What Color is This Mule?

The short answer is probably palomino. But she's not a normal palomino. Dijon is a true palomino. Golden and solidly the same color all over.

Nilla is sort of a palomino. From a distance, she looks a lot like a palomino, but up close, she's a roan.

The roaning continues even through her markings.

Her markings are also indicative of dun. A full list of Dun Factors is here.

Dorsal Stripe and Shoulder stripe in the picture above. She also has very dilute leg stripes (usually called zebra stripes). I have found these to be particularly impossible to photograph, but I can point them out in person and people do see them so I'm not imaging it.

Unfortunately, the only way to determine if her coloring is officially dun or just countershading is a genetic test. And I don't really want to spend $ finding out.

Her roaning is particularly noticeable in her head.

Nilla also has the Pangare modifier. According to Equine Color Genetics, "Pangare is a modifier that acts by lightening certain portions of a horse's coat, usually the muzzle, the belly, the inner forearms and thighs, and sometimes even the chest or around the eyes. When it acts on a chestnut coat, the horse usually will have a flaxen mane and tail. It can act on any color, and varies in intensity. It is often found in pony and draft breeds, such as Haflingers, Fjords, Exmoors."

You can see the white belly, chest, muzzle area, inner legs, and especially her girth groove. Also, if you look at her mane here, what color would you say it is? White? I would too, but it's not actually. I've only really noticed this since roaching her mane, but it isn't fully white; it's dual colored.

The outside hairs are the golden palomino color and the inside hairs are white. It's sort of the opposite of the Fjord coloring. Depending on the light her mane looks white sometimes and looks golden others.

So the short answer is a palomino and the long answer is a roan palomino dun with pangare. When people ask - and I get asked this a lot when I'm out in public with her - I tend to just answer palomino. Knowledgable horse people - and one hiker I met who blew me away by knowing this - will spot the roaning. Non-horsey people tend to ask me about the dorsal and shoulder stripes.

I'm really fascinated by all of this. I'm even tempted to get her color tested, but I feel like buying a helmet camera is a better totally-not-necessary expense. Does your horse have interesting coloring or interesting markings?

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