Ponies don’t read

Canal Laurinston4

Rules books, that is.

I think if someone did a word cloud for the manuscript for the horse color book, the top words would all be synonyms for “sometimes”. I know what happens if you use the word always or never when talking about horse color; someone will find one that proves the statement wrong.

Last year some very odd grey horses have surfaced that appeared to break the rules – or at least the range of normal – for that color. The first of those was the PRE stallion Comico IV (more pictures are here), followed by his brother Comico VI. Both stallions turned grey unusually late, and also had a pattern of progression that was a bit odd, too. The white seemed concentrated along the dorsal area, which gave the horses a frosty look.

Recently my friend Elaine Lindelef sent pictures of her Connemara mare’s grandsire, *Canal Laurinston. Like the Comicos, he greyed really late. Elaine thought he was probably 17 when she took those pictures. Pictures of him as a mature stallion (age six) can be seen here and here. In that last photo, white hairs are visible on the bridge of his nose, which is an odd area to begin changing color when the rest of his face is still dark. Even in these photos as an older horse, his muzzle appears unusually dark while the bridge of the nose is really pale.

It is also odd that his tail is so dark while the top is light; most greys turn light on the bottom of the tail first.

Canal Laurinston2

Comico IV also had that same very pale tailhead.

Canal Laurinston3

He is unusual for a grey, but he has relatives that are stranger still. I don’t have permission to post these photos, so links will have to do.

This mare currently being offered for sale is of similar breeding:
Carnaree Betty

And this is one of his daughters:
Wintermist Sweet Shannon
(more pictures are here)

The patterns on the two mares look a great deal like reticulated spotting, which is sometimes called lacing, but it is a lot more extensive than I have seen. It also appears more diffused – like the lines of the spots got blurred –  than the usual laced pattern. The positioning on the first mare, which is strongly towards the forehand, is unusual as well.

It may be that this particular line has both grey (an extremely slow version of it) and lacing, or perhaps there are other as-yet-unidentified modifiers at work. The end result is certainly odd!

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14 Responses to Ponies don’t read

  1. Elaine Lindelef July 5, 2011 at 8:06 pm #

    Canal Laurinston’s owner tells me that Wintermist Sweet Shannon is his only foal to have that pattern, though he has several offspring that have greyed from the top down rather than the bottom up.

    Also, he’s definitely heterozygous for grey, because he has non-grey offspring.

  2. Heidi July 10, 2011 at 12:35 pm #

    I thought the reticulated spotting was from sabino. Is that not correct? I have some photos (I think) of this, if you want to post them. I’ll look and see if I can find them.

  3. Heidi July 10, 2011 at 12:38 pm #

    How is it, the Comico IV website says he’s not grey? Or is this from a different type of greying gene?

  4. The Equine Tapestry July 10, 2011 at 3:17 pm #

    I don’t know of any link between lacing (reticulated spots) and sabino. And from what I understand Comico was tested to carry grey, and has produced grey offspring. Just why he and the Connemara family are greying differently is not known. I should also add that what is happening with the greying may or may not be related to the patterns on the two mares.

  5. Aria July 11, 2011 at 9:30 pm #

    Is there any connection between the darker at the bottom, lighter on top tail on this horse and on the light gray paint mare in a previous post?

  6. The Equine Tapestry July 11, 2011 at 10:08 pm #

    I don’t think they have the same thing because the rest of her greyed so completely, and she was younger than some of the horses in this thread. But I wish I had seen some of these horses before I met her, so I could have asked more questions of her owners.

  7. Simrat August 3, 2011 at 10:23 pm #

    On the website for Comico IV, they say that he is rabicano. Do you see that? I don’t. He looks like he just has this different patter of greying. His color is lovely! It would be interesting to see how he ages.

    • The Equine Tapestry August 4, 2011 at 5:30 am #

      No, I don’t think he’s a rabicano either. He is changing, even if it is slow, and he’s apparently produced grey foals, so I would imagine they now know he is a grey even if the website hasn’t been updated.

  8. Simrat August 4, 2011 at 10:17 am #

    A friend of mine thinks he is sabino. I’m not so sure.

    • The Equine Tapestry August 4, 2011 at 10:38 am #

      I sometimes think that sabino has become the catch-all term that could be more accurately translated as “white markings and roaning that we cannot yet classify”, the same way overo used to be “white patches that we cannot yet classify”.

  9. Simrat August 4, 2011 at 10:18 am #

    That was supposed to be “pattern” not “patter”, bu I guess you figured that out. 😉

    • The Equine Tapestry August 4, 2011 at 10:34 am #

      Spelling is not my strong suit, which is probably why I never noticed. But then my name proves that I come from a family prone to leaving off letters. 😉

  10. Shannon August 31, 2011 at 1:21 am #

    I find it very interesting to see the pictures of Comico IV and his greying pattern. Thank you for posting them. I wished that I had that reference photo of him a few years ago. I entered a model horse for the RESS Challenge class that I painted with a similar greying pattern, and it was considered “in-accurate” for that style of greying. So I repainted it. Now that a real horse has come out of the woodwork with those similar looks, I might try another grey with that appearance in the future.


  1. Reverse dappling progression « The Equine Tapestry - October 4, 2012

    […] In that way, Godiva is reminiscent of some of the odd Connemaras discussed in the earlier post Ponies Don’t Read. (I have it on my to-do list to contact the owner of Wintermist Sweet Shannon for permission to run […]