The First of its Kind

Horses have been selectively bred for color or purpose for centuries.  The wild Caballine horses of 3000BCE were initially Bay or Black in color.

Around 1500BCE, arguably the oldest selectively bred breed in world began to take shape; Arabian.  At that time, the Arabian Horse was most certainly smaller in stature, and most likely came in every color. In the early development of domestic horses, the color matched that of the solid color Iberian Horses and Przewalski’s horse with possible dun factors and very little white markings.

204px-mongolian_wild_horse_001Modern Przewalski’s horse in  Binder Park Zoo in Battle Creek Michigan.  Dun in color with minimal dun factors. This leg striping and color variations most likely acted as camouflage in the grasslands where the wild horses lived.
By Ltshears – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=7412304

 

Selective breeding then made the move away from those colors with primitive or camouflage markings of the wild horses, into more solid and flashy colors.  The colors of Arabians are:

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Chestnut

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Bay

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Black

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Grey

 

 Chestnut – Can be various Red/brown body with matching red/brown mane/tail.  Often times the mane/tail will have a mix of blond/red in it, and can be completely Flaxen (blond)
Bay – Red/brown body with Black points.  Points include: Mane, Tail, Ear outline, and muzzle.
Black – A horse black in color.  A horse with a Dominant black gene will always pass on its color to its foal.  You may also see a black/brown looking horse, it may also be black, just not pure black in the sense of genetics.
Grey – A color mutation with occurs when a horse transitions to a white color.  Since the skin of the horse is still black, this horse is not true white.  They make have brown flecks known as fleabitten, or silver round marks known as dapple color.  Mostly born bay or Black, these horses change color at varying points, in their life, and to varying degrees.  While you do register your horse as a grey, it’s technically a mutation, and not its own color.

Some time between 1500BC and 1AD, the Sabino gene shows up in the Arabian horse.  In 900AD there were reports of “party colored” horses, which is believed to wildly colored horses of Rabino or Sabino coloration.

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Rabicano Coloring

Rabicano is a concentrated pattern of white hairs similar to roaning.  The coloration occurs over black skin, so this is not a pinto spotting. It often is accompanied by white hairs in the top of the tail.  True roaning occurs all over the body, not in concentrated areas.

 

 

400px-george_stubbs_lord_grosvenors_arabian_stallion_with_a_groom_c-_1765

Lord Grosvenor’s Arabian Stallion with a Groom,     c. 1765   (Sabino markings)

Note the Sabino markings on Lord Grosvenor’s Stallion.  The white splashing would have been over top of pink skin.  Although these markings are not typical of how you think of pinto spotting, the collective white markings make up the same area as a larger, Tobiano spot. The high white legs, and the under the chin white markings are additional Sabino traits.

A Tobiano is a Pinto coloration where the white spots cross over the back.  they typically have white legs, and a darker face.

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Overo Pattern

 

 

An Overo is a pinto coloration where the white spots stay on one side of the horse or the other.  From the neck and across its back is a solid color.  The mane and tail are typically solid, and the face is typically bald.

The Arabian horse does not carry the genes for true Tobiano or full Overo patterns.  Purebred Arabians only carry the Sabino gene.

Arabians were domesticated in the middle eastern area of the Eurasia continent. During this same time period, other groups of homo sapiens were utilizing technology learned from other tribes to corral and domesticate wild horses near their own homeland.  How do we know each group had their own horses?  Follow the DNA to the next article!

 

 

Interested in why a horse foals out with one color over another?  Or what color your mare might have?  Go to this website run by Animal Gentics Inc. 

Chestnut Horse: By Original uploader was Karlyne at fr.wikipedia – Transfered from fr.wikipedia, CC BY-SA 2.5, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=4103673
Bay Horse: By evelynbelgium – originally posted to Flickr as IMG_6052, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=6293746
Black horse:By Montanabw – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=7296454
Rabicano Horse: By Coreada at the English language Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1858292
Grey horse: By Yelkrokoyade, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=2492766
https://www.arabianhorses.org/.content/aha-docs/Genetics_Coat_Color_Patterns.pdf
http://apha.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/TheColorInside1.pdf
T. Jansen, et al., Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 99, 10905 (2002). doi:10.1073/pnas.152330099pmid:12130666

 

17 Colors of the Wind

Please click here, color-and-markings-4-16-14, for The American Quarter Horse’s chart on their 17 registerable colors. Written descriptions of further color reference, or oddities are below.

 

Base Colors

Bay – Red/brown body with Black points.  Points include: Mane, Tail, Ear outline, and muzzle.

Chestnut – Dark red or brown red body with matching dark red or brown red mane/tail.  Often times the mane/tail will appear black as it is dark, or it can also be completely flaxen. Legs will not have any black points on them, although it may have a dorsal stripe.

Sorrel  – Red or copper red body with matching red or copper red mane/tail.  Often times the mane/tail will have a mix of flaxen/red in it, and can also be completely flaxen. May have a dorsal stripe.

Brown  – A horse brown, or black in color with brown or lighter brown points inside its flank, upper legs, and frequently around its muzzle.

Black – A horse black in color.  A horse with a Dominant black gene will always pass on its color to its foal.  You may also see a black/brown looking horse, it may also be black, just not pure black in the sense of genetics.

Grey – A color mutation with occurs when a horse with the black color gene (Black or Bay) transitions to a white color.  Since the skin of the horse is still black, this horse is not true white.  They make have brown flecks known as fleabitten, or silver round marks known as dapple color.  Born bay or Black, these horses change color at varying points, in their life, and to varying degrees.  While you do register your horse as a grey, it’s technically a mutation of bay or black, and not its own color.

White – A Horse that appears nearly white in color and has pink skin over his entire body. Eyes are usually dark in color.

Dilute Colors

Palomino – A dilute color of chestnut. One shade lighter or darker than a newly minted copper penny, with a white mane and tail

Cremello – A double dilute of chestnut. A white or cream color, with a white or cream mane and tail. They have pink skin over their entire body, and blue eyes.

Buckskin – A dilute color of bay.  The coat is a a golden color, while the black pigment on the legs, mane are tail are unaffected, as are the points on the ear tips and muzzle.

Perlino – A double dilute of bay. A white or cream color, with an orange or darker cream mane and tail. They have pink skin over their entire body, and blue eyes.

Dun

Dun – A horse with a bay base coat. They usually have a tan body with black points, and often appear identical to buckskin horses. A dorsal stripe and other other primitive dun factors are present, although due to the dilute mutation of color, they may be subtle or hard to spot.

Red Dun – A horse with a chestnut base coat. The points are generally a shade darker than the main body, but the mane and tail may also be lighter.  A dorsal stripe and other other primitive dun factors are present, although due to the dilute mutation of color, they may be subtle or hard to spot.

Grullo – A horse with a black base coat. They have black points and usually a face mask. They are usually a mouse grey color, but have no relation to the color roan or to true grey. Each hair itself gives off a light/dark appearance. A dorsal stripe and other other primitive dun factors are present, although due to the dilute mutation of color, they may be subtle or hard to spot.

Primitive markings, or Dun factors: dorsal stripe, shouder stripe, neck stripe, leg barring, mottling, frosting, masking, cobwebbing, & ear tips.

Roan

Blue Roan– More or less a uniform mixture of bay coloring mixed in with white hairs. Roaning is primarily on the body, while head and legs and tail have remained the black, base color.

Red Roan – More or less a uniform mixture of red coloring mixed in with white hairs. Roaning is primarily on the body, while head and legs and tail have remained base color.  Tail and mane may be flaxen or red in color.

Bay Roan – More or less a uniform mixture of bay coloring mixed in with white hairs. Roaning is primarily on the body, while head and legs and tail have retained their black points, true to the bay base color.

Rabicano is a concentrated pattern of white hairs similar to roaning.  The coloration occurs over black skin, so this is not a pinto spotting. It often is accompanied by white hairs in the top of the tail.  True roaning occurs all over the body, not in concentrated areas like this.  Not an AQHA registered color.

Pinto  –  Not registered colors of AQHA, but color patterns that do occur.

Tobiano: A Tobiano is a Pinto coloration where the white spots over pink skin cross over the back.  they typically have white legs, and a darker face.

Overo: An Overo is a pinto coloration where the white spots over pink skin stay on one side of the horse or the other.  From the neck and across its back is a solid color.  The mane and tail are typically solid, and the face is typically bald.

Sabino: A pattern of white splashing that is colored over top of pink skin.  Although these markings are not typical of how you think of pinto spotting, the collective white markings make up the same area as a larger, Tobiano spot. High white legs, and under the chin white markings are additional Sabino traits.

 

Know your colors? Take the quiz! https://www.playbuzz.com/bethtd10/basic-horse-color

 

Find further confusion of Pinto Color patterns here: http://apha.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/TheColorInside1.pdf

 

Equine Evolution part 1

From Dawn to Now.

In the past 55 million years, the Horse has gone from looking like a four toed dog (Dawn Horse), to what we know today. The evolution chart below only follows the evolution of the the modern horse.  It is speculated that the zebra and modern ass descended out of the Dinohippus/Hippidon line at least 2 Million Years ago.(1)

6,000 years ago Equine Fossils begin to show up in groups in Kazakhstan.  This most likely points to the time where people started to domesticate, and raise horses as livestock.  The first people raised horses for milk and meat, much like we raise cattle today.  It is between 4, 000 and 3,000 BCE where we begin to see small wild Caballine horses, similar to the Caspian ,start being taken into captivity for domestic breeding.  The Przewalski’s Horse  is the only  wild Caballine Horse still in existence today.

Recent scientific studies have show that horses were not domesticated out of one area as previously thought.  The peoples across Eurasia began to capture, domesticate and selectively breed as the technology to do so was shared with them.  Utilizing the surrounding grasslands, and shrinking bands of wild horses, they managed the breeding of their herds, and prevented long term inbreeding.   (2)  The variations of climate and selection of breeding, caused differences in ‘old world’ domesticated horses.  Many of these differences can be seen in the modern ‘new world’ breeds today.

 

marsh_huxley_horseThis drawing shows the evolution from 3 toes to the most recent evolution of a single hoof capsule.

Modern Horse

Pliohippus

 

 

Hipparion

 

Miohippus

 

 

Mesohippus

 

Orohippus

 

 

Also note the transformation of the teeth, and the need for front teeth for more ripping of the grassland forage in the Pliohippus and Equus.  The Dawn horse was more a leaf eater, and gathered smaller, fallen grasses and leaves.

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Old & New World Equus

                \  |  /
                 \ | /
4My   Hippidion  Equus                                           Stylohipparion
         |        |                   Neohipparion   Hipparion   Cormohipparion
         |        |    Astrohippus         |           |             |
         |        |    Pliohippus          ---------------------------
12My     Dinohippus    Calippus                     \  |  /
             |          |         Pseudhipparion     \ | /
             |          |              |               |
             -------------------------------------------     Sinohippus
15My                  \  |  /                                 |
                       \ | /                     Megahippus   |
17My                Merychippus                      |        |
              1 larger toe, 2 small toes             |        |      
                         |           Anchitherium    Hypohippus
                         |                 |           |
23My                Parahippus             Anchitherium             Archeohippus
                         |                       |                       |
                  (Kalobatippus?)-----------------------------------------
25My                              \  |  /
                                   \ | /
                                     |
35My                                 |
mioh

Miohippus

   



   
                        
 

                    

     Mesohippus
                  

                   |                         |
40My               |                         |
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Mesohippus – Had only 3 toes

                                          |
                                          |
                                          |
45My                      Paleotherium    |
                              |          Epihippus
                              |              |
                       Propalaeotherium      |       Haplohippus
                              |              |       |
50My         Pachynolophus    |              Orohippus
                   |          |                 |
                   |          |                 |
                   ------------------------------
                                    \  |  /
                                     \ | /
55My
hyracoskel

Dawn Horse: Hyracotherium – Had 4 Toes

 

(1) Orlando, Ludovic, Equids, Current Biology, Volume 25, Issue 20, http://www.cell.com/current-biology/fulltext/S0960-9822(15)01084-2
(2) Widespread Origins of Domestic Horse Lineages, JENNIFER A. LEONARD, ANDERS GÖTHERSTRÖM, STEFAN MARKLUND, KAJ SANDBERG, KERSTIN LIDÉN, ROBERT K. WAYNE, HANS ELLEGREN, SCIENCE19 JAN 2001 : 474-477
Fossil Pictures from Florida Museum of Natural History: http://www.flmnh.ufl.edu/vertpaleo/fhc/Stratmap1.htm
Hunt Kathleen, 1995, January 4, Talk Orgins, http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/horses/horse_evol.html#part1
Archeolgy Magazine, 2015, June 4, http://www.archaeology.org/issues/180-1507/features/3346-horse-from-prey-to-domestication