I’m still chugging along on Martouf. He might not look terribly different from the last time I posted pictures, but he’s had detail added on his hooves, legs, tail, forelock, and ears. I’ve also done a few more back and forths between pastel and acrylics on his body.
There is a show coming up in March that I will be missing, but Caryn volunteered to proxy show Martouf if I can finish him in time. I should be able to finish him up, which means I also need to make him a breed reference for the show. I was originally going to show him as a Warlander (Andualusian x Friesian) but because of his relatively short head I’m going to try him as a Moriesian (Morgan x Friesian) instead.
Since Martouf is a chestnut-based grey, he’d need a rather specific set of parents. It’s a possible color, but a doubly rare one- the recessive red gene for chestnut is rare in Friesians and grey is rare in Morgans (and none existent in Friesians). Since I am a little obsessive, I not only wanted to make a breed reference card but do a bit of research on parentage. No judge will see this, it’s just a personal project for me to see how my pretty rose grey guy could come to be that color. There are hobbyists who are very into pedigree assignment, and I am a casual and infrequent partaker of that aspect.
Genetically, what I need is a chestnut (ee) or heterozygous black (Ee) Friesian stallion and a grey Morgan mare also carrying at least one red gene. The red/chestnut gene is recessive, and this helpful site gives a quick explanation of how it works, as well a list of registered Friesian stallions that carry it. The Freisian studbook no longer allows horses carrying chestnut to be registered, although a number of these horses still exist and are used in Freisian Heritage or Freisian Sporthorse breeding.
I researched a number of Friesian stallions who carry the red gene, including the stunning chestnut, Renoir. For Martouf’s sire I chose the lovely and accomplished Tinus PM. This dressage champion is son of Jillis 301, one of the last chestnut-carrying stallions in the Freisian studbook.
Finding a mare was somewhat more complicated. Grays are rare in the Morgan breed, and I not only needed a gray but one carrying a certain base color genes. I can’t see that from the pictures, so it required researching the mare’s pedigrees.
I started with the indispensible Morgan Colors website, which gave me a list of known grays in the breed. I coupled that with the All Breed Pedigree site and some googling, and went from there.
I found two mares that I knew fulfilled the requirements (I found a number of mares who might very well be carrying a red gene, but since I wasn’t positive I scratched them off the list). FPS Frosted Creme Brulee is a 2006 gray mare with a palomino base coat. Palominos are genetically chestnuts with one cream gene, so I know she has two red genes (ee).
The other mare I found is Winter Moon Light Kiss, owned by Winter Moon Morgans. She is a 2001 grey mare, and although I don’t know her base color for sure, I know she is carrying at least one red gene- and that’s all I need. I know she’s a carrier for two reasons. For one, her dam was a chestnut so she must have a least one red gene. Also, “Kisses” had a 2006 chestnut-going-gray colt, so she clearly has a red gene to pass on. Looking back in this mare’s pedigree, it wouldn’t at all surprise me if she is herself a chestnut base gray. She even has a chestnut sabino full sister.
I decided to use Winter Moon Light Kiss as Martouf’s dam. I always prefer horses that have proven themselves in performance as well as having great pedigrees and nice foals. Kisses’ wins at Class A shows in western, huntseat, and in-hand sealed the deal for me.
Hurrah hurrah! My stallion Martouf (ee aa Gg, Tinus PM x Winter Moon Light Kiss) is coming to life. If you stuck with me through my color genetics rambling, I highly recommend you check out Leslie Kathman’s Equine Tapestry blog and also go play with this super fun visual color calculator.