Frosted Buckskins

FrostMan

I am still sorting through some of the old photos I have, trying to remember what has been posted (as opposed to “meant to post but never did”). If I repeat something, please forgive me - though I would imagine that if after three years I cannot remember posting about a subject, maybe readers have forgotten it, too!

Recent conversations about flaxen-maned bays reminded me that I had meant to post these pictures of buckskins with frosted manes and tails. As the photo above shows, the hairs are pale flaxen or white. It is harder to tell because the pulled mane on this Paint gelding is so short, but most of the time the pale hairs are short, which gives the mane a frosted look. Pale hairs are also seen at the tailhead. This next picture shows the distinctive “V” shape that is typical of the frosting on a buckskin’s tail. This shot also shows more clearly how the white on the mane is concentrated at the base of the neck.

FrostTail5028

The frosting on the tail looks quite different from that kind often seen on duns. With a dun, the paler hairs are usually found on the sides of the tailhead, in part because the dark pigment of the dorsal usually runs down the core of the tail.

DunTail

Both frosting on buckskins and on duns looks a bit different from the white “coon tail” seen on some of the white ticking and sabino patterns. With this picture you can see both the paler hairs to the sides of the tail (relative to the deep red dorsal stripe) and the white hairs that are part of the patterning.

DunCoon6701

Frosting is more common in duns than in buckskins, but it is not always pronounced. This dun mare has very little contrast – just a few paler hairs – between the core of her tail and the sides.

DunTailhead

So what causes frosting on a buckskin? Most likely it is the Cream (Cr) gene turning what would be paler red guard hairs to a pale flaxen or white. This photo shows the similarity between the arrangement of the pale hairs on a light bay and those on a frosted buckskin.

CreamFrost

Here is the same bay Paint Horse mare that is pictured above. She has the reduced intensity at the points that is often seen on bays with paler hairs at the base of the mane and tail. If you look closely, you can see the lighter hairs at the base of her mane, too. (Unfortunately she was always on the wrong side for the sun, so none of the photos taken from her other side turned out.)

GuardHairs

I suspect that selecting for this kind of clear bay with reduced black points would increase the contrast on the frosting of both buckskins and duns. That is probably why frosting is so typical of the Fjord. That breed appears to carry almost every factor that might reduce black points.

The downside of frosting on buckskins is that is does not appear to be permanent. As the horses age, they seem to lose the contrast until their manes and tails are black. At least, that has been my observation based a limited number of individuals. Certainly if a reader has an older buckskin that still has pronounced frosting, I would love to hear from them!

, , ,

4 Responses to Frosted Buckskins

  1. Gail August 26, 2014 at 3:48 pm #

    Thanks, Leslie!

  2. Amanda August 27, 2014 at 3:05 pm #

    I have a frosted bay horse. He’s a BLM mustang. I’ve always been on the line about whether or not his distinctive pattern is roan, rabicano, or what. This is the first time I’ve seen that you can get that mane & tail frosting on a normal bay! I’ll have to find pictures to send to you.

  3. Carol. August 29, 2014 at 8:31 am #

    Hi, I’m very curious about frosted and silver buckskins. Is there somewhere I could contact you privately? Thank you.

  4. Elaine October 8, 2014 at 4:55 am #

    You know, Wild Bay has this same kind of frosting – it’s just not so much frosting looking because there’s less contrast. So maybe this is just the wild type bay with cream on top.