Behind the Foaling Door
Color inheritence

As people who practice pedigree assignment get pickier with the finer details, many aspects have risen that were never really all that crucial before. Probably the latest "quality control" idea to surgace is that of color genetics. While some breeders are strict to the bone about what colored foals they will allow their horses to produce, others are much more cavalier about this and accept any color foals they may receive. Here is a sampling of what several breeders had to say about this topic...

"I am not terribly strict on color requirement of the babies my horses produce provided they are within the concievable realm of possibilities. For instance, I have a QH stallion named Chicken Ripple. He is a bay brindle. he has a daughter by the name of Tastes Like Chicken. She is out of a Paint mare. Tasty is a bay bindle splash white overo. Chicken Ripple has a son who will be a bay bindle, but I have not yet made a final decision. His dm is an Appaloosa. Therefore this foal may be spotted like an Appaloos, or if his daddy has any Paint blood, he may come out really weird. I will have to flip a coin and see! As far as I now brindle in a serious quantity in a horse is extremely rare. While many duns/buckskins will display minor brindling on the shoulders and barrel, it is considered a primative marking. I know I am stretching the realm of possibilities by having Chicken Ripple throwing brindled babies consistently...but we can all dream, can't we? So to sum it up, I am not strict on baby colors. If someone where to breed to Ripple or Tasty, I am guessing the babies would be at the very least bay, and more then likely brindled as well. But who knows, really?"
-Morgan Haberman

"I do not require the foals to follow strict color guidelines. I do not know that much about genetics. As long as the foals looks something like its mother or father or both, I don't care."
-Randa Senzig

"I have turned down breeding due to colors. But I always explain why I have turned down the breeding and I try to give alternatives that I would approve. As I've been typing pedigrees of my horses into the computer I shudder at some of the color crosses. I am going to have to put a disclaimer in my rules that some of my horses do not follow color genetic rules. I'm slowly figuring out this color genetic thing!"
-Debbie Moore

"I personally don't follow color genetics too closely, unless I'm assigning parents to Paints, Appaloosa, or palominos. For those, I require at least one parent to be the color of the foal."
-Dayle Steinke

"I do require foals from my breeding stable to follow color genetic rules because in my opinion, pedigree assignment should be as realistic as possible. Also, I am very interested in horse color genetics, so this gives me an excuse to research genetics and learn more about it. I am very strict about this, and if a person who wants to use my horses as parents picks wrong-colored parents, I will help them either choose other horses or refer them to another stable that has horse who could produce that foal."
-Marce Evans

"I don't require it on my s/d list but I like to follow genetics rules as far as colors go. I try to be sure that the color of my foal could have been produced by its parents as much as possible. I don't know a lot about genetics and how some of the colors are produced or what lines in particular breeds carry certain colors, but I try to follow color genetic rules as much as possible."
-Natasha Powers

"I don't see much difference in requiring that a sire or dam be old enough to produce the prospective foal, or to be the right breed, than to require that the horse be of a color that could have possibly produced the color on the foal. To me, it's all about trying to be as realistic as possible. If two chestnut horses cannot produce a bay foal, I don't think two chestnut models should! So I do follow color gentic rules when assigning pedirees to my models, and I require that foals produced by my horses do the same. But, I also know that ten years ago, none of us knew much about color gentics (neither did most real horse breeder!), so I'm not really strict about pedigrees that have incorrect color crosses in the past - but I do think that we have the information to do things more realistically with the horses that we breed now."
-Leslie Kathman

"Yes, I do require people to follow color genetic rules when using Starhold horses. i prefer for my model breeding operation to be as much like the real thing as possible. I find that the easiest way to do this is to let people know the colors of at least the parents and grandparents so that they can make the foal a color that can be produced by at least one of their recent ancestors. If I have further information on colors in pedigrees, I try to include it because we all know that sometimes odd colors will skip a generation and then crop out. When I did not know as much about color genetics, I didn't apy much attention to it, but now I do."
-Daralyn Wallace

"I do not feel that most people involed in pedigree assignment know specific color genetic rules. On my s/d list, I give the basic rules I want followed (i.e.- two chestnut parents can only produce a chestnut, a grey foal must have at least one grey parent, etc.) I do not require some obscure rules to be followed because I believe that only those who are very knowledable would be aware of them. If someone requests an outrageous color from two of my parents that is not possible, I try to suggest alternative parents or a real horse for that model."
-Trish Albert

"The way I handle it is to ask people not to do things that are totally impossible, like having two chestnut parents produce a non-chestnut foal. I allow things that could possibly happen - even if it's a remote possibility. I'd really prefer that people have at least one parent be the same color as the horse. If someone sends me a request that isn't possible, then I write back to them and explain why I'd rather not have it done that way and provide suggestions for alternate parents. So far, everyone has taken the suggestion and made a change."
-Michelle Peck Williams

"I don't follow these rules for three main reasons: one, I could never get up the guts to reject a breeding based on that; two, I probably made worse mistakes when I was getting started; and three, I really don't know enough about color genetics to really be sure of what my horses can and can't produce. Perhaps if I acompletely restructed my stable and paid close attention to color genetics when breeding my own hroses and had an exceptional knowledge of coor gentics, I could do it then. But as my stable stands now, it would seem hypocritical. No I do have a little notes in my breeding rules saying please try to pay attention to color genetic rules, but I don't have a requirement perse."
-Miranda Stoddard

"With most of my Arabs I am not so strict with colors, but at least one of the parents has to have the foal's color or have that color appear in recent generations. I am extremely strict about foal coloring from a few of my studs though, as I have two homozygous greys. so the bottom line there is all greys, no exceptions."
-Heather Lettengarver

What do YOU think? Drop me a line and let me know your thoughs on this subject! Our next topic will cover pedigrees...where on earth do you find them? Do you rely on other model breeders, or use real horses? or do you make up pedigrees on your own? Let me know what you think!

Quick and Dirty Color Rules

Although color genetics is complix, it is not as obscure or difficult as it might seem at first. here are a few basic rules to follow to avodi really unrealistic color combinations.
  1. Two chestnut parents will produce only chestnut foals.
  2. A chestnut foal can result from any color cross, even if there are no chestnuts in recent generations.
  3. The following colors must have at least one parent of the same color pattern: grey, roan, rabicano, tobiano, dun, and champagne.
  4. Grey is not a seperate color - it is a condition that causes a horse to whiten with age. Al greys are also either bay chestnut or black (and those colos' rules apply).
  5. Palominos/buckskins must have one palomino, buckskin or cremello parent.
  6. Cremellos (blue eyes creams) must have two parents that are palomino, buckskin or cremello.
  7. A cremello parent can only produce palominos and buckskins.
  8. Dun produces apricot dun (chestnut dun), yellow dun (bay dun) and grulla (black dun). Dun does not produce palomino or buckskin. Cream horses produce palomino (chestnut cream) and buckskin (bay cream) and cremellos (two cream genes). Cream does not produce lineback duns or grullas.
  9. No palomino, buckskin, roan, white or frame overo can produce their own color 100% of the time.
  10. Overo is not recessive - two overos are not needed to produce overo foals.
  11. Black horses can carry a hidden cream (palomino/buckskin). Chestnut horses can carry a hidden silver dapple. For this to happen the hidden color must appear somewhere in the black or chestnut's pedigree.

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