Thursday, July 25, 2013

I need to invest in some sunglasses to be able to look at this horse.

Just in the past month, Lucy has gone from this:

To this:

raw sienna
honey mustard

look at the stark difference between the hair just below her mane,
and the crest of her neck.

her back; you can see where she was clipped for her ultrasound on July 1st
Well, beautiful dapples, it was nice knowing you, I guess! :(

love her no matter what colour she is :)
Her dramatic colour change, combined with the fact that not one single other horse at the barn looks like it has gotten even remotely sunbleached, led me to post on COTH (I know, I know) to ask a question.

Low and behold, sunbleaching is a result of certain colour genetics. After doing some additional research, I am wondering if Lucy is actually a "seal brown", not a "bay". Some seal bay traits that she has are the lighter areas behind her shoulders, in front of her hips, and up around her ears on her head. She also isn't very red at all, like Maddy's horse Brantley. He is a beautiful rich mahogany bay colour. She is more brown with black points.

I could get her colour tested through genetic analysis for $25, and I may do that since I have spent $25 on more ridiculous things than that in my lifetime. :)


  1. Wow! That is a serious difference! Interesting about the genetics though :)

  2. Interesting... Will you share the info on the test? Houston also bleaches like that but I always just assumed it was just the sun (it probably is in his case) but it would be cool to know if it was caused by that...

  3. Ah, go for it on the genetic test. Why not!

    Promise was what I called a "seal bay" - or in this case, brown, lol. She had black points on her legs and nostrils, and a lighter brown color around her eyes and muzzle. She also bleached like crazy in the sun. What drove me crazier, though, was her forelock and tail would turn nearly red, her mane would stay pretty black - but all of it would be perfectly black in the winter.

  4. People always mentioned the genetics thing to me too, and I'm sure it is true that some horses are more prone to bleaching than others. However, Lucy seems to be the same black bay color as Rose, and I found with Rose's coat diet made all the difference. Particularly copper content in the grain. Once I put her on a good grain with enough copper in it she magically stopped bleaching in the summer and turning orange in the winter. She lives outside 24/7 and for the most part is not blanketed. If you don't want to switch grains you can have a supplement specialist come and do an evaluation of your feed and mix a custom supplement of the minerals she is lacking to add to her feed. Just a thought if you would like to keep the dapples around...

  5. Interesting! Hampton is sunbleached, too. I have heard genetics, copper content, salt in their sweat and a couple of other things. Who knows?!

  6. Hmmm that is interesting! Her color change is dramatic thats for sure but he looks beautiful as always! :)

  7. Wow. That is a crazy colour change.

  8. I had no idea. I just thought bleaching was a sun thing, though (knock on wood) Cuna hasn't bleached yet.

  9. Makes sense that its genetic, look at human's hair color. I can go from near brunette to golden red to straw blonde with enough time in the sun. She's still such a pretty girl, and soon enough they will all be back to winter fuzzy. bleh.

  10. "I could get her colour tested through genetic analysis for $25, and I may do that since I have spent $25 on more ridiculous things than that in my lifetime. :)"

    Oh so true! LOL

  11. Kate... Seriously... I may have to smack you ;) She's still the prettiest pony!

  12. I'd bet money on her having the brown Agouti allele! The main difference between brown (At) and bay (A) is that it just affects how Extension (E) distributes the black over the red base (e).

    I'm sure that just sounded like greek hahaha

    Brown is a lot more common than people think it is. A lot of "black" horses are also truly brown--they can be dark, but also sunbleach like Lucy. A good visual hint is that brown will give a tan/fawn "highlight" around the flank and nose, something you don't see in a true bay or black horse.

  13. I always considered her seal brown :)

  14. Daatje is coal black when her coat first comes in (late spring/early fall) but mid summer and mid winter she's dappled chocolate! She is most definitely genetically black, being a Friesian, but most definitely a "fading" black. I don't mind. I like the chocolat-y dapple effect. :D

  15. ugh I hate sunbleaching! Interesting about genetics...she is certainly not a typical bay.


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