Appaloosa puzzler


This is Jag, my appaloosa puzzler. I mentioned Jag and what makes him unusual in one of the earliest posts on this blog. That’s because there are aspects of Jag’s pattern that say he is heterozygous for the varnish roan gene. His blanket is most definitely spotted.


And yet his feet, which have no white markings whatsoever, are predominantly shell-colored.


They were recently trimmed in this shot, which is why they are so bright. Here they are a few weeks later. The dark area on the left hind (furthest right in the picture), is not visible in the shot above, since he’s facing the other direction. That one area is a bit darker and more striped, but otherwise the hooves look more like the shell hooves of a homozygous horse.

He also has mottling on his muzzle that I think of as being more typical of homozygous horses – but only one one side!


See how pink and freckled with black the one side is, while the other has the webbing of pink on a dark background? In fact, that area that looks so pink is even roaning out really fast, while the rest of his face – indeed, almost his whole body – shows almost no varnish roaning. The patch of varnish roan can be seen in the picture with his newly trimmed hooves.

Here is a close up of that side, which shows the white hairs along that part of his face really well. (I am sorry to say I didn’t think to take a contrasting picture of his “normal” side!)


Here if a face shot that shows his roan patch pretty well. The only other area he is showing any significant roaning is his tail, which – like the patch on his face – is silvering quite rapidly.

Jag also has mottling around his eyes, though it is not very pronounced. He has a partial blue eye on the right side, too.


Jag is a puzzle to me. I am looking forward to the release of the leopard complex test, because I’d love to test him to see if he is truly heterozygous (as his spots suggest).

Update: Jag was tested when the Leopard Complex test was released, and is heterozygous for Lp. He was also tested for the first three splash genes and frame overo, and all were negative.

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7 Responses to Appaloosa puzzler

  1. Kristin Berkery September 28, 2011 at 11:07 am #

    Maybe he’s a chimera! No really, I have no idea. 😉 He’s a puzzler!

  2. Jamie A. Stine September 28, 2011 at 1:36 pm #

    That’s funny Kristin, i was thinking the same thing!

    Jag is unique, that’s for sure. 🙂

  3. Leah Patton September 28, 2011 at 2:15 pm #

    With that blaze and partial blue eye, I’d wish for a splash test as much as anything else. If he had low-level splash expression, the white hooves could be caused by the white markings of splash… but the marking so low that they just caught the hooves, not the leg. I’d be fairly sure he’ll come up LPlp,

    Regardless of genotype, he’s a cute pony!

  4. The Equine Tapestry September 28, 2011 at 2:26 pm #

    I have suspected he’s got one copy of splash, given the face marking and his eye. (And I’d sure love to have that test available!)

    I’ve seen horses with white that caught part of the hoof. In fact, Sprinkles has one foot with a broad stripe that I suspect is a marking that didn’t quite make it to her leg. I’ve just never seen it include the whole hoof without hitting the leg at all.

    He is definitely odd! 🙂

  5. jamie coughlin September 28, 2011 at 4:13 pm #

    With the spots he is definitely heterozygous. With Apps it seems to be like the pinto paint thing, all paints are pintos but not all pintos are paints. While homozygous horses almost always have clear hooves and heavier mottling this does not mean that heterozygous horses cannot have that too. They just usually don’t. But that heavily striped hoof would not likely (likely) be seen on a homozygous horse. You may see some striping on a homozygous horse but usually it is like one stripe on a hoof and hoof striping can come and go. However I’m sure somewhere out there is a few spot leopard with normal striped hooves!! =) Just to make liars out of us. Likewise mottling can increase or decrease with age and season as the varnish pattern progresses. But I’ve seen heavily mottled heterozygotes too.

    Here is a pic. that sort of (sorry for the lack of resolution!) shows the spots on a snowcap that are created by the white pattern are roaning out while the true spots, one to the upper right and one lower to the rear and left stay dark.

    Here is one that shows his clear hooves:

    Here is one that shows his mottling. It darkened and lightened a bit with seasons and age:

    And this one shows his spot on the other side:

  6. jamie coughlin September 28, 2011 at 4:14 pm #

    That pony’s face does remind me a lot of the Mighty Bright horses!

  7. Threnody September 28, 2011 at 10:11 pm #

    I look forward to if you test him for LP! ^_^ Can’t wait for the splash test too.