Gulastra’s Plume

Plume1

Although bay horses with the silver dilution look a lot like a bay horse with a flaxen mane and tail, not all bay horses that have lighter manes and tails are necessarily red silvers. There are other reasons a bay horse may have a lighter mane or tail. The next few posts will show some of these red silver mimics.

The first of these is what Arabian breeders often call a Gulastra Plume. The trait takes its name from the Arabian stallion Gulastra. Gulastra himself was a chestnut with a self-colored tail, but flaxen tails were said it was common on his bay descendants. Like a lot of color variations named for specific horses, the “founder” is not necessarily the horse responsible for the original mutation. It is more accurate to say they brought attention to the trait. So not all horses with a Gulastra Plume are descendants of Gulastra. Some have no known Arabian blood at all, like the stout pony at the top of this post.

Plume2

In other breeds, it is sometimes called silvertail. Compared to an ordinary bay tail, the tail does look silver, but the lighter hairs often have a warm, flaxen tone rather than a cool, silvery one. Some silver-tailed bays – like this guy – have reduced black points on the legs, and flaxen hairs on the lower parts of the leg are not uncommon. This can make them even more likely to be mistaken for a bay silver, but the dark tones on the points are truly black and not a diluted chocolate. It is also possible to find silver tails on bays that have fully black points, though the reduced black seems to be more common.

Most horses with a Gulastra Plume do not have significantly lighter manes. This guy has a few white hairs interspersed in what is an otherwise fully black mane. From a distance, his mane looked black. Were he a silver (even an older silver), I would expect to see some hint of flaxen at least at the forelock.

Plume3

Here is a comparison shot of this guy’s tail (to the far right) and two of the previously posted red silvers. Notice how the variegation is a bit different with  the two types of tails. Silver dilute tails shift in tone in a way that reminds me of ombré textiles (and the current human hair trend of the same name), whereas the Gulastra Plume is more of a mixture of the two colors.

SilvervsGulastra

That said, there may well be quite a bit of variation in the tails of horses with a Gulastra Plume. To my knowledge, it has not been formally studied, and as the posts over the next few days will show, the situation with flaxen and silver manes and tails on bays is not entirely clear. It is quite possible that there are multiple factors producing similar results. For that reason, it is often the color of the legs (chocolate rather than black) that is often more reliable when trying to identify bay silvers.

, , , ,

5 Responses to Gulastra’s Plume

  1. Nicole Jory November 26, 2012 at 11:43 am #

    would the second horse not be a wild bay, which is often the cause of silver in manes and tails? I have seen gulastra plume in mane “sabino” looking horses regardless of base color, and then I have seen the lighter manes and tails in the wild bays and that guy looks more “wild bay” than gulastra plume?

    • The Equine Tapestry November 26, 2012 at 2:26 pm #

      He may be a wild bay, though the amount and even mix of the silvering in his tail relative to his mane makes me wonder if wild bay is the full answer. I would also add that he is an older pony, so chances are that tail has darkened over time, and that as a young horse the contrast was much more pronounced. He also has flaxen hairs mixed through his fetlocks, but the rest of his body is pretty uniformly dark and red. That is something I have seen in drafts before, and I have wondered if it is separate from “normal” wild bay. (I wish I had the foresight to take close-ups of his feet!)

      The whole situation with wild bay and how it relates to flaxen in the tail or the mane or both is an area I would love to see explored in more detail, which was the point I was making towards the end of the post – perhaps not quite clearly. The next post will go into more detail on that, as well as the rather ambiguous nature of “wild” versus “regular” bay.

  2. Claudia February 11, 2013 at 6:37 pm #

    I was watching a horse documentary when I saw what I thought was an interesting horse. A sturdy black warmblood, with stockings and a quite striking silvery tail. The top of the tailbone is shaved, so you can see the hair is also white at the root.
    What would cause this? The horse is not grey, since it doesn’t have a single white hair on his body outside of the markings. He may carry sabino, could that have something to do with it?
    The horse can be seen between 2:15 and 4:54

    • Claudia February 11, 2013 at 6:38 pm #

      and of course i forget the actual URL…

  3. kylie November 21, 2014 at 9:40 pm #

    I have a minature mare with a very distinct gulastras plume , it is my understanding its from the sabino gene, she has just passed it on to her latest filly foal.