Unusual appaloosa


While searching through some old binders, I found some photographs of an unusual Appaloosa pattern. I apologize for the rather poor quality of the images, which were taken in a poorly lit arena using a traditional (non-digital) camera. I’ve tried to bump up the brightness without losing too much in the way of detail. Apparently the horse was never in the right position to get a good side shot, which is a shame.

He caught my eye because of how abruptly his coat transitioned to the dark areas of his pattern. Also unusual was how rounded the edges were. This is especially visible on his face and neck.


The other unusual aspect of his pattern was the “bleached edge” effect on some of the roaned areas. You can see one on the bridge of his nose, both in the picture above and this one from the front.


The above shot also shows how the roaned areas appear to “pool” around the dark parts of his legs. Dark leg marks like this are pretty common on appaloosas, but the nature of the roaning, which looks a lot like fleabiting on a grey, all in discreet areas (with those oddly rounded edges) while areas of relatively clear bay remain is quite odd. If this was an artistic representation, and not a real horse, I would have said the artist needed to work on more realistic transitions  on the legs.



On both the leg shots, the faintly whiter outline on the roan areas can be seen. The blanket pattern on his hindquarters, though, is pretty normal. I’ll include a close shot, since the spots show a really nice contrast between the two different types of halo-spotting. The darkest spots have halos that are made up of a mix of white and colored hairs, while the centers are colored. The centermost spot has a halo created by dark skin underneath white hair. The center of that spot is a mix of white and colored hair, though elsewhere there are spots that have dark skin halos and purely colored hair centers.

These photos are probably close to 15 years old now, and I never did learn the name of the horse. If anyone recognizes him, please drop me a note. I’d love to be able to look into his background.


14 Responses to Unusual appaloosa

  1. Beth from Georgia October 10, 2012 at 9:31 am #

    Weird coloring, for sure! Wonder what his conformation was like – hard to tell in these shots.

  2. lilyponychris October 10, 2012 at 9:49 am #

    This is an appaloosa who tested N/N for tobiano and DNA confirmed her appaloosa parents (no breeding shed mix-up). They don’t get much wilder than her!


  3. Amie Ebert October 10, 2012 at 10:32 am #

    The horse looks to me like he was Mighty Bright or similar breeding. I have seen that pattern before, when LP+blanket is mixed with Overo…though I wonder on some if Overo has taken the place of the normal PATN gene for blanket… The LP gene activates and redistributes the normal patterning of the overo gene so that it is heavier on the rump, causing something like this.
    If you think this is interesting you should see what LP does to Sabino LOL

    • Amie Ebert October 10, 2012 at 10:42 am #

      Duhh, I just realized a really good example of Overo + LP, Look at a stallion named Dreamfinder, and look really closely at his jowls… as well as many of his foals, and you will see the same sort of patterning the fellow you showed exhibits, in fact based on the timeline you gave I am willing to bet that the horse you found is one of Dreamfinders foals..

      • The Equine Tapestry October 13, 2012 at 5:39 am #

        Yes, Dreamfinder horses are prone to what I think of as “cloudy” roaning. That is, the leopard complex roaning migrates around and concentrates in spots, like clouds. This horse has some of that same effect, but the outline is more distinct and more uniformly rounded that I have seen in others, which is what makes him odd to my eyes.

        I am curious, though, which overo pattern you believe Dreamfinder carried? Or did you mean Frame, which some people call “Overo”?

        • Amie Ebert October 13, 2012 at 10:27 am #

          I am not entirely sure which overo he carried, but I do suspect LWO… Getting appy people to test for such things is very hard as you can well imagine.. Also remember that because of what the LP gene does it is very hard to go off of phenotype. Heck it is hard on some to tell what base coat they actually have without genetic testing. It might be possible that this is a combination of splash and LWO.. which is what is making it more distinct… I think the other one that I saw that looked like this was a Dreamfinder Son out of a heavily bred Mighty Bright mare. (this was a stallion that I can no longer find on the web)
          Splash plus LP does have a different look to it (look at the aforementioned example of mighty bright for examples of that), as does tobiano plus LP… which is very common in miniatures.

  4. eaequestrian October 10, 2012 at 8:27 pm #

    How bizarre!

  5. jamie coughlin October 10, 2012 at 8:30 pm #

    This horse looks like he might have the “Dreamfinder” pattern which seems to be slightly different from the PATN 1,2 and 3 normally seen. Sheilah named it that after of course Dreamfinder. It isn’t known what causes the difference. It could be a different pattern (relatively rare) or it could be a gene that affects patterns. He is really cool. The roaning could be Re-pigmentation or it might be that he is body clipped. When you body clip them the pattern looks different, you’ll see more roaning and shadowing and it might also round off some edges. Whatever is going on, he sure was a cool horse!!

    • The Equine Tapestry October 13, 2012 at 5:42 am #

      He was not clipped, or at least not recently. My pictures are poor, but the coloring on him is in the coat and not the skin (or I guess more accurately, not just the skin, since you can see the skin under the coat in some places). I suspect the dark ticks inside the white areas are repigmentation. At least, that is what they looked like to me.

  6. Bif October 12, 2012 at 7:03 pm #

    I think he looks like the “had an infection” horses, or the Argentine spots…

    He just seem so much like fleabitten grey but obviously the bay rules that out. Chimera of bay and gray?

    • The Equine Tapestry October 13, 2012 at 5:44 am #

      Sometimes appaloosas get spots of color (called repigmentation spots) that look a lot like fleabites. Since the underlying skin is often dark, or at least partially dark, this can make the roan areas look a lot like fleabitten grey. I will try to post a close-up of an appaloosa coat that shows this really well.

  7. nightingalestud October 13, 2012 at 2:46 am #

    Hi there

    I would hazard a guess and say that this coat pattern is built up of some Appaloosa, some paint and some grey with ticking. The ticking is a dead give-away for grey and the clearly marked areas of this seem to lie on patches. It would be interesting to see the mane and tail hair.



    • The Equine Tapestry October 13, 2012 at 5:47 am #

      I do not remember the mane color, but the tail was black. That’s probably because the horse was young, and a lot of younger appaloosas have dark tails. In my experience, a lot of them silver out a bit with age though. (The lighter appearance on the last photo is the sunlight behind his tail.)

  8. Leah Patton January 2, 2013 at 3:17 pm #

    Looking over this horse, the roaning/ticking isn’t unusual – the dark pigmented areas are the unusual part. Having foal photos versus adult photos would show if the dark areas on his neck were mismarks, which looks to be the case.