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Palominos are the result of one cream gene on a chestnut horse. The cream gene has a dilution effect on red hair, so the red hair on a palomino is diluted, usually to some shade of gold. However, palominos can range in shade from nearly white to a very dark, sooty brown shade, often with heavy dappling. Sometimes these very dark palominos are mistaken for flaxen liver chestnuts or silver dapples. Palominos have a white mane and tail, although on very dark palominos, the sooty gene causes dark, silvery gray hairs to appear in the mane and tail.
All palominos 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 in 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, with 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.
CFF STRICTLY BYZNESS (MEMC Tequila Cuervo x GLB Like Nobody's Byz) 2005 palomino gelding owned by
Carlino Family Farm, shown at the 2011 Morgan Grand National and
World Championship Horse Show. Photo taken by and copyright of Howard Schatzberg.
SHALLOW CREEK'S ANNA (Shallow Creek Cuervo Gold x HRG Jackson Hole), 2002 palomino mare owned
by Celebrity Morgans. Anna is the "classic" gold color
most often associated with palomino. Photo by Casey McBride.
FARCEUR'S GOLDEN ANGEL (Farceur's Fool's Gold x Serr's Princess), 2001 palomino mare owned by Orleeta Thompson. The darkened mane
and top of tail is most likely caused by the sooty gene, though it is unknown why sooty can sometimes be so selective rather than
covering the entire horse, as with our next example. Photo
courtesy of Ingela Isetoft.
HEATHERMOOR GOLD BANNER (Windflower Tatertot X VMF Last Chance for Gold), 2000 palomino stallion. Yes indeed, he is palomino! As a young horse he was a much more typical golden palomino, as
you can see on his website.
With age, the sooty gene has darkened him so completely that he could be mistaken for a dark chestnut or
maybe even a dark bay.
A subtle hint as to Banner's true color is the golden "undertones" peeping
through the soot in the throat and cheek areas. Photo by Deana Fleenor, courtesy of Ben and Karen Thompson.
MYTHIC FERONIA (Mythic Aladdin X Coal Creek Honeypatch), 1998 palomino mare
bred by and ridden by CeAnn Shipley,
Mythic Morgans. Shown at an August 2007 Cross Country clinic with Oliver King in August 2007.
M & M K'EHLEYR SURPRISE (Shatona Karzan X Contessa), 1994 palomino mare,
shown here ridden by Hilary Kierkvliet at the London Horsemanship Open Hunt Show, August 2007.
Photo courtesy of Mary Freeman.
SEASON'S MISS EFFIE (Northerly Llwellyn X Fox Creek Madolyn), 2002 palomino mare with her 2006 buckskin filly by EF Hot Wheels. Effie
was bred by Colleen McNichol
of Four Seasons Farm in Jordan, MN.
GAB CREEK GOLDEN VAQUERO (PKR Primavera Brio X LBF Gay Enchantment), 2003 palomino stallion owned by Gab Creek Farm in Dahlonega, GA.
Photo by Laura Behning.
ANTIGUA CORAZON DE ORO (Mortana Pat X Angel's Breezy Lady),
1998 palomino stallion owned by Antigua Morgans, Dorothy Hallock, Phoenix AZ. Shown with Mike Thomas. Photo by Dorothy Hallock.
WORLD'S EDGE SUN BEAR (Californio X Funquest Ruby), 1987 palomino stallion owned by Lisa Holec, Senoia, GA.
Photo by Laura Behning.
GEMHILL GEM MASTER (Ida-Ho Sir Patrick X San Willidust),
1998 palomino stallion owned by Gem Hill Farm, Debbie Bell, WA.
DREAM CATCHER ANGYL (RDK's Shilo X Valdez's Maravilla), 2000 palomino mare with her first foal,
the 2004 palomino colt DEVINE PISTOL PETE, by Sandrock Joel. Angyl has an interesting "bleach spot" on her shoulder that is thought
to be due to her dam being kicked (and sustaining a hernia) while she was carrying Angyl. Or, it could just be an odd sort of birthmark.
Both horses are owned by
Devine Morgans, Lincoln, MT.
Single cream dilutes can be very dark in shade; not all are the stereotypical
"golden" color. In addition, as they age they often darken
from the effects of the sooty gene. This is METIGOSHE MARIAH (Beda Acres Gold Mercedes, palomino X Metigoshe Marquessa,
black chestnut), a 2003 filly owned by Darrell Charlton. Born looking like a typical palomino foal (first photo), Mariah darkened as a yearling (second picture) to a shade of palomino that is often mistaken for flaxen liver chestnut or silver dapple.
In the winter as a two year old she was more obviously a dark palomino, but
presently (last two pictures) she looks very much like a non-dilute liver
chestnut. Never underestimate the power of sooty!
Mariah has been color tested by UC Davis and the results show that she is indeed
Sherry Siebanaler on
the 1993 palomino Morgan stallion
ABCM LIZ'S DREAMWALKER (Sunhills Montana x Meziadan Mezalee) performing a
then age 8, on 28 yr. old
OAK ACRES PET (Honor x Oak Acres Goldie). She and Pet were cooling off in the Little Missouri River while on the NDMHA Annual Trailride in August 2004 at Teddy Roosevelt National Park, Medora ND. Pet was foaled in 1976. Owned by Prairie Hill Morgans.
CORAL FOREST (World's Edge Goldoak X Kennebec Topaz), 2004 palomino filly owned by Laura Behning of
Brookridge Morgans. Shown on he left as a foal and on the right at age 6. Coral is at the most pale end of the palomino spectrum; she essentially looks like a mature gray horse, as she is literally "white". While she is also similar in shade to a cremello, she has dark eyes and skin, whereas cremellos have pink skin and blue eyes.
Palomino foals can be born a very pale shade, usually darkening to gold after
the foal shed; this has not happened with Coral. More pictures of Coral can be seen here.
ANCAN TRUE COLORS (Fiddler's Blackriver X Aquila's Miss Bee Haven), 2002 palomino
splash stallion owned by
Ancan Morgans in Davison Michigan. This stallion has a partially blue eye, a
feature of the splash white pattern, and he has sired many offspring who also
have a blue eye or partial blue, some of which can be seen on our splash page. The dark spots on his
body are Bend Or spots, a not uncommon feature particularly on chestnut and chestnut-based colors.
Weanling photo by Anne Wyland; adult photo by Laura Behning.
MAC'S LITTLEBRITCHES (Mac's Baby X Golden Judy), 1989 palomino stallion
(now gelded) owned at the time this picture was taken by Craig Cook of AR. This
horse is a prime example of a palomino so dark and "red" as to be mistaken/misregistered as a chestnut. The palomino fillies to the right of him are his daughters, one of which is from a chestnut mare, proving that their sire is indeed a palomino. Years of selection for dark shades in the Morgan's "traditional" colors has made dark
and sooty buckskins and palominos, like Mac's Littlebritches, more commonly seen than in some other breeds.
SPRINGTOWN CHAMPAGNE (Diamond Jim Brady X Satin Marigold), 1984 dark palomino stallion owned by Joelyn Kennedy. He is the sire of the well-known cremello stallion, Amberfield's Desperado. Photo by Bob Moseder.
ROCKING M MORGAN GOLD (Rocking M Diamond D X Joley Blond), 1987 palomino
GOLDTREE MENOLLY (Culpeper Crescendo X Render's Gold Flame), 1990
palomino mare owned by Goldtree Morgans of Carrollton, VA. She
was a multi-champion Western Pleasure horse, and is shown here ridden by Jessica Cavanaugh.
Photo by Bob Moseder.
The late ADIEL'S CASINO GOLD (Sweet's Dexter X Eden Rose), 1995 palomino stallion. Casino
was owned by Meadowlark Morgans, Mike and Linnea Sidi, Loveland CO. Photo by Laura Behning. To see more of Casino, visit Casino's page.
UDM GOLD MINE (MEMC Tequila Cuervo X Double M Gale Force), 1999 palomino
stallion (pictured as a two year old) owned by Kathy Gutting. Valerie Siemer is
driving. Photo by Shiflet.
Left is the 1997 palomino mare TMB AIREBELLA (Carrollton X Babylon Dark Jezzebell) and right is her sire
CARROLLTON (Culpeper Crescendo X Render's Gold Torch), 1990 palomino stallion. Susan Martin and Jessica Cavanaugh up. Both horses owned by Babylon Ranch, Lynn and Steve Burch, MI.
Photo by Bob Moseder.
WORLD'S EDGE GOLDHAWK (Californio X Funquest Ruby), 1988 palomino stallion owned by Sharlene Anderson, Belgrade MT.
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