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Rabicano is a pattern of white hairs sometimes confused with roan. It consists of white hairs interspersed in a faintly brindled pattern along the flank area, belly and up between the front legs. It also causes a "coon tail" of white banding at the tailhead. Rabicano horses can have such minimal expressions of the pattern that it is missed. The rabicano gene is dominant, so rabicano horses will have at least one rabicano parent. Rabicano is comparatively rare in the Morgan breed.

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KATHARINE SERENITY (UVM Tennyson X Run Brook Tiffany), 1994 brown rabicano mare owned by Buffy Tarr. The photo on the right shows a classic expression of the rabicano "coon tail" or "squaw tail". Photos by Erin White.

ANCAN ALLIANCE OF DANGER (Fiddler's Blackriver X Ancan Lil Miss Dangerous), 1997 chestnut rabicano mare owned by Judith Kuntz. Photos by Debbie Uecker-Keough.

DIA H SNOW GOOSE (DJB Yukon Jack X Dia H Dark Sprite), 1999 flaxen chestnut rabicano mare, shown here with her 2003 bay Morab filly, RGR Dance of Joy. Notice how the roaning starts on "Glory's" underside in the flank area, and becomes faint brindling along her sides. She has the white hairs at the top of the tailhead, aka "coon tail" or "squaw tail", that are typical of rabicano as well. Photo courtesy of Susanna Schaenzer.

Roan is a pattern of white hairs over the horse's body, mixed in with the base color hairs. The points and head remain the base color. As with all the patterns of white, there are degrees of expression, so that some roans are nearly white on the body while others remain fairly dark. Roan is dominant, so all roans have at least one roan parent.

In Morgans, there are two known sources for roan, the 1964 chestnut roan mare Doll Rose (out of the roan mare Rosemont), and the 1940 chestnut roan mare Torchy (out of a roan, X registered daughter of Mansfield). Doll Rose's roan line was represented by the late Caduceus Herod, a blue roan gelding pictured below. Torchy's line comes down to us through the Double J prefixed horses, and their only recent roan descendant was the 1985 bay roan mare Viv LaMae (Double J Apollo X Carlyle LaMae), who was never bred. As a result the roan gene may, unfortunately, be extinct in our breed.

To learn more about the history of roan in our breed, and see some interesting historical roans, read this article, originally published in the Winter 2011 Rainbow Morgan Horse Association newsletter, and updated March 2018.

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CADUCEUS HEROD (Wyoming Flyhawk X Doll Rose), a 1987 blue roan gelding who was owned by Barbara Putnam of N. Liberty, Iowa. Herod was Reserve Champion at Third Level and fourth at Second Level in the 1996 USDF All-Breeds Awards.

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