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Re: [RC] color genetics questions - Zephyr Arabians

--- Deanna German <finishis2win@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
I've had my eyes open for years looking for the
right black horse. I notice
that most of the black in Arabians seems to come
from straight Egyptian
lines and I really don't care for SE, Blue List or
Al-Khamsa Arabians. No
flames! It's just a personal bias! When I see an ad
that says "hookey neck",
I move on! Am I being short-sighted? 

No flames from me.  I think, however, that you should
take a look at the horses prior to making a judgement
call.  Most SEs aren't my cup of tea, either, but
occationally one comes along that's pretty nice. :)

Do some of these SE show cast-offs
actually have the longer hip, longer forearm, proper
rear leg angulation,
proportions, brains and the substance I'm looking
for? I really don't care
for the hooky neck, ultra dishy face look. Are some
good'uns getting cast
off because they don't have these characteristics?

Well, I can't think of any black SE breeding programs
that are breeding for the show ring.  Most that I can
think of are breeding for color and have very few
horses that end up in halter.  

So where is the black in Polish, Crabbet and the
early American imports?
Anyone have any leads?

There are some black Polish horses, and there is one
black Spanish stallion in the US.  I can't think of
any black CMKs off the top of my head.  The majority
of blacks that I can think of are "mixed pedigree" or
"American," and unfortunately are mostly show
pedigrees (lots of Bey Shah blacks out there for

I do know of a black mostly Polish stud that I
believe to be of good
quality. He's not homozygous (is that the right
word?) for black. IF I have
a good quality mare with charactieristics that are a
match for this stud
(which is the only reason I would even consider
breeding), what color should
she be in order to produce black?

Black.  If the stallion is heterozygous black (which
with a chestnut parent he must be) then he will always
have a 50% chance of passing his chestnut gene rather
than his black gene.  Additionally, any mare *other*
than black (or chestnut with two black parents) will
have a chance of producing bay with a black stallion.

To understand black, you have to grasp the interaction
of the extension and agouti loci.  I've written some
long pieces on this, but I'll try to be brief here.  

Extension is the black/red or more correctly the
not-red/red locus.  E=black (not-red) and is dominant
to e=red.  An Ee or EE horse is black-based (or
not-red) and an ee horse is red (chestnut).

Agouti is the bay/not-bay or not-black/black locus. 
A=bay or not-black and a=not-bay or black.  The agouti
gene only acts on black pigment, so a red horse will
"hide" whatever it has at agouti, but will pass one
copy to it's offspring, which if black-based will
express it's agouti.

Confused yet?

EEAA, EEAa, EeAA, EeAa are bay
EEaa, Eeaa are black
eeAA, eeAa, eeaa are chestnut

Once you've started to grasp this interaction, you can
then start working on percentages and what your
chances are for black given the parents' colors. 
Basically, the best way to get a black horse is to
breed TWO blacks (best if at least one is homozygous)
or to BUY one. :)

Am I right that a grey mare won't produce
black? What about bay?

A heterozygous grey will have a 50% chance of
producing a non-grey foal when bred to a non-grey. 
What color those non-greys are will depend entirely on
what's going on at extension and agouti of both

Bay is really risky with trying to get black.  Some
bays will be Aa and have a 50% chance of passing their
"a", but many bays & chestnuts (especially Arabians)
are AA at agouti so they will NEVER have a black foal.

BTW, can someone explain to me what a "dry face"
means when someone is
describing their Arabian?

It means that there is very little flesh between skin
and bone.  


*      Zephyr Arabians & KattWmn Web Design      *
*         http://www.zephyrarabians.com          *  
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* From the "Horse Capital of the USA" Norco, CA  *
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[RC] color genetics questions, Deanna German