Genetics specialist and author Vera Kurskaya has taken the expression about a “horse of a different color” to a new level. She dedicated her life to the professional study of horse color genetics and wrote the in-depth book Horse Color Explored to help breeders and laypeople understand the science behind it all.
Imagine the scenario: a horse owner breeds her bright bay mare to a dark bay stallion, hoping for another flashy bay to shine in the show ring. Instead, the result is a chestnut foal. The owner wonders, ‘How did this happen?’ The answer lies in coat color genetics. Why should the average horse owner care about the genetics behind their horse’s coat color? Kurskaya explains that some breed registries are either based on horses’ coat colors or have color restrictions. The American Paint Horse Association, the Appaloosa Horse Club, and the International Buckskin Horse Association, among others, are all color breed organizations. Some of those organizations won’t allow horses to be registered if they are the wrong color or have certain amounts of white patches. Some horsewomen also believe horses of certain coat colors are easier to market and sell than others. In an effort to ensure your horse has the right color, or lack of color, for whatever reason, it’s essential to know the genetics.
Horse Color Explored is a fascinating read. The many color photographs accompanying the various chapters serve as fine examples of just what the author hopes to convey about the evolution of horse color and the effects of color on the animal’s performance. This is a valuable resource.