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Thursday, June 7, 2012

The Georgian Grande – A Saddlebred with a Twist

The Georgian Grande – A Saddlebred with a Twist

by Samantha Kroese

Hartland's Large Saddlebred Stallion
(possibly too heavy but definitely closer to Grande than purebred ASB!)

I’ve seen quite an explosion in the hobby of this new exciting breed. Although most people seem to be quite confused about it. First of all the name of the breed is The Georgian Grande. I’ve seen it spelled Georgia Grand and various other spellings but Georgian Grande is the correct spelling (meaning Grand Horse of Georgia).

Their registry website for real horses is here:

According to their website (which the registry is usually considered ‘the’ authority of the breed of course) the breed was developed with the intent to created a Saddlebred horse that had heavier bone/heavier look to it. 

It was created in 1970 by a breeder by the name of George Wagner Jr. who had seen pictures of ‘old’ Saddlebreds and thought the breed was more sensible in the past for work so he started crossing Saddlebreds with Percherons (and other draft breeds). With the intent to get foals that look like a Saddlebred only had more substance to them instead of the lean long look they’d gotten for halter showing. Another apparent attempt was to cool the hyper attitude of the breed with the less excitable personalities of draft horses. The original breeders wanted to recreate horses like General Lee’s Traveller.

A Georgian Grande today can be anywhere between 25% and 75% American Saddlebred Blood. The only other blood that is allowed to be crossed with it is the draft breeds that follow: Percheron, Clydesdale, Shire, Irish Draught, Belgian Draft and Friesian. Gypsy Vanner and Drum Horses are only accepted if they are registered with their breed registries and have a proven pedigree.

They are commonly used for Dressage and similar events.

 American Saddlebreds have a distinct look and the Georgian Grande seeks to preserve that while adding substance. 

Their breed standard states that the goal of this breed is to create a perfect blend of both worlds, resulting in a heavier boned “Baroque” style Saddlebred.

This does not mean the horse looks exactly like a purebred Friesian would! The horse should look like a Saddlebred with more weight and bone to it. Purebred Draft type, Warmblood type, or Friesian/Carriage type do not fit in with the breed’s mission or breed standard. More often than not the breed does not have (or isn’t shown with) feathering. Feathering is allowed or it is allowed to be shaved off. 

You can see their entire breed standard here and it is quite detailed:

I’ve had people argue that they’ve found real Georgians that look like a purebred Friesian, or a warmblood, or any other type under the sun. One should always, always, visit the breed’s website and read their breed standard and mission and look at champions or approved stallions. Google or other ‘image’ searches can show images that are incorrect or mislabeled or maybe the horse just isn’t the best example of the breed.

While Georgian Grande may seem like an answer to all those odd colored drafts or Friesians one should always keep in mind that the standard calls for a type that is very different than purebreds of any of those breeds look. The breed even penalizes a short thick neck (which is what most purebred draft and Friesians have).

Models that could possibly be similar to the standard of the Georgian Grande:

Peter Stone’s “Chip” Standing Draft Horse
Hartland’s Large ASB
Five Gaiter
Other horses of similar look/type

Your goal is to have a Saddlebred 'type' horse that has a heavier frame/more meat on them. Normally a purebred Saddlebred is very long and lean with fine delicate bone structure. 

Things to avoid:

Models with a Warmblood look (think Hanoverian and similar molds)
Models that have draft or Friesian type (remember you want a long thin neck, longer back, long legs and high action these are not things that drafts/Friesians are known for)

 Purebred ASB - Notice the long neck, long body/spine, long legs and the head that has a long almost stretched look to it. 
Purebred Friesian - Notice the heavy thick legs, the thick short body, and the thick short neck. Their heads are also thicker and have a less stretched appearance.
Purebred Percheron - Notice again the short thick legs/body/neck and the heavier head. 

 The Five Gaiter is much thicker and heavier than most purebred ASBs are today. He is closer to the old style ASBs the Georgian Grande breeders hope to imitate. But the Georgian Grande should ideally have the long look of the Saddlebred still that the breed is known for.

This is a lovely newer breed and I hope this clears up some confusion you might have had about it.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Mold Feature: Breyer Legionario III

Mold Feature: Breyer Legionario III

By Samantha Kroese

Since Legionario has been and always will be my favorite Breyer mold I have researched him and own almost every one of this mold. I thought I would share my knowledge about it for everyone.

Regular Runs:

Legionario III is a traditional sized Breyer that depicts a male Spanish horse doing the Spanish Walk. He was introduced by Breyer into the line as Legionario III in 1979 and was sculpted by Chris Hess.

He was first released in the white-grey color (often called Alabaster by Breyer) you see above as #68 Legionario III. He ran from 1979 to 1990 in this color.

In 1991 came a dashing bay: #851 Spanish Pride, who is a bay with one fore sock (on raised leg). Spanish Pride is one of the most sought after of this mold both because he is older and more difficult to find in good condition (ran for less years) and because it is hard to find him for sale. He only ran for one year (1991-1992).

Next was Medieval Knight, who ran from 1993-1994, a stunning Mulberry Roan (Chestnut going Grey). Interestingly enough the term Mulberry Roan was used to describe Andalusians that were born Chestnut and turned Grey (because chestnut was not allowed at the time).

1995-1996 brought this stunning creature. This is #918 Promenade, Andalusian. He is bay silver (bay with flaxen mane/tail) with four socks and a blaze/white muzzle. Of course he is a “Breyer Color” which means he doesn’t quite accurately display the true genetic make up of a real silver horse (the points dilute to chocolate brown instead of black on a bay silver horse). But with Original Finish Breyers you often get colors that aren’t ‘quite’ right.

Interestingly while Bay Silver has not been proven to exist in the Andalusian breed it has been found in Lusitano and Lusitano x Andalusian horses.

There was also the exact same model released on QVC with the special run #707995, Promenade. Though the model was identical to the regular release.

1997-1998 brought us #977 Galante, Lusitano. He is chestnut with on sock (raised foreleg) and a blaze/snip/white muzzle. While Breyer called him a Lusitano, there are now PRE Andalusians who are also registered that are chestnut though this was forbidden for many years.

#1143 Lavrador was done in 2000-2002 as a portrait of the stunning real Lusitano stallion Lavrador. He is a stunning light golden buckskin with a metallic sheen to his paint. I believe he was one of the first Breyers released with the metallic sheen.

2003-2007 brought us the horse inspired by Robert Vavra’s work, #1217 Majestad. Majestad is a shaded white grey (with more leg/body/mane shading than the original alabaster). He came with a poppy garland and Robert Vavra’s CD “Horses of the Wind”.

Not Pictured

#1338 was Legionario in a light dapple grey (with darker points) who came in a very festive set called the Spanish Flameco Set. He was adorned with a fancy Spanish bridle, saddle and breastcollar. He was accompanied by Brenda Breyer in a Spanish Flameco dance costume.

Special Runs:

Not Pictured
From 1979 to 1981 there was a set #3070 Legionario III Gift Set. This featured a model that was pretty much identical to the #58 Alabaster only he came with a book “The Andalusian; a rare breed”. It is almost impossible to tell if you have the gift set horse unless he is still in the box with his book.

Not Pictured

1991’s Breyerfest saw the Gold Florentine Legionario as a raffle model - #415091. 21 were made. He is a glossy gold florentine (dappled gold decorator) with two rear socks.

One of the most sought after Legionario III special runs is the 1995 West Coast Jamboree horse #410395 El Campeador. He was made for the now defunct West Coast Jamboree which was a live show event held in California every year. There were only 875 made and he is very difficult to find in mint condition so this makes him a very sought after horse. On top of this he is a stunning dark dapple grey with black points.

1999 brought us two very nice special runs. First there was:

#700299 Eclipse was the 1999 Fall Show Special and was available through Breyer dealers at various Fall Breyer Horse events. He is a solid true black (no brown shading).

Then there was Grane of Gotterdammerung, who was a special run for 1999’s Equitana. 2000 were made. He is a silver filigree decorator (dappled metallic silver with white points). He came with a hang tag with a story depicting Brunhilde’s mystical mount from the German musical opera titled Gotterdammerung (Twilight of the Gods). He has a red speck in his eye that is supposed to be the flames from the opera reflecting in his eye.

#702597 was a Toys R Us Special Run in 1997 named Stardust (not to be confused with the unicorn of the same name). Stardust is a medium dapple grey with huge circular dapples, and four stockings. Somewhere between 4000 and 5000 were made.

Not pictured
In 2004 Breyer released Legionario in a reddish flaxen chestnut as #710204 a Volunteer/Judge’s model/Live Auction model. There were about 70 made. He has one sock and is darker body wise than the other flaxen chestnut Special Run that will be mentioned below.

Horses with no numbers:

(None pictured due to them being so rare I do not have any of them currently in my possession however some pictures not included in this article maybe found on the Breyer Identification site here:

Bourbon Street is a 2002 Breyer Door Prize/Auction model. This is a decorator color on Legionario inspired by Mardi Gras. He is a dark Lavender body with bright gold mane/tail/hooves. He sports four stockings and a bald face.

In 1985 there was a JC Penney SR Flocked version of the original Alabaster sold as “Circus Set with Ringmaster”. He is a white flocked Legionario with a circus costume. He sports a hair mane/tail and glass eyes. He came with Brenda Breyer in a ringmaster’s costume. This horse is so rare I have never seen one for sale in all my twenty-one years in the hobby.

Also in 1985 there was a medium flaxen chestnut (differentiated from the Breyerfest SR by having a lighter body and four stockings) released for various mail order companies. Also known as the Congress SR Chestnut. About 900 were made. While he is seen for sale now and then he is normally always priced in the $100 or above range and it is difficult to find him in mint condition because of his age.

In 2011 Breyer released Legionario in a very limited run of 1 for the Breyerfest Test Run Auction. He is a red dunalino (dun with reddish points and white mane/tail) Tobiano with four stockings.

There are also two known other test models (documented). One is a Semi Gloss Black with 3 stockings (all but right hind leg). The other is a red dun with three socks.


Now that I’ve covered all the runs so you can identify them let’s talk about the model itself and what to show it as.

The model is definitely Iberian/Spanish in appearance.

It is doing the Spanish Walk which is a trick or circus move that is loosely connected to Dressage. The horse walks very slowly and picks up each front foot in a very high exaggerated movement. It is a move taught to Lusitanos and Andalusians and considered to be part of the Spanish Culture. It is taught to the horse to open up shoulder movement. Legionario is caught in the process of lifting his leg high before striking out forward for the movement. The foot would then extend, flung forward in a strike-like movement before being dropped back to the ground.

The mold is distinctly an Iberian breed so it excels at being shown as an Andalusian or Lusitano (mostly depending on color). Odd colors not found in either of those breeds can sometimes show well as a Spanish Mustang. Breeds crossed with either the Andalusian or the Lusitano would also be possibilities. Sometimes he is also shown as a Lippizan though he suits Andalusian or Lusitano much better. Because he is so typey it is hard to get ‘creative’ with him.  

(All horses pictured are in the collection of Samantha Kroese. All photos were taken by Samantha Kroese and copyrighted by her. They may not be 'borrowed' for any reason without express written permission by Samantha Kroese.)

It's Got Spots--What Do I Do?

By: The Researcher

So you’ve somehow ended up with a model, and it’s got spots. What do you do next? If it’s a dog, call it a Dalmatian and name it Pongo. If it’s a horse, you might be tempted to ID it as an Appaloosa and call it a day. But what if you don’t want a hundred Appaloosas running around your stable? Because admit it, Breyer and every other model horse manufacturer are addicted to spots, and somewhere along the line you might end up with more spotted stock horses than you bargained for. There might just be a better option.

Based on the model’s body type, you can narrow down your choices of possible breeds. From here on, I will break the sections into typical horse types. What I won’t do is give a thorough description of them—just go ahead and type the breed name into your browser and have fun exploring.

(To be clear, I refer to Appaloosa-type markings as spotted. Tobiano and overo are called pinto. Similar to the Paint/pinto conversation, I consider Appaloosa a breed, not a color.)

Let’s start with the big guys first. They’re pretty easy to tell apart from other horse breeds. If it’s huge and muscular, it’s probably a draft. (You weren’t really going to make a draft mold an Appaloosa, were you?)

Noriker-Pinzgauer: These heavy draught horses have light feathering, but they come in a beautiful array of patterns such as blankets, extensive blankets, leopard, tobiano and overo patterns, and even pintaloosa. However, gray is not accepted, so if you have a gray spotted model, you are out of luck on this one. Keep in mind these are moderately heavy drafts, so lighter than a Percheron. They generally have full tails, not docked.

A decent Pinzgauer, although notice his tail is shorter than typical. Blame the five year old with scissors ;)

Gypsy Vanner: What, these guys come spotted? Why, yes, they do! I’m not going to spill any of my researching finds in this article, but if you look hard enough, I’ll bet you can find a proper parent or two. They are short, thick, with lots of feathering, a full mane and tail, and come in a variety of colors. Think Winter, the Treasure Hunt.

Sugarbush Draft Horse: This is an endangered breed, but definitely deserves some attention! A wonderful website full of pictures can be found here: Try: Friesian. 


British Spotted Pony: These ponies can come in every variation of spots, such as few spot and snowflake. They come in miniature, riding or cob type, so perfect for capturing that ponyish model that doesn’t quite cut the other breeds. Try: Cantering Welsh Pony, Haflinger.

            Cayuse Indian Pony: Just how it sounds, this breed of horse has been around since the times of the wild west, although they are rare today. They were influenced by the Percheron and Spanish Barb breeds. Read an article about them here: Try: Indian Pony.

Falabella: Not to be mixed up with Shetlands or Miniature Horses, this small pony breed can come in spotted patterns as well. Schleich made a family set of these.

A leopard Schleich Falabella stallion

Miniature Horse: These hardy little ponies can come in both spotted and pintaloosa patterns. The American types look a lot like mini Arabians, so if you have a refined pony mold with spots, try here first!

Pony Of The Americas (POA): Another pretty popular breed in the model horse community, this is a great selection for a stocky/Arabian model that has some pony qualities. The registry is open, but spotted coloration is required.


Knastrup: A fairly popular breed, the Knabstrup has a good hold in the model horse community. 

A good representation for a Knabstrup.


Florida Cracker Horse: A small gaited saddle horse, they come in every horse color, although solid and gray are most common. It would be worth a try on the Breyer Classic Morgan stallion. Read more about them here:

Tiger Horse: A very solid, gaited breed. A very interesting website for them is here: Not only do they talk about the breed, but there is a discussion on how the different gaits bred down through the generations. Blankets, leopards and snowflake patterns are common. Try: Foundation Stallion.

Walkaloosa: Simply, an Appaloosa crossed with a naturally gaited breed. However, any gaited horse with a spotted coloring can be registered. This means many gaited molds would qualify.

A gaited spotted horse makes a great Walkaloosa.


Altai: I don’t know much about this breed, other than it is a very small, rugged breed that can come in leopard patterning. See the Wikipedia article here: Some decent pictures come up on the yahoo search for “Altai horse”.

American Bashkir Curly: Believe it or not, this interesting breed does come in spotted patterns. This might be a good idea for a flocky! Also, one of the brands, either Papo or Safari, made a Curly model.

Arapaloosa: Not to be undermined, this beautiful breed combines the gorgeous Arabian type with the flashy markings of Appaloosas. Best for models of Arabian type.

The dainty micro mini foal could make an Arapaloosa filly.

Nez Perce: Nowadays, the cross between an Appaloosa and an Akhal-Teke as part of a restoration effort to re-establish the horse culture of the Nez Perce tribes. They are long and lean, with spotted characteristics.

A passable Nez Perce.


            Colorado Ranger: This stocky breed comes in both blanket and leopard patterns. They cannot contain Paint blood or pinto markings, so pintaloosa won’t occur here. Although they share close bloodlines with Appaloosas, Rangerbreds have their own unique heritage. Try: Cody.

An Applaoosa? Sure. But why not a Colorado Ranger?

            Mustang: Yawn. If you want to fall into a large breed class, call your Appaloosa this and toss it in here.

            Brumby: In fact, spice it up a little and call it a wild horse from down under.

            Appaloosa: And finally, if worse comes to worse, you’ve got the standard Appaloosa. An easy breed to fall back on, if the model ‘demands’ it, or the creative juices just aren’t flowing.

I hope you now realize you have a lot more choices. I’m sure I have even missed a couple. Feel free to comment of any others you are aware of. Maybe next time when you pull a spotted model out of its box, you can get more creative!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Overo Pinto: A general identification guide

Overo Pinto: A general identification guide

by Samantha Kroese

I’m not going to go into the strict genetics of all the patterns and how they relate because I mostly wanted to write this as a more general article for identification purposes. I am certainly NOT a genetics expert and it pays to keep in mind that every day the information is changing and we are learning more about colors. While there is a lot of great information available online always keep in mind it could be outdated and incorrect (even this article!) so make sure to do your own research too.

Overo is a pinto term that at one time was the defining term for pintos. There were Tobianos and then everything else that was pinto was Overo.

Tobiano was once termed as any pattern that crosses the back (a lot of people think that means between the withers and dock but it actually encompasses the entire spine from the skull base to the very end of the dock) but some forms of Sabino and Splash can also cross the back.

As genetics move forward and there are more and more tests available we are learning that there are many different genes that control Overo patterns and they’ve been given names.

Frame Overo:

Frame Overo is one of the most common overo patterns so let’s discuss that one first. A frame overo horse can be any of the base colors (Black, Bay, Brown, Chestnut and their modifiers and dilutions). Their markings often appeared ‘framed in’ by color. The markings are usually jagged instead of round. Sometimes white crosses the back but it is rare on a frame. The legs are usually dark but the head is more often than not white or bald.

Frames are controversial because a homozygous frame foal will be born with a disease known as lethal white and it will die within 72 hours. Thankfully there is now a test for real horses and if you avoid breeding two frame overos together (or any carrier of this gene it has been found that even horses without the frame overo expression can carry this dangerous gene if they have frame in their background) then lethal white isn’t even a worry.

Places to read more about Frame Overo:

There are some great examples of Frames on this page:

Splash Overo (aka Splashed White):

Splash is the less common pattern of Overo. Horses with splash will look like someone dipped them in paint. The color rises from the bottom of the horse like a paint ‘splash’. The bottom of the horse and their legs are usually white with a splash. The edges of the markings are usually crisp instead of jagged and have a ‘sharp’ appearance. Splash can hide as minimal. Splash is also thought to cause blue eyes. Splash white is bold normally with large unbroken white swatches. Heterozygous Splash can be minimal, it can express as just a blaze or even just a snip.

A lot of great examples of Splash and more information on the pattern on this page:

There is also a lot of good documented information here:


Sabino is the odd one out. It is ‘overo’ because it is not Tobiano but aside from that it doesn’t really fit in with the other overo patterns. Genetically it’s quite different. There’s still a lot to learn about Sabino and how it expresses and what genes cause it.

Sabino can occur in many breeds even ones with no other form of pinto. There is thought that perhaps a form of Sabino is responsible for all face/leg markings in horses. There have been just a few Sabino genes identified so far but there are horses that display Sabino without those genes so there is thought there are more that aren’t discovered yet.

Sabino can express in very minimal forms, a blaze or a sock, or a snip that goes over the lips/chin. A white chin usually indicates Sabino as do socks of any size that point up to the horse’s belly from the insides of the legs. Belly spots are very common for sabino even when there’s no other white on the body of the horse.

Sabino can also express so boldy that the entire horse turns white (known as Maximum Sabino, though there is usually a tiny spot of color somewhere). White  horses may also be caused by Dominate White, which is different than Sabino White. (Neither are Albino, as far as anyone knows Albino doesn’t exist in horses!)

Sabino causes lacey edges on markings and it can cause extensive roaning as well. Sabino roans can even mimic true roan sometimes in breeds where there are no true roans present.

The most common minimal sabino expression is four white stockings and a wide blaze that goes down to a white chin. Since Sabino can so commonly hide as normal markings sometimes it’s a shock when a fully expressed one pops out of two rather common looking parents.

Sabino markings usually don’t look as crisp and sharp as the other overo patterns, it looks more like lacey or roany patches. It can cross the back.

Sabino can also cause blue eyes but not exclusively.

Some great examples of Sabinos can be found on this page:


Overo can ‘crop out’ of parents that have minimal markings. This happened a lot in the Quarter Horse breed but can happen in others.

Most Clydesdales have a form of Sabino (though not the currently identified gene).

Overo can even express in breeds you might not be aware of!

There are even purebred Thoroughbreds with Splash, Frame, and Sabino

Sabino is rather well known to occur in the Arabian horse breed (though it’s not caused by the currently identified Sabino gene). The other forms of Overo have not been proven to exist in the breed though.

Frame Overo has been found in Morgans (though they are not currently allowed to show at Morgan shows):

I hope this helps people at a quick glance to know what patterns their Overo might have. Remember you can have a combination of these patterns (and even Overo and Tobiano to make things more confusing) but this should give you an idea what you may be dealing with on oddly marked horses.

*Please note: As stated above this is not law and is subject to change daily when new genetic break-throughs  happen. I am not a geneticist all my information is gleaned from various other sources and while I researched as much as I could to see that it was correct there may be flaws. This is only meant to be a general identifier article not one with genetic certainties. Always do your own research of many sources to back up any claims you find online about anything to do with horse color!

Monday, June 4, 2012

Paints and Pintos: Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Spots But Were Afraid to Ask

[b]Paints and Pintos: Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Spots But Were Afraid to Ask[/b]
By Anna Bentley

I do love a spotted horse. I always have.  My first rocking horse was a black and white pinto named Blaze:

 I rode Blaze on the most incredible adventures, and I guess he is what started my obsession with spots.  As I grew up, I began studying everything I could get my hands on about horses, and in that process, I learned about Paints.

Er… Pintos.


So, what is the difference, you ask?

Glad you asked.

Paint is a breed. Pinto is a color. Simple, eh?  Paints are registered with the American Paint Horse Association (APHA) and to be registered can only be of Paint, Quarter Horse or Thoroughbred breeding. Interestingly enough, Paints don’t ALWAYS even have to be spotted; they can be registered under breeding stock and be solid colored. But when they are colored, Paints are always Pintos, but Pintos are not always Paints. If you want to frustrate me beyond belief, tell be you have a paint half Arab. No... you have a PINTO half Arab.

Pintos, on the other hand, can be of most any breed. There are Pinto part Arabs, American Saddlebreds, Tennessee Walking Horses,  Shetland Ponies… almost any equine breed can be a pinto in color. The four types officially recognized by the Pinto Horse Association of America (PtHA) are: Stock, Pleasure, Hunter and Saddle. More recently, two Utility types have been added Gypsy and Drum.  Let’s take a look at each type.

Stock type is pretty obvious, of Quarter Horse or Paint breeding predominantly. Typically used for western riding and sports, these horses are usually built to work.

Pleasure type Pintos are usually of Arabian, Morgan, Andalusian, etc. type. These horses can be used for either English or western type riding and even in harness.

Hunter type Pintos are most commonly of Thoroughbred or warmblood breeding, and used for huntseat, jumping and dressage.

Saddle type Pintos are the peacocks of the show ring, ridden saddleseat with a cut-back saddle or driven in fine harness. They are of lighter build, of Saddlebred, Tennessee Walker and Hackney type, commonly gaited.

Both in Paints and Pintos, coat patterns fall into categories; the two biggest are overos ad tobianos and this is where the largest part of my discussion shall fall, as it is where I see the most mistakes being made when entering model shows.

Tobianos are probably the most common pattern in the real horse world, and in the model horse world, probably the most commonly misrepresented.  A tobano’s face is marked like a solid colored horse, with a star, stripe, blaze snip, etc, or even solid colored.  A tobiano will ALWAYS have four white legs. ALWAYS. (This is one of my biggest beefs when judging, to see an otherwise lovely tobiano and then find that it has one or more dark legs. Automatic disqualification for me.) On a tobiano, the white usually will cross the horse’s spine between withers and tail, and the tail itself is commonly bi-colored.

Overos on the other hand, will rarely have white crossing the spine between withers and tail. The tail is usually one solid color, and it is not uncommon for an overo to have all legs dark, although they CAN have all four legs white.  Their faces are almost always predominantly white and blue eyes are quite common.

Of course none of these rules are hard and fast, especially since the patterns are commonly bred together- called a tovero- and then there is also sabino to consider.

It’s enough to make you see spots.

Some interesting Paints & Pintos:

A minimal tobiano- notice that he still has the four white legs:

This was the closest I could find to a dark legged tobiano that wasn’t a model horse:

Very typical tobiano, showing the common chest shield and flank markings:

He is quite the handsome fellow!:

A nice example of a tovero, showing characteristics of both overo and tobiano:

A gorgeous buckskin overo, with all dark legs:

And an overo with all WHITE legs:

Overos can be mostly white, but note- she still has dark over her spine!

…and overos can be mostly colored with very little white:

And the there is the splash overo, which will look as if it has been dunked in white paint:

I hope that you enjoyed this discussion of the most colorful of horses, and maybe learned something. If you have any questions feel free to ask and I will try to find the answer for you!

Happy trails!  And a bonus question for YOU: what pattern did my beloved Blaze display?

Basic differences between Arabian Horse Strains

Basic differences between Arabian Horse Strains

by Samantha Kroese

This is an example of the ‘ideal’ Arabian conformation as posted by the American Arabian Horse Association: (scroll down to diagram)

(which as you can see is quite different than the profile of the typical halter horse these days)

You can see their discussion of the important parts of Arabian conformation here:

Although the Arabian is known for some pretty obvious things. They’re a compact short backed horse with an arched neck, small muzzle (teacup muzzle means they fit in a teacup) with large nostrils, a pronounced ‘dish’ in the face between the forehead and the muzzle, and small elegant ears. They are also known for their large expressive eyes.

While there are exceptions to every rule I’ll try to quickly discuss the main conformation points of the strains as I’ve learned them over many years of research. This is of course my opinion and may differ from others.

Generally strain refers to where the lines came from originally. Straight Egyptian are considered to be the purest originally coming from the deserts in Arabia and some can trace all the way back to the desert. Most other strains formed when these horses were imported and bred by state studs in different countries.

Straight Egyptian –

Straight Egyptian horses tend to be smaller. They can have a range of head types but most tend to lean toward exotic with a defined dish. Large eyes, small muzzle with large nostrils, small elegant ears. Neck and back should not be too long. They are generally dainty in appearance. They are known for their stamina and are used a lot of times for Endurance racing. Well known Example: Morafic -

Polish Arabian –

Polish Arabians in general are bigger horses for the breed (meaning taller and heavier). They are exceptionally gifted for Park and performance because they can have very high animated action when they move. Well known example – Bask:

Russian Arabian –

Russian Arabians are generally sporty and have more of a Thoroughbred look to them. They excel at flat racing. Well known example: Pietuszok -

Crabbet/CMK/Old English –

English Arabians tend to look very much like a welsh pony with an Arabian head as that’s the look their breeder encouraged. They are small and pony-like with beautiful heads. Well known example: Raffles

American/Domestic –
This is usually what it’s called when you mix a bunch of the other strains together. They can look pretty much like any of the other strains, or a mix of them. Well known example: Khemosabi -

Spanish –

Spanish Arabians have a DEFINITE Iberian look to them but still very much an Arabian. They usually look like someone crossed an Andalusian with an Arabian (though they are still purebred Arab). They tend to have shorter necks than some of the others, but very flashy moving with long thick manes/tails. Examples from the Spanish Arabian Society’s Stallion page:

I just wanted to give everyone a very basic idea of how the strains differ. Obviously an Arabian is an Arabian is an Arabian, they all are very similar and of course should all LOOK Arabian first. The strains developed generally from breeders want to breed pure horses for a specific type/purpose.

*Note: I don’t claim to be THE expert on Arabians. I will admit to being mostly into Egyptians so they are what I know best (even though my boy is Egyptian x Polish in breeding).

How to make a simple Arabian Halter

 How to make a simple Arabian Halter

by Samantha Kroese

What you’ll need:

Craft Cord (or Embroidery floss depending on what you want to do) – Make sure if you get the cord it’s the flat sided braided kind not the round kind

 Examples of Craft Cord

 Examples of Craft Cord

Embroidery Floss to match the Craft Cord if you’re doing tassels

Jump Rings

Necklace Chain to match the jump rings (gold or silver)

If you want an easy halter end to clip on you can use the necklace clamp findings that go with the jump rings too


Thread that matches the cord (or you can use the floss too)

Pliers (craft ones work best)


If you’re going to braid or knot your own cord you’ll want to look up a pattern for friendship bracelets. I found some online. You just adjust them to whichever width you want your halter to be.

If you’re using cord...just get the cord out and untangle a nice length of it.

Get the model down you’re going to fit it on.

I always do the part that goes behind the ears first so wrap the cord from one edge of the mouth to the other. Leave about an inch on each end out past the muzzle. Then cut the cord free of the rest.

Now you’re going to take a jump ring, slip it on one end. Hold it to where the edge of the mouth/bit would go. Fold the cord underneath over the jump ring so the cut part will lie against the horse’s face. Then you thread your needle, make a small knot and sew the two parts together a few times to make it sturdy then knot it off. Then do the same on the other side. Then cut the ends kind of close to where you sewed.

You can use clear nail polish on the ends to keep them from unraveling if you need to.

I always make the nose-band next. So you’ll take your cord again like you did above. This time you’re going to measure across the bridge of the nose to where the jump ring would sit on a real halter. Once again leave about an inch to fold over. Fold a side over one of the jump rings. Sew it close to the jump ring then cut off the excess and repeat for the other side.

Figure showing the triangle of chain under the horse’s chin with lead rope connected.

Now you’re going to cut a length of your chain to go under the chin. I like to make a long enough one that you can thread it through both jump rings and make a triangle (point down) out of it. This way you can adjust the chain to be snug just by pulling down on the lead. Attach a jump ring to the bottom of your triangle of chain and secure the loose ends. If you’re feeling really good about it you can open one link of the chain and attach it back to the other side instead of a jump ring for a more professional look. You can usually bend the links in a chain (and the jump rings if needed) enough to open and close them with a pair of pliars. Needle Nose crafting pliers work the best.  Alternatively if you just want the chain to hang and not be snug you can cut a length and then attach the ends of the chain to the jump rings. This is a great way to re-use broken necklace chains.

Picture: Close up of Brow Band connection on side, as well as the chin strap piece behind it (second cord behind the ear)

You’re going to do the same thing for the browband, only you’re going to wrap the cord around the piece of cord that goes behind the ears approximately where the browband would sit on a real halter. Then you can sew it like the other places. Make sure you don’t sew it TO the other cord, just make a loop and sew it close enough it’ll stay in place. This way you can leave the brow-band adjustable for going up and down if needed.

For Arabian halters the regulations do require a chin-strap, one that goes behind the ears and holds together under the chin. These are often long and ornate. Sometimes they’re  just a simple chain. For my halters I use the same cord and measure it so the middle of the length I want sits in the middle of the spot behind the ears. Then cut as long as you’d like for it to hang on both sides. Once you have that piece carefully sew it to the halter by connecting it to the piece you already had going behind the ears. Be careful to make sure your halter is fitted right before you do this though so the hanging pieces are even.

You will need some sort of tie to hold the chin strap. This part needs to be adjustable. You can use a pony bead (though those are often out of scale) or any bead that the cording will fit through. Or you can make your own tie out of the cording by wrapping it around and tying a tight loop around (that is snug but can still go up and down).

To make your lead rope you are going to need the necklace clamp. Usually these have a small circle on the back side. Just attach a jump ring there. Then you will thread your cord through the jump ring and sew it like you did on the halter. Cut to the length you’d like your lead rope to be (I usually measure so it hanges in a loop to the side when you flip it over the horse’s back and still has some length to go down the opposite side of the horse). Knot the end without the jump ring.

And there you have it. A basic Arabian halter. Now you can decorate it with anything you’d like from tassles to beads to gemstones to necklace/bracelet charms. Be creative!

Breeding Model Horses for the Beginner

Breeding Model Horses for the Beginner

By Samantha Kroese

I know when I was new to the hobby and I first found out about breeding model horses I was very excited but I wasn’t certain how to go about it. I’ve been asked a lot by new hobbiests about it so I decided to try to simplify it for them in an article.

Obviously plastic horses can’t really breed.

Lately a lot of people have gone over to using ‘pedigree assignment’ to describe model horse breeding more accurately. Basically what you are going to do is assign a pedigree to your model. You can then offer to have a sire/dam list so people can request to use your models for parents.

I’m going to assume you already have a model horse if you’re interested in this. The first thing you need to do is figure out what color, breed, age and gender you want your horse to have. Oh and a name for your model though some people wait to use parts of the parent’s names for their name.

You can either have your horse non-aging which means it never ages it’s always a set age or you can have it aging where you assign a year of birth and it gets older every year. There are good and bad things about both it’s up to you which you’re comfortable with. I personally made the decision that my horses always look a set age to me so I use non-aging. If you do this your model never gets old. Eventually though your pedigree you assign will out-age your model so you may have to update it in 20-30 years.

Aging is different. Your horse always gets older so you either use a year to indicate their age or you have to update it every year when it changes. They also grow old to the point they ‘die’. Most hobbiests then make the model a foal of the old version and let the old version ‘die’.

Color is important. You will need to pick parents that can produce your model’s color. There are a lot of color genetic articles on the internet but the best and easiest way for a new hobbiest to figure it out is this: Always have one parent the color your horse is. That way you know for sure the genes are there to pass on. Also pay attention to markings. While not much is known about how exactly markings pass on sometimes if you have solid parents all their foals will be solid, or if the parents have high markings the foals usually get that too. So it’s something to keep in mind. Not saying it never happens the other way but for a new starting out person it’s easiest to just pick parents with similar markings. Sometimes Breyer makes ‘weird’ non-realistic colors. In that case just pick the closest you can to a real color.

Breed is also important. This is going to affect not only how your horse shows but if people will approve it for breedings. So do a little research and make sure you have the right breed for your model. Also make sure the breed comes in the color you want. Sometimes they don’t. Like Arabians and Clydesdales don’t come in palomino for instance.

When you’ve decided on a breed, color, age and gender and possibly a name for your model (I do recommend NOT using the name Breyer or whatever company gave to it, it’s more fun to come up with your own!); then you’re ready to find a pedigree.

The easiest way for a new person to do this is use parents on someone’s sire and dam list. If you use someone else’s parents they’re going to send you a pedigree and you’ll have one pretty easily. ALWAYS ask permission and follow the rules for that stable though. Never use horses without permission!

So you’re going to look on people’s lists and find parents that are close to what your horse is. You need the same breed/colors to start. At least one parent needs to be the same color as your model.

When you find two parents you want to use read the person’s rules then send them a breeding request. And they’ll in turn send you a pedigree/breeding certificate. What’s on these varies greatly from stable to stable but most often at least the very basic information on the foal, parents, and the pedigree is listed.

If you want to use real horses it’s a bit trickier. You need to find real horses that are the same breed/color. Then you have to find out if they were breeding the year your foal was born (because people will be picky about it if they weren’t). On asking permission from real horse owners: I don’t normally. You can have mixed results. Most real horse owners I have contacted have told me not to bother them with my make believe. Some real horse owners are thrilled you liked their horse enough to want to use it for a parent though. So it’s really up to you.

I usually pick horses old enough be to deceased to avoid problems with real horse owners. A lot of real horse owners panic and don’t understand what model horse breeding is and/or don’t want their horse used for model horse breeding for whatever reason. If you still want to use real horses I always try to use popular ones that were bred a lot because sometimes the smaller farms with the real horses with unique names will search the internet and send you nasty letters if they find their horse on your website.

If you want to use the real horse just write down the information on the pedigree. Normally names and whether they are real is the most basic pedigree info people want. Most people also like to have years of birth and colors listed for the real horses. I don’t personally do this very often because my pedigree form I send out doesn’t have room for all that. Some people send out pages and pages of information. For those starting out I suggest requesting breedings from several different stables and see how they do theirs and deciding what you like/don’t like and going from there to build your own pedigrees to send to people if you decide to offer yours for parents.

If you want to offer your horses for parents once they have pedigrees it’s pretty simple. Just make a list of your horses that includes name, parents, age, color, gender. Most people include what kind of model it is too so people know. Then decide how old your horse was when it started breeding (typical is 3-4 for a stallion, 4-5 for a mare).

A lot of people stick to the mare can only have one foal a year rule. There is also in the real horse world Embryo Transfer which allows mares to have multiple foals per year if you want to go that way but some breeds do restrict it.

Dilutions I: Cream in my coffee, sugar in my tea: Why Palominos and Buckskins cannot be breeds.

Dilutions I: Cream in my coffee, sugar in my tea: Why Palominos and Buckskins cannot be breeds.

by Dainelle Kinsel
I wasn't sure which dilute genes to start with, but I've seen lots of books and websites make the mistake and call palomino horses a "breed" so I figured I would start here. <smiles>
Cream (or creme) is the first of many modifiers that work to change the way phaemelanin (red pigment) and eumelanin (black pigment) ultimately look. (This is also known as a phenotype. Genetically, a chestnut horse is ee but it's phenotype is one of many shades of red.)
Cream is an odd gene. It is known as an incomplete dominant which means it affects the end color differently whether a horse has one dose or two. The other modifiers, such as sooty and panagre also affect these colors, just like chestnut, black and bay.
Remember! All horses are genetically black or red. Anything else a modifier that affects the ultimate outcome of those two colors.
That said, let's look at how cream affects the base colors. 
This little table comes in handy: (I've abbreviated the genetic code down to what's important in this case:)
A chestnut horse with one "dose" of cream is a palomino. (ee Crcr)
A chestnut horse with two doses of cream is a cremello. (ee CrCr)
Palomino horses have dark skin. Their bodies may range in shade from cream, yellow, gold, etc, to sooty or "black gold" based on the other modifiers present. Their manes and tails can range from flaxen to cream to pure white.
The cremello horse has pink skin, nearly white points and often blue eyes. If it's skin is dark, it's not cremello.
A bay or brown horse with one dose of cream is buckskin. (A- E- Crcr or At- E- Crcr)
A bay or brown horse with two doses of cream is perlino. (A- E- CrCr or At-E- CrCr)
Buckskin horses have dark skin. Their bodies may range in shade from cream, yellow, gold, etc to sooty or even "off black" based on the modifiers present. Points are black. Some may have a "counter shaded" stripe on their backs, but this is not  a dorsal stripe.
The perlino horse has pink skin, points that look about one shade darker than the body, and eyes that are often blue.
A black horse with one dose of cream is smoky black. (aa E- Crcr) (Which doesn't look any different than a black horse without the cream gene.)
A black horse with two doses of cream is smoky cream. (aa E- CrCr)
Smoky cream looks like a cremello horse that's had light ink poured all over it---ok, that's confusing, so let's stick to the working definition: looks sooty on top of cream (cinnamon on whipped cream perhaps?) and often has blue eyes.
What's important here is to notice how the presence of the cream gene affects the base color: a smoky cream horse is almost ghost-like and looks completely different to the naked eye than a smoky black. Buckskin and perlino seem to be on opposite ends of the color scale, as do palomino and cremello. Cremello and perlino have often been referred to as "white" while smoky cream has been misidentified as "white" "light dun" and even "grey." So, this is why is a wonderful thing that so many registries are finally getting around to wanting their horses DNA tested. We have learned so much in such a short amount of time---and there is still lots more to learn.
On all of these dilutes (palomino, buckskin, perlino, smoky black, and smoky cream: pinto and appy patterns, as well as face and leg markings are easy to see!)
But let's get back to the subject at hand!
Let's also take a moment to understand that horse colors seem to stack (in my opinion.) It is entirely possible to have a horse that is a brown buckskin tobiano or a smoky cream spotted blanket. When we take the time to write out the colors properly, everyone can understand---from the registrar to the lay person. Hopefully one day descriptions like "a tricolored horse" will fall by the wayside. We can only hope!
Alright then--so just why can't palominos or buckskins ever be a breed or breed true? (Breeding true means if you breed two palominos you get 100% palomino. Well, you can't. I'll show you why...)
As we saw above, there is no such thing as a "palomino" or "buckskin" gene. These colors come about through the work of the cream gene acting on the black or red base color.
So let's do some virtual breeding:
Let's take a palomino stallion (ee Crcr) and breed him to a palomino mare (ee Crcr).
And since this is virtual, we don't have to wait ten months. We have a foal.
What color do you think it will be? (no cheating!)
Well, if you said palomino, you are 50% right. You also have a 25% chance of a cremello foal and 25% of a chestnut foal.
Wow! So, then you understand that palomino doesn't breed true. (You may give yourself exactly one pat on the back. Don't want you too get too smug...yet...)
In other words, when you cross those two golden bombshells, the Punnet Square will look something like this (I omitted the "ee"s since it's understood both horses have them...)
        Cr       cr
Cr  CrCr     Crcr
cr   Crcr      crcr
CrCr- cremello (two doses of cream)
Crcr- palomino (one does of cream)
crcr- no doses of cream
It works the same way for buckskins. This is why chestnuts are important in breeding programs for palominos, such as ASBs. It gives about a 50/50 chance of getting either palomino or chestnut, no chance of cremello.
Now, if you really wanted to produce palomino foals 100% of the time, you would take and cross cremello with chestnuts!
Ok, I think the coffee is cold now and I need some lemon for this iced tea. Stay tuned for the next part of the dilution discussion: dun--the cowboy color.

Agouti! The party responsible for bay and brown.

Agouti! The party responsible for bay and brown.

by Dainelle Kinsel
As we all well know, a bay horse has a red body and black points; the points being mane, tail, muzzle and at least the lower legs (in the case of wild bay.) The ear tips and legs up the cannon bones may also be black.
The red seen on the body has nothing to do with chestnut. 
Yep, you heard right. The reddish color actually belongs to a black (EE or Ee) horse that has been influenced by the agouti gene (abbreviated as A or a.) What agouti does is restrict the black on the horse's body to the points.
That said, a chestnut horse (ee) can actually carry the agouti gene but is completely unaffected by it. That's because a chestnut horse (ee) has no black pigment on its body to restrict. 
(Kind of like color blindness is carried by human females but expresses itself in human males.)
(Too far off subject? Ooops!)
OK, I think we all understand what agouti does. Now it's important to understand that there are more than one type of agouti...actually, there's three.
A= the "normal" agouti that produces those beautiful bays
At (superscript "t')= the agouti that produces BROWN
A+ = the agouti that produces WILD BAY (*a working theory-see below)
Ah ha! Yes, browns really are genetically different. For the most part, brown (also called seal brown) can be expressed as:
At- E-.
A is dominant to At and a.
At is dominant to a.
A+- we aren't really sure yet, since it seems to crop up sporadically. *So far it seems its not true breeding, so there's still quite a bit of research to be done.
Now we have gotten through that (and I am so dying for one of those chocolate popsicles...) let's talk about agouti. It's named after rodents of a similar color known as Agoutis. If you have ever seen a Chinchilla, you know what agouti looks like. Tabby cats and many other mammals express the gene, as well.
If a chestnut horse (ee) is bred to a black horse (Ee or EE) and they produce a bay foal, you have your proof that the chestnut is carrying one of the agouti genes (either A or A+) but chances are, not At. If the foal is brown, then the chestnut is carrying At. 
The reason for this is that if a black horse carries agouti, then that horse is either bay or brown.
Just like on chestnut horses, modifiers such as sooty and panagre can affect the shade of the coat: i.e. dark bay, red bay, black bay, cherry bay, sandy bay, mahogany bay....I think we get the idea :D Brown works the same way. Often what's known as "seal bay" or "seal brown" is a brown horse (At- E-) that has the panagre modifier, his muzzle will have a lighter ring around it and often his eyelids will be a lighter color and have a lighter ring around the eyes (also called "toad eyes" and "mealy muzzle." 
Pretty neat, huh?
Bay foals often have mealy or almost-white legs when they are born. These lighter hairs shed out with the foal coat and the mature coat will have black points. This is why colors of foals are not accurate until they are yearlings and in their natural length summer coat. A horse's coat can go through some pretty wild changes as it ages--many domestic horse foals are born with a dorsal stripe that has nothing to do with the dun gene.
In the next installment, we will be discussing the cream gene, or why buckskins and palominos cannot be breeds.