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3rd Quarter 2023


TABLE OF CONTENTS

EBRA MEMBER HIGHLIGHT: Dr. Hernando Plata and Lisa Martin

AROUND THE WATER TROUGH

HEALTH & WELLNESS SECTION

BARN HACKS, TIPS & TRICKS

BUSINESS SECTION


Silver Meadows Farm

Story by Stacy Pearsall and Photos Provided by Silver Meadows Farm


Vibrant colors of yellow, orange, and red stretch across the sky signifying the dawn of a new day while fog gently rolls across deep green, dew-drenched hills. A winding driveway between two lush pastures terminates at a Dutch-style barn, where the clanking of buckets and a woman’s voice can be heard emanating from its vertically hung planks. A sign on the drive out front reads, “Silver Meadows Farm.”

It’s just past 6 a.m. Kentucky-time and a dark-haired woman is toiling away, feeding six hungry gentle giants – all the while, talking to them like old friends. Given her short stature, the draft horses who tower over her seem to consciously avoid crowding her. They quietly follow alongside as she turns them out to the fields after breakfast. When the last horse is released, she pulls a cell from her pocket, making a call as she hikes back up the drive to the two-story blue house on the hill.

“Just checking in,” she says slightly winding with a hint of fatigue in her voice. For most married couples, a 6:30 a.m. call would be odd, however for Dr. Hernando Plata-Madrid and Lisa Martin, it’s everyday life. Together, they operate their own equine veterinary practice, Plata, LLC, where they service hundreds of horses across the greater Versailles, KY, area. By 6:30 a.m., Dr. Plata is on his third farm visit of the day and Lisa’s own busy schedule is well underway too.

“I really like it when she calls me,” Dr. Plata says, smiling. “She’ll call me three or four times a day just to say hi. She seems to know when I’m stressed and tired – especially during peak breeding season when I’m treating 75 to 100 mares a day. It’s hard, but hearing her voice… I love that.”


With a final, “Love ya,” Lisa ends the call and stuffs the phone in her pocket as she walks into the house. Their youngest child of three, Griffin, who is 21, sits waiting for breakfast. It’s treatment day for him, and he knows the routine – breakfast, shower, occupational therapy. The horses, the clients, the kids, they all rely on Lisa. Perhaps no one more than Griffin, who has autism spectrum disorder, is non-verbal, and requires home care 24/7. Griffin’s therapy sessions aren’t just beneficial for him, they provide Lisa a window of opportunity to step away from caregiving, so she can manage the business, generate invoices, and return clients’ calls.

If she’s lucky, Lisa might have time to call and catch up with her eldest daughter, Gabrielle, 24, who just completed her masters in clinic mental health counseling at Ohio State, or her middle child, Mackenzie, 23, who is working toward her master’s degree in secondary education at the University of Kentucky. Like Hernando and Lisa, their girls stay busy, but staying in touch is priority-one. Also like their parents, both young women are smart, educated, and driven.

When Lisa was their age back in Norfolk, VA, she was pursuing a dual bachelors in criminal justice and psychology from Old Dominion University, while also managing a barn of hunter-jumpers and dressage horses. She never formally put her degrees to use after graduation, but it turns out her psychology studies proved useful when it came to managing foals and later, raising children.


It was at the barn she managed, where she and Hernando first clapped his eyes on each other.


“I could see she was a party animal,” Hernando recalls, laughing a bit. “I had just finished my Masters in Reproduction and Internship at the University of Missouri and took a position at my friend’s practice in Virginia. Our clinic was contracted to service her barn, so that’s where we met. She was always nice to me though, despite my English language deficiency.”

Dr. Hernando Plata-Madrid grew up near Bogota, Colombia, and spent most of his time on his family’s cattle farm and assisting his father, Dr. Jaime Plata-Alvarez, as he treated his equine clients. When not working or attending classes at La Salle University, Hernando went on week-long riding treks, traversing the Colombian countryside on the backs of his maternal grandfather’s Colombian Criollo horses, stopping at night to sleep under the stars from tree-hung hammocks, and eat hearty meals provided by the farmers and landowners.


“I didn’t do any showing when I was young like Lisa,” explains Hernando. “In Colombia, you must be part of ‘a club’ and those were for the more affluent types. I learned horsemanship from the llaneros [Colombian Cowboys] on the farm.”


Before completing his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree, Hernando made a trip the USA in search of draft horses to bring back to Colombia to improve their family farm’s heavy horse stock. At the time, they had a smattering of drafty-type horses, whose lineage was likely a mix of Percheron, Clydesdale, American Belgian, and indigenous breeds.


“In 1980, I visited Anne Harper’s Milkwood Farm to see some Brabants,” remembers Hernando. “Her stallion Babar [Babar de Wolvertem] was unlike any other draft horse I’d seen before. His size and movement was impressive. We purchased one of his grandsons from Pennsylvania and brought him back to Colombia to be our herd sire. He covered our mares and was leased to other farms from time-to-time. He was a nice horse.”


By the time Hernando met Lisa in 1997, his passion for draft horses, particularly Brabants, grew into an obsession. However, the demands of his burgeoning veterinary career meant he only had time to care for other people’s horses in those days. Like most horse-crazed people, that didn’t stop him from window shopping. He stayed in touch with Anne Harper over the years and built relationships with other Brabant breeders across North America.


“Brabants were always his thing,” remembers Lisa, smirking a bit. “I liked my warmbloods.”

Surprisingly, Hernando and Lisa’s preferences for horse breeds seem to mirror their personalities perfectly. Lisa being warmblood-like in her pursuits – outgoing and bold, tackling challenges head-on. There’s no obstacle too high. On the other hand, Hernando takes a more draft horse mentality approach to life. He’s always positive with a steady pace and nose-to-the-grind approach to work.

In the end, it was Lisa’s warmblood Hanoverian mare, Hannah, who brought the two together. Though Lisa initially found Hernando to be a stick in the mud and Hernando perceived Lisa to be a bit frivolous, these two opposites ultimately did attract.


“She wanted her mare bred,” proclaims Hernando in a mock-exasperated tone. “And she just had to micromanage everything!”


“We did get her bred,” interjects Lisa, smirking.

Left to Right: Gabrielle, Griffin and Mackenzie Plata

Hernando and Lisa were married January 28, 1998, and two days after saying, ‘I do’, they moved to Lexington, KY. Hernando became a resident veterinarian at a large breeding farm, practicing internal and reproductive medicine while Lisa managed the home front. In rapid succession, the newlyweds welcomed their three children, Gabrielle, Mackenzie, and Griffin. From then on, life went from busy, to hectic.


Once the two eldest children were grown and off to college, Hernando and Lisa realized they had time and opportunity to start their own practice, so in 2014 they founded Plata, LLC. Two years later, they purchased land and their first two grade Brabant mares, Salsa and Chipotle. Given their last name, Plata, means silver in Spanish, and the rolling quicksilver fog of the Kentucky countryside, they named their farm, Silver Meadows.


Hernando’s dream of owning and breeding Brabants was coming to fruition and his partner in life, Lisa, was right there making that dream a reality too.


In 2018, they bred and settled both their mares using imported frozen semen from Matteo van ’t Reitenhof resulting in two beautiful blue roan foals. Later that year, they imported three yearlings; two were fillies, Lidia van Hoeve Ruth (EB0013) and Nicole van de Vinkenbossen (EB0014) and the third a stud colt, Victor van de Fosse Eugenia (EB0015). Life on the farm has been a rollercoaster of peaks and valleys, joy and strife, life and death. Their oldest mare, Salsa, was laid to rest at the ripe age of 27. She left behind an incredible filly, Havanera (BS0007), who still resides at Silver Meadows today. Salsa’s passing also left an opening in the pasture for Hernando and Lisa to import from Europe once again. In 2021, they brought a mature mare, Laura van de Fossa Eugenia (EB0012) and quarantined her on-property.


Silver Meadows Farm horses are: (top row, left to right) Laura, Lidia, Victor and (bottom row, left to right) Havanera, Nicole and Chipotle.


Though Lisa had always been more of a sport horse gal, her heart was quickly won over by the loving, eager-to-please Brabant draft horses – a breed both she and Hernando now strive to preserve and share with others. Neither Hernando nor Lisa ride anymore, but they still gain fulfillment from their horses and derive satisfaction in knowing their contributions to the endangered breed by producing quality, healthy, purebred Brabants.

“It’s important to both of us that this breed survives,” says Hernando. “We want to ensure they’re here for our grandkids and their grandkids. Our priority is the Brabant’s preservation and health.”


In 2020, Hernando and Lisa, along with a few others, developed a horse registry whose sole purpose would be to preserve and promote the purebred Brabant and in October 2021, the European Brabant Registry of America was established.


“We wanted to a create a place where people could be proud of owning and breeding 100% Brabants,” explains Lisa. “A place where we wouldn’t be scrutinized for our preference for purebreds. Though we’re just a couple years into the program, the EBRA is a fledgling community where we can all celebrate our horses – no matter their percentage. We are happy and support each other.”

Silver Meadow Archibald Haven Nando (EB0036)

Lisa hits send on an email response to an Australian man who just purchased their 2022 colt, Silver Meadow Archibald Haven Nando (EB0036), and imported him halfway across the globe. Her smartphone alarm rings, reminding her that Griffin’s session is almost complete. She turns off her work computer and makes her way to the kitchen to prep lunch. As she lays out the spread, she gives Hernando another ring. He’s on the road again, this time diverted to an emergency call. For Hernando and his assistant, there are no lunch breaks. Each vet packs their own snacks and beverages which they hastily consume in the truck as they hurry from farm-to-farm.

For Hernando, the prime breeding and foaling season is winding down, which means Silver Meadows Farm breeding and foaling season is just ramping up. By design, he and Lisa prefer to breed their horses later in the season to better accommodate their hectic vet practice schedule in the Spring. While on the phone, Lisa and Hernando work out a time they will meet that evening to collect their stallion, Victor, to assess his semen for the start of their breeding season. Then they chat about an outside mare client’s request for shipped cooled semen later in the week and discuss the need to charge the cryogenic shipping container so they can ship imported frozen semen from Dorus van de Molenhoeve to a different mare owner. The call wraps abruptly with, “Love ya,” as Hernando arrives at the emergency call.

Griffin Plata with the Silver Meadows Herd

Lisa turns her attention back to lunch. She and Griffin eat and go through their afternoon routines until another smartphone alarm sounds from her pocket with a reminder on the screen that reads, “Evening Chores.” Together, she and Griffin make their way down to the barn as the mares gallop in from the pastures, eager to eat. Griffin climbs into his hammock that’s stretched across the main center isle of the barn as Lisa brings the horses in for feeding. Knowingly, each horse delicately passes Griffin – some stopping to sniff his hair and others nuzzling his lap, seeking scratches. His face lights up; a smile forms. Lisa pauses for a moment to watch the exchange. There’s a lesson here, she remarks internally. One doesn’t need words to express love – it’s demonstrated through acts of kindness and love just like the bond between our horses and Griffin. If we humans could be more like our horses, this world would be a better place.

Once again, the sky turns a vibrant gradient of yellow, orange and red, signifying the end of the day. Buckets clank as the contented sounds of horses chewing hay reverberates through the rafters. Lisa flips on the barn lights as the sun disappears completely and the headlights of Hernando’s truck come into view. While most couples are lounging their pajamas at home, Hernando and Lisa are just starting their work at Silver Meadows Farm. However, you won’t hear them complain. After all, they’re together doing what they love, for a breed they love, with who they love.



 



THE GOLD SEAL

By Rebecca Courtney


As a registry, we are committed to the preservation and promotion of the European Brabant draft horse. A big part of this mission is keeping the registry database to document European Brabant horses in North, Central and South America and their ownership transfers over time. This information helps to track the health of the breed - growth and decline over time - as well as providing members with essential pedigree information when making breeding decisions. You’ll often find us encouraging horse owners to register their horses, but perhaps you’re left wondering ‘what’s in it for me?’ Let’s take a look at some of the benefits of getting registration papers on your Brabant horses!

  1. Value: While papers don’t make a horse good, they do provide valuable information and the fact most buyers will pay more for a registered horse. For the Brabant breed in particular, with the popularity and rarity of the horses there are plenty of unscrupulous sellers who will market anything roan and drafty as a ‘Brabant’ so having the paperwork to prove the claim is one way to capture a premium when selling a horse.

  2. Documentation: Even if you don’t plan to sell the horse, the registration certificate lists important information about the horse, including their pedigree, birthdate, color/markings, and other means of identification such as microchips. It can be hard to keep track of these things over time so having them certified and listed in one place helps to avoid confusion over things such as the age or breeding of a horse.

  3. Proof of Ownership: The registration certificate lists the current owner of the horse (per the most recent transfer of registration) and this is the person who is able to sign off on breeding documents, transfers, etc. Keeping registration transfers up to date is incredibly important!

  4. Eligibility: In order to compete in many shows, or be a part of the EBRA’s Breed Ambassador program, the horse must be registered.

  5. Offspring Registration: Unfortunately, there are many horses out there at the moment with undocumented Brabant lineage and although they possess the character and phenotype of the breed, they are unable to be registered without proof of their pedigree. Registering foundation stock is the best way to ensure that future offspring can be added to the books and receive the recognition they deserve.

While paperwork may not be enjoyable, the benefits of registering a horse are worth the time and effort. We strive to make the process as simple as possible- providing and online registration form as well as the option to complete a fillable PDF and email it over. A basic registration (excluding breed-up or Qualified Mare applicants) requires just one side-view photograph of the horse. Other documents to submit include copies of existing registration certificates/passport, or a Breeding Certificate or sales agreement showing the breeding of a horse if they are not already registered.


If you have any questions along the way we are always happy to help- simply email registrar@europeanbrabant.com or call 724-605-3680.


 

DR. Marieke Brys

ONLINE CPL CLINIC

with Dr. Marieke Brys

Join us July 8th at 1:00 pm EST for a special presentation on Chronic Progressive Lymphedema (CPL) from University of Ghent's Dr. Marieke Brys. Everyone is welcome, but you must RSVP to attend.


Dr. Marieke Brys. Dr. Brys has dedicated years to the study of Chronic Progressive Lymphedema in draft horses. During this special online presentation, Dr. Brys will define CPL, discuss CPL symptoms, provide causation theories, present best known prevention and treatment practices, talk about previous CPL research findings, share what her personal research goals are for the future and tell us what that means for CPL treatments, and perhaps a cure, for our beloved horses who are affected by the disease. There will be time for questions and answers at the end too!


 


ONE DIRECTORSHIP SEAT, TWO GREAT CANDIDATES

We're pleased to announce that Olga Pushkareva and Melissa Brown have submitted their notices of intention to run during the November 7, 2023, EBRA Class II Director election. Both candidates are experienced in equine and farm management and both have participated in horse breeding and showing. They're both passionate about the preservation and promotion of the purebred European Brabant as well as the use of EB and EBS horses to create warmblood Appendix Brabant crosses. Each candidate will have an opportunity to speak with fellow EBRA Members directly during a virtual town hall meeting at the 3rd Quarter Members Meeting on July 10th.


Olga Pushkareva (V0007) of OT Farms in Missouri presently serves on the EBRA Advisory Committee and Ambassador Committee. She currently works as an Engineer and Project Manager for a government contractor. She actively participates in the Gateway Harness Club, USEF and Missouri Farm Bureau. Her skills are equine management and horse training. She is passionate about European Brabant breed preservation and owns two purebred studs. As a Director, Olga wants to help further develop the Registry and promote the breed in the US.


Melissa Brown (V0038) of Limestone Farms in South Carolina breeds purebred European Brabant draft horses as well as Appendix Brabant warmbloods and mules. She is currently a formulation technician at Ritedose Pharmaceutical and has a background in accounting and business management. As a Director, Melissa would like to connect with people who don't know about the breed while also fostering and growing relationships with current EBRA Members. She's eager to share her lifetime of horse knowledge and is ready to leverage her experience to help grow the organization.


 



PARASITE RESISTANCE

By Rebecca Courtney

A growing concern in the equine industry are horses' increased parasite resistance to available, and commonly used, dewormers. Decades of consistent, timed deworming and the approach that ‘it costs less to treat than to test’ has led to a decrease in the effectiveness of the three classes of dewormers currently available.


While it is true that heavy parasite loads can cause a loss of body condition, poor nutrient utilization, and at times even threaten the horse’s life by creating a blockage in the intestine, more and more owners are realizing that we simply can’t afford to blindly treat parasites on a routine basis. Here at All the King’s Horses, we seek to balance the health of our herd and responsible dewormer use by implementing fecal egg counts throughout the year and targeting our deworming to horses with high egg counts.

EQUINE INTESTINAL PARASITES

​Tapeworms

Tapeworms attach at the junction of the ileum and cecum in the horse’s hindgut, potentially blocking the GI tract and leading to colic. Although tapeworms are difficult to detect through fecal testing, blood and saliva antibody tests can show if your horse has been exposed.

Ascarids, aka Roundworms

Roundworms migrate from the intestine through the circulatory system. Once roundworms enter the lungs, horses can cough them up and re-swallow them, completing their life cycle.

Bots and Pinworms

Bots burrow into the horse’s mouth and stomach, while pinworms lay eggs around the anus causing irritation. Both parasites are more of a nuisance than harmful to your horse’s health.

Small Strongyles, aka Cyathostomins

Indiscriminate deworming practices have led small strongyles to developing a high resistance against multiple classes of dewormers. They encyst, or burrow, into the horse’s intestinal wall and then emerge, which damages tissue.

Large Strongyles & Bloodworms

They migrate into the arteries of the horse’s abdomen causing damage to blood vessels. Although widespread anthelmintic use had nearly eradicated large strongyles, this parasite may resurge with inappropriate deworming practices.

Fecal egg counts are a simple test to look at a sample of manure from each horse and count the number of parasite eggs found, reported as ‘eggs per gram’ of manure. The test can be performed by most veterinarians, or samples can be mailed to labs that offer testing.

Alternatively, owners can learn how to perform the test themselves needing just a few simple supplies. Here's what you'll need:

  • A microscope. This is the most expensive item on the list, but the good news is that you certainly don’t need a top-line model. In fact, you’ll need a magnification of only 100, which is right at the lower end of most microscopes.

  • A McMaster slide. These are slides developed specially for doing eggs counts. They have two chambers that hold liquid and each chamber has a grid to help in your egg count.

  • Two beakers, graduated in millilitres. Those capable of holding about 100ml should do nicely. It would be great if you bought a measuring cylinder as this would allow you to measure quantities even more accurately.

  • A pipette or eye dropper which you can use to transfer your sample into the slide. These can be sourced from your local pharmacy. A small syringe tube without the needle will likewise do fine.

  • Something suitable for picking up the dung sample. You could set aside old spoons for this purpose or buy some plastic disposable spoons.

  • A few small plastic containers with lids, which will be handy for holding your dung samples, and some stick-on labels so you can write the name of the horse on each sample container. Alternatively, you can use small sealable plastic bags and write the names on with a Sharpie.

  • A flotation solution. This is something you add to the dung sample to dilute it. However, it serves another important purpose. The solution is of a specific density so that the eggs in the liquid float to the top, allowing you to count them in the slide. You must not use water, as the eggs will sink and you won’t see them. You can buy these solutions, but it’s cheaper to make them at home.

    • Common flotation solution is a saturated salt solution, which will give us a fluid with a specific gravity of 1.18 to 1.20. Warm a litre of water and stir in 400 grams of salt (sodium chloride) until dissolved. Allow to cool. A small amount may settle at the bottom once it cools, but this is no cause for concern. This solution works fine but may distort the eggs.

    • Another good general purpose solution is a mix of salt and sugar with water. Mix as for the saturated salt solution above (400 grams of salt in a litre of water), but also add 500g of sugar. This provides a solution with the highest specific gravity of these three examples, at 1.28.

  • Disposable gloves. Dung contains bacteria and you don’t want to expose yourself to unnecessary risk. Wear these gloves when working with manure.

  • A digital kitchen scale for measuring your dung sample.

  • A fine sieve, cheesecloth or disposable tea strainer bags. Your standard kitchen sieves vary considerably in the fineness of the mesh, so shop around until you find a fine one.

YouTube is a great resource and the above video from NC Cooperative Extension demonstrates the process of doing fecal egg counting from home. I learned to perform fecal egg counts at a seminar offered by Penn State Extension and similar classes may be available through your state’s equine extension programming.


When performing a fecal egg count, it’s important to note both total egg count and which parasite eggs (ascarid or small strongyle being most common) are present. A threshold is determined (we use 500 eggs per gram, but this is a fairly lax standard and many people choose to deworm at a lower level) and any horses over the limit are treated. A followup test can be performed about a week later on treated horses to determine how effective the treatment was and identify if resistance is growing to a specific treatment. It’s worth noting that fecal egg counts do NOT directly determine a horse’s parasite load but rather identify those that are shedding a lot of eggs to

infect other horses and make more parasites.

Our farm testing protocol begins with fecal egg counts on every horse in the spring before going out on pasture. We treat those that need it and then retest every 8 weeks for horses that are consistently high or borderline, as well as a random sample of our low shedding horses. In the fall, after the grazing season all horses are treated to address parasites such as tapeworms that are not identified in fecal egg counts. Our foals and young horses have a slightly different protocol, with a lower deworming threshold and more frequent testing/treatment but the concept is the same- testing horses and treating only those that need it.

In addition to using chemical dewormers, parasite loads can be reduced through techniques such as rotational grazing (to avoid ingesting eggs that have been shed by grazing clean fields frequently) and mixed species grazing, which can interrupt parasite life cycles if they are ingested by the wrong host species, as well as picking manure out of heavy use field or dry lots.


There are also all-natural or organic approaches to deworming, but unfortunately there is little research to demonstrate whether these treatments are in fact effective.


Unfortunately, parasite resistance is a problem that is here to stay. Moving forward, horse owners and managers need to find alternative methods to maximize horse health without relying on overuse of the available deworming products. It’s a challenging task but the earlier we implement a course correction, the better our odds of having products that will work in high risk populations when needed.


 

COLOR GENETICS EXPLAINED

By Rebecca Courtney

Images Provided by Members and Graphics Courtesy of HorsesandUs.com


One of the most exciting things about European Brabant horses is they come in so many colors. While there’s no such thing as a bad color for a good horse, many people have their own personal favorite. When waiting for a foal, it is exciting to imagine what color they might be and a basic knowledge of color genetics and inheritance can narrow down the options.


To begin, we need a refresher on genetics. The 3 base horse coat colors of black, chestnut and bay are based on 2 genes: Extension and Agouti.

  • The Extension gene (E) is responsible for the color of the pigment, either black or red "chestnut".

  • The Agouti gene (A) is responsible for the distribution of black color to the points (mane, tail, the lower part of the limbs, and rim of the ears).

A dominant verses recessive gene is depicted by upper and lowercase as follows:

  • E – dominant allele which enables the production of black pigment in the coat of the horse. It extends the black pigment to the hair and skin.

  • e – recessive allele, which enables the production of red pigment in the horse’s hair, although the skin remains black.

A horse’s color is controlled by combination of these genes:

  • EE = Black-based- will appear black or bay, depending on the Agouti gene

  • Ee = Black-based- will appear black or bay, depending on the Agouti gene

  • ee = Red (chestnut)-based- will appear red (chestnut)

  • AA = Black restricted to mane, tail, legs (Bay)

  • Aa = Black restricted to mane, tail, legs (Bay)

A horse has two copies of each gene (called alleles), one inherited from the sire and one from the dam. An allele is either dominant, which means if the horse carries it they will express the correlating trait, or recessive, which means that it will be overruled by the dominant trait if the horse carries a dominant allele. A horse will only show the recessive trait if they inherit the recessive allele from both parents.

While Appendix Brabant horses can exhibit a full range of colors and patterns inherited from their non-Brabant ancestors, there are 3 genes responsible for the primary colors we see in traditional European Brabant horses, and an additional gene that adds a grey

modification.

Hanneke Van de Priemsteeg EB0002 (Chestnut with recessive bay gene DNA: ee/Aa). Hanneke has produced bay and bay roan offspring because she carries a recessive Agouti gene A and when bred to our blue roan stallion, the bay color presents itself.

Extension Gene (base color): The base color for a horse will always be red or black and is controlled by the Extension Gene. Black is the dominant color, denoted E, while red is recessive and is denoted e. If a horse shows any black, whether it is full body or just their points, they must carry the E allele. We cannot infer whether a black based horse carries e, as the red allele is recessive and is masked by the dominant black allele. A horse with no black must carry two copies of the e allele.

Tip: Every color varies within a certain range, from a lighter shade to a darker one. The horses with color shades on the boundaries (very light shades and very dark shades) can look very different and even be confused with other colors from different genes. Sometimes it is only possible to identify the correct color is through DNA testing. Order an EBRA color panel and/or zygosity test HERE.
Rusty Ridge Hannah BS0002 (Bay DNA EE/AA)

Agouti Gene (bay): The bay coloration can be confusing as the horse’s body is red but they have black on their legs and points (ears, muzzle, mane/tail). This modification is due to the Agouti gene. The dominant allele, A, restricts a horse’s black coloration to their points which results in a bay colored horse, while the recessive allele, a, leaves the black coloration over the horse’s whole body. Similar to the Extension Gene, a bay horse must carry at least one copy of the dominant A allele and may or may not carry the recessive a allele. A black bodied horse has two copies of the a allele. It is worth noting that a red based horse (ee) may be a carrier of the A allele, but it will show up as a

sorrel rather than a bay colored horse because their genes do not code for any black coloration.

Roan Gene: Any color can also show the roan pattern. The roan gene results in white hairs sprinkled through the colored hairs. The roan pattern is dominant, Rn, while solid coloration is recessive, rn. A roan horse may have one or two copies of the dominant Rn allele and a solid colored horse carries two copies of the recessive rn allele. From this we see that a roan foal must have at least one roan parent, as the dominant allele responsible for the pattern is always expressed. Order a roan zygosity test HERE.

The Roan pattern can occur with any base coat color (black, chestnut, bay):

  • Red Roan is when the roan pattern is combined with the chestnut base color. When combined with a light chestnut, the coat has a pinkish color, and is often called “strawberry roan”.

  • Blue Roan is when the roan pattern is combined with the black base color. The silvering effect on a black base color, gives the impression of a bluish tint, hence the name blue roan.

    • Note: Some dark, black bay roans are often mistaken for true blue roans - therefore genetic testing comes in handy to discern a horse's actual color profile. See the image of LowCountry Acres Opal below, who appears blue roan at first glance, but she is genetically a black bay base coat EE/Aa.

  • Bay Roan is when the roan pattern is combined with the bay base color. They have a light body, a red head, and black points (mane tail and lower legs).

Julie van Luchteren (EB0004) is a blue roan, which means she's a black base coat with roan gene DNA EE/Rn.

TIP: Everyone loves a blue roan, but keep in mind that the quality of the horse's conformation and performance should not be understated or overlooked in favor of its color. Responsible breeders will take care to select for these traits at the same time as breeding for color.

Viktor van de Kloosterhoeve EB0010 (DNA: Ee/Aa/Gg)