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I would like to ask for advice on Rocky's color for registration purposes.

When I bought Rocky at 6 months old he had gone from a liver chestnut looking color to an almost black. After I bought him I was given pictures of him at birth and he was silver! So I kept hoping he would shed out to a nice silver grulla/o. No such luck, he was almost a light bay. Now with his winter coat he looks black.
He has the dorsal stripe and some barring on forelegs. You have to really look for the barring.

When I send in his registration papers to the Half Quarter Horse registry I intend to name him as a grulla/o.
His sire is a red dun RCR Dun up Smooth (quarter horse)and his dam is the buckskin in the first 2 pictures.

Is anyone familiar with these coat changes and is that indicative of grulla/o? Am I going to register him wrong as far as his coloration?
Does it even matter?

Rocky several hours old:
[Image: 1-30-2006-4.jpg]

Rocky at 4 months:
[Image: DSC_0101.jpg]

Rocky at 15 months:
[Image: DSC_0064.jpg]

Rocky at 17 months:
[Image: DSC_0231.jpg]

I have been procrastinating on registering him because I am a....procrastinator by nature!

Why do something today if you can put it off until tomorrow?
I have a mare with a similar history, only no silver! I am sorry to say she is called brown. Nothing exotic about that is there? I think he'll probably be labeled brown regardless the awesome coloring when he was younger, although his 4 month and 17 month look awfully close to black.
Quite often a horse born silver will end up black. Mrs Hook was hoping for a black from our black mare Flash but got Cruiser instead.

I would think from the photos you will end up with a Dark Bay.

Stormy has studied genetics and should be able to give you a more educated answer from that side.

Nice looking baby.
Does he still have a dorsal stripe? Has he always had a dorsal stripe? If so, wouldn't he be considered a dun?

I know the definitions for certain coat colors can vary from one association to another but this is the way I look at these particular colors by definition:

Bay: A basic coat color of brown that can run to a reddish or copperish shade with black points including 4 black stockings and a black mane & tail.

Brown or Dark Brown: Any shade of brown for the basic coat color with a black or brown mane & tail. No points or black stockings on the legs.

I hope this will help a little bit. Also, I've heard that grulla colored horses will vary from their winter coats to their summer coats, but in my honest opinion, I would still think that if he has had a dorsal stripe all along that he would be a dun.


Yes Rocky does still have the dorsal stripe. It is very visible in the summer when he goes into the light bay color.

Here it is in his baby pictures:

[Image: 1-30-2006-2.jpg]

And here you can see it in his spring picture with Joe. He still was shedding out his dark coat but you can see the dorsal stripe and some faint striping he has over his withers.

[Image: DSC_0288.jpg]

This is Rockys Sire 'RCR DUN Up Smooth'
He is a red dun:


And his dam Dixie:

[Image: DSC_0095-1.jpg]

I appreciate everyones advice. Aren't duns and grullas gentically similar?
Man I love that hip on Joe!
Thanks I love Joes big ol' butt, too.
If you look at his right side you will notice one of his spots is in the shape of a heart. It is on top of another spot (to it's left).
I agree with RH, I think he is a dun. But one of the babies born at my barn was born silver, and I sure thought he was going to be a grulla too. But he is now black. He is not a true black though, and I think he will fade quite a bit next summer to kind of a mousy color. But he was sure a pretty silver at birth. But your guy seems to have the typical dun factor to his coloring, with the dorsal stripe and shoulder marks.
Horses do not change color. They are born the color they will be but mother nature makes it so that the foal coat blends in easily to the back ground so the foals can hide. They will go through a number of 'changes' but a black is black from day one. Many people think that a horse will go change color totally like a bay to a dun, not possible. For that to happen some divine thing would have to happen to alter his genes. A bay is not a dun and never can be one and a dun can never be a bay. It also depends on the parents genes. If you breed two non dun parents you will never get a dun no matter how much you wish it to be so. There is a science to this with rules that are followed.

Not all stripes down the back or dorsals. Countershading is very common in foals. This goes back to that mother nature thing. The foal coat colors are darker on top and lighter on the bottom to help hide the shadow they cast so that a wolf or wild cat can't see them as easily. Their eyes pick out moving shadows but on the foal the eye is tricked into thinking it doesn't have a shadow under it because the underside is light.

Countershading is what that is but it can also minic dun factor to the point that you can't tell the difference by just looking. Not just the dorsal but also the leg barring, masking, webbing all of it. Some horses keep the countershading their whole lives, some don't. Some are born without it and get it later one.

This colt is an odd one. Without seeing him in person it's hard to tell if he has true dun factor or just countershading. One thing he does have in some of those coats is sunbleaching. Horses only shed so many times. I had one woman fight with me over and over again for about a month that her bay colt was not sunbleached. What finally got it through to her was that between June and Aug he did not shed. They can't change a coat without sheding and the hair has to grow out a different color. And keep in mind that the new coat growing in can sunbleach as it is growing out so you don't even really think of it has being there long enough to sunbleach but it can happen. Sunbleaching can make it very hard to judge colors. As can light when the photo was taken, color changes from computer screens, differen cameras, etc

We know he is black based. If his sire is a red dun and the dam buckskin. Out that cross the black based colors you can get are Black, Smokey Black, Grulla, Smokey Grulla, Bay, Buckskin, Dun, Dunskin.

I would say he isn't a grulla, he won't go grulla. He isn't buckskin or dunskin because he just looks too redish but that could be part of the sunbleaching. He also doesn't look black. Even a fading black(which is just as much a true black as a non fading black). That leaves Bay, Smokey Black, and Dun. I don't think he is Smokey Black. I haven't seen one bleach out to the point he is in that photo with the Appy but I guess one could. So we are down to Bay(which includes Browns which do have black points because they are a black base) or Dun.

One thing the Dun gene does is to lighten the body. This is how the Grullas(which is Black plus Dun gene) get that greyish body. Grulla is the ideal one to see this. On Duns(Bay with dun gene) it's a little harder to see because bays and buckskins also have a lighter body then the points.. On Red Dun(sorrel/chestnut with dun gene) it can also be easy to see since the points stay darker red and the body gets lighter, sometimes more yellow tinted. On a Dun the body normally gets yellow tinted also. In some photos your guy doesn't show that. He looks pretty red in some of them. That could be part of the sunbleaching. So it would come down to if that is true dun factor or countershading. If he is countershade I would think more of a dark bay or Brown. Either way he is sooty so that is going to make it harder. Sooty is just an effect over the color to make it look darker. It is like countershading and many times they go hand in hand.

Some rules for judging color. Never go with the winter coat unless the summer coat alone is not enough. Make sure the horse is in good light and is not sunbleached. Look to the parents for possible colors.

I think this is one you will have to wait until spring and see what that brings.

I'm hoping it is okay to post this since I didn't clear it with Chuck and I have no clue how to to that link thing yet. Anyone got any blonde directions on that yet! lol

This webpage should ****ershading on foals. Your little guy really looks like that Brown foal. http://members.aol.com/battyatty/sootfoal.htm And another useful page http://members.aol.com/battyatty/dunfoal.htm#foalcoat

I can't wait for Aedan to shed out this spring because he sunbleached so badly. There are days I question myself if he is red dun or a dun. I still am holding to a wild dun color which is the lighter shade of dun. I don't think he will end up with the high dark legs like both parents.
Excellent post as always, Stormie, but now you really got me curious. If a brown can have black points, too, because they are black based (I think that is how you described it. Correct?), then how do you tell a bay from a brown? What are the differences that separate the two?
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