A golden horse with a white mane and tail is what many people think of when someone says palomino. However, there is more to a palomino than just gold. In reality, palominos can vary in shade from a soft cream to a rich golden color. They can have dark dapples or be pure white. In some cases, a palomino’s coat may change shade depending on the season (seasonal palominos).
The origin of the palomino is somewhat of a mystery. However, it is believed that this rare color developed as a defense mechanism in horses living in desert or arid environments. The pale yellow coat would blend with the sand and allow the horse to avoid being seen by predators or prey. The light color also does a better job of reflecting the sun’s rays than darker colors, which could help protect the animal from overheating.
There are several different types of palomino horses. The lightest of the group is the pearl palomino. This horse is a soft creamy yellow and can sometimes be mistaken for a white horse. The next shade up is the golden palomino. These horses are a bright golden yellow and often have white manes and tails. A third type of palomino is the champagne palomino. These horses look similar to the golden palomino but have pink skin. They get this color from having two creme dilution genes instead of the one in a true palomino.
Chocolate palomino is the darkest of the palomino varieties. These horses are a deep brown color and have either white manes or tails. They can also have dapples in a variety of patterns. The final color of palomino is the metallic or golden palomino. This is the color that many people associate with Mister Ed from the 1960’s comedy show.
In order to be a palomino, a horse must have a chestnut base coat and a cream dilution gene. The dilution gene transforms the red tones in the base coat into yellow pigments. This process can occur in various ways, which is why there are so many different colors of palomino horses.
Some breeds of horse are more likely to produce palomino offspring than others. For example, Quarter Horses are known to produce a lot of palomino horses. Other popular breeds that produce palomino offspring are Arabians, Tennessee Walking Horses, Morgans, and American Saddlebreds.
In addition to genetics, there are some other factors that can affect a horse’s coat color. For instance, a horse that eats a lot of grain or hay can cause it to darken. A horse that spends a lot of time outside in the sun can also darken its coat. However, the majority of a horse’s color is determined by its genes. In order to have a palomino, both parents must carry the gene for it. Those who don’t have this gene can still be gold colored, but they will not be a true palomino.