horses with unique coloring/facial markings

Re: horses with unique coloring/facial markings

Postby Miss Woodford » Sun Jun 03, 2018 9:52 pm

Ridan_Remembered wrote:Please don't misunderstand what I'm about to ask, as I do not mean in any way to cast doubt on this colt's breeding, but I wonder if some of the unusual coloring we see from time to time in Thoroughbreds might come from less-than-ethical breeders crossing a TB to a non-TB, then registering the foal as a TB. If this happened, it would have been more likely back in the pre-DNA days. Are Thoroughbreds DNA tested for registration these days?

Oh, there are certainly conspiracy theories about the parentage of Milkie and Glitter Please, the only two sources of all dilute TBs. None of their ancestors were known to be dilute in color, and with no photos or DNA testing we have no way of knowing if there were in fact the "secret buckskins" that color breeders claim somehow carried down the gene for hundreds of years without being detected. The rumors are that Milkie was actually a QH cross (probably 1/4 or 1/8) while GP was a Saddlebred cross; both of their female families are fairly obscure. I'll let you make up your own mind about that...

Another issue is that several color-bred horses (notably the stallion Goldmaker) have had their papers pulled by the JC after it was discovered that they were conceived via AI, so their offspring cannot be registered as full TB.
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Re: horses with unique coloring/facial markings

Postby Treve » Mon Jun 04, 2018 12:46 am

Miss Woodford wrote:
Ridan_Remembered wrote:Please don't misunderstand what I'm about to ask, as I do not mean in any way to cast doubt on this colt's breeding, but I wonder if some of the unusual coloring we see from time to time in Thoroughbreds might come from less-than-ethical breeders crossing a TB to a non-TB, then registering the foal as a TB. If this happened, it would have been more likely back in the pre-DNA days. Are Thoroughbreds DNA tested for registration these days?

Oh, there are certainly conspiracy theories about the parentage of Milkie and Glitter Please, the only two sources of all dilute TBs. None of their ancestors were known to be dilute in color, and with no photos or DNA testing we have no way of knowing if there were in fact the "secret buckskins" that color breeders claim somehow carried down the gene for hundreds of years without being detected. The rumors are that Milkie was actually a QH cross (probably 1/4 or 1/8) while GP was a Saddlebred cross; both of their female families are fairly obscure. I'll let you make up your own mind about that...

Another issue is that several color-bred horses (notably the stallion Goldmaker) have had their papers pulled by the JC after it was discovered that they were conceived via AI, so their offspring cannot be registered as full TB.


You piqued my curiosity so I decided to go look on pedigreequery.
Glitter Please... you have to go back to the 4th dam to find a mare that was unraced (1929) and she is by and out of two British-bred horses. His first dam is by a son of an Epsom Derby winner and out of an old school war horse with 70 starts (8 wins) who is herself sired by Supremus who most notably sired Alcibiades.
GP's second dam is by Drawby which is where in GP's pedigree is the suspected provenance of the dilute as smokey black (which would not really be visible as a single dilute, and would appear as dark brown). This horse was raced with 18 wins out of 56 starts. He is out of a Phipps mare. If you look at his sire, he's a chestnut so right away I suppose I'd rule out the dilute here but even so just in case he somehow was a dark palomino, turns out this is a stud bred by HP Whitney. He's a grandson of broomstick and his damsire is Peter Pan. Drawby's dam, Drawbridge (the aforementioned Phipps mare) is registered as bay and by Sir Gallahad.

The most interesting find in his pedigree is Drawbridge's dam, Traverse who while bred in the UK was by a US-born stallion (but whose pedigree is all UK and France) and out of a US-bred mare (whose damline is all US-bred mares until Castagnette (GB) born 1872) and the English Stud Book apparently would not register her because she was 'tainted' with Lexington blood, so Mr Whitney imported her (she was born in 1915 two years after the Jersey act (1913) --- Lexington's dominance in the pedigrees of American-bred Thoroughbreds, and the fact that the British Thoroughbred breeders considered him not a purebred, was a large factor in the so-called Jersey Act of 1913, in which the British Jockey Club limited the registration of horses not traced completely to horses in the General Stud Book. Lexington features as the grandsire of her 3rd dam. Traverse was apparently unraced and was the Dam of two stakes winners, she is the second dam of 13 more including 1954 Kentucky Broodmare of the Year Traffic Court and is the third dam of the high-class half brothers Hasty Road and Traffic Judge.

Honestly digging through is pedigree I have a hard time seeing where someone would've snuck in a saddlebred. I wouldn't say his female family is prominent but it is hardly obscure, both in the names featured as breeders and sires and in terms of horses actually racing. If you were using a mare you'd have to have found a stallion owner willing to fudge the papers or willing to breed a non-TB mare, in the latter case you'd also need to have been the owner of the TB mare whose papers you were 'stealing' to the same stallion and be willing to cut her foal as a loss from that year. (Which wouldn't be profitable and why would you waste a valuable season of a TB mare's limited years of production?) same if you were using a saddlebred stallion, you'd either need to also own a tb stallion whose papers you could switch out to, pay off someone to report their tb stallion as having bred their mare, or switch out an entire foal and be willing to 'lose' one.

Milkie's female side is murkier, a lot more unraced mares... But Milkie himself was described as a light chestnut initially while looking at old ads and clippings of him from the 60s and 70s. If he could be registered as a chestnut why not other palominos before him? And I can definitely see how smokey blacks could pass as dark brown, heck I could even see how sooty buckskins could pass as dark bay or brown. As an aside the only ancestor I could find in common for these two stallions is Sir Gallahad. I'm too tired and a bit too lazy to see how he (or if either Milkie and Glitter Please) traces back to the Byerley Turk, but if the Byerley Turk was in fact an Akhal-Téké as is suspected by some historians rather than an Arabian as previously thought, it's not a stretch that he could've carried a dilute gene at the very foundation of the Thoroughbred breed.

After all this reading I'm not certain I buy the conspiracy theories.
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Re: horses with unique coloring/facial markings

Postby Flanders » Mon Jun 04, 2018 9:59 am

I don't know why there is even question that they are thoroughreds. If you go trace thoroughbred pedigrees back to their beginnings, there are horse's named Darcys Yellow Turk (who was said to be yellow) or blah blah blah Dun Mare or Dun Stallion.
They are probably in every pedigree of the stud book or close. They are in Glitter Please and Milkie's pedigrees. They are in Phalaris's pedigree.
Then there is the French bred, Sylfou, who was born in 1959 and is definitely a palomino.
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Re: horses with unique coloring/facial markings

Postby starrydreamer » Mon Jun 04, 2018 10:14 am

Holy cow, Treve. Thanks for sharing!

I'd buy that the Byerley Turk was really an Akhal-Teke.

Lets see, from what I see on pedigreequery, Glitter Please does have the Byerley Turk in his blood, as well as the Godolphin and Darley Arabians. He also has horses such as "Oxford Dun Arabian Mare," so I wouldn't be surprised if there's something latent dilute gene way back in there that manifests occasionally.
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Re: horses with unique coloring/facial markings

Postby Treve » Mon Jun 04, 2018 11:06 am

I suspected as much, Flanders, thanks for the additional information!

You're welcome Starry! The thing that people don't seem to realize is that while on the surface single dilute (and double dilute) horses should be visible, colour is interpretable in a different manner depending on who is looking, and you can not be sure in many cases what the genotype is unless you test it. Plus it can interact with other elements such as the sooty factor which is great at hiding certain 'true' colours, especially in the case of dilutes.

For example, these are some sooty buckskin akhal tekes... many could pass for bay or brown if you aren't looking for buckskin, nor very interested in it.
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This one is a buckskin with an extreme sooty factor... doesn't look much different from an ordinary brown or dark bay
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This one is described as a Dark Buckskin by a German registry...
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Inversely, I often see people mistakenly refer to Haflingers as Palominos, when genetically they are chestnut. There is no dilute gene in the Haflinger breed and occasionally you'll see a darker almost liver chestnut with red mane and tail but they've become rarer. Yet they manifest in a range of colours from darker almost copper-gold chestnut to a very light almost dun-like yellow body. With their white manes of course.

And Smokey Blacks also would give no real visual information as to whether a horse carries dilute unless you knew the parentage or gentoype. Here are some smokey blacks (range of breeds):
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Smokey Black Tekes
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Related example: there is a woman who breeds Orlov-Rostopschin horses (now known as the Russian Warmblood) in Wisconsin. One of her studs is half Teke and is a Smokey black who throws tons of buckskins and palominos. But for the sunfading he'd probably look no different than an ordinary black/brown, and he has also thrown regular bays and chestnuts.
Last edited by Treve on Mon Jun 04, 2018 11:17 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Kincsem nevű kanca...


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Re: horses with unique coloring/facial markings

Postby Katewerk » Mon Jun 04, 2018 11:15 am

starrydreamer wrote:Holy cow, Treve. Thanks for sharing!

I'd buy that the Byerley Turk was really an Akhal-Teke.

Lets see, from what I see on pedigreequery, Glitter Please does have the Byerley Turk in his blood, as well as the Godolphin and Darley Arabians. He also has horses such as "Oxford Dun Arabian Mare," so I wouldn't be surprised if there's something latent dilute gene way back in there that manifests occasionally.


Well, we hear this all the time about "historic" colours that pop up in dog breeds... they're attributed to this or that remote ancestor when they're actually the product of a fraudulently registered cross that took place much more recently. Rule of thumb: when the colour gene doesn't conform to the expected pattern of inheritance or population distribution (as in, a single buckskin among hundreds of other direct descendents) any deep pedigree research becomes moot, as you may not be looking at a factual pedigree to begin with.
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Re: horses with unique coloring/facial markings

Postby Treve » Mon Jun 04, 2018 11:56 am

It is imho, easier to defraud a dog's pedigree than it is a TB's. Not entirely uncommon especially decades ago, for the owners to own both dam and sire which makes things considerably easier. I know of someone who managed to get shih-tzu papers on her teacup pig from the AKC once because they don't really bother to check so long as they get their registration papers, which is also why they accept to register colours explicitly banned by the parent breed club (who writes the standards as you know). Which isn't the case in FCI jurisdictions for example.
The jockey club is a little more stringent, going so far as to revoke papers (on several occasions). But seeing as this was a possibility, that's also why I specifically outlined in my post how/if one would be able to defraud the papers (and hence why I said "I have a hard time seeing where a saddlebred would have snuck in" because these are not obscure horses with obscure ties, you'd have to have at least two people in on it to 'borrow' valuable papers that way and I don't think that's likely).

But also please refer to my post above, all the horses displayed are genotyped as single-dilutes but most people wouldn't guess based on phenotype.
Interestingly, Milkie, Glitter Please and the French-bred Sylfou as mentioned by Flanders are all palominos, not buckskin and they are not closely related so the theory of "a single buckskin individual amongst 100s of descendants" isn't as easy to apply here. Plus again, what is interpreted as buckskin and what isn't is subjective in terms of phenotype, please refer to the above post, all the horses there are confirmed genotyped as single-dilutes and I'm fairly certain few people would guess just by looking at them, without any other information or context.
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Une pouliche se nommant Trêve...

Kincsem nevű kanca...


And a Queen named Beholder
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Re: horses with unique coloring/facial markings

Postby aethervox » Mon Jun 04, 2018 1:12 pm

Regarding Milkie, if I remember correctly, the Jockey Club didn't want to register him, but his sire, Deer Lodge had a differently shaped front hoof that he passed along to all his offspring, and Milkie had the same same shaped front hoof, which proved his paternity.

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Re: horses with unique coloring/facial markings

Postby Katewerk » Mon Jun 04, 2018 3:01 pm

Treve wrote:It is imho, easier to defraud a dog's pedigree than it is a TB's. Not entirely uncommon especially decades ago, for the owners to own both dam and sire which makes things considerably easier. I know of someone who managed to get shih-tzu papers on her teacup pig from the AKC once because they don't really bother to check so long as they get their registration papers, which is also why they accept to register colours explicitly banned by the parent breed club (who writes the standards as you know). Which isn't the case in FCI jurisdictions for example.
The jockey club is a little more stringent, going so far as to revoke papers (on several occasions). But seeing as this was a possibility, that's also why I specifically outlined in my post how/if one would be able to defraud the papers (and hence why I said "I have a hard time seeing where a saddlebred would have snuck in" because these are not obscure horses with obscure ties, you'd have to have at least two people in on it to 'borrow' valuable papers that way and I don't think that's likely).

But also please refer to my post above, all the horses displayed are genotyped as single-dilutes but most people wouldn't guess based on phenotype.
Interestingly, Milkie, Glitter Please and the French-bred Sylfou as mentioned by Flanders are all palominos, not buckskin and they are not closely related so the theory of "a single buckskin individual amongst 100s of descendants" isn't as easy to apply here. Plus again, what is interpreted as buckskin and what isn't is subjective in terms of phenotype, please refer to the above post, all the horses there are confirmed genotyped as single-dilutes and I'm fairly certain few people would guess just by looking at them, without any other information or context.


I was citing buckskin as a general reference about the broader topic, not specifically speaking about these horses or their pedigrees. Sorry if I was unclear.

The kennel clubs revoke papers as well when fraud is detected. Your friend must have obtained an extra blank registration slip from a disreputable breeder -- the "fifth" puppy in an otherwise purebred litter or some such. You can't simply fill out a form and get full AKC registration on a dog you claim to be purebred.

As for dogs, there are lots of people who have high profile reputations who've been caught fudging this or that for reasons that may have made sense to them at the time.
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Re: horses with unique coloring/facial markings

Postby BaroqueAgain1 » Mon Jun 04, 2018 3:49 pm

Treve, thank you for all those photos and the attached information. They are a quite a visual education...and lots of eye candy, as well. :D
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