Sabino influence – lacing the edges

The post from yesterday talked about the tendency of sabino to break dark areas of a pattern into smaller, more numerous pieces. The other thing that sabino tends to do is degrade the edges of the other pattern by making them lacey, roany or ragged.

Using the pattern from yesterday, here is an example of how that might look.

The tobiano pattern is still plainly visible, but the edges have become lacy and irregular.  Looking carefully, it’s obvious that this isn’t an overlay of a loud sabino pattern because the irregular areas are concentrated along the edge of what would be a tobiano pattern, instead of the areas associated with sabino.

Here is a horse with this type of sabino influence.


Notice that while he does have lacey markings along the girth – something you could expect on a sabino – the primary direction is upward toward the withers, following the line his tobiano pattern might take.  Meanwhile, there is almost no white under that front armpit or along the belly, which would be the most likely place to look for white on a purely sabino horse.  So the sabino instruction to “add lacey white” has been redirected to follow the pattern edges laid out by the tobiano gene.

And here is a more extreme version of lacing the edges.


The edges aren’t always lacy, though. Sometimes the edges take on more of a ragged, torn appearance. This horse is a good example of that.


(I apologize for the “headless horsewoman”. Since I am only taking pictures for my own reference, I often zoom in to get the horse big in the frame, which means a lop a lot of people off!)

Laced edges are something not only seen when sabino is paired with tobiano, but other patterns as well.  This horse is most likely carrying sabino and frame.


The softened, roany look to the marking on her side is very typical of sabino, yet all four legs are unmarked.  Although not as obvious in this picture, the marking did not extend under the belly either.  The appearance is that of a purely frame pattern with just the outline altered.

And here is a splash overo with laced edges. Notice how the sabino patterning follows the edge here, too.


I should caveat this post with one warning for painters, though. It is true that complex, ragged edges are associated with the presence of sabino and that horses without it have simpler patterns. The edges are more even, but it should be said that even on simple tobianos – and simple splash overos, the other “smooth” edged pattern – that the edges can still have irregularities. Here is a close-up of the brown tobiano mare from the previous post.


The overall impression is still that of a large, fairly even patch – but the up-close look will often show this kind of edge.  (I’ll talk about her roaning in a later post, because that’s not necessarily a sabino trait either!)

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3 Responses to Sabino influence – lacing the edges

  1. Christine Sutcliffe July 3, 2011 at 5:22 pm #

    This is all so facinating – sabino is my favourite of all the white patterns so it’s really interesting to read about it. One thing I was wondering about though – is it sabino that often makes the mane and tail grey? You see it a lot on Clydesdales.

    This isn’t a Clyde (Although I think he’s certainly got some in there somewhere!) but a gelding I rode on holiday a few years back. At the time I didn’t have a clue about patterns and things but looking on him now the pointed socks really give it away.

    Oh and apologies for the hijack but I saw this pony at the same show and wondered what on earth it was – smutty palomino?

  2. The Equine Tapestry July 4, 2011 at 6:35 pm #

    Thanks for those links, Christine!

    A lot of the sabinos in the UK seem to get that silvering in the mane. It happens with the Welshes, too. I have seen it in other breeds, but it sure seems to happen more often with those two breeds (Clydes and Welshes).

    The mountain and moorland breeds also get a fair number of chestnuts with gray manes and tails. There was a really striking Dartmoor like that a few years ago, but mostly (again) it is the Welsh. It probably is the sooty gene, both with the chestnuts and the palominos that have the trait. The recent picture of the Queen with her grandchildren had one like that:

    • Christine Sutcliffe July 5, 2011 at 5:56 am #

      Oh yes, I’d forgotten about that one! Such lovely ponies!