Blue Roan colour change? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 13 Old 06-22-2013, 02:47 PM Thread Starter
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Blue Roan colour change?

We recently bought a beautiful blue roan Hancock mare. When we were looking at her, she had a lot of orange on her tips (mostly face and her mane/tail), but after two weeks of being here at her new home, she seems to have lost a good bit of the orange and is becoming darker.

Note that her diet has changed from 24/7 very short grass to 24/7 mountain grass with a lot of clover. We cut her back to about 8hr of grazing now as she was getting hot on all this sugar.

Pics below:



Before, at her old farm ^



Last week, after having a decent roll in the round pen ^

ETA: Duh, my question! -- Do you notice a change? If so, what could be causing this? She gets no grain and no hay, just grass.

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Last edited by RunSlideStop; 06-22-2013 at 02:49 PM.
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post #2 of 13 Old 06-22-2013, 02:56 PM
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I'd say that she's actually a brown roan instead of a blue roan. The brown base coat would explain the color difference because they often change colors or shades depending on time of year and their diet.

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post #3 of 13 Old 06-22-2013, 03:05 PM Thread Starter
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How can a person tell if a horse is a genuine blue roan? She is reg AQHA blue roan (foaled April 2002), as well as American Ranch Horse Assoc. blue roan. Both papers also note that she has blue eyes, which she does not... which I found very bizarre.

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post #4 of 13 Old 06-22-2013, 03:14 PM
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I know that many AQHA horses are registered when they are very young, newborns or weanlings. We all know how much a horse's color can change as they mature.

Also, not everyone is up to date on the proper colors...or they just don't care. For some folks, all dark colored horses with roan are blue roan, regardless of what their actual genetics state...so it may be a blue roan or a brown roan or maybe even a bay roan that's registered as "blue".

Also, there are a lot of registries that don't stay updated on the color genetics so they sometimes don't even have an option for the correct horse the color is.

A genuine blue roan is a black based horse (E/E or E/e) with no Agouti (a/a) and is carrying roan (R/R or R/r).

Just judging from the look of your girl, I'd say that she's carrying the brown version of Agouti (At), but the only way to know for certain, 100%, would be to have her tested.

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post #5 of 13 Old 06-22-2013, 03:21 PM Thread Starter
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That is very interesting.

Here's another question that I've been wondering for a while: I have heard that having brown/orange tips on otherwise black tips (mane, tail, nose) indicates a copper deficiency. I know the grass she was on before was very short and growing out of the reddest clay I have ever seen. Think this could have anything to do with her colour change?

Also, who would I contact to have her tested?

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post #6 of 13 Old 06-22-2013, 04:04 PM
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No, her color changes is because she is a brown roan not a blue roan. If you would like her tested to be sure, contact PetDNA out of Arizona; they are the only lab that had an At test.
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post #7 of 13 Old 06-22-2013, 04:29 PM Thread Starter
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What would happen if she tests blue roan? What would be the cause of the red/brown?

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post #8 of 13 Old 06-22-2013, 04:42 PM
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In the mane & tail it's likely sunfading.

Copper deficiency can emphasize sunfading, but many horses will sunfade even with the correct amount of copper in their diet (in which case trying to supplement copper would do nothing). Either way, it's not generally recommended to supplement individual minerals like that unless under a vet's advice.
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post #9 of 13 Old 06-22-2013, 04:49 PM Thread Starter
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Interesting, verona.

Just to note, we haven't supplemented anything but giving her a salt/mineral lick free choice 24/7, which she loves. Otherwise her diet change has strictly been the change from grass to this stuff that has a lot of clover and seems a lot more sugary.

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post #10 of 13 Old 06-22-2013, 10:43 PM
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As for the eyes, a lot of foals are initially born with fairly blue eyes (obvious difference though if they were actually blue) and darken as they age.

The breeder might not have known the difference and just registered her with blue eyes. Could always get it changed.
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