More examples of appaloosa color shifting

ColorShiftTypical

I have been busy with work on the upcoming book, but I wanted to share some good examples of the color shifting found in some horses with the Leopard Complex (Lp) mutation. Appaloosa shows are less common than Paint shows in this area, so I was glad when one was scheduled for the Garrison Arena in nearby Clemson, South Carolina on a weekend that I was free to attend.

The mare above is a shade of warm pewter gray that is very common in appaloosas. I would expect her to test black (E_aa) and negative for dilutions, just as my mare does. What is interesting is that not all black appaloosas end up looking like this. At the same show, there was a jet black leopard. Just why the color shifts on some, but not all, is not yet known, though it does not seem necessary for there to be a true dilution gene present for it to occur.

SnowcapFeet

The change in this guy is more subtle. He might be mistaken for a sun-faded black horse, but look closely at his lower legs. They do not look black, nor do they have the reddish or  yellowish tones that are more typical of sunburnt hair. Instead they have a dark chocolate tone. In my experience, that “off” color is even more noticeable in person – especially in natural light.

That brings me to the last horse. This mare may well be chestnut, but I would not be entirely surprised if she was in fact black-based. Her odd tone is present to an extent in this photo, but it was more obvious in person. She would certainly be an interesting one to test.

BaseColorQuestion

I would also add that all three of these horses are probably homozygous, and the last two images are good shots to show how homozygous horses have shell-colored hooves on their unmarked feet. My own mare is heterozygous, and as her images (linked above) show she is actually more diluted in color than the first two of these. Whatever causes the shifting, it does not seem to be influenced by whether or not the horse is homozygous for Lp.

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5 Responses to More examples of appaloosa color shifting

  1. mckatie July 9, 2013 at 10:08 am #

    My mare changes a bit every year. She was born solid red; with the Appy, signs; lightly mottled mouth, striped hooves and the scelera eyes . Then her coat changed to chocolate,then to a sort of palomino colour , now her pattern has emerged from her face to all over her body..

  2. chiere July 9, 2013 at 11:51 am #

    I have an excellent example of a color shifted Lp mare. Her dam was a black leopard from a stallion who was EE and who delivered 5 foals and has never had a red one. And her sire is a Friesian who was tested EE. So, she has a good chance of being EE herself. She was born black as pitch with just a few snowflakes on her rump. By the time she was a yearling she was already very bronzey. Now at 7 years old she is completely light bronze with black spots over her hips and with those few white spots on top of her rump.She’s also very metallic. It’s pretty!

    Here’s a picture of her when she was 2 1/2. It’s off Facebook, so if this doesn’t work let me know and I’ll try something else.
    https://fbcdn-sphotos-f-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-prn1/34836_10150139543853677_7129398_n.jpg

  3. chiere July 9, 2013 at 11:54 am #

    I have an excellent example of a color shifted Lp mare. Her dam was a black leopard from a stallion who was EE and who delivered 5 foals and has never had a red one. And her sire is a Friesian who was tested EE. So, she has a good chance of being EE herself. She was born black as pitch with just a few snowflakes on her rump. By the time she was a yearling she was already very bronzey. Now at 7 years old she is completely light bronze with black spots over her hips and with those few white spots on top of her rump.She’s also very metallic. It’s pretty!

    Here’s a picture of her when she was 2 1/2. It’s off Facebook, so if this doesn’t work let me know and I’ll try something else.
    https://fbcdn-sphotos-f-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-prn1/34836_10150139543853677_7129398_n.jpg

  4. responsiblehorsebreeder July 9, 2013 at 6:03 pm #

    Hi Kathy Great post.

    I am wondering whether using the term “shifting” tends to confuse?

    Shifting to me, tends to make me think of the spots or blankets shifting in location on the body, which they can do on some appaloosas.

    I am wondering if a better term could be used? I know “fading” doesn’t quite make it, possibly “altering” would be closer.

    Sorry I can’t think of something better at the moment.

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  5. Leah July 11, 2013 at 8:24 pm #

    I keep meaning to send you pictures of my friend’s POA mare Alice. She’s registered as a dun which is definitely wrong- probably a case of someone thinking the line of color in her snowcap was a dorsal stripe. We think she’s a sooty buckskin, but she’s very bronze so she might have some real color shifting going on. This picture (http://d.pr/i/aU9m) shows her in soft light where you can see some of the bronze color on her legs especially. She has a lot of red in her mane and tail, which you can also see here: http://d.pr/i/5MaS. Her dad was a palomino snowcap but her mom’s color is unknown. The foal in the pictures (her first!) is a palomino snowcap as well, by a palomino Welsh stallion.