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Light colored horses

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  • Light colored horses

    This may seem trivial but...does anyone regret having a light colored horse? I have owned my black mare for 6 years and am looking at adding another horse. Horse that has caught my eye is a palomino paint and I am struggling with the idea of spending hours trying to avoid and remove manure stains. Am I crazy or lazy? I mean, I will fully admit that I embrace sheet season and love the reduced grooming as the mare isn't covered in mud from nose to tail when wearing a sheet. She loves to roll in the mud and spring to fall is a fun battle of scrape off the mud to get a clean spot for the saddle... Would be interested in others thoughts and/or laments on the subject.

  • #2
    A lot depends on your setup and the horse's habits.

    My chestnut Overo Paint has big white belly patches but she sleeps inside on clean bedding and poops outside, so rarely gets them dirty. In summer her coat is sleek enough that dirt brushes off.

    My old pony was a very white pinto (probably tovero but I thought tobiano as a kid) kept in a stall. She got unavoidable green stains on her gaskins that I washed off.

    I am currently also looking after two greys. One is tidier in her stall/ runout than the other and never sleeps in poop. The OTTB on the other hand has less common sense this way.

    Mud is a whole nother thing. I ve never had to deal with true cakey mud on a daily basis. But Paint mare goes out to a wonderful river bottom pasture for R&R every year, and omg the clay mud. I don't know if its worse on the grey horses. They all get coated in it and dust down to the skin. But it is great on their feet.

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    • #3
      If I were lookin at two horses with identical character and talent, but differing color, I'd go for the darker. But, I wouldn't refrain from adding a grey if it checked all the other boxes. I really just don't want to deal with melanoma and my guys are out 24/7.

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      • #4
        I have a grey who is now almost completely white and it really isn't all bad with some precautions...

        All sheets and blankets have neck covers and he basically lives in a sheet in fall/spring.
        I wash his tail frequently with HOT water and TONS of conditioner which really helps it stay at least moderately clean for longer than a week.
        Stain remover products are your friend.
        If the horse is stalled at night and lays down frequently you'll need to bath semi-frequently to avoid really tough stains.
        Always bath horse and tail a week before a show/something you need them to clean for and then again just before, somtimes one bath doesnt get harder stains out.
        I find the more you stay on top of it the easier it is.
        Bluing shampoos and orvus shampoo are necessary.

        All in all you will be in the wash rack more frequently than others and you'll have to accept that some days you horse will look like half brown/half white and sometimes thats just okay.

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        • #5
          I guess it depends on what you are doing and expect. I have a grey paint who does tend to stay cleaner than my friends ottb grey. However is she perfectly clean, no. But she's no more dirty than a black horse would be, you can just see it more. Since she's mostly pick skinned and prone to burning she wears a fly sheet year round. In the winter she gets clipped because her coat is just too much for where we live. I'm general I don't think I spend more time cleaning her than other horses.
          Now when I was showing baths did take longer, you can see any dirt left on a white horsethat would go unnoticed on a bay. And I normally had to get to the barn earlier to reclean a few spots, even with a sleepy and sheet she'd get poop somewhere. That's truely the only time I noticed a difference in cleaning. I no longer show and even when I did I wasn't worried about getting up earlier. I could never sleep the night before a show so having a horse to clean was a good reason to get up.
          I've had her in the Virginia red clay and the dust of the California deserts and found both doable. Is she spotless no but she doesn't need to be.
          I've also had people who are shocked by how clean she is and swear they'd never own a white horse. Tbh I don't even notice anymore the difference in cleaning. I feel in love with the personality and ride.

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          • #6
            Personally, I don't mind having a grey simply because unless it is a show/ clinic/ other important event I don't care if she is brown or white. I brush her like any other colored horse (curry and then a quick run down with a dandy brush) and if there are stains left over oh well. At shows she does get bathed every morning, but she doesn't get lunged (doesn't need it) so it seems like a fair trade off to me.

            Pink skin, on the other hand, is a whole other issue. I *refuse* to buy a horse with pink eyelids, pink nose, or a paint that is mostly white. I have no interest in spending all that time trying to keep fly masks and sheets on and dousing them in sunscreen. I've had to do it for other's horses at barns I've worked at and I hate it. It might be different if I was at a barn that offered night time turnout but I'm not and even then I probably wouldn't consider it.

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            • #7
              I ride a grey who is now milk white...no markings at all so his passport just lists his hair designs/ whorls. He's outside 24/7 and filthy no matter how I blanket or cover him. I only deal with it at shows and then he is quite dazzling

              all other issues being equal, I'd opt for a dark colored horse.

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              • #8
                I have found palominos tend to not show stains as much as other light colors. The stains tend to blend in I guess.
                A bonus is in a world of bay horses, light colored horses really stand out. My horse is always getting compliments. He loves it, he knows how pretty he is

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                • #9
                  I've had a gray, a palomino and a skewbald pinto at various times in my life. No more! Now I have two chestnut mares the exact color of our Tennessee clay, and a brown mare that looks clean even when she isn't. I've also had several bays who were also easy to keep clean.
                  "Dogs give and give and give. Cats are the gift that keeps on grifting." —Bradley Trevor Greive

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                  • #10
                    Last edited by Minxitbabe; Jan. 5, 2019, 11:44 AM.

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                    • #11
                      Interesting, here in the PNW, my mustang pony that was almost entirely white with pink skin never burned anywhere, and never got rain rot either. But my current Paint mare who is only maybe 35% white will burn her little pink nose at pasture. I wonder if the combination of some TB blood plus Paint patterns makes a more delicate flower than a feral range pony capture off an Indian reserve for a dude string.

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                      • #12
                        I think having a grey or light colored horse requires a certain amount of...equanimity! (because any time you are in a hurry your horse will be extra filthy)..and wardrobe! I like my horse to be well groomed, so I do spend time cleaning her up. Bay/dark horses owners often tell me the amount of effort I put in is overwhelming to them. To me, it is not that big of a deal. But I'd probably need to be retired to have two grey horses!

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                        • #13
                          My horse is a palomino and I was happily surprised to find that he is essentially dirt colored! He does not show dirt badly at all! Helps that he is a sooty palomino so it is hard to tell what is his natural coloring. I can see how white patches would make things difficult. The bay horse next to him always seems to get poop on his one white rear pastern - the only white on him!

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                          • #14
                            I have two greys. My least favorite color but both were perfect in all other ways. In the summer Kensington sheets are really helpful. One loves to use poop as a pillow while the other is super neat and quite clean. I don't really obsess over staining and always bathe right before showing. Honestly it's only dirt and I'll take a well trained dirty horse over a super clean naughty horse any day!

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                            • #15
                              I have a buttermilk buckskin, she definitely shows dirt more than my darker horses (chestnuts/bays) especially our Georgia red clay but she actually brushes off pretty easy. One reason is she naturally has a very dense short coat winter or summer, so much easier to keep clean than the rest of my hairy beasts! Who take forever to dry with their dense hairy coats. So all in all I would take more of her and her light color (at least her mane and tail are dark!) than my hairy beasts (WBs) ready for arctic cold here in the deep south.

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                              • #16
                                My palomino Mustang stays pretty clean (for the most part), it definitely helps that he is clipped and blanketed during the winter though. I don't mind the occasional extra grooming and he seems to enjoy it. It is good bonding time for us.
                                "No matter what anybody tells you, words and ideas can change the world."
                                -Dead Poets Society

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                                • #17
                                  I don't mind the cleaning part of a light colored horse. A vacuum really helps. I have a gray...and melanoma. I won't have another gray.
                                  Hers are small and not a problem yet (she is 16) but something you always have to worry about and expensive to treat if they affect them internally.

                                  Susan

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                                  • #18
                                    It depends on whether or not you have a hot water wash stall and can get the horse clean to go to shows when it's too cold for a cold water bath. My horses are out all night year round, so they can be in an unlined turnout sheet at night until it really heats up. They come into the barn during the day and sheets get pulled, so they don't get too hot.

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                                    • #19
                                      After owning a nearly white mare up north years ago, swore another gray would never come into my life. As my pic shows, well never say never. Also said I didn't want a stallion. But everything else about him is perfect. So...
                                      Good news - I live in Florida, sand is way, way easier to deal with then northern mud. We can bathe pretty much 365 days. He actually stays pretty darn clean, as he avoids laying in poo. He's a one-sided roller in the pasture.

                                      Yes he has melanomas, the ones I can see/feel no material change in three years. he is 17.

                                      When I go to shows he is clearly an eye-catcher in a sea of darker horses. But if I ever buy another horse, I hope it can be a buckskin, lol.

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                                      • #20
                                        This was DHs horse:



                                        Strawberry roan sabino.
                                        He was hellonwheels to get & keep clean for shows, but otherwise Cowboy Magic Green Spot Remover did a decent job of keeping him presentable for daily use.
                                        Only his pink nose needed sunscreen for Midwest Summers.
                                        *friend of bar.ka*RIP all my lovely boys, gone too soon:
                                        Steppin' Out 1988-2004
                                        Hey Vern! 1982-2009, Cash's Bay Threat 1994-2009
                                        Sam(Jaybee Altair) 1994-2015

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