Question about dapples - The Horse Forum

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post #1 of 11 Old 12-08-2010, 12:22 AM Thread Starter
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Talking Question about dapples

What makes horses dapple? Does diet have anything to do with them? I have started grooming my horse thoroughly from 1-3 times a day. I have noticed when he stands in the sun, shiny dapple like spots. Could the grooming have caused it? Is there anything you can do that will give a horse dapples?
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post #2 of 11 Old 12-08-2010, 01:21 PM
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there is thread somewhere on here that says that dapples are caused by healthy diet. I know that my brother's mare has dapples now that she is getting better feed!
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post #3 of 11 Old 12-08-2010, 01:25 PM
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I don't know if it's a wives tale or not but the old ranch hands on our place growing up used to say a healthy horse had dapples.

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post #4 of 11 Old 12-08-2010, 02:35 PM
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It can be a sign of good health. A lot of bay horses especially will get dapples in the summer if they are healthy and fed a good diet. There is a coat color called silver dapple, in which the horse has dapples year round, and its just the way the color of the hair is mixed with the silver gene. Most of the time though its just good health and a happy horse. I am a bit bummed, cause I had a bay TB mare who got gorgeous dapples in the summer, and now I have a grey horse, who looks fugly in her winter coat lol, and she's never going to have dapples. I love the dappled look.
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post #5 of 11 Old 12-08-2010, 03:17 PM
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My horse had dapples when I bought him, he was underweight, feathers full of mud, tail and mane one big dread. I know the man who owned him before and I know the crap he fed his horses, it even happened a few times that he simply forgot to feed his horses at all. Once I came to the stable and asked for him and people told me he went on holiday. I saw the dirty stall and called the guy that cleans them and feeds the horses when he's gone and the guy went like "uh? He went for holiday? Nobody told me" and at that point we all knew there was nobody who cleaned and fed the horses the day before. Anyway...

When I got him back to his healthy weight his coat also darkened (his original colour is black but when I first saw him he was this funny brownish orange colour) and there were no dapples at all. All I know is just when he was poorly fed and underweight, he had dapples and now that he has just about anything he needs, they're gone. He's still not purely black and probably won't ever be but he's definitelly looking much better, his coat is shining like a mirror. Not saying the "healthy horse = dapples" doesn't work, just not always
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post #6 of 11 Old 12-08-2010, 03:41 PM
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Dapples can also be a sign of "sootiness" or counter shading on a horse. Like a bay, buckskin, or palomino that is "sooty" will have dapples just as a feature of the coat. And you can have a handsome horse of another color, like say for instance a blood bay, and he can be shiny, healthy, etc, but may not really show dapples because of his color.

I think two things cause dapples. I think the real obvious ones are caused by the color of the horse (for instance grays and horses with the sooty factor) and then a healthy coat will often get a bit of a texture with dapples. Those are harder to see and you often have to stand at an angle to see the dappling. I think those are from good health.

Of course, this is just my personal theory.
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post #7 of 11 Old 12-08-2010, 05:35 PM
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I was told feeding flax can bring out dapples. Not sure if it's true or not. My chestnut dapples like crazy when he has a summer coat.
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post #8 of 11 Old 12-08-2010, 05:45 PM
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hmmmm I don't know exactly the good health kinda makes sense to me....My 4 year old tbred is a dapple grey, he was from the track and they are taken well care of!!!! So it could be good health...don't make sense to me though.....
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post #9 of 11 Old 12-08-2010, 05:52 PM
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I think that dapple gray is actually a breed as opposed to a health thing. ;)
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post #10 of 11 Old 12-08-2010, 09:09 PM Thread Starter
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Comet is a blood bay :) I can notice really FAINT shiny dapple type things. I am crossing my fingers and hoping he gets them! He is fed a hoof supplement, kept really clean, gets good hay, free access to clean water and salt, clean stall, and is fed vet recommended Nutrena SafeChoice grain.
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