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I have a seven month old colt out of a black overo stud and a dappled bay Appendix mare (yes it was an uh-oh type of breeding). I can't decide if he's going to be a bay or he's just sunbleached black at the moment. He doesn't have fawn or seal points but does have some weird coloring in random places. I've included a picture of him when he was born and he was this off gray color.

In the pictures he's next to my true black Beefmaster bull so you can see he's not truly black even on the places that are not what I would consider sunbleached. I've had other black colts that were black but were true black when foaled. So just wondering if anyone had one that followed this color pattern or had any thoughts on what he might mature to? Thanks!
 

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I'm thinking bay. My first thought was brown but he doesn't have the cinnamon points.

The youngest baby picture messes me up though, he was grey! I don't know lol, I'm just taking my best guess.

What color is the hair underneath?
 
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Looking at the newborn picture, I would say black. Black shades can vary, so he may never be the same shade as the cattle.

But doesn't that mean he isn't true black? I thought true black horses were only black, unless sunbleached. If they were brown, it's not the same.
 
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Black is black is black. EE or Ee. That E says black as it is dominant you just have to have the one. Now you can have all sorts of variation based on nutrition, exposure to elements and whether they fade or not. Or, there is a dilution gene present. I'd suspect that black overo had a cream gene and passed it on. Bay is EE or Ee with one of the dominant variations of agouti. There are three. One results in a bay, one is what is called wild bay where the black is further restricted and the third is brown - same restrictions but a cinnamon shade in the soft spots and on the muzzle. Horse body isn't as red and is more brown toned. As a baby I'd expect to see several changes as he sheds of and gets older. Babies are prone to fading. I see a baby that didn't shed fully when his winter woolies came in. See what happens when he sheds. Is he black when he sheds? All over black?
 

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Thanks everyone! Related to some of the questions that were asked (sorry this is my first post and not quite sure how to reply to specific individuals)

1. He's got dark brown hair underneath the darker parts, but there are a few spots where he's banged into things and the hair has grown back and it's black but other parts where it's deep brown/chocolate! On his head it's black, but on his hindquarters it's chocolate. Really a strange situation.

2. His sire did have a bit of a reddish tint to him underneath the black. The last black foal I had was more along the blue black line where he shone in the sun and didn't really bleach so that's why I was a bit thrown.

3. When I fed this evening I took a good look at his legs and he has patches of what looks like gold coming through on his pasterns and right above his hooves.

4. I did get him from a "rescue". I'll use that term lightly because he was basically in a pasture with a TON of other horses and it basically looked like a backyard breeding operation rather than a rescue. He was on really powdery grain and moldy hay so he was pretty underweight and under muscled when I picked him up. Since then he's been on an age appropriate textured grain, fresh hay, and a few supplements because the soil where I live is pretty depleted. So as QrtBel mentioned, it could be an issue with poor nutrition the first six months of his life.

AnitaAnne - wow! Yes, he looks just like that now. Your's is GORGEOUS! I've never seen a Rocky Mountain Horse here. I think the most exotic we have in this area is either a TWH or Missouri Fox Trotter lol.
 

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Looks like a Chocolate to me! I have one too.

It is really a Black with the Dapple gene diluting it.

It is the preferred color in Rocky Mountain Horses (like mine)
I just spent a few minutes looking up the Rocky Mountain Horses and found one that looks EXACTLY like the coloring of my colt. I had never thought to look them up because I was told he was Paint/QH/Thoroughbred but now I'm wondering if that was not true.

This one is for sale and they listed him as a silver dapple. Especially with the gold in the face.
 

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Brown with silver produces more of that look but that gene is dominant and doesn't hide on black based horses. Didn't come from the mare by that picture. She is sooty bay. It would be interesting to see the sire. I've only seen one paper that says it is present through a Morgan used breeding QH and so it would follow that Paints could carry the gene. Several pony breeds carry it more commonly as do Saddlebreds, Kentucky Mountain, Missouri Foxtrotter, even mustangs not just the Rocky Mountain. He is so young though see what happens when he sheds this spring. Sooty will put a dark mask on some horses. Hides on black. Dun does too but you would have other factors that show. Post more pics when he sheds out.

ETA Can't they test for Silver now?
 

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Do you have any pictures of the sire? Silver is normally not subtle and it presents much stronger in non-gaited breeds as it turns the mane and tail very light.

This horse is silver black:




The mare shows no signs of silver, as silver bay looks like this:




There is a test for silver available, so you could always test for that as well as agouti and you would have your answer for sure.
 

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Hi All,

Thanks again for more information, especially about the silver genetics. I've never had horses with that coloring or even close really. I've attached a picture of the sire here.

As to QrtBel's mention of it being in other breeds, it may be that his sire was something else. I did see the colt nursing from that bay mare when we looked at him originally and when we picked him up so that could be on me. I saw the sire's paperwork from APHA and the mare wasn't registered. I'm not too worried about it if it is the case as he's just going to be a project and I'm past my showing days. He was one of those "saw him and knew he was never going to be a show horse but loved his personality" type horses. Just food for thought.

One thing is for sure, he's massive compared to the QH cutting/sorting colts I've started in the past. At seven months he's already 14 hands. I know he looks small next to the bull but the bull is 2400 lbs and 5'10" at the shoulder. The mare was about 15 hands and the sire I saw on site was 15.2 but I'm thinking he may be bigger and thus I question if those are his true parents.

I am planning on submitting his DNA to A&M. I'm curious to see what they'll send back on his parentage!

Again, thanks everyone, I'm really enjoying learning more about color genetics!!
 

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No question he is black. Likely the baby will be black and is just faded badly. My hay supplier has massive babies. All QH or Paint or QHXPaint. They put their height on early.
 

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Thanks, QrtBel! I would be lying if I said I wasn't secretly hoping for black. I think they're gorgeous (as evident in my big pet bull lol)
 

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Honestly, I agree with black--baby coats do some funky things in the first few sheds.
Looking forward to seeing the results!
 
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