Picture of a Brindle Horse

Brindle Horse Information Site

Featured Horse This Month

Featured horse this month is Dunbar's Gold, a 1996 colt registered with both the AQHA and International Buckskin Horse Associations. Owner Delos "Spike" Dunbar called the local newspapers out when this foal was born, because in his 35 years of raising horses, he had never seen anything like this colt.

Dunbar's Gold is by a red dun sire, Two D Nine, who won a halter futurity in 1974 at an Illinois/Indiana Buckskin Futurity. Two D Nine's dam, Miss Two Larue, has 13 AQHA points in halter, and 9 working points. Dunbar's Gold is out of a red dun Quarter Horse mare named Outa Chigger. She has had four foals since the Dunbar's got her; two duns, one sorrel, and the brindle colt featured this month. As you can see from their photographs, neither parent showed any obvious signs of striping, other than the usual dun factor markings associated with the dun dilution. An analysis of their pedigrees shows no "up close" common ancestors with any other brindles that we know of. There have been some remote common ancestors, but we don't know if this is any significance as of yet. Remote ancestors include Silver King, Tom Adair, Poco Bueno breeding, and Waggoner breeding.

In the past, when a "brindled" foal was born, they were considered a random mutation, were often considered undesirable (since they were not a normal color within many breed or registry guidelines), and were often gelded or sold without papers. It was reported that the pattern was not reproducable. However, given the lack of knowledge about the pattern, and the seeming prejudice against it, that is not surprising. While some "brindles" may occasionally occur due to a random mutation, I feel the "brindle" pattern could also have been carried from ancient times, perhaps in a manner similar to striping in cats. All cats carry some form of striping, but will not show it unless they also have the agouti gene. If you look closely at a black cat (which doesn't have the agouti gene), you can still see the striping as a form of "ghost" markings in the coat. However, most people don't notice the "ghost" markings, and only see a "black cat". I feel something similar may be happening with the "brindle" pattern, and that it takes the right combination of genes to produce a visible pattern. Thus, I feel there might be horses carrying "brindle", but like a "black cat", don't have a visible pattern themselves. In the Criollo horses of Argentina, "gateado" (dun color), sometimes has a variation known as "gateado barcino" (featured horses last month - link at bottom of the page if you missed it). Since Spanish horses provided the root stock for both Criollos and Quarter Horses, it is not surprising to find that a similar color, which has been called "brindle dun" by the International Buckskin Horse Association, has also occurred in Quarter Horses. As mentioned above, these "brindle" carriers could go unnoticed, either because the markings are assumed to be part of the dun factor pattern, or in other cases, because "brindle" seems to cause a "coat texturing", but without obvious striping, and can thus be overlooked. These horses when bred, would occasionally pick up the right combination of genes needed to produce visibly "brindled" offspring, which would then seem to have "cropped out" from unmarked parents. Thus, there would two ways in which "brindles" could occur; true "random mutations" from non-carriers, and "crop outs" from "brindle carriers".

However, the above is speculation on my part, only intended to furnish some kind of starting point, as we really don't know very much about the "brindle" pattern. That is why we are looking for horses for a study. When Dunbar's Gold is old enough to start breeding next year, it will be especially important to track his offspring. The AQHA rule change to allow shipping of cooled semen will now make it very easy to breed to him. If you are interested in breeding to him, please contact me, and I will send information on what I would need for the study.

Update & Contact Information

Volume 1, number 4. Written information was last updated May 6, 1997. We will update the written information approximately once a month - however, because Brindle Horses are so rare, we may not be able to update the photos in the slideshow that often. When returning to this site, remember to select the refresh or reload icon from your internet explorer tool bar at the top of the screen, so your screen will reload the latest information. The address of this web site is http://www.geocities.com/sbatteate - You may e-mail me at jsbatteate@aol.com