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A Grey Question??

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  • A Grey Question??

    I was just on the hunter/jumper forum and came across this thread: "GREYS! Why do people not want them as much anymore?"
    Basically it comes down to two issues: Cleaning & Melanomas.

    So are us breeders avoiding breeding grey offspring for re-sale? Is melanomas running wild in them?

    Just wondering because I haven't ever looked at color as a reason to breed or not.

    Do you take this in mind when you are breeding? Thoughts?

  • #2
    Color is not a consideration in my breeding program (however, gray is actually my personal favorite). But I'm breeding almost solely for jumpers, and there are many top jumpers/breeding stallions who are gray. For my buyers, I haven't had anyone hesitate b/c a horse has been gray. But I have found that in the general horse owning population people either love them or hate them.
    I think if you are a dressage breeder it is for sure more difficult to have gray? Maybe for hunters, too?

    Edited to add that I have been fortunate to never have a melanoma problem I currently own 4 grays, with the oldest being a 26 year old mare, and none of them have had issues with melanoma.
    Expecting 2020 foals by Cornet Obolensky, Glasgow van't Merelsnest, Kannan, Untouchable 27, Clintord, Nixon van't Meulenhof, Zapatero and Label d'Amour!


    • #3
      I personally LOVE grey, but I have found it a hard sale in the past with grey foals.

      That said, I bought a grey mare recently that I think is "to die for" -- and she's in foal to a grey stallion on top of that! LOL The foal is a keeper either way, and I think her pedigree (and that of the foal) is valuable enough that her foals will not be hard to sell. If I even want to part with them. I haven't been this excited about a purchase in a long time.

      And I've owned grey ponies for over 20 years, and melanomas have NEVER been an issue. I personally think they run in certain bloodlines, as I've known certain lines of Welsh that get them a lot. So far I've always been lucky enough to have not had them be a problem.
      Family Partners Welsh Ponies - Home of Section B Welsh stallion *Wedderlie Mardi Gras LOM/AOE
      Click here to buy: A Guide To In Hand Showing of Your Welsh Pony


      • #4
        If I am not mistaken, I think it has been widely studied that, although greys are more prone to melanomas, they are usually benign (non-cancerous) and studies have shown that melanomas found in non-greys tend to be malignant (cancerous). That being said, I think even though most melanomas in greys are benign (in those that get them), they end up eventually attaching themselves to the vital organs which causes them to shut down.

        We stand a grey stallion, and I think the majority of our business is from Mare Owners who desperately want a grey pony. I think every little girl grew up wanting a grey Welsh Pony!
        Home of Welsh Cob stallion Goldhills Brandysnap
        Also home to Daventry Equine Appraisals & Equine Expert Witness


        • #5
          I personally think they run in certain bloodlines, as I've known certain lines of Welsh that get them a lot. So far I've always been lucky enough to have not had them be a problem.
          Same here

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          • #6
            I have a grey Connemara cross mare now, and I'm looking at breeding her to a non-grey. She's nine and has recently developed several small melanomas. They are less likely to be fast-growing than those found in non-greys, but the current thinking (at least on the UC Davis website and others), is that they can't be considered benign either, and some greys do get the faster developing variety (I'm hoping she isn't one of them). I've had two other greys, including our Section A Welsh, and neither of them have developed them yet, but the statistics are that 70% of grey horses will have melanomas by the time they are 15.


            • #7
              While the melanomas themselves aren't deadly, they can be a hassle, and so while I would not totally base my decision on color, I prefer non-greys. Greys are quite prevalent in my breed of choice (Arabians) and I've seen many issues with melanomas (depending on where they are), and a few deaths due to complications, and it's something I prefer not to deal with.
              "Sadly, some people's greatest skill, is being an idiot". (facebook profile pic I saw).


              • #8
                Originally posted by smokygirl View Post
                While the melanomas themselves aren't deadly, they can be a hassle, and so while I would not totally base my decision on color, I prefer non-greys. Greys are quite prevalent in my breed of choice (Arabians) and I've seen many issues with melanomas (depending on where they are), and a few deaths due to complications, and it's something I prefer not to deal with.
                Ditto here. Plus the cleaning aspect.

                But I have to say I DO actively avoid grey stallions for my WB mares or purchasing them (Arab mares) back when I had Kinor.

                In both breeds there are too many nice stallions/mares who are NOT grey.

                As for taste -- I LOVE a pretty dapple grey...but don't care for the rose greys or flea bit greys.


                • #9
                  I remember an old comment I heard from someone years ago that "gray is a disease not a color." I think it was a vet that said it to me. It has colored my preferences a bit. I used to show a gray Arabian though and he was a bugger to keep clean. I swore never again and now I have a perlino filly who is every bit as hard to keep clean. Only as a cream, she'll always look "off white" so will probably be harder even. She won't go fleabitten though even and like the poster ahead of me, I hate that look.


                  • #10
                    Good horses don't come in a bad color. Melanoma does not deter me, known lots of greys with melanomas and very few problems. I remember when people paid a premium for grey in the hunters because a nice grey really stands out, and not in a "nontraditional" way like a paint or palomino or whatever. Not so much in ponies, the pony ring has always been very grey. I don't know if that is still true but there are a number of top grey hunters, C Coast Z and Rumba come immediately to mind. I doubt they are held back by being grey.

                    For breeders, I think greys can be a harder sell as babies because the molting stage can be goshawful ugly in many greys, especially the chestnut base ones. They tend to look mangy. Serious horsepersons can easily look past that but many ammies cannot.


                    • #11
                      I personally LOVE grey horses with dapple greys being my favoritist but they ususally don't stay in that phase terribly long unfortunately. I know the rescued TB's that are grey get snapped up from New Vocations very fast. I just saw Cavalia Odysseo this past weekend and most of the horses are grey though I was surprised and pleased at the great variety of horses represented within the show including some drafts. I think alot of people consider a dappled grey or white horse as very striking and ethereal.
                      Fat Cat Farm Sporthorses on Facebook


                      • #12
                        If I didn't like greys than I'm in the wrong breed

                        Haven't had melanomas be a problem for us in all our years breeding. (Maybe we just got lucky *knocks wood*)

                        I just invest heavily in Cowboy magic
                        *The Quietman ~ Irish Approved Gr.1 Stallion
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                        • #13
                          I think the concern that many people have now is it has been highlighted more about internal melanomas. In the past when someone had an older grey horse and it coliced and died it was probably chalked up to old age etc. More people have a necropsy done now and it is showing that many of them that appear clean from melanomas have many internally and those are the scarier ones. It certainly might make me think twice, but if I really liked the horse it wouldn't make me say no. I know greys that have little problems and ones that have bigger problems with them.


                          • #14
                            I have 4 grays, 3 mares and a colt....born chestnut with 4 beautiful white socks and a blaze....all that bling, soon to disappear, darn it.

                            The oldest is about 20 and she gave us a good scare last spring when she developed a tennisball swelling on her throatlatch. We poked and prodded and she never flinched, until one day when it started oozing pus. What we had thought was a melanoma turned out to be an abcess.

                            I won't breed a gray to a gray because I don't want to create a homozygous gray. I know it's not proven but I wonder if they have more issues with melanoma, but other than that I just deal with the dirt.


                            • #15
                              I can answer in one word: pinto. That's the reason I'm not as fond of of grey -- I breed Paints and pintos.

                              When I was younger I loved grey but I didn't realize at the time that it was just a temporary stop on the road to white. Once I realized that, I wasn't as enamored. Unlike some of the earlier posters on this thread, I really love MOST of the grey shades, including fleabitten. But when it's all gone? Not my cup of tea.

                              My landlord has a pinto mustang stallion (don't get me started) with a slow-acting grey gene. By that I mean the horse turned grey slowly, and due to the white markings it was even more difficult to tell -- but we figured it out. He called it roan for a long time while my friends and I tried to educate him. Now he has watched a bunch of cool-looking dun and grullo pinto offspring of this horse go solid white and lose markings. Now he believes! I think the thing is a gelding now, so some good came of it...
                              Shall I tell you what I find beautiful about you? You are at your very best when things are worst.


                              • #16
                                I'm not a sport horse breeder - have one horse - a Paso Fino. Gray. When I was in the market I told the person who was helping me that the only color I didn't want was gray, due to the cleanliness issue. Stupid me thought my steel gray 3 year old would stay that color! LOL. He's now a gorgeous dapple gray and I have resigned myself to having a white horse at some point.

                                Cowboy magic by the case. And show sheen helps, too.

                                Lots and lots of gray Pasos out there.
                                What's wrong with you?? Your cheese done slid off its cracker?!?!


                                • #17
                                  I have bred to greys, but do try to find stallions that are not grey. I hate cleaning them and I have heard too many people say they won't buy a grey. Now if only I could find a way to shut off the greying at that gorgeous dapple stage
                                  Epona Farm
                                  Irish Draughts and Irish Draught Sport horses

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                                  • #18
                                    I have a grey that I've tried to breed, and would like to try to breed again, whose baby would likely be a grey. My moms grey horse is in her late 20's and has external melanomas, but no internal, that we know of. We're in northern Massachusetts. She has never had an issue with the melanomas, and they will likely not be the reason she is no longer here. That would not stop me from breeding my grey mare(who has none). Im assuming it may be different if I were in the lower latitudes.


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by veetiepony View Post
                                      I have a grey that I've tried to breed, and would like to try to breed again, whose baby would likely be a grey.
                                      Unless your grey mare is homozygous (and she would have to have two grey parents for that to even be a possibility), you have a 50% chance of a grey foal when you have one grey parent.
                                      Family Partners Welsh Ponies - Home of Section B Welsh stallion *Wedderlie Mardi Gras LOM/AOE
                                      Click here to buy: A Guide To In Hand Showing of Your Welsh Pony


                                      • #20
                                        If wanted to breed a jumper and the sire I thought would be a match for my mare and his name started with a "C", it might well be a grey.

                                        Grey's do stand out in the show ring, so if it is likely to be a show horse, it would be an advantage.

                                        I'll admit my grey does not lvfe out in a muddy field - but is blanketed in a very clean paddock. She's a piece of cake to keep and just needs a tail wash every few weeks. She's gorgeous and a standout.
                                        Proud member of People Who Hate to Kill Wildlife clique