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Buckskins are the result of one cream gene on a bay or seal brown horse. The cream gene, in its heterozygous state, only affects red hair, so the black hair on a horse with one cream gene is left undiluted. Buckskins can vary in shade from very pale buttermilk through a very sooty, dark brown color. Buckskins with countershading (darker color along the topline) often have heavy dappling and a dorsal stripe. They can be mistaken for
bays if they are more red than gold, for duns if they have a dorsal, or for seal browns if they are very dark.
Buckskins will have at least one cream dilute parent.Click on any picture to enlarge
All of the various cream dilutes in the Morgan breed originate from the following four sources:
1. The LU Sheep Ranch, where the color is possibly coming from Night
a. Dawnglo (Night Tide X Ishawooa), 1939 palomino mare. Found in Californio, San Willidust, and Tio Lalo descendants.
b. Carmel Snow (Night Tide X Kaycee), 1939 palomino mare. Found in horses of Pineland descent
c. Luxury (Night Tide X Mallow), 1939 buckskin mare (registered as dun). Found in the Aquila's prefixed colorfuls, Dickie's Pride, Desert Sands, and Yellow Bird descendants.
d. Luellen (Night Tide X Ethete), 1939 smoky black mare. Found in descendants of Morgan Gold, Nugget Hanneman, and Rusty Walker.
2. The Cross Ranch, cream dilution originating from the X registered dams of these two horses.
a. Ketchum (Joe Lewis X Du Noir Strip), 1950 smoky black stallion. Found primarily in the many horses of Chingadero descent.
b. Buck (Imperial X Nellie), 1930 buckskin mare. Found the numerous lines of descent from her daughters, Yellow Girl and Smokie.
3. Gwenie (Golden Jubilee X Gwenalan) 1951 palomino mare. Gwenie got her cream dilution from her sire, a palomino X registered son of Jubilee King. Gwenie's color line comes down to us through horses of the Jan Mabie Pace lines.
4. Cotton Hill Daisy (Amigo Mick X Daisette), 1949 palomino mare. The source of Cotton Hill Daisy's cream gene is unknown,
but may have come from her granddam Madonna, a black daughter of Go Hawk (black,
no apparent cream dilute lines) and Red Ruby (who may have been some sort of cream dilute, misregistered as chestnut-
her dam, Ruby, is also the maternal great grand-dam of Night Tide). Cotton Hill Daisy's color line is represented by horses from Sunup Neptune lines.
RANCHBOSS CORTEZ (Primavera Valdez x Telura's Black Gold), 1999 buckskin stallion owned by
Wilga Park Morgans, Queensland, Australia. Shown with Cortez are (L-R) Kathy Lyons, Christine Maroni (on Cortez), and Greg Lyons.
SC ISLAND CENTAVO (Truewest Gold Peso x Caduceus Margaux), 1998 brown buckskin gelding.
Owned by Sara D. Alvrud, Escania Morgans,
Sweden. "Smoky" is an extremely dark buckskin, which some might mistake for black, brown or smoky black. He tested EEAaCrcr.
The late LBF YUKON GOLD (Edelweiss Magic Man x Saint Bernadette), 1997 buckskin gelding, owned and driven by Linda Kalman.
THE BRONZE PROMISE (UVM Promise x Cascade Cadence), 1994 buckskin stallion owned by Erin Silver. Photo courtesy of Kathy DeFazio.
RFF WILD FLOWER (TFM The Midas Touch x Raintree Red Roses), 2001 buckskin mare, ridden by Kelly Kraegel Varner at the 2008 Morgan Grand National. Photo by Ken Martin.
HMSTD JONESY (HMSTD Rum Runner x Two J Miss Mariah) 2009 buckskin colt owned by John Thompson. What an interesting fellow! Jonesy's
color looks more bay than buckskin and at birth, his mane was mostly red, as was
the top of his tail. No matter how "bay" he may look, we can be sure
he is buckskin because his sire is a perlino. Third picture at age 4 months, with the foal coat shed out. Photos by Jonesy's breeder, Janine Welsh.
DEVINE MOUNTAIN ECHO (Devine Spirit of Hope x Devine
brown-based (tested/confirmed) buckskin mare owned by Chris Holm,
Pictured on the left shortly after birth and on the right at age 3. Darker buckskins are often born quite light, as Echo was,
only turning dark after the foal shed. A hint of the dark shade to come can be seen around
and under the foal's eyes, as darker buckskin foals often have near-black shading there.
AMMOLITE MAPLE SUGAR (PHPM Lord's Gift of Gold x Snowdancer's Sugar n Spice), 2008 brown-based buckskin mare (pictured as a suckling) with her brown dam
SNOWDANCER'S SUGAR N SPICE (TL Royal Rainmaker x Snowdancer's Solsticerain). Not all brown-based foals are born as light as Devine Mountain Echo
Bay-based foals are generally not born with this much black on their
legs; their black leg points appear at foal shed. Brown based foals often have fairly extensive black on their legs even before the foal shed, however. We know this filly is
also buckskin because her sire is a perlino. Cream simply does not have much of an effect on a mostly black horse, which is why many
brown buckskins look brown-only and were mistaken for browns in the past. Photo courtesy of Sue Dixon.
MOSSROSE TRIUMPHANT (Sunup Neptune x Jacque's Lor-don-Lin), 2001 buckskin stallion owned by Rosita Hammar,
Lagden Farm, UK. Photo by John Hayes.
DREAM CATCHER JACOPO (BDM Border Ryder x Dream Catcher Desiree), 2009 buckskin colt owned by Dream Catcher Morgans.
This colt's sire is a cremello, so we know he has a cream gene. He is most likely a brown-based
buckskin, as he is so dark.
MLB CAPO DI CAPO (The Last Don x Aquila's Sure Prize), 2004 buckskin stallion bred and photographed by
Laurie Faust, MLB Morgans.
JUSTIN HIDDEN GOLD (Mossrose Triumphant X Taproot Bluebell), 2005 dark buckskin stallion
owned by Diana Jasica, Off Border Hill, Belgium. Photo by Claudia Irmer.
The late ABI'S NANCY OAK (left), (Adanac Redd Oak X Adanac Abigail), 1989 brown mare with her 2004 brown buckskin daughter
UCM LAURA SECORD (by Amberfield's Vanilla Ice, cremello). Most people would not
look at Laura and think she was a buckskin. But since one cream gene has little effect on black, and brown horses are mostly black, this is the result. She is slightly lighter
with a more golden undertone than her dam, and seeing them side by side makes this interesting comparison possible.
Owned by Upper Canada Morgans.
R2 KOOTER CAT (LJ Morning Reveille, buckskin X Bold Attraction, brown), 1999 buckskin gelding owned by Vicki Wells of Oakville, WA. Kooter
shows a very prominent dorsal stripe, but it is not the result of the dun gene,
as he does not have a dun parent. Non-dun dorsals are thought to be the result
of countershading. For another interesting theory of why this may occur, read
this article. Any color of horse may have a dorsal stripe or other dun-like
AZKACHINA SMOKI (Robbi Sue's Ragtime X Ragtime Kachina), 2003 buckskin stallion owned
by Roberta Brown. Photo by Caprice Soltice.
NVS MIDAS (Sunup Neptune X Raintresa Ecstacy), 1997 buckskin stallion owned by Lisa Horning of NVS Morgans in Lincoln, CA. Midas and Lisa are shown here
presenting the colors at the 2006 Horse Expo.
ROBBI SUE'S CASSANOVA (Equinox Brigham X Robbi Sue's Misalert),
1995 brown buckskin stallion owned by
Laura Bunke. Because brown horses are
mostly black in color, there is very little non-black pigment for the cream gene
to dilute. As a result, when the cream gene is
present on a brown base a very dark buckskin is created. These are often mistaken for a non-dilute. Some brown buckskins are even darker than this horse.
BAYMOUNT'S ASHLEY (Blacksaddle Starbuck X TOV Christina Caminos), 2002 buckskin mare owned by
Red Bluff, CA.
DEVINE GUNSMOKE (Blacksaddle Starbuck X Devine
Golly Gee Whiz), 2003 brown buckskin gelding. Gunsmoke is
owned by Devine Morgans, Lincoln, MT.
ROBBI SUE'S MR. ALERT (Glamorgan Vista X Robbi Sue's Misalert), 1987 buckskin stallion
owned by Lauren LaRue, Potter Valley, CA.
KENNEBEC TOPAZ (Medomak Cavalier X Kennebec Opal), 1992 buckskin mare owned by Laura Behning,
Covington GA, with her 2004 palomino filly Coral Forest (by World's Edge Goldoak). This shade of buckskin is often called "buttermilk". To see more of Coral and Topaz, go
PRAIRIE RUN LIZ-T (PRM Thunderbird X Prairie Run Fantisy), 1993 buckskin mare owned by Patty Clark, Promised Land Farm. She is shown here in a pleasure driving class with Patty's son Andres Guardiola.
EDGEFIELD SUN GOLD (Sunup Neptune x Mill Creek Chica Caliente), 1997 buckskin stallion owned and driven by Charlene Cook, Goshen, IN. You can
see more of Sunny
TL BRONZE FASCINATION (Snowdancer's Silver Night X TL Breezy's Topaz), 2004 dark buckskin filly owned by Marilyn Esteb,
Stone Pine Farm, Larkspur, CO. "Fanny" is a dark, bronzy shade of buckskin.
2J BRASS PRINCESS (KRP Cocoa X 2J Willy's High Five), 2004 buckskin filly owned by
2J Morganss, Alberta Canada.
SPRINGTOWN LAUREL (Richfield Octavius,
brown buckskin X Rose Hill Pistachio), 1993 buckskin mare. Laurel looks like a non-dilute dark bay or brown. The cream gene test
(available at UC Davis) proved she has both the cream and agouti genes, which means she is a dark bay or brown-based buckskin.
Owned by Lorna Odegard of San Diego, CA. Photo by Lisa Horning of
SELAH ELISHA KAY (Robbi Sue's Mr. Alert X Caylyn Bold As Brass), 2004 buckskin filly
owned by Jennifer Boswell. Most buckskin foals, like bay foals, are not born with fully pointed lower legs; the black points begin to show as the foal sheds its foal coat.
Photo courtesy of Cindy Taylor.
PKR PRIMAVERA BRIO (Primavera Valdez X Rose Hill LaPapillion), 1994 buckskin stallion owned by John and Joyce Hutcheson,
Gab Creek Morgans, Dahlonega GA. Photo by Laura Behning.
R-TWO FLYING BUCKAROO (Sunup Neptune X Plainsview Firefly), 1997 buckskin stallion owned by Ken and Ruth Plank of KRP Morgans, Nappanee IN.
UCM VIMY RIDGE, 2002 buckskin colt bred by
Upper Canada Morgans, Gord and Mary Freeman, St. Thomas, Ontario, Canada, with his 1994 palomino dam M & M K'EHLEYR SUPRISE
(Shatona Karzan X Contessa). Vimy's sire is KRP Amigo Dan De (Sunup Neptune X Hot Fudge Swirl). Vimy is now owned by Gail Mactavish.
MONTANA HARVEST (Triple S Red Cedar X Tia Margarita), 1992 dark dappled buckskin stallion, shown here at Breyerfest 2001 (held at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington) where he was a Guest Horse. Breyer made a model of "Buckshot" in 2001. Trainer Thom Lindley is holding Buckshot and a young fan is aboard the stallion.
CJ SPARKLING GEM (World's Edge Goldoak X Chuckey Crown Jewel) 1994 buckskin gelding owned by Jackie Wyandt, Arenzville IL.
BUTTER RUM (Sunup Neptune X Dove's Sencerely), 1995 buckskin gelding bred/photographed by Anita Gallion.
The late KENNEBEC OPAL (Californio X Kennebec Lucille) 1981 buckskin mare owned
by Margaret Gardiner of Woolrich, ME. Pictured here in 1989 at Groton House
Horse Trials in show jumping. Her son Kennebec Golden Legacy is pictured on the
palomino page; one of her buckskin daughters, Kennebec Topaz, can be seen
elsewhere on this page, as well as on her own page
LJ MORNING REVEILLE (Sunup Neptune X High Ridge Victoria), 1990 buckskin stallion
owned by Tindo Morgans, Thrall TX.
2J SUN HAWK (KRP Cocoa X High and Mighty Maxine), 1996 buckskin gelding owned by Audrey Williams, Clinton BC Canada.
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