A Note about Sugarbush Draft Horses
I see it over and over again, and no matter how many times it's said, it's still wrong. "Sugarbush Drafts are just an Appaloosa Draft Cross". Uh.... no. The Sugarbush Draft Horse was a breed created many years ago in Ohio. While the initial cross was made using Percherons to Appaloosas, in the many generations following, the breed has been solidified into a consistent type. Saying these horses are "just" a draft cross makes as much sense as saying that AQHA horses are "just" a Thoroughbred cross, American Cream Drafts are "just" a dilute Belgian, or that Morgans are "just" a grade.
Thursday, August 12, 2010
Splash White (Finally)
So, let's talk about Splash White. I am a huge fan of this color pattern. I find it amazing in minimal form, and many of my horses carry splash. The colt shown there is "O Stop Looking" also known as "Streaker Daltrey". He's a mismash of SO many color patterns, appaloosa (snowcap) sabino, and splash white. You can see the splash on his face here, and the 4 white legs. In person he has chestnut ticking on his legs showing where the socks end and the blanket begins, which helps in identifying his patterns.His extreme white face has given him a few other splash traits, including 2 blue eyes, and his right ear doesn't seem to work at 100%. I believe he can hear from it, but I don't believe he can hear all the ranges of sound. Mid tones, such as my normal voice, do not elicit a turning of that ear to me, but squeaky baby voice, and low momma murmurs do. When Daltrey was born, his right ear hung awkwardly. This is a sign that the ear has been affected by splash. Not always accurate, but accurate enough to cause suspicion.
Colnels Smoking Gun (aka Gunner) from McQuay Stables is a good example of the lopsided look. Check out his back leg.
While Splash white has not been mapped - to my knowledge - the expression of it has been studied. There is speculation that splash white is located in the same area as roan and tobiano. It is not the same GENE, but just as tobiano and roan do not recombine, splash may also be playing in the same neighborhood, and too close for recombination.
Because splash white is often hard to see, it has been difficult to determine the "zygosity" of many horses. In some horses, a small sliver of blue in the eye is the only indication of it. In others, what was expected to be a solid, ends up with large areas of white, or like my foal above, a lot more pattern then was expected! I have heard that horses with obvious splash markings are homozygous(SPLSPL), and heterozygous horses (SPLspl) show "normal" face and leg amounts of white. I'm not sure how true this is (see my above colt who can not be a homozygous splash horse). It is possible however that splash white is an incompletely dominant gene, resulting in more expression with a second copy of the dominant allele. This would imply that other genetic factors give the range of possible expression.
Now, using the above example, if homozygosity for white results in even MORE white, that "25% white on average" horse would express with 25% to 50% white. We don't know for sure, but this is what many phenotype (studying genetics through appearance) experts believe.
Splash can be a pinto gene, resulting in horses with extreme white bodies, like this horse.
Or this horse:
This filly, Soliloquy (Annandales Grey Wolf, TIGRE x Jinx, SDHR) almost slipped past me. Her sire carries sabino, her dam carries sabino and splash.
Because of this ability to hide as normal markings, splash is passed through the gene pool of breeds that do not want "pinto" markings, such as Appaloosas. Some breeds and breeders want to avoid the blue eyes, or potential hearing problems associated with the color pattern. While deafness would be very detrimental in a wild horse, many owners have found that horses with hearing loss are often wonderful pets, and almost spook proof. Of course, often means not all.
So, ready for your test?
What pattern is this horse likely showing?