The horses found on Abaco Island in the Bahamas are like no other. They are small, and fleet but perhaps their most striking feature is their white spotting pattern. Called Splashed White, the white pattern is known for creating bald faces and blue eyes as well as high leg and body white. In the past, many of the animals carried two copies of this distinctive white pattern giving them a distinctive half white appearance. The presence of Splashed White in their population however, is not their most important feature. Genetic testing has confirmed that these horses have a unique genetic heritage. The horses of Abaco Island are of direct Spanish Descent. With only a few populations of these Spanish Colonial Horses left in the world today the Abaco Colonial Horse is priceless, a repository of equine genetics seen nowhere else in the world.
Leopard Complex (LP) is a white spotting pattern more commonly known as appaloosa or appaloosa spotting. It is characterized by areas of white centered over the hips. The extent to which leopard complex expresses can vary greatly and in part depends upon additional modifiers called Pattern (PATN). When LP is present without a Pattern Modifier, the horse will usually exhibit what is known as LP characteristics. These traits are sclera, mottled skin (pink skin with colored spots) and striped hooves. The horse may also roan or lose pigmentation as it ages. This is known as LP roaning and unlike gray, the horse will maintain pigment in bony areas including the nose and legs.
An article was recently brought to my attention (via twitter) regarding the regulation of white markings in horses. This article was published today (December 12th) but the actual paper on which it was based was published back in September and somehow escaped my notice.
Most of us are familiar with gray horses. Horses that are born a solid color but then slowly (or sometimes not so slowly) turn white as they age. We've seen them as the majestic “white” Lipizzaners and the “white” horses in many Hollywood productions including the Lord of the Rings movies. Recently however, it has been discovered that not all gray horses turn white as they age. In fact, some don't look “gray” at all even when at an advanced age. Often these horses have been labeled as Rabicano or even roan but at least one of the more famous has been confirmed to carry the Gray mutation. This horse is Comico IV.