Sunday, February 5, 2023


Observations in coat patterns- base coat and gender

 I like to try to keep up with the current research on Appaloosa coat pattern genetics and while many studies are still incomplete and ongoing I find it fascinating. Appaloosas are truly a unique and beautiful breed. I tend not to take anyone source of information as the ultimate authority. Instead I like to research a variety of sources and put more weight on the more recent information. However, one site I visited on the internet confirmed a couple of things that I was aware of from my own breeding experience. One, that there is a tendency for more male leopards or very high colored appaloosas than females. The other, that the diameter and number of the spots was often larger in black based horses as opposed to red based. John always said he attributed it to like many animal species- that the males were more colorful as to attract females. I decided to check it out to see if our experience extended beyond simply our own program. One site I visited that did seem to confirm this was

This site cites the Appaloosa Project as it's source and did not include the influence of PATN1 which we know is a modifier and with the LP turned on kicks the coat patterns up to a whole new level. Still this is interesting.
My first observation was addressed here.
"Variation Of The Leopard Complex Pattern With Gender". It states:
A study has found that male horses tend to have bigger and more uniform leopard spots than female horses.
This may be the result of breeding programs where selection favors stallions with extensive uniform black spotting."
From our experience at Sawyer Creek, this has been true but with a few exceptions. Over the years, we have produced quite a few leopards- both large and small spotted but the majority of leopards were indeed male. But there are a few exceptions. Take for example our filly we currently own Gloribee. Glory is a buckskin leopard with huge diameter spots overall and she is out of Iem The One (AQHA) and bay. To say we were pleasantly surprised when she came out would be an understatement. The first thing I think when I see spotted legs and a head come out is, "It's a colt!" I love being proved wrong as I am a filly person. Indeed, our most colorful foals over years have mostly been male but now that may change. With Chip's LP and PATN/PATN if the foals get the LP we should be getting a lot more leopard fillies.
The second observation was born out with "Variation Of The Leopard Complex Pattern With The Base Color" This study states:
Leopard complex can be combined with any of the three base colors. However, a study has been done to demonstrate an association of the base coat color with white percentage and the type of patterns.
Bay base color results in a smaller white area (average 32% ) and more extensive solid-colored areas. Bay horses show a tendency towards a spotted blanket pattern. (Again, this does not take into consideration Chip's PATN/PATN which means when you get patten, you are getting A LOT OF PATTERN) It goes on:
Black base color results in the leopard pattern with an extensive white area (average 70%) and big black leopard spots uniformly distributed across the horse´s body.
Chestnut base color results in fewer spots which are also smaller in size."
I find this to be true from experience. . Even Glory, with her huge diameter spots is indeed black based as a buckskin. While we have had colorful red based foals, the diameter of the spots and the observance of peacock spotting is far less frequent. Our black or black based leopards can have huge peacocked spots! A flashy look we happen to like. Our red leopards will have smaller diameter spots- sometimes with peacocking, particularly noticeable on the larger spots. Now these red leopards bred to a black base can kick in with wonderful results.
While our observations our simply from our experiences and observations this information does help guide me in my selection and breeding. What is your experience? Do you get more high colored colts than fillies? Are your black based foals more colorful ie: larger diameter spots than your red based?

Saturday, January 28, 2023

Now at Griffey Equine Reproduction Center! Collection starts 2/3/2023


First time with saddle on!

First time with a saddle. Gretchen says, "He was wondering what the heck we were doing lol. He didn’t care. He liked all the people messing with him." Folks, to know him is to love him. Chipper is a people horse and a big time HAM! He truly loves to please and is so laid back, most people think he is a gelding. I credit this to his great breeding from Naomi Flowers, Tim Jackson Show Horses' incredible care, attention and love and also to Gretchen and Tim's daughter, Taylor. Thank you so much Chipper for making an old couple so happy. Thanks Taylor for the pictures! 

Tuesday, January 24, 2023


 So....I'm often asked what is all this LP/Lp or PATN/PATN all about with Chipper? To say deciphering Appaloosa coat patterns is a challenge would be an understatement. Research is still in progress. But there are several great sites for what we know so far. The one I like is UC Davis who also performs the DNA tests for LP and PATN (1).

Through testing, we know that Chip is LP/Lp PATN1/PATN1. Exactly what I would want him to be. Lets think about this. First the LP/Lp or N/LP (Heterozygous for LP). LP is leopard complex spotting. Leopard complex or appaloosa spotting is a white pattern in horses characterized by a variable amounts of white in the coat with or without pigmented leopard spots. Horses with N/LP (Chip's genotype) will have a variable white pattern with pigmented spots. The size of the white pattern depends on what patterning modifiers are also present. They may transmit a leopard complex spotting variant to 50% of their offspring. Now it is my understanding that there are some modifiers to this percentage but this is still being researched. Matings with N/N genotype will result in a 50% chance of producing a foal with leopard complex/appaloosa spotting.
Further, expression of Leopard Complex is variable and white patterning may not be present in all horses that inherit the LP allele, but those with LP will progressively lose pigment as they age. Thus explaining how some appaloosas change in appearance. In addition to a white pattern, the expression of leopard complex includes several components: mottled skin around the muzzle, anus, genitalia, and eyes, stripped hooves, easily visible sclera (white of the eye) and progressive roaning, or loss of pigment, in the pigmented areas of the coat with age. The range of the white pattern can vary from minimal at birth to a horse that is almost completely white. The variability in the pattern is due to the interplay of multiple genes. Pigmented spots, known as leopard spots, can occur in white pattern areas.
LP is inherited as an incompletely dominant trait meaning the phenotype is different in horses with one or two copies of the LP variant. Horses with two copies LP/LP will have little to no leopard spots while those with one copy (N/LP) have pigmented spots in their white patterned area. The amount of white however is not dosage related, such that homozygous horses can have minimal expression of white patterning in the same manner that heterozygotes do. The variability in the amount of white on leopard complex patterned horses is controlled by other genes, one of which is PATN1. leads us to PATN1. Chip is PATN/PATN meaning he is homozygous for Pattern 1. Remember, Appaloosa Pattern-1 is a modifier of the leopard complex spotting (LP) and controls the amount white in the coat, increasing the amount of white present in horses that also have the LP mutation.
Horses Like Chip, with PATN1/PATN1 genotype that also have at least one copy of LP (N/LP or LP/LP) like he does, will have high amounts of white patterning. They will transmit an Appaloosa Pattern-1 variant to ALL of their offspring. The amount of white pattering on horses with LP and PATN1 typically range from 60-100%. This means that horses that are heterozygous for LP (N/LP), presence of the PATN1 mutation often produces a leopard or a near–leopard pattern. The effects of PATN 1, in the absence of LP are unknown. Maybe invisible, although some claim to observe white "ticking" of hairs on hips, belly and shoulder.
For more complete information please go to the UC Davis site. It's truly fascinating and new information is constantly evolving.

Wednesday, January 18, 2023

 Naming horses! Maybe it was too much coffee...(is there such a thing?.. or more likely not enough), but today my thoughts drifted towards my annual rumination over naming foals. My dear friend and horse breeding mentor, June Danner, always had rather unique names. As the benefactor of a few of those horses, I asked her how she came up with these strange but catchy names. June explained that she loved trashy romance novels and her names often came from these. Picadilly Lily, the full sister to Investment Package and multiple World Champ producer, was a filly I bought from her. It turns out that "Picadilly Lily" was a lady of the evening in one of June's novels. 'Tricks Are Free', a lovely colored daughter of I Gotta Cool Secret, was another purchase. She explained this name was also from one of her novels. It seems the heroine was being insulted by a gentleman telling her, "You are nothing but a cheap whore!" The woman responded, "I am NOT cheap! Tricks are FREE!" Yep, it stuck in June's mind. That's my June. So in June's honor, I barn named Tricks Are Free "June". Now, I've been known to come up with some doozies...Like...I Gotta Cool Package, Sexy N Shameless, Helluva Fella, Yella Pokadot Bikini and Bare Naked (by Too Yella To Streak). However, the double entendre of "Flashn My Assets" was the pure responsibility of his breeder, Naomi Flowers. Is he flashing anatomy? or his stock portfolio? You tell me Naomi! the interest of perpetuating June and Naomi's creativity, I've come up with some name suggestions for all of you that will need names for Flashn My Assets foals in the future. Here goes! Bite My Asset. Kickin Ur Asset. Smart Asset. Gotta Big Asset. Haulin Asset. Beating Ur Asset. Laffin My Asset Off. One Fine Asset. Workin My Asset. Now, you could also key off Flashn. Flashn At The Bar. Flashn My Booty. Uflash I'll Flash. I think I'm on a roll!