The sabino influence – spot frequency

In the last post, we had a horse with both the tobiano pattern and a sabino pattern, and looked at what the horse might look like if patterns simply overlaid one another. That’s not, of course, how things work.

Here is one version of how those two patterns might interact.

Here the sabino pattern has added white to the face, but has also broken the original tobiano pattern into smaller pieces.  The pattern still retains a great deal of tobiano character with the rounded spots, but there are more of them and they are smaller.

This type of interaction is visible on these horses.




With each of these, sabino has taken the areas of the tobiano pattern that should be dark, and made them both smaller and more numerous.  Sabino often influences other patterns in this way.

Compare the patterns on those horses to the more simple pattern on these.


PaintShow 153

Reducing size and increasing frequency of spotting is a consistent feature of sabino influence.  To get a better sense of this, assemble a set of tobiano Paint Horse references, and group them into two piles – horses with face white, and horses with nothing more than a star or snip.  Comparing the two groups, the patterns with the sabino influence should appear more complex, with the dark areas more broken up than those without it.

Obviously there are other patterns that put white on the face, but for that breed the numbers are in your favor that most face-marked horses carry some form of sabino.

Sabino does this with other patterns, too. Appaloosas with sabino markings – that is, those with blazes and white feet – often have smaller spots broken up with larger areas of white than appaloosas with solid faces and no white on the legs. The type of pattern many associate with the Appaloosa stallion Prince Plaudit is a good example of this kind of interaction. That is actually what made me think that the earlier Pato horse  might be a manchado despite the fact that the spots across his hindquarter were not as large, nor as rounded, as the ones I had seen on more obvious manchados. That kind of change is something I might expect to see when a pattern is combined with sabino.

In the next post I’ll cover the other way that patterns are often changed when they are paired with sabino, which is laced edges.

, ,

3 Responses to The sabino influence – spot frequency

  1. Sarah MB July 3, 2011 at 2:27 am #

    I really like how you compared the “plain jane” version to the sabino-influenced version. I’d always wondered why some tobianos were so straight-forward while others were more complex. Now I get it! Thanks Lesli!
    Sarah MB

  2. The Equine Tapestry July 3, 2011 at 4:53 am #

    I’m glad it helped, Sarah! Because sabino almost always bumps up the amount of white on a horse, its influence is sometimes called the “sabino boost”. I often think of it as being destructive to dark areas. It smashes them into smaller sections, and then it starts chewing up the edges. 😉 I’ll post the chewing part later today.


  1. It’s all in the timing « The Equine Tapestry - August 5, 2011

    […] spots to start later in development. Certainly this situation calls to mind the kind of changes in spot size and frequency seen in horses with some types of sabino […]