Tag Archives | appaloosa

Talking again!

Triptych

The blog is back live again, with a completely redesigned site. A lot has been happening in the world of horse color while I have been away, so I have a lot of things to share in the coming days. But for right now, I wanted to give a quick tour of the changes to the blog. 

One of the biggest changes is that the blog is now self-hosted. The URL is still the same, but it has moved from WordPress.com to its own site. The benefit most will notice first is that this means there are no longer an ads on the bottom of the page. Because the blog exists to promote a conversation about horse color and breed history, and not to generate income, it is my intent to leave Equine Tapestry advertising-free. The downside is that if you had a subscription to the blog at its old site, that will not have transferred over to the new one. You will need to resubscribe using the form to the right under “Subscribe to Blog via Email”. We are also signed up with FeedBurner, so clicking the fourth icon under the “We’re Social” section to the right will take you to a page where you can set that up.

As I mentioned in the previous post, the change has also allowed me to increase both the size of the images and the text. I also took the opportunity to more consistently assign both categories and tags to posts. You can now pull up posts by category using either the category drop-down menu on the lower right hand side of this page, or you can do a more specific search using a combination of categories and tags using the drop-down menus at the very bottom of this page. There is a global search as well. With three years of archived posts, having the information properly organized was a big priority in the redesign.

Other specific changes include:

Links to social network sites
If you look to the sidebar to the right, you’ll see a set of icons for various social networks used for the blog. I already mentioned the link to FeedBurner. Also over there is a link to the blog’s Facebook page. There are often interesting discussions there, and many readers find it to be the easiest way to share photos, so I would encourage folks to check it out. There is also a link to the Equine Tapestry Pinterest boards. I find that site to be a great way to group horses with the same pattern or color so that the variations are easily visible. I plan to continue adding boards as time permits, particularly for the testable patterns from the W-series. Right now there are boards for the three Arabian mutations (W3, W15 and W19), as well as board for Sabino1 and some of the splash mutations. The final icon, which may not be as familiar, will take you to the Blackberry Lane site where you can subscribe to a free email newsletter (via iContact). That is one of the best ways to hear about upcoming book releases.

Blackberry Lane Press
This is the one link on the main menu bar that is not fully “live” at the moment. Eventually that will be the link that will take you to an online store where you can order the books published here at Blackberry Lane. At the moment, however, the first volume of the series can be ordered through Amazon by clicking either that icon or by clicking on the image under “Currently available books”. Clicking on the Blackberry Lane Press page will take you to a placeholder, though there is a nice image of the cover of the upcoming book for those that have not seen it. (More pictures of the cover horse, Vasco Piskui, will appear on the blog in the coming weeks!)

The Splash White Project
This page moved briefly to the older website (horsecolor.info), but is now back on the blog thanks to the WordPress portfolio capability. That format is still not ideal for arranging this information, but adding horses to the page is particularly easy, so any downsides (like not being able to change the aspect ratio of the thumbnails) is offset by the fact that I will be able to keep the page up-to-date with a lot less effort. The arrangement is not entirely intuitive, however, so I will explain that more in a separate post.

Genetic Diversity Links
This is another page that has returned from the horsecolor website. The links have all be checked, and a few new ones have been added. (There is also a more extensive list of pedigree database links at the bottom of the right hand sidebar.)

Instructions for Submitting Photos
I have added a page with information on the ways that readers can submit photos, as well as instructions about the size and copyright limitations. Photos from readers are part of what makes this blog more interactive, and far more interesting, so please do not hesitate to send things you think might be interesting!

Hopefully these changes will make the blog a more useful resource for those interested in horse color, while making it a little easier for me to keep the site updated with current information.

I’ll close with a final picture of the Walkaloosa mare in the “talking” pictures above. I took those photos of her at a recent demonstration of natural horsemanship. Here she is standing on a raised platform, where you can get a better idea of her full coloring. She was a very neat horse!

Walkaloosa

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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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Repigmentation spots

Freckles2008

In the comments section of the last post, some posters noted the similarity of the white areas to fleabitten grey. That is not an uncommon thing with appaloosa patterns. Although it is easiest to think of the action of Leopard Complex (Lp) as a form of progressive roaning, where white hairs gradually replace the colored ones to form what American horsemen call varnish roan, in actual practice the process can go both directions. That is, it can add white hairs to lighten the coat, and it can add concentrated bits of color to speckle the coat. These darker hairs are sometimes called repigmented spots because they typically occur after the coat has already begun to roan out, or in an area that previously had white patterning.

The varnish roan mare at the top of this post is a very good example. I have run photos of Freckles before for the series of posts on appaloosa mottling. I have easy access to her, since she shares a pasture with my own appaloosa pony, Sprinkles. This particular image shows her coloring from four years ago, when the lightest parts of coat were an even mixture of white and color. At that time, had she not had such pronounced varnish markings on her body, and a sprinkling of dark spots on her hips, she might easily have been mistaken for a pale grey. (This particular photo was taken in early May, so she had not fully shed out for the summer and was just a shade or two darker than she would be in summer coat.)

Here is Freckles as she appears now.

Freckles2012

Each year she has gotten more pronounced dark ticking in the roaned areas of her coat, even as she gets lighter in the areas that were colored. This lighter ticking is most noticeable if you compare the right hind leg in the two pictures. The repigmented specks first began to appear on her shoulder, but over time they have spread across most of her body.

FrecklesCU

This close-up of her topline shows just how closely this resembles fleabitten grey. In fact, if I use Photoshop to remove the hip spots and what remains of her varnish marks, the resemblance to a true fleabitten grey is quite striking.

FrecklesFleabites

I suspect some type of repigmenting is part of what was going on with the roaned areas on the horse in the previous post. With Freckles, the flecking ties visually with what is already going on with her coat, so it looks less jarring. With the horse from the previous post, the odd transitions between his colored areas and the patterned areas make him look a bit like you pasted together parts of a bay appaloosa and a fleabitten grey.

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