UNICORNER FARM

Miniature Horses and Tunis Sheep

The Red Gene

Red color in horses

And variations thereof:

Chestnut | Sorrel | Blond Sorrel | Liver Chestnut | Palomino | Red Dun | Cremello | Sorrel Tobiano |  Chestnut Overo | Sorrel Appaloosa | Silver Sorrel | Sorrel Grey | Red Roan |

Red is one of the more common equine colors. Horse breeders interchange the terms sorrel and chestnut to describe red horses. The gene "e" that produces red is recessive, that allows red horses to be produced from bays and blacks if both parents are carrying the recessive gene. And by breeding two reds together you will only get red foals.


TYPICAL SORREL & CHESTNUT

SORREL  "aa ee" CHESTNUT  "A- ee"
Sorrel Chestnut

Note brighter red color

Note duller, darker red color
   


Many modifying genes produce various shades of red horses due to various modifiers, like the blonde sorrel or liver chestnut.

BLOND SORREL & LIVER CHESTNUT

BLONDE SORREL
LIVER CHESTNUT
Blonde Sorrel Liver Chestnut

Note lighter yellow color especially on flanks and muzzle

Note darker liver color



Then there are the genes we can more easily recognize that affect the red coat. The gene action of the cremello gene works unlike most, producing results that are distinguishable in their heterozygous and homozygous forms. The heterozygous form produces the palomino and in the homozygous state the gene produces the cremello.

PALOMINO & CREMELLO

PALOMINO  "ee CRcr" CREMELLO  "ee crcr"
Red Cream - Palomino Cream Cream Cremello

Note golden color with white mane and tail.

Note the diluted cream body and tail color and blue eyes

   

The dun gene is very similar to the cremello gene in that it dilutes the coat color but not the point color, it produces lineback duns. Some great photos are at http://www.dilutes.iinet.net.au/Duns.html

RED DUN

RED DUN TOBIANO "ee D- Tt"   
Red Dun Pinto  
The dorsal line is hard to see on this photo  
   


Pinto Genes

The tobiano and the overo genes that produce red pintos are fairly easy to recognize. There are other genes that result in pintos like the sabino and splash, but usually they are in combination with the tobiano.

 TOBIANO &  OVERO

CHESTNUT TOBIANO "aa ee T-" SORREL OVERO "aa ee On"
Chestnut Tobiano Red Overo
Note chestnut on solid areas  Note sorrel on solid areas 
   

And one that confuses many Miniature Horse breeders -- the silver gene does not effect red color so although it often produces a color of bay, that most identify as chestnut (sorrel) with flax/white mane and tail that is NOT a true red color. Breeders must learn to identify this color if they will ever be able to predict the colors of their foals. See illustrations:

SILVER BAY VS. SORREL/FLAX

BAY "AA or Aa"/
SILVER "ZZ" or "Zz"
 SORREL "ee"/
FLAX "Ff"
Bay Silver Sorrel Flaxen
Note point color
on legs
Note consistent color
on legs (except stockings)
   
SORREL "ee"/ SILVER "ZZ" or "Zz"
Sorrel Silver
No unique phenotypical characteristics, but they can genotypically produce silvers.

Other genes that can affect sorrels are grey and roan.

SORREL GREY & RED ROAN

SORREL GREY
"ee G-"
RED ROAN
"ee Rr" (RR is lethal)
Chestnut Greying Sorrel Roan
Note consistent over body and  greying of the color on head Note natural sorrel
color on head


CHESTNUT APPALOOSA & SORREL APPALOOSA

The appaloosa pattern genes are more complicated than we choose to go into at this time on the website.

CHESTNUT APPALOOSA
SORREL APPALOOSA
Chestnut Appaloosa Sorrel Appaloosa
Note chestnut on solid areas  Note sorrel on solid areas 
   
   


Back to Mini Horse Colors

 


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