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Pinto Frequently Asked Questions


Pinto Coloring Chart Q: What pattern of pintos does Summertime Farm breed?
A: Summertime breeds only the Tobiano pattern of pintos. We have never bred an Overo, and we do not mix the two patterns.

Q: What is the difference between Tobiano and Overo?
A: The chart to the left, supplied courtesy of the American Paint Horse Association shows the basic color variations of the Tobiano and Overo patterns. We often find it easier to explain the two patterns as Tobiano being a "pattern", like a zebra or a giraffe, and with the white most often crossing the spine. Overo can be pictured as a solid colored horse with areas of color missing, and white most often does not cross the spine. (Remember that a horses spine starts at the poll, between the ears, and ends at the tip of the tail).

Q: What is the difference between a Homozygous Tobiano and a Heterozygous Tobiano?
A: A foal inherits one pattern gene from each parent. If the foal inherits the same gene from each parent, then the foal is said the be Homozygous for that pattern gene. If a foal inherits one pattern gene from the mare and a different pattern gene from the sire, then the foal has two different pattern genes, and is said to be Heterozygous. For example, if a Tobiano mare passes a Tobiano gene to her foal, and the foal's sire is also Tobiano, and also passes on the gene, then the foal will be Homozygous Tobiano. This foal will only have Tobiano offspring, because Tobiano is the only gene that the foal has. On the other hand, lets say we breed a solid patterned mare to a Tobiano stallion and they both pass on their respective pattern gene. This foal now has one solid and one Tobiano gene, and can have both solid or Tobiano offspring.

Q: Why do you call Tobiano a pattern gene and not a color gene?
A: Over the years we have discovered that many newer breeders confuse colors (black, chestnut) with patterns (or factors)(tobiano, overo, grey, roan, appaloosa) All horses have a color, but not all horses have a pattern or factor. A horse can have quite a mix of genes - a grey palomino tobiano inherited a bunch of them - The tobiano pattern, giving the horse spots, the diluent gene, causing the chestnut gene to be gold, and the grey gene, causing the horse to fade as it ages. When planning breedings, ask yourself do you want a certain color, or do you want to change the way the color is placed on the horse.

Q: Will a solid colored horse with lots of white, maybe four stockings and a blaze, have a better chance of having more Tobiano foals than a horse with no white?
A: No. But the foal will have a better chance of having a blaze, or white stockings. Also note that both patterns of pintos seem to produce more blue (or glass eyes) when white markings come near the eyes. Winter Sultan does not seem to have much of a white marking gene, so if your Winter Sultan foal has a star or a blaze, it most likely came from the mare.

Q: Can a solid colored foal with a Tobiano parent increase the chances of having Tobiano offspring?
A: No. The Tobiano pattern is called dominant, meaning that if a horse has inherited the gene, the horse will be a Tobiano and we can see the Tobiano spots on the horse. A dominant gene such as Tobiano never skips a generation to show up by surprise later. A Tobiano foal must have a least one Tobaino parent from which to inherit the Tobiano gene. Grey works exactly the same way, and if you have been breeding grey horses, just apply the same rules.

Q: How does one breed a black and white foal by Winter Sultan?
A: Easy, use a black or a bay mare. Winter Sultan is a liver chestnut and white tobiano. Chestnut bred to chestnut always gives a chestnut foal, so if you want a chestnut and white, like Winter Heiress, use a chestnut mare. Winter sires black and white (his dam is black) about 50% of the time when bred to bay or black mares.

Q: I still don't quite get how to apply the color and Tobiano pattern rules to my mare, can you look at her pedigree?
A: Just call or email with the information on your mare and I'll be more then happy to have a look, but no promises! I am only one small step (and 300 foals) ahead of where I started, and I am still trying to get the spots in the right place!


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