seeing spots

Somewhere in my perambulations from Heathcliff to Gypsies to Gypsy Vanner Horses I encountered this history of the Vanner…

The Gypsy Horse breed as it is today is thought to have begun to take shape shortly after the Second World War.[37][40]When the British Roma had first begun to live in vardoes around 1850, they used mules and cast off horses of any suitable breed to pull them.[31] These later included coloured horses which had become unfashionable in mainstream society and were typically culled.[41] Among these were a significant number of coloured Shire horses.[42] Many of these ended up with Romani breeders, and by the 1950s, they were considered valuable status symbols within that culture.[37] Spotted horses were very briefly in fashion around the time of the Second World War, but quickly went out of fashion in favour of the coloured horse, which has retained its popularity until the present day.[1] The initial greater height of the breed derived from the influence of both Clydesdales and Shires,[37] both of which possess “feather”, long hair starting at the knee or hock and growing down to cover the hooves. Feather became and still remains highly valued.[43]

“Spotted” can refer to pintos (piebald and skewbald if you’re in the UK) or to Leopard Complex horses (Appaloosas in the US). In this case, they meant Leopard complex.

Leopard complex is a prehistoric horse color, which is why those cave paintings have spots… not some spot happy artist.

Lp is a great camo color; it breaks up the horse’s outline, and, like fawn dapples and leopard spots, tends to blend into the background, though humans love the color pattern for its “loudness”.

I grew up with the Appaloosa, an American breed, but there are others carrying the Lp complex.

Knabstruppers: Knabstrupper Baron.jpg

Noriker: Spotted Noriker horse.JPG

POA (Pony of Americas): Image result for pony of the americas

Colorado Ranger: Image result for colorado ranger horse

tiger horse… Image result for tiger horse

Just kidding…

it is a real breed…

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Minis and Falabellas…

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Spanish Mustang…

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eh, nope, that’s a pinto pattern…

try this…

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uh, no, still a pinto pattern…

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that is leopard complex



Image result for karabair horse


Image result for altai horse


Patterns include:


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(on an Altai horse)


spotted blanket, blanket hipped;

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frost (roan blanket)

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few spot leopard (one of the many ways to get a “white” horse);

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You can still see the spotted skin and white around the iris of the eye. A fewspot with only white hair and mottled skin showing is often referred to as just “mottled”.


Varnish roan, marbled, or what I used to call “dirt road Appaloosas”… (color of a dirt road);

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(above; varnish roan with fewspot blanket)

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(this one also has a bit of a blanket).


Leopard complex, like pinto, is a pattern of white thrown over a normal horse color like bay, chestnut, black.

Modifiers dilute those colors to (bay) buckskin or dun or amber champagne, or perlino… (chestnut) palomino, cremello, gold champagne, red dun… (black) grulla, silver, classic champagne.

Leopard complex can be thrown over those too, creating a rainbow of weird wonderful color and patterns, no two ever alike.

We won’t even mention what happens when you cross that with zebra…

There are zebraloosas (zebra x Appaloosa), sorry, this one is Photoshopped, though the pattern combines a real zebra hybrid with the blanket hip and snowflake (forehand) patterns of an Appaloosa.:

(eh, sorry, that’s my Photoshopped zebra hybrid, below’s the real one…

Appaloosa Zorse:

Donkeys have an entirely different set of genetics and patterns for creating spots…

Spotted-Donkeys-300x258.jpg (300×258):

Crossed with horses, you might get this…

spotted mules: mules are a cross between a donkey and a horse.:

for more, check out my Pinterest page on Seeing Spots…




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