Why Those Colors?
Horse coat colors are often debated and generally have a lot of misinformation or incomplete information about them. In Eqcetera, part of the thrill of breeding is breeding for the many beautiful coat colors. Being an online SIM game, assumptions and simplification of horse genetics must be done to ensure players have an easy experience breeding for color while staying as true to life as possible. That being said, no out of this world assumption will ever be made that are not feasible in a real horse.
Throughout history, horses have been bred for certain colors to fit breed standards, develop a breed, and create a horse that is visually appealing. Throughout the practice of breeding for color, breeders began to understand horse genetics without the help of scientific instruments. This is why many old breed have specific coat colors. For example, the Norwegian Fjord always carries two dun genes (DD) because the dun markings were desirable in the breed due to their famous manes. Horses with the desired manes were probably bred more often than those who did not have as defined or any desired mane type. An excellent and current example of breeding for color is the Pintabian. This breed has 99% Arabian blood but, sports tobiano patterns. The Arabian breed does not have the tobiano pattern but through careful and considerate breeding a breed, Pintabian, was created to have 99% Arabian blood with tobiano patterns. Pretty neat!
Some of Our Genes
As stated above, horse genetics must be simplified and implemented to ensure players can breed for desired colors. There are many ways in which this has occurred in-game to both represent true horse genetics while offering a simple to understand and obtainable horse coat.
In real life, there are some genes that cannot be tested. For example, the agouti gene test in real life only tests for the presence or absence of the extension gene. The assumption is made that if the extension is absent then the agouti is present. Meaning, if the horse isn’t genetically black (extension) then it must have agouti (Red base to chestnuts and bays)(D. Sponenberg 2017). In Eqcetera, to create variations of bays and chestnuts using the A, At, and A+ agouti genes make that possible. It is known that these genes are what are used as notions thus used in game. A is used to notate a bay in which the black extends up the legs. A+ is the wild type bay where the black is restricted to the lower part of the leg and does not extend far up the leg. At is used to notate Seal Brown and previously had a genetics test which has since been removed (D. Sponenberg 2017).
When researching, many breed registries indicate colors that are and are not acceptable in the breed standard. There are several issues that arise when researching colors allowed in breeds. A good example is the old notations of breed colors. The best example of this is the Jockey Registry which registered grey Thoroughbreds as roans. This is a common mistake when viewing some younger horses that appear to be roan but are actually greying out into a grey coat. However, true roan does exist in Thoroughbreds from the Catch A Bird line. Another example is in-game roan for Arabians. Arabians do not have the roan gene but visually some look to be roan. This is thought to be due to the rabicano gene (Rb) expressing greatly over the body to look like a roan. Since rabicano is a true color for Arabians, in-game the roan gene is possible in the breed to achieve the “false roan” coloring. The Arabian Horse Associations coat guide states “Rabicano is the pattern
of Arabians usually registered as “roan,” though some sabinos also have been described by their owners as “roan.” However, according to Dr. D. Phillip Sponenberg, the classic roan pattern does not occur in Arabians”.
Registries also often denote colors allowed in the breed as “All Colors”. This usually means any base color (Bays, chestnut, black, dilutions etc.) but is sometimes difficult to determine if the breed truly has all colors. For example, a registry may state “All Colors” are allowed but no horse in the breed carries a cream gene (Cr). However, should one carry the gene it would be considered for registration. In Eqcetera, any registry that states “All Colors” their breeds will have all base colors and research conducted on registered horses to modifiers and dilutes. Should a breed have or be missing a gene we are always open to editing the breed to suit more closely to real life. NOTE: Pinterest is NOT a resource for horse coat colors and is often incorrect.
- Assumptions and simplification of horse genetics must be done for an enjoyable game experience.
- Some breeds have coat colors that are genetically incorrect. Ex. “False roan” Arabians are Rn in-game but the breed does not have roan.
- “All Colors” accepted by registries makes deciding colors difficult if the breed does not truly have all coat colors.
- Use reputable sources when learning about anything! Pinterest is not a good resource for accurate coat color information.
Sponenberg, D.P., R. R. Bellone. Equine Color Genetics 4th Edition. Wiley, Hoboken, NJ. 237 pages. 2017