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Friday inspirations 3

the rump of a dark chestnut Icelandic with dark splotches. There is a clipped heart that also has reversed dapples.

The first image for this week’s post comes from Heather Forrest. It was taken at the 2023 Scottish Open for the Icelandic Horse. It is interesting because it shows the kind of splotchy reversed dapples sometimes seen in horses that have been clipped, but they are also visible in the unclipped heart.

I have seen unclipped bay and chestnut horses with reversed dapples on occasion. I took these pictures of a bay Quarter Horse at an event in the early spring. You can see his longer hair looking closely at the rump and flanks.

On the left is a hindquarter of a bay QH showing dark, reversed dapples. On the right is the same horse shown from a 3/4 rear view with the reversed dapples still visible.

However, the dramatic splotching pattern, like the warmblood below, comes from clipping.

A light bay warmblood with a full body clip showing extensive dark splotches

I suspect that is going on with the first two horses for this week’s Friday Inspirations. (As always, the boldfaced titles link to the clearest available image of the horse.)

Quiet Giant

(Giant’s Causeway – Quiet Dance, Quiet American)

The pattern on this mare is very similar to the one on the warmblood. Pictures of her from her racing career show her having an unremarkable bay color. This is also true of images taken of her as a broodmare.

Snow’s Peekaboo

(Sunrise Dancer – Beukenoord’s Bloessem, Casperhof’s Eddy)

Like Quiet Giant, there is only one image of Peekaboo with a reversed dapple pattern. The remaining photos (visible on his Sukuposti entry) show him as a black horse.

Lipstick Stain

(Once In A Blu Boon - Dont Look Twice, High Brow Cat)

The term “dark-headed roan” is a little misleading because some classic roan (R) horses also have roaning on their faces. If you look at this mare’s face, the degree of roaning there is pretty similar to the amount of roan on her shoulder. The lack of contrast on her face is even more noticeable in the linked video.

Pedigree (most ancestors have linked pictures)


This stallion is one of my favorite examples of the limitations of visual identification. Most equestrians—even those with a good eye for color—would look at the linked image and assume he was grey. Despite his pale head, he does carry “dark-headed” (R) Roan. (The parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents are all non-greys.)

His color comes from his dam, Shirly, a descendant of the roan Trakehner stallion Insterfeurer. Although some degree of face roaning seems common in his descendants (for example, Salome and her son Sir Gluckskeks), the line through Shirly sometimes takes this to the extreme. Here is Cayanosch’s son Cayroan and a yearling granddaughter

Video 1 (same event as the linked picture)


(Prokaznik – Prikhot)

The most familiar color in Orlovs—especially for equine artists influenced by the Dorling Kindersley picture books!—is dapple grey. They do come in other colors, including the type of sabino South American breeders call “bragada.” Bragada patterning is what many American breeders used to call “flashy white”: blaze, stockings, belly spotting. The other thing that makes Perspektivniy so interesting is his type. Most English-language information on the breed stresses the role of the Arabian stallion Smetanka but leaves out the Dutch and Danish mares in Count Orlov’s program. The silhouette of this stallion is reminiscent of another Dutch harness breed: the Friesian. 


(Levkoy – Podkova)

The mare linked above is a striking example of dappled buckskin. There were cream dilutes among the foundation mares of the Orlov breed, but the breed is primarily grey. Another common color is black, which also hides cream. In the case of this mare, the cream dilution remained hidden for almost 50 years, passed down through black and grey parents, until her buckskin sire was born in 1985. (The same thing has happened in the Lipizzaner and Shire breeds.)


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