Bend Or spots



(Previously posted on November 8, 2008 on the Blackberry Lane Studio Blog.)

In the comments on this post, I mentioned getting updated pictures of Prince, the palomino with all the Bend Or spots. I thought that he was more heavily spotted than last year, and after comparing earlier pictures I believe he is. These aren’t the best pictures since I didn’t have time to take him out of his shady pasture. He’s also a bit of a love sponge, so getting far enough away from him to get his whole body is always a trick. (I have almost as many fuzzy close-ups of his nose as I do of Sprinkles.)

In those comments, Sarah mentioned that the Bend Or spot on her Arabian, Dar, had the same three-dimensional quality that Sprinkle’s appaloosa spots have. I had a theory that perhaps the black hair grew at a different rate. But Prince’s spots seem to disprove this idea because they are flush with the rest of his coat. Here are some close-ups.


a spot on his shoulder

a large spot on his right hip

another large one, this time inside his thigh



So perhaps it isn’t about the color of the hair, but rather the density of the pigment. Appaloosa spots are densely pigmented. This is particularly obvious when an appaloosa has self-colored spots on a dark background. Many Bend Or spots have that same appearance, and those might appear three-dimensional in the winter. Prince’s spots are, however, clusters of black hairs mixed in with his normal color. Some of the spots have a higher percentage of black hairs than others, but they are all something a of a mix. If I had to guess, I would think that Prince was genetically a sooty palomino but that something was directing the black hairs to form spots rather than more usual patterns (dappling or all-over dispersion).

Rebecca Turner sent me some pictures of another odd expression of sooty palomino, and I’ll see if I can’t get permission to post those, too. He was another really unusual horse!

[Update:  The  pattern of spots on Prince remained pretty stable from the time these pictures were taken.  Sadly, he passed away earlier this year from colic.]

, ,

7 Responses to Bend Or spots

  1. Alissa Hoerdt February 24, 2012 at 11:48 am #

    My friend turned me onto your blog about a month ago and I have been slowly reading all of your posts.. This one and the ‘more sooty oddities’ has struck personal interest with me. I have a palomino mare who has a handful of bends or spots markings on her body, but also has a larger rectangle patch of dark consecrated hairs on the front of her right hock being maybe 4 inches long and 2 inches wide.. That mark has been a mystery to me, now I am wondering if perhaps the bend marks and that patch are all clues to her being a sooty.. I only got her in october so I have only seen her light winter coat, I have been told she gets really dark in the summer.. I am now very interested in seeing her summer coat and wondering if perhaps I have a sooty palomino.. How very interesting..

    • The Equine Tapestry February 24, 2012 at 2:02 pm #

      Hi Alissa, and welcome to the blog! If you ever get a chance to snap some photos of your mare in winter versus summer coat, I would love to see them. One thing that has surprised me, now that I am around a few palominos on a regular basis, is how much they do change with the seasons.

  2. Alissa Hoerdt February 24, 2012 at 4:30 pm #

    I would be happy to send some pictures comparing her winter to summer coats. I have been told that she also has a fall coat as well, being a deep palomino in the summer, she was a very dappled palomino in the late fall which transitioned to her light winter coat that she has now.. Time will tell to see what the former owner was talking about with how her summer coat is, I was never shown any pictures to see how dark ‘dark’ was.. I will email some pictures of her summer, fall and winter coats (and possible spring if its different too!) to you once her summer coat grows in.

    • The Equine Tapestry February 24, 2012 at 4:36 pm #

      That would be wonderful! I’d love to do a post on seasonal changes, so the more pictures the better. And the palominos at our barn do that same thing with the intense dappling in the fall. They aren’t really dappled at any other time, but most of them do it then. I find it fascinating because they aren’t sooty palominos, and the dappling is very much palomino-toned rather than an overlay of blackish hairs.

      • Alissa Hoerdt February 24, 2012 at 8:37 pm #

        I would love to read a post on seasonal coats! This is my first ‘colourful’ horse (owned a light grey and a black in the past which there was minimal change between the winter and summer coats) so seasonal coats are all new for me. I’ve gone back and looked at the few pictures I took when I went to look at her in mid october, I just haven’t developed my horse colour eye to see if her dapples look sooty or palomino toned. Do you have a post on sooty (besides the ‘more sooty oddities’)? I havent found one yet in my readings.. That would be interesting to read too, I really know nothing about sooty lol..
        You can get a preview of my mare ‘Tawny’ on all breeds pedigree, her registered name is Tuf Hollywood Lady. The picture I have there was taken at the end of november. Shes a little bit lighter now and less noticeable dappling. Interestingly enough, at least to me, all of her bend or spots markings have lightened along with her winter coat, though that patch on her leg I mentioned is still as dark as what it was in october.

  3. Ann Thomas April 22, 2013 at 10:15 am #

    Hi, here via a link at the COTH forums. I am wondering if palominos are more likely to have Bend Or spots. Or palomino Morgans. My mare, Mythic Feronia, came to me at age 9 with three of these spots, and now has many more. They disappear in the winter, for the most part, but every spring she sheds out and has a few more. Most recently they’ve been showing up on her legs, and she has a little dribble of smaller black spots down her right butt cheek as of last year, and a few below her withers this year. There’s also a well-known palomino Morgan stallion, Ancan True Colors, who has them. He is lighter than my mare so they stand out more. They are not closely related, but the color in both of them traces down from a smoky black stallion, Night Tide.

    • equinetapestry December 5, 2013 at 11:47 am #

      Hello Ann! Sorry for the delayed response. It seems to me that creams show sootiness more vividly – in all its forms – than other colors. And it does seem that the false-leopard sooty pattern like the one here is something specific to palominos. The upcoming book will have a photo of a very dramatic Miniature with that kind of sooty pattern.

      Morgans are particularly interesting because sootiness is so common in the breed, and many have the most dramatic forms of it. I suspect that because dark shades have long been favored by Morgan breeders, they have been effectively selecting for both dark shades and the sooty modifier.