Unexpected

Taking a break from shiny pony making to don my horse color geek hat…

I found this guy last night. He’s a Dutch Heavy Draft, which is a breed where frosty roans are really common. (That’s the color of his dam there in the picture.) I certainly wasn’t looking for – or remotely expecting – this color. To my knowledge, the only dilute found in the heavy European draft breeds is silver. That dilute is pretty common in the Breton and the Comtois, and is occasionally seen in Brabants and some of their relatives. Certainly nothing like this blue-eyed, pink-skinned taupe fellow!

My first guess would be that he is the “new” pearl dilute. This foal has a bay sire and a bay roan dam, and pearl is a recessive. Previously that color had been identified in Paints (where it has been referred to as the “Barlink factor”) and in the Iberian breeds, but more recently it has been confirmed in Gypsy horses. Finding it in one of the European heavies would be really unexpected. At least there is a test for pearl, though, so hopefully his owners will have him tested.

(Oh, and click on the photo for a really huge version of the picture.)

[Edit: The foal, who was actually a filly named Marinka van’t Heereind, unfortunately died of colic before reaching maturity. She was tested and found to be black (Eeaa) and negative for cream, silver and pearl.]

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3 Responses to Unexpected

  1. Emily May 25, 2008 at 10:32 am #

    Oh, how cool! I’ve been behind on my color genetics.. had not yet heard about Pearl. Thanks, Lesli!

  2. Lesli Kathman May 26, 2008 at 11:25 am #

    Things are moving so fast these days, it’s harder than ever to keep up. Not only can we test for so many things, but there is a much higher awareness of color in general. So odd things like this guy get brought to the attention of researchers rather than being hidden (or worse).

    I believe they are in the process of getting this guy and his parents tested. I’ll post anything I hear.

  3. Laura November 13, 2008 at 12:04 am #

    WOW isn’t he amazing!!

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