain old steel grey.

SNH (Guest)
18-04-01, 11:54 AM
Goldy, I am dying for my baby to lose the pink and become a plain old steel grey!!! It is just the funniest colour - pink, bits of white and bits of steel grey starting to come through. Her sire is bay/brown but carries a chestnut gene. Dam is grey, born chestnut.

Now, my other mare is going to be a bit of a lottery. She's bay, sire is grey (born black but by a bay, out of a grey), dam is bay (by a grey, out of a chestnut). So, she's either got two bay genes or a chestnut and a bay gene. Was actually hoping somehow that there's a black gene in there which is being masked by the bay characteristics. Wishful thinking on my part. Will just hope for a healthy foal when I breed from her.

19-04-01, 01:39 AM
Hi - I've got a 2 year old Chestnut gelding - the Sire is brown, dam is grey. He's got a flaxen mane and tail, and has white hairs speckling his coat - though not enough to break up the Chestnut colour from a distance.

He's getting darker as he gets older - he's gone from a REALLY bright red/ chestnut to now being almost liver, particularly over his rump.

Does this mean that he's basically a roan? Or a dilute Chestnut? Will his colour change any further?

Very interested to know as I show him, and the contrasting mane / tail is very attractive!

JMS (Guest)
19-04-01, 05:05 AM
No, he isn't roan. The white hairs through his coat are known as "ticking". As Mel said: "Quite often people mistakenly refer to ticking or white hairs through the coat as roan..these horses are not roans". Nor is he dilute chestnut, dilute chestnut is palomino, and a palomino would be gold in colour not bright red or liver as you describe him. He is chestnut.

It is quite common to get chestnut from 2 non chestnut parents as chestnut is a recessive gene and can be carried masked for several generations.

It is also common for the colour to change with his changes of coat and with what he is fed. Some feeds like livamol, molasses and lucerne can make chestnut look more liver.