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Appaloosas with a leopard coat pattern are born with that color pattern. The base color of a true leopard is completely white, which covers the entire body from the tip of their nose to their coronet bands. A true leopard has uniform spots of any darker color from nose to toes.
The pattern on a few spot leopard has a base color of white, covered with a very small number of widely spaced spots. The few spot may have some coloration on the head, neck, and or pits. With the possible exception of lightning marks, it has no other patterns visible. This pattern is considered by many to be a homozygous color pattern, always producing an Appaloosa.
Foals are rarely born with a snowflake pattern. Usually these foals are born with all characteristics and little or no color, but sometimes foals born with a blanket pattern can develop a snowflake pattern on body parts not covered by their blankets. Sometimes as early as three months "snowflakes" may appear and become more obvious with age. The horse may have just a few, or many, snowflakes later in life. Snowflakes alone will not denote an Appaloosa. The horse must show other Appaloosa characteristics as well. In the Spotted Pattern some Appaloosas will remain nearly solid with the original base color and have, or will, develop, white spots over their hips. This pattern is not the same as the snowflake pattern.
A roan can develop from any base color except white, and is a mixture of white hairs and hairs of the original base color. Roans of lighter colors such as duns and palominos, are not as common as those of black, dark brown, chestnut, or sorrel. Roaning may begin as early as the shedding of the baby hair, or as late as ten years or more. A lighter hair color around the eyes, elbow's, and or flanks may signify a base color roaning will occur. These foals generally show all of the Appaloosa characteristics: parti-colored skin, striped hooves, and white sclera.
Roans may develop a lighter area over the hips, giving the appearance of a "white blanket." The fore parts of a blanketed foal may begin to roan. Once roaning starts, with age it will normally cover the entire body. In any case, roaning generally "uncovers" additional but previously "hidden" spots of the original base color. For this reason, there is no way to tell what the final, resulting color of the horse will be. Many become false "leopards" in their old age. The spots these roan horses are born with will never change, and those uncovered by the roaning process will remain unchanged until the death of the horse. In fact, more may appear far into old age.
Appaloosa roans will normally show "varnish marks" on the face, ears, neck, hips, shoulders, stifles and below the knees and hocks. These marks make the horse appear to be "varnished" with dark areas, usually of the original base color. Manes and tails of roans are normally either roan as well or may turn completely white with age.
Did you know that an Appaloosa is a show horse? They are used in horse beauty contests, parades, public displays, pulling buggies in famous parks, and so much more! There's no doubt that these pretty horses like to put on a show!
Submitted by: Nicole R., Idaho
Edited by Jen.t, 16, CA
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