More appaloosa color shifts


I apologize for the delay in getting these images up. I had hoped to slip them in before I got caught up trying to meet a few deadlines, but that did not work out as planned. Posts to this blog don’t really follow a set schedule, but I suspect they will once again be a bit erratic as I try really hard to finish the revisions to the book. (Yes, I did decided to revise the sections on splashed white to reflect the current studies.)

These are more examples of the kind of color shift seen in some black appaloosas. As I mentioned in the previous post, many – but not all – black appaloosas have a base color that is diluted to a pewter-bronze color. The elderly fewspot gelding in the picture above was mentioned in the comments section of the previous post. Colt was owned by my friend Marge Para, who said he had been registered as a red roan. I suspect a lot of these horses end up registered that way. Here is a close up of Colt’s feet showing a color very similar to that of my mare.


Here is Colt’s lower leg coloring alongside the legs from the previous post. The tone is very similar.


Here are a few more images of an Appaloosa that has this same kind of hard-to-describe body coloring. Although the testing status is not known, it matches the tone seen in other color-shifted black appaloosas enough that I would suspect her of being black rather than dark chestnut.



This one is another difficult color to classify. Because this horse has areas that are more red-gold in tone than pewter-bronze, I suspect he is genetically brown or dark bay.


Here is a face shot that shows the reddish-gold on the end of the nose, contrasting with the more chocolate tones of much of the rest of his coat. On a  brown non-appaloosa those chocolate areas would be black Рor at least have a lot of black shading.


Horses like this one, where there are red tones along with cooler, chocolate tones can be especially hard to identify. Many silver dilutes on brown or dark bay can be like this, too. What often makes them stand out compared to a liver chestnut is the discordant warm and cool tones, with the warm tones usually falling where a dark bay or brown horse would be red-gold. With appaloosa patterns, this is even harder to see (particularly in pictures) because the roaning can make areas appear brighter when in fact it is caused by white hairs and not a change in actual color.

I have to thank Kimberley Smith for sharing her photos. I am always grateful for permissions to use photos on the blog, since multiple images are great for showing the range of a color or pattern.

I also mentioned the well-known diluted mare Ava Minted Design in the comments. I decided to save her for a future post, since her situation is a little unique.

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2 Responses to More appaloosa color shifts

  1. dar March 20, 2012 at 2:13 pm #

    Have you contacted anyone doing the Appaloosa research to help you clarify what exactly your genetically seeing?

    • The Equine Tapestry March 20, 2012 at 2:59 pm #

      I am a long-time supporter of the Appaloosa Project. I would really encourage others interested in the subject to subscribe to their Electronic Classroom, since there is no better place to learn about the latest research on the subject.

      Color shifting gets discussed there from time to time. At the moment there are bigger topics to research – like developing the test for Lp – but hopefully the mystery of why some black appaloosas are diluted will eventually be solved.