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The most common expression of the sabino pinto pattern in Morgans is
a sprinkling of roaned hairs or roaned patches, "high white" stockings, a blaze that wraps around the chin, and perhaps a belly spot or two.
However, sabinos can show more (or
even less) white. Sabino horses with the maximum expression of the pattern are
nearly all white, but usually retain a small patch of their base color on the
ears or along the topline; we don't (yet) have sabinos that are this
expressed in Morgans. Since sabinos often have roaning (which may increase as the
horse ages), they may be mistaken for true, dark headed roans. Click on any photo to enlarge
What we call "sabino" is currently thought to be due to several different genes. This would account for the variability of expression in
sabino horses- why some are roany, some have crisp markings, and still others have jaggedy edged, irregular markings. So, a horse might
express just one of the sabino complex genes, a combination, or all of them.
Eventually, all of these genes may be located by geneticists and given new names, but for now
they are all collectively lumped under the "sabino" label. At this
time only one of the sabino complex of genes can be tested for, Sabino1; so just
because a horse tests negative for SB1 it does not mean they are not sabino.
Sabino is very common in the Morgan breed. It is probably easier to say where it is not rather than name all the lines where it
is! But basically, old government (particularly horses from Devan and Orcland Leader lines) and
some Lippitt lines are strong sources of sabino. As more "high white" Morgans are bred together,
it is possible we may see more wildly marked sabinos as time goes on.
ALJAK'S BRITE LIGHTS (Aljak's Double Whammy x Century Oak Denali), 2008
chestnut sabino gelding owned by Margaret and Laura Foley (pictured as a
weanling on the left, and as a 4 year old on the right, with Kelly Kraegel up at
the 2012 Morgan Grand National and World Championship Horse Show). "Beamer"
shows quite a bit of roaning due to sabino and he also is covered in Bend Or
spots- of two different shades, one redder and one more liver. Bend Or spots are
named after a famous racehorse of the same name who had them. Not much is known
about them or how they are inherited. The pointy-topped, flecked edges on
Beamer's stockings are a typical sabino feature. First photo courtesy of Ken
Martin; second courtesy of Kris Breyer.
UNRAVELED (Centerpiece x WWW Virtual Reality), 2006 bay mare owned by Chelsey Abate. The silver tail on this mare could be due to several causes. Such white tails
are called "Gulastra Plumes" (or simply "silvertail") in the Arabian breed, because so many of Gulastra's
descendants had this silvery white tail. Many consider it to be caused by a type
of sabino expression. This mare also has a line to Cedar Creek Harlequin, known
for throwing splash-mimic markings. A white tipped tail is often a feature of
splash. I would expect the mare to have a bigger blaze and more leg white if the
white in her tail was the result of splash. Without testing this mare for splash, the best we can do is
make an educated guess. Photo by
THUNDER PANDORA (SMS Comet x Futuritys Beaujolais), 2010 chestnut filly bred by Don and Michelle Dilley,
Thunder Morgan Farm. Pandora's blaze with its tiny "kissy spots" are very
typical of sabino expression. An interesting feature is her right hind roaned "sock". Though the filly was young (6 months
old) when these pictures were taken,
she had fully shed her foal coat; the lighter hairs are not foal coat remnants,
but a roaned marking. Roany patches and markings are thought to be a
feature of sabino.
QUEEN NELL (Linsley Boy x Cotton Queen), 1978 chestnut sabino mare and her 1989 bay colt
GENERAL THEODORE (by Chantwood Charterson).
Nell is a wonderful example of a sabino roan. Although not visible here, Nell had a white spot on
the other side of her belly. If you look close you can
see a detached spot on the
front/inside of her right hock. Detached white markings on a knee or hock are a feature of sabino.
Queen Nell had been an Amish driving horse - doing at least 11 miles per day on
blacktop every day of the
year. It destroyed her joints. After having General
Theodore in 1989 and a chestnut full sister, One
Exception, in 1990, she was humanely put down in 1993
due to arthritis problems. Neither of her offspring are as colorful as she was. Photo courtesy of Sharon Harper.
CELEBRITY PANACHE (Century Free Spirit x Heyday Star Beam), 1999 chestnut sabino gelding owned
by Celebrity Morgans. Century Free Spirit, a chestnut sabino
himself, often sired
liberally marked chestnut sabinos with roaning, like
Panache and his half sisters Hyland Acres Chantel and Lady Chablis (both shown elsewhere on this page).
LADY CHABLIS (Century Free Spirit x J L's Leading Rheda), 1995 chestnut sabino mare owned by Tanner Coy Cosby. Another roany sabino offspring of Century Free
Spirit. Photo by Meagan Ferrence.
SEASON'S SIMPLY SUPREME (EF Hot Wheels X Acoma Tiger Lily), 2004 bay mare owned by Colleen McNichol. While "Prema's" only white marking is a small star, this roan patch on her neck
demonstrates one "variety" of the sabino complex- that of adding roaned spots or patches on the horse's body.
Some horses may acquire more of these patches over time. Photos courtesy of Colleen McNichol.
MEMC PAINT'N THE TOWN (High White Revolution X MEMC Lickety Split), 2004 chestnut sabino gelding
owned by Emily Sims. "Payton" has a belly spot and a white
spot on his left hip as well as a blaze and three white stockings. Erika Bronstrup, up. Photo courtesy of Erika Bronstrup.
HYLAND ACRES CHANTEL (Century Free Spirit X Excess Princess), 1990 chestnut sabino mare. Notice the white hair in the roots of her mane and in the tailhead? This is not flaxen. The addition of white hairs in the mane and tail is one of the sabino characteristics; it is actually "sabino roaning" that is located in the
roots of the mane and tail. When this occurs on bay and black horses, without much concurrent body roaning, such horses can be mistaken for silver dapple. Chantel also shows body roaning and a big blaze with chin white, both also characteristics of sabino. Interestingly, she does not have much in the way of leg white. Most people would consider this mare a "solid", yet she could produce more expressed offspring. Photo courtesy of Sandra Nichols of Ensbrook Morgans.
CENTURY FIRST LADY (Fiddler's FirstComand X Century Spiritess), 1992 chestnut sabino mare. Lady's dam is a full sister to Century Free Spirit; it is not uncommon to see minimally marked sabinos from these lines. Like her cousin Chantel, shown above, she also has body roaning, white hair in the roots of the mane and tail, and an interestingly shaped blaze- and not much in the way of leg white (none, actually!). Full body photo by Hal Hoover. Photos courtesy of the mare's owner, Barbara Darby of Litchfield CT.
AWEE BLAZE OF GLORY (SP Captain Hook x Hicourt Cachet) 1998 chestnut sabino mare owned by
Ken Norris, KY. Photo by Jennifer Monroe.
PKF CLASSIC SPATS (Shakers Sheridan X Downers Debutante) 1985 chestnut sabino stallion owned by Colleen McNichol,
Four Seasons Farm, Jordan, MN. Photo by Linda Quillen Wollaber.
STARSPANGLED PUMPKINEATER (Royal Oaks Gaylark x Sirrah Victoria), 1997 chestnut sabino mare. She was registered as grey- notice the roaning, especially concentrated on her hindquarters? Her breeders were not sure what color this mare was! Owned by Marcia Meurs of Ramona CA. Ridden here by Marcia's daughter Mary. Mary, mounted on "Kitty", won the title of Ramona Rodeo Junior Queen and the duo spent 2002 representing Ramona at the PRCA Rodeos in Southern California. Kay Levie photo.
The late SLEEPYS SELECT ROSE
(Middland Lipp A Tink X Sleepy's Fuzzy Fanny), 1983 chestnut sabino mare
owned by Tammy Kastner of Ontario.
The top picture was taken in 2002 when this mare was 19. She looks very much like a rose grey but note the dark mane and
tail (light hairs at tailhead, but dark the rest of the way down to the tip, unlike most greys) as well as the darker legs; a grey horse
should be nearly white at this age as well. There also is no known grey color line in the pedigree. True dark headed roan horses do not dapple this much, and there is no roan line in her pedigree.
This mare Red Factor tested as a chestnut base color. Her tail-male line goes back to the minimally marked chestnut sabino
(confirmed from photographs) Easter Twilight, the maternal grandsire of another famous sabino roan, Dawnhill Storm Cloud,
pictured elsewhere on these pages. There are other sabino lines in the pedigree as well. "Rosey's" nephew
is also an odd color and is pictured below. Photos courtesy of Tammy Kastner,
Tee Pee Morgans.
BEN'S FLYING SILVERFIELD (Lippatink's Sealect X Hawksfield Miss Dee), 1993 flaxen chestnut sabino stallion who was owned by Carol Copeland of PA. In the first picture, "Ben" looks very much like a silver dapple, but both parents are registered as chestnut and the one line he has to the one known silver dapple source stallion, Dan, is through the black stallion, Black Ran-Bo. Black horses cannot "carry" the silver dapple gene; if they have the silver gene, they will be silver dapples. It may be hard to see in this smaller version of the original picture, but his dapples are composed of silvery white hairs rather than the beige dapples more typical of some silver dapples. He definitely looks more "roany" in the second picture. Ben was probably a "less expressed" version of the sabino roan or frosty roan than Rosey, the mare pictured above. Photos courtesy of Tammy Kastner.
(Middland Lipp A Tink X Sleepy's Fuzzy Fanny), 1977 chestnut sabino stallion (deceased), owned by Carol Copeland of PA.
He is the full brother to "Rosey" pictured above, and the sire of Ben. Remember that their tail-male line goes back to Easter
Twilight, the maternal grandsire of the frosty roan/sabino Dawnhill Storm Cloud. These are not the most clear pictures,
but I thought it was important to share them. The first picture was taken in 1990 when the horse was 13. You can see
the large dapples of lighter hair; this horse looks almost grey, except for the dark mane and the tail with the light hairs at
the tailhead, instead of at the bottom where they would normally be in a grey horse. Color researcher Lesli Kathman theorizes that these
horses are sabino roans; she cites an example from Miniature Horses, a stallion called Roan Ranger, who has a small
blaze and body roaning similar to these horses- and he produces more loudly marked sabino offspring. It is now thought that there are multiple genes all part of what we
know as "sabino", and that not all of them are inherited all the time. That would explain, for instance, why
some sabinos have roany edges to their white markings while others do not. For some reason this family
seems to have consistently inherited the "roany" aspect of sabino without all the leg white. It is odd that they are
also dappled, but Lesli says she has seen a sabino roan Clydesdale with the roan hairs organized into the dapples.
Lippatink's Sealect's only white markings were a small star and a left hind outside coronet- not markings generally
thought of as "sabino". Another clue that these are sabino roans is the progressive nature of the roaning; this family
consistently begins roaning at around age 5 or 6 which is typical of sabino roans.
Another horse from this family who was
oddly colored is the late IHADASILVERDADDY (Lippatink's Sealect X Hawksfield Miss Dee), 1992
stallion owned by Michelle Dahler of NY. He was another son of Lippatink's Sealect and a full brother to Ben.
He appeared to have roaning that organized itself into brindling. If you have any other information on these
horses or pictures of other members of this family, please contact
First photo courtesy of Tammy Kastner; other two photos courtesy of Michelle Dahler.
The late DAWNHILL STORM CLOUD (UVM Red Cloud X Bald Mtn. Anntwilight), 1971 chestnut sabino gelding. Storm Cloud was a multiple World Champion carriage driving horse owned by Lore Homer of Oreland, PA, and an excellent example of how sabino can cause all-over face and body roaning.
ELNORA'S CALICO BEAU (IWWH Reignbeau Jubilate X LSR Four Roses), 1995 chestnut
sabino gelding, pictured at 18 months. "Beau" was used to illustrate the 12/96 EQUUS magazine article on sabinos. Note the high white stocking and belly spotting, typical of minimally expressed sabino.
Photo courtesy of Beau's breeder Elnora Shandy.
HIGH WHITE REVOLUTION (High Water Running Star X Bellemount's Magic
Moment), 1996 chestnut sabino stallion, pictured as a weanling. "Rebel" was bred by Sue White of
Fredericksburg, VA. His hind stockings have long jaggedy extensions up the front of the gaskins
-an indicator of sabino- as is the extensive, irregularly shaped "apron" blaze.
T-BONE P DEDE (Pegasus Polaris X T-Bone Misty), 1977 chestnut sabino roan mare formerly owned
by Jeanne Gallager of NE.
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