Wednesday, March 4, 2015

coat oddities: winter v. summer

Last week Cathryn noted in a comment that Isabel was looking quite dark in her winter coat and it got me thinking. Izzy has some interesting genetics going on in her coat that I suspect would be categorized as a 'dilution' (tho honestly my knowledge of coat colors and the related genetics is limited to what I've read on Equine Tapestry).

And since I really never get tired of looking at summer pictures, here's a comparison shot:

left side is winter, right side is summer
obvi the lighting isn't the same, but you get the picture

Isabel's winter coat grows in cream-colored on her muzzle, giving her a soft light face with a fuzzy 'halo' around the tip of her blaze. In the summer all that hair thins out to reveal black skin - esp around her muzzle, eyes and ears. So the outline of her blaze becomes quite distinct.

Furthermore, Isabel's cream dilution (if that's what it is) is visible on her front legs too. It might appear from a distance that she has socks on all four feet. 

all four feet are clearly visible
and we can tell this pic is from winter bc of her pale muzzle
(also - see that tiny white bird catcher spot behind her eye?)

But a closer view of her front feet shows that the hair isn't truly white - just a paler cream color. 

not actually a sock

Not sure entirely why, but this stuff is always kinda interesting to me and I like getting familiar with a horse's physical characteristics as well as their personality quirks. 

What about you - is there anything different or unique about your horse's coat that a reader wouldn't necessarily notice just by looking at a picture or reading your blog?

26 comments:

  1. Dino has the EXACT same coloring - I don't know whether it's just a factor of being a lighter colored chestnut, or if it's some kind of dilution... he also has a flaxen mane & tail.

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    1. interesting!! i think it's different - bc isabel doesn't have the flaxen mane and tail... she DOES have a dorsal stripe tho, and actually a little bit of roaning here and there

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  2. Love that light colored muzzle on her!

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    1. me too - i feel like it gives her a softer, more cuddly look :)

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  3. That is super neat!!
    And she DOES get super dark in the Summer! Interesting. I'll have to go through Suzie's pictures to see what she does.

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    1. yea it's kinda nuts - her whole face takes on a slightly different look

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  4. it's neat to see the horses seemingly "change colours" from season to season! there is another pony at the stable i ride at and she's a tri-colour but her spots and roany bits change depending on the season.

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    1. i like to see the changes too - esp when it's not just from getting bleached out from the sun

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    1. me too - she gets so bright and coppery!

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  6. Fascinating!!! I know some horses who get dapples and some points in the year - normally hair coming in or shedding out. And my last horse, who was dark grey when I rode her at age 5-6, is now almost completely white at age 9-10.

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    1. dapples are definitely a favorite! esp the young dark gray dapple-y horses - and i get unreasonably sad when they turn white haha

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  7. I think Chestnuts show the most difference between summer & winter coats. Miles' coat color is soooo different!

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    1. interesting! you might be right - i never really thought about it before, and figured bays showed the most difference from bleaching out

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  8. One of Laura's mules is almost chestnut in the winter, with cream/whitish color on her legs. Laura says that in the summer, she is a golden palomino. I'm posting a picture of what she looks like now within a few days so you can see, and in the summer maybe I can do a comparison.

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    1. Oh nice! I would love to see those pics!

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  9. Does look like a dilution gene, very pretty! Wiz has the opposite, whatever it's called when they have the dark over their back. Gives him a dorsal stripe :)

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    1. Interesting - I wonder if that's a different gene all together, bc izzy has a dorsal stripe too (which I love and should have posted a pic of lol)

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  10. That is fascinating about Izzy!

    Lily is technically a rabicano. She has white hairs around her flanks and a few white hairs at her tail head. It's so subtle it doesn't show up in photos.

    And Gracie looks like a regular sorrel but being both Kentucky Mountain Saddle Horse and Rocky Mountain, her color genetics are completely different: she is a red chocolate, which is actually a bay with points diluted to brown and a flaxen mane and tail.

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    1. I would have never guessed that about Lily!! And fwiw I think Gracie is one of the prettiest horses!! I'm a sucker for that chocolate color w flaxen mane :)

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  11. So interesting! When we bought Lucy she was pretty flaxen, but her mane and tail have gotten darker as she's gotten older. She's also developed a few birdcatcher spots over the years, which is kinda fun!
    Coorina was actually born and registered a buckskin with a countershading stripe (and I have the foal photos to prove it), but was very solidly a bay by the age of 3 (stripe remained). Then, as she got older, she roaned out and was almost bay roan looking by the end. I think she was always some form of bay genetically, but looked buckskin from the beginning. Always made show people double-take when they compared a buckskin papered horse to the bay mare in front of them!

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    1. interesting! it's kinda crazy all the different forms bay can take - and i can imagine ppl's surprise when looking at her compared to her buckskin papers lol

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  12. Fascinating, she is such a pretty girl!
    Kika is an anomaly, her passport says she is Liver Chestnut but everyone mistakes her as bay due to her darker mane & tail. I still think she is liver chestnut as she doesn't have the black points on her legs that are typically associated with being bay.
    In the early years she used to be a lovely dark chocolate colour when clipped and i have some old photos of her in her youth where she was considerably darker than she is now. Now days she looks a lot more foxy-coloured...so who knows what colour she really is!
    Nancy is much easier, she is brown and gets lovely dapples in the spring ♡♡♡

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    1. i love liver chestnuts - esp that chocolate-y color!! you should post some of those old photos!

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  13. Interesting! I've never read very much about color so this is really interesting. TC has two feet where socks seem to be coming in, but now I'm not so sure they're going to be socks... time for more reading!

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    1. it'll be super interesting to see what TC turns into over time!! if you're interested definitely check out the Equine Tapestry blog!

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