Saturday, July 23, 2011

Paint them All Purple

I'm back finally. I kinda sorta have a plan. I am in the midst of creating a new life, like it or not, and at the core is I am now officially a freelance writer. Which means I am poor again. Sigh. Pity party at 6 pm.

I still carry two columns at the paper, but need to make up a bit of income elsewhere. So I am immediately going to devote some time to my little blog here and try to wring some money out of it...which means getting on facebook, picking up some more advertising, writing regularly, hopefully this will all be a good thing.

I have put the blog on Amazon’s Kindle. It seems a little weird to charge for something I write for free, BUT if you guys check it out and give me a review I’ll love you forever. You don’t have to buy it to review it. Thanks ahead of time.

Have any of you written for Squidoo? Is it worth it?

I would also like to get the "Mind Meld' blog up and running. Do you remember that one? Basically a training blog, but run by reader participation.

If we get a question about ground work we'll get input from all types of riders, from dressage to reined cow horse to whisperers. No harassment, just input, so the rider who is asking for information can pick what works. If a training suggestion is dangerous to horse or rider the flaming can begin, but only then. We can argue and fuss at each other but learning from everybody is the primary goal. Give me a few weeks and we'll get cranking on this one.

I've always loved the idea, but haven't had the time to get it going until now.
Back to the blog....

In the comments on some of my more recent posts I've been asked my thoughts about the "color breeds," and by the way my remarks about mustangs have been challenged I realize I need to clarify some of my opinions. To be completely honest, a lot of my comments came from gut reaction, so I've had to do some homework.

You guys are so great, you make me think, think, think.

All this thinking not only gave me a headache, but turned this into a two part column.

I was talking over a few of my theories with my boss, a paint and QH breeder, at work and she added some interesting insight about paints.
So I've got some new thoughts about some old opinions that have developed over my years with horses.

Color or breed? This question swirls around endlessly, for new horse owners especially, the misleading information can be so mixed up with the truth it is almost impossible to decide what is what.

I used to think it was easy to differentiate between horses being bred for color only and being called a breed and breeds which also have color.

Of course the issue keeps getting muddier and muddier, a veritable claybank you might say, the longer I study on this and the more I learn. Typical of every aspect of the horse world, there’s always room to feel like a gunzel.
So let’s start with color. All of it, chestnuts, grays, paints, apps, every variation of every black, white or red hair.

I think we can safely agree most QH are some version of red. You know, what some might consider the boring kind of red, chestnut, and sorrel....the kind of color nobody wants in the QH world, except maybe me.

If the boring red horse has a skunk tail, plenty of chrome and lots of white roaning on the flanks, suddenly the color is much more desirable, because then the horse could be showing off his Smart Chic Olena breeding. Or if that red horse is marked and colored like a Hereford steer, then Trashadeous bragging rights appear, even if the closest the owner has come to Be Aech Enterprise is driving a car from the #2 car rental agency in America.

The thing is the QH is not bred to be red. Bays, blacks, browns, grays, duns, palominos and now, paints, cremellos and all those other colors are welcome, if not sought after, within the breed. Red simply shows up a lot.

If a potential horse owner seeks a red QH with a big blaze and roaned flanks it’s because the buyer likes and wants the talent and ability of those Chic O Lenas and knows this is a color which often comes with the blood line. The owner wants other horse show folk to know what he bought.

Buckskin, dun and palomino have always been a popular color of QH. They were relatively rare colors until Hollywood Dunnit and Shining Spark exploded on the show circuit. Now there are so many variations of yellow out in the show pen it’s just about boring.

I’m OK with it though. Because if the pretty colored horses are winning in AQHA, NRCHA or NCHA events it’s because of their ability, not because of the amount of zebra stripes on their legs or frosting in their manes. The color is just a bonus.

From my experience if you’re going to ride a flashy colored horse in the pen you had better have a good performer. It’s the equivalent of riding with spotted “hair on” chaps or a sparkly shirt. You’re going to draw the judge’s eye.

If you are competing on a pretty colored horse in the NRCHA, NCHA, or AQHA and can’t get anything done, then be prepared for some derisively raised eyebrows and an awkward silence or two from your peers. They’ll suspect you either can’t ride the hot colored, well bred horse you’re riding or you just bought color, not talent.

QH breeders long spurned paint or app coloring. Too much white meant a poor quality horse; until Miss White Trash proved reverse color prejudice was as foolish as breeding for nothing but grullas.

I’ve heard an interesting story about long time Colorado horse breeder, Hank Wiescamp, who was long considered the undisputed king of the linebreeders.

According to the Wiescamp website, by “utilizing the AQHA stallion Skipper W as the cornerstone of his program, Wiescamp linebred a ‘family’ of Quarter Horses that were so easily distinguishable by coloring and type that they are more often described as ‘Wiescamp horses’ than as members of any single breed. Although most often associated with his legendary lines of Palominos and Quarter Horses, Wiescamp founded equally well-known families of Paint Horses and Appaloosas.”

The story, legend or rumor, whichever you prefer to call it, is that Weiscamp didn’t believe in limiting the salability of his horses by having them not meet breed standards. Skipper W threw a lot of color. He could be crossed with a variety of mares and often produce the color of the mare he was crossed with.

As with any color, it didn’t always show up when desired, and sometimes it appeared when it was the last thing needed. The tale I was told said there were three pastures for weanlings at the Wiescamp ranch, one for quarter Horses, one for Paints and one for Apps.

Since this Skipper W line was begun before DNA testing it wasn’t difficult for Wiescamp to dodge the color limitations by breeding for paints and apps too. When a cross with a paint turned out a solid colored foal it was weaned and turned out in the quarter horse pasture.

Crop out paint? No problem, turn the baby out into the paint pasture.

Because he would keep and breed back his best mares, eventually he could have solids, apps or paints show up in any of his crosses.

He simply matched papers to color and kept his colorful program going strong.

Is this story true? Hell, I don’t know. I love the concept though.

To Wiescamp, color meant nothing more than a pretty addition to a bloodline he believed in. He wasn’t about to lose out on a quality prospect because it had a white sock above the knee and a splash of white on its side.

He was breeding for performance and bloodline and kept up with the color people wanted. I think its how all breeding should be conducted.

I’m more than happy AQHA changed the color rules and now accept all colors of horses with the correct blood lines into the registry. Because I firmly believe color is just that, color. It doesn’t make or break a breed, which should be genetically developed to improve performance, not enhance a sparkly coat. A horse of any color should be able to prove it’s breeding through talent, not color.

So what happens when we breed specifically for color?

There is an ongoing research project going on in Russia with black/silver foxes. Originally the foxes were part of a fur farm. Foxes with large white markings were bred to each other to produce more interesting color patterns.

The changes in the foxes that came with breeding for color made the base for a study which continues today.
The foxes began wagging their tails and bonding with humans. They retained their puppy-like behavior even as they reached maturity. They became bigger boned, their hair grew longer and they definitely became spotted.
If you think about this from a wild fox’s perspective, these foxes not only insulted their culture by turning into Border Collies, they lost the ability to grow up. They had so much white on them they would be a danger to themselves and other foxes by losing their natural camouflage and glowing in the dark. Their great size would have them crashing through the brush and leaving big old monster tracks shoved deep in the mud.
So essentially, the foxes had become big, stupid, evolutionary disasters, by only breeding for color.

Another solid example is the white tiger. Obviously, a blue eyed white tiger is not going to last long in the jungle. There was a reason they were rarely found, because everybody, from hunters to prey, could spot them a mile away.

 Starving white tigers make an easy target for hunters on Safari. Even the worst shot could nail a glowing white tiger digging through the garbage. Once a couple of magicians in Las Vegas got ahold of them and began a breeding program there were white tigers all over the place.

Already genetically weak, illness from frail bones, cancer, blindness, mental instability and awful deformities began to appear, all from breeding for color.Check out this poor guy. He looks like a Puggle gone bad.

Wiescamp was breeding two types of horses besides his Quarter Horses, Paints and Appaloosas, which are known for their coat markings.

I think of paints as a color and apps as a breed. Appaloosas were originally carefully bred horses with good feet, sparse manes and tails and amazing endurance and athletic ability. The desired spotted coat showed up sometimes in the tough little war horse developed by the Nez Perce.

Meriwether Lewis wrote the following of the Nez Perce's horses, in his diary on Feb. 15, 1806, "Their horses appear to be of an excellent race; they are lofty, eligantly [sic] formed, active and durable…SOME of these horses are pided with large spots of white irregularly scattered and intermixed with black, brown, bey [sic] or some other dark color."

As Merriwether noted, the Nez Perce horse was bred for talent, the cool colors were just a bonus, not something that was bred for. I agree, I think of Apps as a definite breed.

Now we can get to Paints. The American Paint Horse Association was developed to find a registry for quarter horses rejected by AQHA for having too much color. Essentially I have always considered Paints a colored Quarter Horse. I had a friend who owned a grade paint mare back in the 1970’s. Her mare was accepted by the then fledgling APHA registry because she had stock horse attributes and the right color. This tells me the Paint has been bred for color, not performance, so is not a breed.

Research shows the Tobiano (white body with spots) is a "pattern", like a zebra or a giraffe, with the white most often crossing the spine. Overo (solid body with white spots) can be pictured as a solid colored horse with areas of color missing, and white most often does not cross the spine. This would make it seem the Tobiano could be a breed, while the Overo would be a color.

My boss told me she feels the Tobiano is closer to being a breed than the Overo.

“The Toby tends to be heavier boned, coarser headed and prone to staying sound,” she told me. “The Overo is more like your typical Quarter Horse. It seems to me the Toby is close to being an actual breed.”

A little research on the APHA website tells me the Tobiano is common in pony breeds, some draft breeds, and even occurs in some of the warmblood breeds. So I would think the color influence would simply be the result of adding horses of various breeds into the APHA which carry the Tobiano gene.

The Ovwero  coloring shows up in mainly Spanish bred horses. This gives some credence to her thoughts, except it is more about where the color appears than the color designating a breed in itself.
So why do so many breeds of horses limit their accepted colors to browns, blacks and reds? I have read lots of reasons; the most important for me would be what happened to those poor foxes. You can buy them as pets now for goodness sakes.

Grays are notorious for developing anal tumors, white markings can get sunburned, I’ve seen more than one Paint absolutely fried. Appies have vision problems and all of the brightly colored breeds stand out in a crowd. Not a good thing in the middle of the herd when the wolves are closing in.

Although the reason the zebra is striped is because when they run in a herd it’s almost impossible for a lion to distinguish one from the other. Maybe that’s why APHA pleasure classes are so dang slow. It helps the judge pick them out from all the other spots.

I’m sure there are some arguments coming about the genetic problems which come from line breeding, and there are some good ones, but that’s an argument for another day.

Here’s some of the horses I define by color or breed.

Appaloosa – Breed
Paint- Color
Palomino – Color
Gypsy Vanner-Breed
Norwegian Fjord-Breed
Suffolk Punch-Breed

It’s good to be back.


  1. Your classifications are exactly what I was taught growing up. During my non-horsey years it seemed the world changed somewhat.

    It's good to have you back.

  2. I have to disagree somewhat with your designation of "Paint" as a color instead of a breed. Personally, I actually believe that Paints are a *sub-set* of the Quarter Horse breed, as that was the founding definition of the APHA ("Quarter Horses/stock horses with excessive white markings"). Not all pintos are Paints, they have to have stock horse conformation and pedigrees (at least originally, tho Paint breed type has become as varied as the QHs and Appys, as more Thoroughbred influence was added). That's where the various other "types" of spotted horses fail to qualify. Paint markings are a color/pattern characteristic (that is not even necessary anymore), but Paint Horses are a breed. [I do wish that the "Solid Paint Breds" would be more easily eligible for AQHA registration.]

    I DO like your emphasis on the performance aspect of breeding, Mugs. Think about Justin Morgan's multiple talents, carried through to modern Morgans. And color isn't the only breeding focus to ruin a breeding program. Look at the halter-bred Quarter Horses, with the over-muscled bodies, on toothpick strong legs and tiny hooves. And the exaggerated dishes of some Arab faces, to the point that the breathing structures are compromised. All for some artificial "breed standard" that doesn't relate to any sort of athletic ability!

    By the way, the patterns are not quite as simplistic as Tobiano vs. Overo--the genetics thing is all very complicated. And the Appaloosa pattern genetics is even more outta this world! I can refer you to some good discussions if you want.

  3. OMG, mugs. Good luck putting this new new life together. You have my support. If I can figure out how to write a review, I will.

  4. Change that to "as soon as I figure out how to write a review, I will." ;-}

  5. Well I've gotta say that all this colour stuff makes me go cross-eyed. Colour genetics put me to sleep.
    I like a dirt coloured horse (brown, bay or chestnut) with as little white as possible. Easy peasy.
    But unfortunately a good horse is never a bad colour, right? Hence my cream mare who drives me to distraction coz she always looks filthy....

    But enough about me. Why aren't QHs with too much white registrable? I've never understood it, I thought QHs were all about performance and less about looks (at least when the breed first started)

  6. Hey - just one clarification: The fox experiment was breeding for temperament, not color.

    They've never been selected for color - the interesting thing about their color is that piebaldism (and a bunch of other stuff) appeared when temperament was the selecting factor. That's seen as evidence that the process of domestication is probably responsible for the great variations in animal phenotypes.

    But the Belyaev pack (which is still very much in existence) only ever produced about 10% color and while they did get a broader head and shorter muzzle their size did not vary in a significant way from the wild population.

    The white tiger bulldog head (which is confined to the North American strain, and is a separate mutation, not a "white" problem) is a known problem with inbreeding and poor nutrition. You get the same kind of problems whenever you have a tiny and overused captive population. Color really isn't the issue. White tigers were commonly seen in the wild in Bengal before the population crash in the early twentieth century. The color didn't seem to hurt them any.

    The lesson of the white tiger or of any depressed population is not that color breeding is wrong, it's that stupid breeding is wrong. You can breed for color and do it brilliantly or you can breed for color and do it in a staggeringly dumb and harmful way. Substitute any word you like for "color" in the above sentence. Any time you choose a trait and place it above others, however fantastic that trait is, a whole bunch of people are going to wreck a whole bunch of animals getting there, and the cry will go up that it's wrong to breed for color or wrong to breed for head or wrong to breed for speed. In fact, it's not wrong to breed for any of those things, just wrong to breed stupidly. The trick is to avoid those people, not avoid the prioritizing itself.

  7. My horse Lily is a registered paint, but out of all registered QHs like doc bar. She has tons of "chrome" and I wonder if that's why she isn't registered as a QH despite her breeding.

    There are some great freelance writing opportunities, I've found several magazines still pay a decent amount for content and wrote essays for a school testing company at one point. They often list on craigslist on the gigs section.

    Frankly if you collected some of your stories about certain horses, I'd buy the collection, and I'd hazard a guess that many others would too... You might ck with equestrian writers blog, they might have some ideas as well.

    Glad you are back....

  8. Good luck with your plans!

    I agree with Joanna - it's really about breeding (badly) for a single trait - color, body-on-steroids for halter, speed in TBs - you get bad things when you don't pay attention to the whole horse and its conformation and temperament. The frailty of modern racing TBs is an example of this - they're fast alright but not able to stay sound.

    I've had horses of all colors and types, and I'm a big fan of the plain wrapper - I've got three, two sorrels (both QHs) - both bred to work and a bay (TB without a white hair), and only have one small white foot (out of 12 feet) and some facial white among the three. They were all picked for their conformation and temperament, and I didn't care what color they were or what their markings were.

    That said, I've had some flashy horses too - when I was a teen I had a cremello QH mare - pure white with blue eyes - she was grade with a long back and boy did she sunburn, but she would go anywhere and do anything and I loved her dearly. And we have an extremely flashy champagne overo hunter pony, but he was purchased for his excellence in the show ring which was not due to his color - but the color didn't hurt. And then I did buy one horse once for "pretty" - she was sweet too - beautiful dappled bay TB/warmblood cross with lots of chrome - but she was a complete ditz and not sound most of the time - taught me a good lesson.

  9. As long as the horse apeals to the owner, I dont think it matters much what color they are. I have a bay QH, but also showed a solid Appaloosa. (Who I do belive have a difference in temperment compaired to the APHA and AQHA). I do think that breeding for a color rather than a purpose has significant downfalls.

    Have you seen 'Reminic In Spots' if that isnt proof that some of the old breeders didnt mess around...

  10. Deafness in Dalmations comes to mind when breeding for color. Had friends with two Dals; pups from an "accidental litter" had tails malformation--stub tails in all but two of the puppies, including one tail that ended in a bump or knot.

    I have a chestnut OTTB with chrome all around. Showed AQHA in the 70s and got very tired of the "red." My QH was liver chestnut--difficult to keep the color in the summer sun--with no white, so a piece of cake to keep clean.

    Was NOT happy when I heard the horse the dealer found for me was a serious case of Chrome Alert with red to boot. However, he is a stunning fellow with a beautiful soul and now I can't "see" anything else.

    It is correct, though, that a flashy horse (as well as a flashy outfit, tack, equipment) is an eye-catcher, so you'd better be good out there in the ring ;o)

    And yes, good luck with the career change. Scary, but maybe the best thing that can ever happen to you. Think positively!

  11. So glad you are back, Mugs!

    I just submitted a review from my dad's Amazon account! :)

    This post was really interesting and presented some old information to me in new and thought-invoking ways.

    As a hunter/jumper rider, I tend to avoid a horse that is any color other than bay, chestnut, or grey. However, I have seen several EXTREMELY talented paint/wb crosses in the jumper ring. Also, there is a breeding stock paint at my barn that has been fairly successful in the lower hunter and equitation rings.

    But I think the majority of the hunter world will gravitate away from anything with spots, yellow, or roan, so I will agree with you that performance must come before color.

  12. I just posted a review on Amazon. Let us know if there's anything else we can do, does it help if we click on your advertisers?

    I love Buckskins, greys and paints. I've never owned one, all of my horses have been red or bay. When I'm looking to buy a horse, color is the last thing on my list. My current horse is registered paint, but was a reject by his breeder, because he didn't have enough white.

    I think Appaloosas started as a breed, but are now a color, you can't tell them apart from QH anymore. I'm old enough to remember when you could tell if a horse was an Appy, even if they didn't have spots.

  13. I am excited to be following your new life, too, Mugs. Not quite as exciting to be living it, I am sure. I will find out how to write that review and be sure and do that, and will look forward to reading, and maybe participating in the training blog. may be able to register your paint with AQHA now. I have two double registered AQHA/APHA horses, one who was registered AQHA when he was 17 years old!

  14. I was taught that Paint horses were unregisterable Quarter Horses because of too much white- bald faces, white patches, or any white above the knees. With a few exceptions of appendix registered horses based on conformation to get the breed going, the horses must have full Paint, Quarter Horse, or Thoroughbred breeding. Thus, Paints are a sub-breed of the Quarter Horse. It's unfair that the solid colored crop-out Paints cannot be registered back to Quarter Horse.

    ANY "patchy" spotted horse is a pinto. But not every pinto can be called a Paint. Pinto is a color that can occur in many breeds although some breeds are dependent on spots: Knabstrub, Rocky Mountain Spotted Horse, and Gypsy Vanners, to name a few. Others, like the Tennessee Walking Horse or the Arabian just happen to color out that way and it isn't marked against the horse's registration.

    To register a horse as an Appaloosa, the registry requires two of these four traits:
    1. various spot color patterns ranging from blankets to roans.
    2. Sclera around the eye (visible white)
    3. Striped hooves
    4. mottled skin
    as well as Appaloosa registered parents.

    There is no mention on desired conformation which is why there is a variation from old stock to the new more Quarter Horse type that breeders are breeding for nowadays.
    But then, many breeds modify over the years as breeders target certain traits, hopefully for the benefit of the breed, although this isn't always the case- tiny feet, high rumps, and oversized bodies on Quarter Horses comes to mind.

  15. I asked this before but since we're on paints, I'll ask again.... my mare is a paint. She's grade- don't know who her sire was, mom was solid APHA. Mare turned out red with tall white socks (up to or past knees and hocks) and a mostly blad face (which doesnt go past the eyes, and her eyes are brown), she's also got roaning, I believe her to be some sort of minimal marked overo or sabino from everything I've read.

    Anyway. My trainer is of the opinion that paints, as a breed, tend to have poorer minds because people breed for color rather than temperament, conformation, etc. She jokes that my mare has "spots on the brain," because despite being 8 years old and coming a long way in her training, she still acts stupid on occasion. For example, when we were cantering out on state land, she thought that because the horse my trainer was riding was catching up to us, she'd attempt to buck and run off with me. Or spook at... nothing, whatsoever. Incidentally, the horse my trainer was riding is a clients 4 year old Morgan, a breed she loves for solid minds. He simply stopped, observed my mare's hissy fit, and continued loping like a good horse.

    So... thoughts? Are paints really a little dumber/crazier because of the color breeding? I love my idiot regardless, just curious what other think.

  16. It's nice to see it pointed out that some colors are not breeds. A new boarder at our barn asked me what my horse was as we were walking down the pasture to get our respective horses. I replied that my mare is a Quarter horse but when I caught her this person said "I thought you said she was a Quarter horse, that's a buckskin." I explained that her breed is Quarter horse and her color is buckskin but it is confusing due to her being double registered both AQHA and ABRA, which also accepts duns and grullas.

  17. Amy- I rarely outright disagree with a trainer, but I'm going to here.
    Your mare is who she is, not because she's a paint, but because she is needing some training.
    Your mare's strong flight response is just that, not because she has spots on the brain.She could respond that way because she's afraid of the other horse coming at her to hurt her, or because she has some prior experiences that caused the behavior, or a million other reasons. ALL of them can be gently and quietly trained out of a horse and help csn be given the rider.
    Trust me, I have known more than one flighty Morgan.
    Who I'm having a little difficulty with is a trainer who promotes her breed over your horse as an excuse not to help you. Why is she cantering up behind you on the road if it is causing you trouble? This is putting you and your horse in danger.
    Your mare could be reading this approach as a herding or breeding attempt on the part of the gelding and is trying to run from an unwanted contact.
    She can't know there is no reason to worry unless she is taught she can count on you to keep her safe.
    I have a post here somewhere on teaching your horse go accept another horse approaching or passing, but this needs to be addressed in the arena first, not out on the trail.
    Paint and pinto horses are a color, paints are colored stock horse types and pintos are anything with the correct markings.
    If a paint has been produced through inbreeding then it's backyard breeding no matter where it comes from. Yes, you can have mental issues with any backyard horse, again, this is the poor breeding program, not the color.
    What I'm reading here is you have some training issues and are actively seeking help from a trainer who wants to make fun of your horse rather than help you train her.
    Does this help?
    I wrote this whole post because of your earlier questions BTW.

  18. Joanna's correct, the fox experiment was originally created to make a tamer silver fox. Foxes are wild creatures, and the furriers wanted something that wouldn't shred them every time they tried to handle it. So they took a group of silver foxes, stuck a gloved hand in their cage, and bred the ones who wouldn't attack it. Each generation they picked the tamest ones, and the damndest thing happened, they got floppy ears. Curly tails. Spotted coats. They barked as adults, and kept other "baby" aspects. (neoteny is evident in housecats and dogs as well). What's really wild is that this happened within a human generation, and explains how dogs may have evolved from wolves.

    Wolves who dared to hang out near human habitation to eat the garbage that wound up outside of towns bred with each other, getting more and more tame, developed floppy ears, curly tails, and odd coat patterns.

    As it turns out, all of those things are linked to adrenaline, or rather, a lack of adrenaline. It's fascinating stuff.

    One last thing, you say that the tame foxes are a failure for fox kind, but think of this: The tame foxes are now worthless for the furriers and are now being bred for pets. Which one is more successful, the fox that gets killed, or the one who lives a long life getting fed and cared for?

    I love this blog and how discussions spring up on it! Off to Amazon for a review. :)

  19. Joanna- I concede to your rightness...except on the tigers. I just hope my mix up didn't derail from my original point. Color crops up when behaviors are dulled, instincts deleted and abnormalities tolerated.
    If you start breeding for color all kinds of problems come with and excess size is one of them.

    "Furthermore, pigs and cattle with large, bulging muscles often have a calmer temperament than lean animals with less muscle definition. However, animals with the muscle hypertrophy trait (double muscling) have a more excitable temperament (Holmes et al., 1972). Double muscling is extreme abnormal muscling and it might have the opposite effect on temperament compared to normal musclingrimitive markings." (Think Impressive - Mugs).

    "There is definitely a relationship between depigmentation (white) and changes in behavior. When Belyaev (1979) selected foxes for tameness the animals also developed a piebald coat pattern with areas of depigmented white fur. Depigmentation of skin, hair, and eyes is genetically related to the development of the nervous system. Searle (1968), found a relationship between depigmentation and deafness in several rodent species. In deer mice, a relationship between the amount of white pigmentation on the head and deafness was shown by Cowling et al. (1994). The mice also had ataxia (staggering) and retinal problems, and mice with the most extensive white areas were more likely to be deaf.
    Variant-Waddler is a neurological mutant strain of mice that are hyperactive and deaf, and display an abnormal circling behavior."- Grandin.

    "Highly depigmented or albino animals are rare in nature. When they do occur, the animals generally have difficulty surviving in the wild. One brief reference in Science by Minckler and Pease (1938) refers to a colony of albino rats living under feral conditions. These rats inhabited an area at a local dump in Montana. The exact source of these animals is unknown, but it was presumed that students from the local university released them. Abundant food, water, shelter, and a lack of predators created a sheltered environment suitable for an albino colony to survive." - Grandin

    In the last 100 years, only 12 white tigers have been spotted in the wild in India. Most white tigers can be traced back to a tiger named "Mohan" born in 1951. He was orphaned when those who found and captured him in Rewa, India, shot his mother and three orange siblings. When Mohan grew up, the Maharajah bred him to Begum, a normal orange female. They had three litters of normal colored offspring that inherited the recessive white gene from their father Mohan" Feline Conservation Federation.

  20. I had an Arab gelding when I was a kid that was chestnut sabino. At the time, I was embarrassed about his spot. I had no idea what sabino was. I would be interested in knowing your thoughts on the sabino.

  21. Heather, at the Drafts with Dots blog, did a very comprehensive series of posts last summer on equine color genetics. As anonymous said early on, it can get very tedious, unless you really want to learn it. The series starts at:
    Links to further posts are to one side of the page, allowing you to go to a specific pattern if you want, though her discussion builds from the basics (red or black), modifiers (shade, sooty, pangare--whatever that is), to the dilutes (cream, dun, roan, gray, etc.), to the spotted patterns (pinto, appaloosa).
    It's one of the better explanations I've seen.

  22. write a book!! The chronicles of the $700 pony started on the Chronicle of the Horse forum- now she's written a 2nd book. With your readers and other horse blogs and forums, it would sell!

  23. an APHA horse is a breed, with color requirements for regular registry, but is a bloodline breed as you must have one paint parent.

    As others have said, when you breed for one characteristic, no matter what that is, you are risking all sorts of other heritable factors. The other side of hat coin is when you breed *away* from one characteristic (HERDA comes to mind right off). Those who say never breed an H/n horse, sometimes forget that when you toss out that Herda gene you may also be tossing out the gene that puts a great foot on a horse or a terrific temperament or life long soundness. Genetics is a fascinating subject, that is incredibly complex.

  24. First of all, I'm excited to get more posts from you!

    I think you should do a series of books about the horses in your life. I'm sure you could create entire books about Mort, Tally, etc. They could be relatively short and if you made them teen and adult friendly, I bet they'd be a big hit. At the very least you could do a collection of short stories, each one about a different horse.

    I'd love to see the Mind Meld blog. I think its an awesome idea!

  25. Thanks for the input you guys and the Kindle reviews have been fantastic.
    One more point on why I consider APHA a color organization, not a breed...if they don't have color, they are "breeding stock," show career and value is all shot to hell. Since there is such a high incidence of solid color and the dice is rolled again and again to get those spots I can't go with this is a separate breed.
    These horses aren't culled for genetic diseases, poor performance, how many legs they have or anything BUT a lack of color..

  26. BOOK!BOOK!BOOK! Till then I will check out the blog on Amazon, if I can figure out how to do the technology. Good luck!

  27. LOL my response was too long. 1/2:


    Hmm. I must have misrepresented my trainer somehow. I think you somehow have the impression that I pay her to say "Haha your horse is a paint and she's stupid so we can't train her." That couldn't be further from the case. When I started trying to fix her (and myself) I went through 3 people who actually told me I needed to beat her, I needed to send her to a cowboy, she's unsafe, etc, etc. My trainer simply said "She's green and confused and you aren't riding her properly which is making the situation worse."

    This is the mare that used to offload me at least once or twice a month and bite my leg when I asked her to move. Now we trail ride on a loose rein and show locally in WP. What my trainer is referring to, I think, are her little "blonde" moments. Like, we'll pass 4 or 5 houses with dogs that hit the fence barking, and the 6th dog spooks her. Or, when prepping for out last show, she apparently forgot what clippers were and danced around like she had never been clipped before. Or, as in this las example out on the trail... Let me clarify. Lic didn't buck and bolt like "Oh, I'm scared," she pulled this number, which she had done before, throwing one good hard buck that trying to bugger off whichever way she wanted. I can tell the difference between her being a snot and being scared, but I can see the way I wrote it that it looked like I meant she spooked.

    Please understand too, that my riding was so terrible before I started with this trainer, that I was causing a lot of issues. Think, the mare spooks, I grip with calves and go fetal, mare bucks me off. As I learn to be a better rider, the spooks become fewer, are more manageable when they do happen, and yes, I am learning to communicate calm and safe to her through my demeanor and using my seat, rather than tensing up and grabbing her mouth when something potentially scary comes along.

  28. 2/2:

    Does she have some beliefs I may not agree with? Sure, she has certain beliefs about blue eyes, pig eyes, white feet, paints, etc... that I have been told are old wive's tails. But I have to just acknowledge that she learned from people who probably taught her those things, she's been in the business a long time, and she's likely seen things that confirm her beliefs, so I sure am not going to challenge it. At the end of the day she just has a joke about my mare and tells me to be understanding with her because that's her personality. She has a preference for certain breeds that she showed growing up, but I have no doubt that she loves my mare and wouldn't treat her differently because of her breed.

    I guess what I have trouble with is, whether her belief about Paints having a tendency to have poorer breeding programs that sometimes produce poorer minds/conformation (honestly I can see where that is coming from, you yourself pointed out in your original post what goes wrong breeding for color...) is valid or not... what's so different between that and the belief that certain lines of QH are more likely to blow up and buck their rider off? Your example is more specific, limited to a bloodline and not just a breed, but... isn't it the same sort of thing? A belief that can't be proven but is reinforced by personal experience? You even are saying things that would reinforce her point of view on paints: "These horses aren't culled for genetic diseases, poor performance, how many legs they have or anything BUT a lack of color."

    My mare was found in a kill pen at her dam's side. Dam had papers, my mare didn't. So the story goes, her sire was black and white and supposed to throw color... and Licorice is sorrel with minimal white. We believe they may have been dumped, without papers on Lic, because she turned out the wrong color and the breeders didn't want her attached to the stud's name. Of course that's just a hypothesis, it could be any numer of reasons. I know her dam has the same sort of personality, just a tendency to be fine, fine, fine, OMG SCARY THING, fine again.

    I'm getting off track and writing a book. But. I think that breed stereotypes do exist for certain reasons, certain breeds tend to be hotter, have talent at certain disciplines, etc. Why someone having a certain belief about a breed that you yourself are calling a "color" registry bothers you so much is kind of perplexing to me, whether you agree with her belief or not. Because I think someone could make the same assumptions about you for not liking, what line was it? Hancock?

    In any case, I realize I may sound defensive... I just wanted to clear the air. I'm not stupid and I wouldn't pay someone who didn't like my horse nor would I continue to pay someone I didn't trust and didn't see results from.

  29. I'm glad you are back. :O)

  30. Amy- If you like your horse keep her. If you don't, sell her. If you like your trainer keep her. If you don't, ride somewhere else. If you ask me a question, be prepared for my answer. I almost feel like you WANT me to say she's bad because she's a paint. I can't. She may be bad because of poor breeding. She may be bad because of poor training. She may be bad because you're a poor match.
    She is not bad because she is a paint, because Paint is a COLOR.
    My mare is known to be explosively spooky. It's a pain on the trail, but exactly what I want in a cow horse. It's been bred into her. It is what I wanted. She is a spectacular horse.Spooking is not a color. That's all I've got.

  31. Glad you're back, and I'm very keen for the mind melding! I'm starting a youngster with cross tying issues and would love some advice. I've just started riding with a great, kind-to-horses, Western trainer having ridden English all my life and it's re-invigorated my horse sense.

    I don't have a kindle, but I'll leave a review anyway if it's possible. Love the blog.

  32. Huh. I'm not sure what gave you the impression I wanted you to agree with a certain point of view either... Never said I didn't want an answer but it seemed like something I said must have given you an impression I didn't mean to... And my attempt to clear it up just seems to annoy you... So whatever. I'm honestly sorry I said anything at all.

  33. Definitely an interesting read Mugs! I've had my own similar feeling about QH v. Paints, but many of the paint/qh people I've met will argue until they're blue in the face that the two are totally different... based mostly on anecdotal evidence from what I've seen.

    As far as the genetics go, I'm a geek. I adore the genetic side of the story, and the term overo drives me a little bonkers since it can refer to multiple patterns that occur as the result of different genes. But that's a different rant altogether!

    Re: White tigers, both you and the responding post I read are right. The issue is inbreeding, however the inbreeding is a result of trying to select FOR white as a colour.

    I can also attest to the foolishness of breeding horses specifically for colour... my gelding is a giant moose-shaped draft cross who's tobiano, buckskin and dun. You can guess why he was created, however even the pretty colouring does not distract from his wonky conformation and the fact he'll never be more than a mediocre ride.

  34. Also, what about a Palomino colored Paint bred? We have one here, Jetalito blood lines.

  35. I'm glad you are back Mugs. Sure have missed your posts.

  36. I love this! I'm going to school for equine genetics and I had a teacher dumb it down and sum it all up beautifully.

    In reference to color breeds vs breeds.

    Color cannot be a breed because they do not breed true. Most the time you cannot take 2 paints and produce a paint, same with palomino. Also there are no conformational and behavior attributes as you would find in a breed. You say Arab to someone, you can picture the face, build, temperament etc. You tell someone you have a Paint, Dun, Buckskin, Palomino..all you can see is a color. You have no idea of anything else that characterizes a breed.

    This article has made me a follower of your blog.

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