Originally Posted by Deslumbrar
... How could this not happen with a leopard, just because of the white mane and tail?
Color genetics don't have anything to do with how thick/thin a horses mane and tail are.
Actually the LP gene (leopard complex) has a lot to do with how thick and long a mane and tail can be as our research has found out. The LP gene tends to affect the black mane and tail hairs the most during the "roaning" process, causing the black hairs to become very delicate as they are being replaced by white which makes them break off. It also affects the red hairs, but generally not to the same extent. I have LP horses that went from having total rat tails to having full, normal looking tails now that they are completely white. Whether the tail becomes full or not depends upon how quickly this process occurs - sometimes it is extremely fast and sometimes so slow that a horse will have a rat tail forever. There are many, many other genetic factors involved that either suppress or enhance this roaning process. True leopard patterned (PATN1) horses are born that way and do not go through the LP roaning process, whereas varnish roan (patn/patn) or blanketed (PATN2) all display this roaning to some degree. Besides this, there are individual family traits involved as variations of mane and tail thickness/length occurs in all breeds.