I was looking for a book about horse breeds but didn’t find anything helpful. Most were for children. But I saw Horse Color Explored: Over 150 Breeds, Types, and Variations, by Vera Kurskaya (2017) and that piqued my interest. I was interested in knowing more about the genetics of horse colors than I’d read about in the ever-informative Equus magazine.
I was not disappointed. The book was originally in Russian, but the translator, Dr. Michal Prochazka, did a great job making the book read well. I enjoyed reading about the research Kurskaya has done. She must be a neat person to know, judging from her writing style.
The book is beautiful, with hundreds of great photos of horses from all around the world. I learned much about Russian breeds, but she also shared many interesting tidbits about horses from here, Europe, and Asia.
Here are a few random things I learned from this book:
Bay is the most common color (Apache is a bay Paint, and Mabel is a dark bay)
Like dogs, there is no true albino horse, just horses with giant white spots.
Gray horses change color (dark to light) at different rates. Homozygous ones change faster than heterozygous ones. (Droodles was originally bay, judging from his mane, tail, and body hair.)
Palominos are diluted buckskins. (Dusty is a buckskin.)
There’s no conclusive research to show temperament and color correlate. So, relax, red mares.
Appaloosas often have sparse manes and tails. Their genes are complicated. They also have striped feet.
Bay dun horses are closest to the “wild” type of horse. It blends in well with savannas.
All the dilute color genes (Cream, Pearl, Champagne) were discovered recently. They may be recent mutations or hid before.
Anyway, this is of limited interest to most folks, but if you like genetics or horses, check it out!