I saw a meme on Facebook this morning that said, “Horses are like shoes, you need one in every colour.”
I was amused my the sentiment, but since my shoes (or actually, boots) are mainly all black, and my horses similarly monochromatic, it got me thinking about how we tend to be drawn to certain colours of horses.
My herd is made up of 30 horses, currently, and far from being every colour of the rainbow, they are a total of 11 colours (if you count, for example, black and black pinto as two different colours), and very heavily weighted to black (my Grandad’s choice) and silver black or silver bay (my favourite).
While there are a lot of colours out there that I don’t get to enjoy in my pasture, I’m not feeling like I need to seek out a palomino or an appaloosa. And if I was shopping for a new horse (which, with 30 beloved beasties already, I am certainly not) colour really wouldn’t even be a consideration – unless I was trying to find a match for a driving team of course!
Other people feel differently than I do for sure – there are many people who specifically breed for a certain colour or pattern, either because they think it will make their horses more marketable, or because that’s just the colour they want to look at in their pasture. And provided that they are holding out for the horses who are correctly conformed, with a good temperament, nice movement AND the “right” colour, then that’s fine! There is a risk, however, that less experienced breeders can get laser focused on the superficial trait of coat colour at the expense of the things that really matter: healthy, sound, and sane horses.
There are some colours that do have health concerns connected. Horses who are homozygous for the silver gene are prone to eye issues, and those who are homozygous for LP (leopard complex) appaloosa pattern gene will have night blindness. Horses who carry the LWO (lethal white overo) gene for overo colour pattern must be never crossed together, as they will produce a lethal cross 25% off the time.
But most of the time? Colours are just icing on the cake! And no where else will you find as many colour genes in play as you will in Miniature Horses, every colour and pattern combination you can imagine.
Miniature Horses really do come in every colour of the equine rainbow. Is colour a consideration when you’re adding a horse to your herd? Do you have a favourite colour, or can you find something beautiful in every horse you meet? That’s me … I never met a horse that I couldn’t find something to love!