Friday, March 19, 2021

Wild-type Coat Colour and Primitive Markings in Sorraia Horses of the Ravenseyrie Sorraia Mustang Preserve

Sorraia x Sorraia Mustang stallions
Ravenseyrie Sorraia Mustang Preserve
Manitoulin Island, Ontario, Canada

A couple weeks ago I received a request from a biology student at McGill University who is involved with a research project on striping patterns in horses, asking for images, notes, stats, etc. on what we have experienced here at Ravenseyrie.

This request provided me with the stimulus I needed to finally put together more cohesively the results of the breeding that took place at Ravenseyrie.  From 2008 to 2013 twenty foals were born.  While I have documented quite extensively within this blog the births of these foals, a summary of that information, until now, has not been gathered in one place.

This blog entry first will feature an informational image for each offspring incorporating photos and descriptions.  Each offspring is being presented in order by date of birth.

This blog entry will then offer up photos that display the variety of primitive markings that have been expressed in the wild-coat colour of our horses, all which are varying shades of grulla (rato in Portuguese) also often referred to as "mouse dun".  This colour alters in appearance depending on the season and the light.  


Births in 2008
Let's begin with our firstborn, Animado:



Animado was exported to the U.S.A. in 2011.  

Next up is Fada:

Fada remains with us and lives on the Twinravens range where we keep our band of mares on the southeast of Manitoulin Island, an hour's drive from Ravenseyrie.

Next up is Interessado:

Interessado was (regrettably) castrated in 2012.  He remains with us at Ravenseyrie, living with the bachelor band.

Births in 2009

Firstborn for this year was Encantara:
Encantara was exported to the U.S.A. in 2011 and more recently was exported to Mexico

Next up is Silvestre:

Silvestre was (regrettably) castrated in 2012 and remains with us at Ravenseyrie, living with the bachelor band.

Next up is Segura:
Segura was exported to the U.S.A. in 2011.

Births in 2010

Firstborn for this year was Pinoteia:
Pinoteia remains with us and lives on the Twinravens range where we keep our band of mares on the southeast of Manitoulin Island, an hour's drive from Ravenseyrie.

Next up is Tocara:
Tocara was exported to Austria in 2012 and later exported to Portugal where she presently is part of a conservation effort in the northeastern region of the country.

Next up is Levada:
Levada was exported to Austria in 2012 and later to Portugal and this year moved across the border to Spain where she is part of a conservation project.

Births in 2011

Firstborn for this year was Esperanda:

Esperanda remains with us and lives on the Twinravens range where we keep our band of mares on the southeast of Manitoulin Island, an hour's drive from Ravenseyrie.

Next up is Altavida
Altavida remains with us and lives on the Twinravens range where we keep our band of mares on the southeast of Manitoulin Island, an hour's drive from Ravenseyrie.

Next up is Espìrito:
Espìrito is the only foal born at Ravenseyrie that did not survive - he was too large and died during birth.

Next up is Legado:  
Legado remains with us at Ravenseyrie and lives with the bachelor band.

Next up is Destemido:
Destemido remains with us at Ravenseyrie and lives in a pasture separate from the other bachelors.


Births in 2012

Firstborn in this year was Gosto:

Gosto left Ravenseyrie in the autumn of 2020 and presently resides in southern Ontario.

Next up is Fidalgo:
Fidalgo remains with us at Ravenseyrie and lives among the bachelor band.

Next up is Sedutor:
Sedutor remains with us at Ravenseyrie and lives among the bachelor band.

Next up is Capaz:
Capaz remains with us at Ravenseyrie and lives among the bachelor band.

Births in 2013

Firstborn in this year was Ousado:
Ousado remains with us at Ravenseyrie and lives among the bachelor band.

Next up is Rija:

Rija remains with us and lives on the Twinravens range where we keep our band of mares on the southeast of Manitoulin Island, an hour's drive from Ravenseyrie.

Ravenseyrie Sorraia Mustang Preserve, Manitoulin Island

Having made a significant contribution to the conservation of the endangered Sorraia and Sorraia Mustang horse the Ravenseyrie Sorraia Mustang Preserve in 2013 ended the breeding phase of our mandate and shifted to strictly safeguarding the remaining horses in our stewardship.

Light grullo/Fidalgo, medium grullo/Altamiro


All Ravenseyrie horses display one or more phenotypic elements (so-called primitive markings) characteristic of dun wild-type hair coat:
--dorsal stripe
--traverse stripes on legs
--bilateral stripes on withers, shoulders, neck
--bi-coloured ears
--bi-coloured mane and tail
--dark face mask
--dark bilateral spot on cheeks
--light vertical line up the back of legs
--traverse "fishbone" stripes along dorsal stripe


Subtle neck stripes/Bella

Subtle neck stripes/Bella

Subtle leg stripes and light vertical line/Bella

Subtle leg stripes and light vertical line/Bella

Dark spot on cheek/Zorita



Medium grulla standing behind light grulla,
dorsal stripes, withers and neck stripes, dark face mask
bi-coloured ears/Belina

Subtle stripes on hocks/Ciente

Intense stripes on front legs/Ciente

Intense stripes on front legs/Ciente


Subtle transverse "fishbone" stripes on dorsal stripe/Bella



Medium grullo, winter pelage/Altamiro

Medium grullo, late spring pelage/Altamiro


Subtle withers and neck stripes/Bella

Medium grulla, bi-colouring in ears and mane and tail/Bella

Light grullo/Animado(front) with (behind left)
medium grulla, dark face mask/Bella


Light grulla, intense leg stripes and bi-coloured mane/Animado


Medium grullo, bi-coloured ears and mane/Altamiro


Dark grullo (Centre) neck and withers stripe, 
bi-coloured ears/Sedutor


Medium grulla, bi-coloured mane

Very light grulla, bi-coloured mane

Intense wrinkles in neck hide/Altamiro

Intense wrinkles in neck hide/Legado


Intense neck and withers stripes/Encantara

Medium grulla bi-coloured ears and mane/Ciente

Leg stripes on Animado (left) and Bella, his dam


Newborn, pseudo-stripes from compressed hair/Interessado

Newborn, pseudo-stripes from compressed hair/Interessado

Intense leg, neck and withers stripes, compressed
hair pseudo stripes/Sedutor

A summary of the horses in the Ravenseyrie Sorraia Mustang Preserve conservation effort:

Foundation Herd 
Bella - mare, med. grulla, Spanish Mustang
Belina - mare, med. Spanish Mustang x BMO Mustang
Ciente - mare, med. grulla, Kiger Mustang
Zorita - mare, silver grulla, Sorraia x Sulphur Mustang 
Altamiro - stallion, med. grullo, reg. Portuguese Sorraia

Offspring, first generation
2008
  Animado, stallion, light grullo
  Fada, mare, black grulla
  Interessado, gelding, black grullo
2009
  Encantara, mare, medium grulla
  Silvestre, gelding, medium grullo
  Segura, mare, very light grulla
2010
  Pinoteia, mare, light grulla
  Tocara, mare, med. grulla
  Levada, mare, med. grulla
2011
  Esperanda, mare, med. grulla
  Altavida, mare, light grulla
  Espirito, stallion, died at birth
  Legado, stallion, very light grullo
2012
  Gosto, stallion, dark grullo
  Fidalgo, stallion, light grullo
  Sedutor, stallion, dark grullo
2013
  Ousado, stallion, light grullo
  Rija, mare, light grulla

Offspring/Second Generation
2011
  Destemido, stallion, med. grullo
 2012
  Capaz, stallion, light grullo
Pinoteia with her foal, Capaz on the Ravenseyrie beach, Manitoulin Island

Over the years, I have done a fair bit of research on Sorraias, Sorraia Mustangs, Pleistocene horses, Pzewalski's Horse, the Tarpan and wild-type coat colour and primitive markings.  I have written layman's articles within this blog regarding these subjects, some of which I am providing links to below.  New discoveries regarding wild-type coat colour and the dun gene have been made since those earlier days when I was studying and writing about such things - I am providing links to those scientific research articles as well.  (Clicking on each article's title should open up the link in a new window.)

The Family Band, Ravenseyrie beach 2008, Manitoulin Island


Whence Come the Colour Dun 

The Complicated Mystery of Mouse Dun in Primitive Horses

Pleistocene Horses, The Zebro, The Tarpan and The Sorraia/A Shared Ancestry?

Sedutor and Zorita, Ravenseyrie Beach, Manitoulin Island

Let the Earth Decide


Wild Musings on Equine Coat Colour

Ravenseyrie Sorraia Mustang Preserve, Manitoulin Island 

The Sorraia's Prehistoric Relatives/Countering a Historian's Critique


Coat colour adaptation of post-glacial horses toincreasing forest vegetation

Regulatory mutations in TBX3 disrupt asymmetric hair pigmentation that underlies Dun camouflage color in horses

Ravenseyrie Sorraia Mustang Preserve on the shores of Lake Huron, Manitoulin Island

The Issue of Blue Dun Shade Inheritance in the Horse 


Colour variation in blue dun Polish Konik and Biłoraj horses


Variation in TBX3 Gene Region in Dun Coat Color Polish Konik Horses


Features of coat color and markings and impact of dun factor on Vyatka horse breed


UCDavis Dun Dilution

The Bachelor Band
Ravenseyrie Sorraia Mustang Preserve, Manitoulin Island


2 comments:

Unknown said...

I am since a few days the very proud owner of Animado.
He is for now still with his seller in Wyoming, soon transported to my farm in norther Virginia. I wish i could keep him as a stalion but that is not feasible, he will be gelded on June 29. I hope to slowly gentle him and eventually make him my dressage partner. Thank you for all you have done for the sorraia and all the information and pictures that told me his life story.

Lynne Gerard said...

Josepha -
It has been two weeks now that Animado is with you and I am wishing you and he a very wonderful, long-term partnership! Thank you for letting me know you've acquired our first born at Ravenseyrie.