Unusual cream dilute



I have seen a few double-dilute foals with unusual dark patches recently, so I was happy when Jess Aisthorpe gave me permission to run the images she took of her day-old cream dilute filly. The patches on her body are not from being wet or dirty, but are a deeper color than the rest of her coat.


The largest area of dark hair covers her left shoulder, but she has smaller patches on both sides of her body and her face.



Her markings are very similar to those found on the smoky cream Morgan, Prairie Hill Apache. To date, the other examples of these darker cream patches that I have seen have all been on black-based double creams. The color on Jess’ filly is not yet known, but she has a buckskin sire and a grey dam with a palomino grandsire, so it is possible that she is a perlino or smoky cream.

It would be interesting to know if markings like these are visible – and a pronounced – when the horse is mature. So far the examples I have seen were all in very young foals. If you have experience with double-dilutes with markings like these, please share them. It would be interesting to see more examples, especially if there are both foal and adult photos.

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18 Responses to Unusual cream dilute

  1. Kristina Pry January 4, 2013 at 10:17 am #

    I know someone who had a champagne filly with darker patches. She said the only thing she could find info on called them “gold patches.” I believe the filly is 2 or 3 now and the patches aren’t as obvious, but they are still there. I’ll ask for pictures.

    • The Equine Tapestry January 9, 2013 at 6:55 am #

      Thank you so much for sharing those! It is interesting that she is also genetically black, since so far the double-dilutes with this trait that have been tested have been smoky creams.

  2. dakota328 January 4, 2013 at 11:36 am #

    I’ve heard a term very rarely tossed around which describes different colours on the coat, this would be the calico (i’ve heard it being used for both calico palomino and calico buckskin).. I know about the theory that this is liked to tobiano, i.e. the calico tobiano.. but could these be along the same lines?

    • The Equine Tapestry January 9, 2013 at 6:58 am #

      Yes, that is Dr. Sponenberg’s theory and he named it calico. In those horses, the cream dilution appears to “turn off” in random areas on some tobianos.

  3. Nicole January 4, 2013 at 1:39 pm #

    I too have only seen it on foals and the pigment got lighter as they got older.

  4. Dix-Sept January 4, 2013 at 2:05 pm #

    Two foal, last year, in france :
    * Barbara sponté : ( smoky cream )

    ( by Elevage sponté : http://elevagesponte.skyrock.com/ )

    * And Gadym d’Akhal ( smoky cream too ? )

    ( by Elevage d’Akhal : http://www.akhal-teke.biz/plugins/diaporama/diaporama.php?lng=fr&diapo_id=111 )

    And this year :
    *Cartier de My : ( pearl-cream + black ? )

    ( By Haras de My : http://www.harasdemy.com/ )

  5. Danni Kinsel January 4, 2013 at 2:44 pm #

    This might be silly, but could it possibly be an evolutionary thing? Keep a tiny bright white baby somewhat camoflauged from predators?

  6. summerhorse January 4, 2013 at 6:26 pm #

    Hard to say without seeing an adult but maybe these are mismarks like on greys or apps where the genes in that (odd) section didn’t get turned on or off whichever and the dark patches are palomino/buckskin and the light are double dilutes? Or chimeras or like some horses have odd sooty patches (like Chief’s dam may have) here and there.

    • Audrey Crosby McLellan January 6, 2013 at 12:12 am #

      I have to wonder why this only seems to happen on smokey creams though.

      • The Equine Tapestry January 9, 2013 at 7:01 am #

        I have wondered that as well. But then cream does odd things with sooty (also black pigment), too.

  7. Heather Stauffer January 5, 2013 at 11:35 pm #

    posted on your facebook post about this (along with photo links) but Prairie Hill Apache lost his as he aged 🙂

    • The Equine Tapestry January 9, 2013 at 7:01 am #

      Thank you, Heather! I recommend checking out the links Heather posted on the Facebook page.

  8. lyndagraveline January 6, 2013 at 7:57 pm #

    Would this be similar to the ‘merle’ gene in dogs? Looks similar, neat markings! Didn’t know they existed until now, I love you blog 🙂

    • The Equine Tapestry January 9, 2013 at 7:03 am #

      Thank you! I am glad you are enjoying the blog. It is a lot of fun to do, especially when an unusual horse like this leads to the discovery of more that are similar. And this does remind me of how merle looks different on puppies (where the patches are usually much more visible, especially on dilutes) than on adults.

  9. Kristina Pry January 8, 2013 at 3:15 am #

    This is the filly I was talking about. She is a HZ classic champagne.


















    https://sphotos-b.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ash4/386033_4486345196340_921653052_n.jpg (look at the contrast between the foal pic and this one – you would NEVER guess this is the same horse)

    • The Equine Tapestry January 9, 2013 at 11:38 am #

      Kristina, someone on Facebook has said that the owner would not want pictures of the mare included. Can I confirm that she gave those images (or the links to them) to you? I do not want to upset any owners, and while most people do not mind horses included, I want to respect those that do not.

  10. Joy Koritz May 4, 2013 at 3:29 am #

    It looks like the horse could have somatic mutation – there is a genetic test for it! She could also be a chimeric (two embryos fuse together equalling in a strange mesh of colors plus two different DNAs.) There is also a test for that! Please post if you find out! good luck!

  11. Julie Fleming July 4, 2013 at 9:43 am #

    Saw an unusually marked horse this week at a show. Palomino base, with some darker patches, white tail, black/white mane, dorsal stripe, dun factor barring on legs. Any idea what this might be? She is registered as palomino with dun factor.