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"Apron" face paints and crosses sometimes deaf?

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    "Apron" face paints and crosses sometimes deaf?

    Ran into a woman the other nite at a Christmas function who stated she had 2 paint /tb crosses, both breeding stock, but w/apron faces who were both deaf. She stated it really isn't that uncommon w/apron faced paints. I never heard of this(although I don't know much about the paints) I just wondered if anyone else was aware of this genetic issue w/them.
    Fox Ridge

    Champ. Welsh Lands End The Colonels Fox
    Fox Ridge Welsh ponies on fb

    The "apron face" is a very, very typical expression of the Splash pinto gene.

    The deafness is related to the lack of pigment in the inner ear which, btw, is fairly separate from whether the ears themselves are white, or even the area around the ears. It's the inner ear, not the outer

    Saying it's not uncommon would be correct, as opposed to saying it is common, if that makes sense. Not all apron faces are deaf, not by a long shot, and some solid faces are deaf (ie if you see a solid head but 2 blue eyes, you can be pretty sure Splash is the reason, and those horses still have the potential to be deaf).

    Here's a page with several horses with much less white on the head than a full apron, and you can see all the blue eyes.

    In the Western world, here is one of the more famous Splash apron-faced horses - Gunner (click on the Breeding link):
    The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET


      So would the deafness be 50% heritable? I.e. with the pattern?

      Or not that simple...

      Just wondering since they obviously stand Gunner...
      InnisFailte Pinto Sporthorses & Coloured Cobs

      Bits are like cats, what's one more? (Petstorejunkie)


        Not that simple. And it's probably not close to 50% that are deaf. It's probably closer to 5 or 10%. But, since people talk about the deaf ones more than the undeaf ones.. word gets out quicker. I'm pretty sure Gunner is not deaf, and haven't heard that any of his offspring have been on my reining board, but he's had a lot of babies, so I can't say none are for sure.
        "Sadly, some people's greatest skill, is being an idiot". (facebook profile pic I saw).


          I had a splash TB mare that was deaf. She was out of a Splash mare that was also deaf and her full sister - also with the splash pattern, was deaf as well.

          They had a half brother that did not have the splash pattern and he had full hearing

          It is felt that the inheritance of the splash pattern damages the nerve endings going to the ears for whatever reason, thus the affected horses are born deaf

          I did speak to several APHA breeders that stood deaf splash stallions, and no one seemed to be able to give me a definitive answer as to the percentage of splash babies equalling deaf babies. Probably because they didnt own 100% of the mares the stallions were bred to, unless every single mare owner then reported back to them if their mare had a splash foal and if it was deaf as a result, they couldnt get an accurate grasp on the percentages

          I opted not to breed the mare and sold her, and she was bred to a very wildly marked sabino stallion and ended up with a plain bay colt with a small star and a white ankle. He had full hearing, of course

          She has been bred back to the same stallion for a 2009 foal

          The foal will have to inherit the splash pattern (and not the sabino pattern) in order for the deafness issue to possibly surface and based on the history of this family and their genetics, it seems that in 100% of the cases if the baby is splash, it will be deaf

          Funnily enough and for reasons unknown, the splash TB's in Australia and NZ seem to all have the deafness gene associated with the splash pattern, whereas you have a strong splash TB stallion standing here in NA - Sinatra's Reply - who is NOT deaf and non of his splash offspring seem to be deaf either

          So - I have no idea why geographical areas of the world might affect these horses or if that has nothing at all to do with it

          Things that make you go "hmmm..."

          True Colours Farm on Facebook


            Originally posted by smokygirl View Post
            Not that simple. And it's probably not close to 50% that are deaf. It's probably closer to 5 or 10%. But, since people talk about the deaf ones more than the undeaf ones.. word gets out quicker. I'm pretty sure Gunner is not deaf, and haven't heard that any of his offspring have been on my reining board, but he's had a lot of babies, so I can't say none are for sure.
            First, Gunnar is deaf. He has lots of offspring because he is good at his job, and some of his offspring are deaf.
            There is no genetic test for splash yet. Personally I suspect it will end up that it is causing deafness in it's homozygous form when one is found since is mimics how Frame works so well.......just at the other end of the neural tube it is probably an amino acid defect like frame in a different location. That would make getting the gene 50/50 but only making the horse deaf if it is homozygous for splash......which would be far fewer horses.
            Providence Farm


              Really, I had heard he wasn't deaf. I know he has lots of foals because he's a good stallion. (I preferred the other stallion McQuay had.. but I'm a big fan of Hollywood Dun It.. I wish he was still around). I will admit, I haven't followed Gunner very closely and hadn't heard that any of his foals were deaf.. but the only people I know with them I don't believe have apron faces either. (Not sure).
              "Sadly, some people's greatest skill, is being an idiot". (facebook profile pic I saw).


                Originally posted by smokygirl View Post
                Really, I had heard he wasn't deaf. .
                Yes hes deaf, as are some of his offspring. 99% sure GunsandWhiteRoses is deaf.

                I personally dont think its only the HZ horses who are deaf. Too many that imo arent homozygous that are deaf and vice versa.
                Check out my Equine Genetics Blog! Updated April 25th with Splashed White!!!


                  I met some folks showing who run a breeding program with the goal of producing deaf horses Apparently they prefer them for western performance disciplines because they claim the horses are more in tune with the rider (almost like an added sense). While I can appreciate that some deaf horses may be good under saddle horses, I don't think that purposely breeding for deafness does anything for the horse world. Horses are flight animals, hearing is generally necessary for that....
                  Proud Momma:

                  Imax - Fresstyle x Juventus x Rubinstein
                  2014 - Sister to IMAX (hopefully)


                    My friends have or had (I don't know if they still own him) a son of Gunner that was deaf. They won a lot with him in the reining and he was an awesome horse to watch perform. I have heard of several of Gunner's offspring being deaf.... but it really wouldn't bother me if I was shooting for a nice paint reiner. My friends said that their stallion was really easy to work with because he was deaf.

                    ~ Jus Passed My Zipper aka Spanky, 11yo QH gelding.
                    ~ Muskogee, 2yo Oldenburg Colt.


                      Very interesting - we had a small paint pony with splashy markings and a blue eye a couple years ago who was darling but very, very jumpy/skittish. It finally occurred to me one day in the barn that he was deaf (or at least mostly)! He was napping with his butt turned and did not see me, and did not perk up when I went by. I started clapping my hands and whistling... nothing. No horse could possibly have not heard me making such a ruckus! Then he turned his head slightly and startled really bad, obviously not knowing I was standing there. It sure explained a lot about him after realizing that, but I wonder if he was deaf because of his markings?? Being deaf was definitely not beneficial to this pony - it made him super nervous and skittish and you could not talk to him to settle him! (no wonder that did not seem to work, LOL).
                      Signature Sporthorses


                        Signature - thats what I found as well to be honest. If my mare knew I was there, she was quiet to handle and work with and if nothing came out of left field to startle her, all was good.

                        But little things would set her off - walking into her stall 9 times out of 10 was fine but on the 10th time something I heard that she didnt that *I* was aware of she *saw* at the last minute and spun and slammed me against the wall. I wasnt expecting it because to me - the noise was normal but to her, the flight reflex was very very strong

                        Or - she came to me with very bad scabby legs and it took me weeks and weeks to get them under control and we'd be in the wash stall working on them and I'd hear a noise coming up the aisle and the other horses were aware of that person or thing causing the noise and paid no mind to it. She wasnt, and when it finally came into her vision in the wash stall, again - she'd startle, kick out with a leg or swing her body and again I'd be knocked off balance. I ended up pulling more muscles and getting more bruises dealing with her because when she did react, it was much more so than any other horse and you couldnt calm her with your voice, you just had to let her decipher things, assimilate them and chill on her own, on her own time

                        After dealing with her on these terms for several months, I opted to NOT keep her and to certainly not breed her as having a deaf horse was NOT a happy experience and I certainly didnt want to have 2 of them either ...

                        The lady that I did sell her to bred her and had less problems with her than I did, probably because she was out 24/7 and the handling and interaction with her on a daily basis was minimal at best. Under those conditions I can see that you could manage a deaf horse in a relatively easy manner as everything was more open and nothing could come out at her from around a blind corner and she could see you coming from hundreds of yards away

                        But never in a million years would I ever have another one again. Once was quite enough for me ...

                        True Colours Farm on Facebook


                          Both of those examples are the complete opposite of everything I have ever heard from people who have had numerous deaf horses.

                          Nothing bothered them, even things coming up behind them or out of the blue. Nothing in the show ring bothered them either. Even when things would accidentally get into the ring from the stands. Nothing bothered them on the trails or while working on the ranches either.

                          Everyone I know that has had them said if they could they would make all of theirs deaf.
                          Check out my Equine Genetics Blog! Updated April 25th with Splashed White!!!


                            I think baseline personality makes a huge difference whether deafness would make them more calm or more flighty. I personally would never breed a deaf animal either on purpose.
                            Ladybug Hill--Hunters and Ponies
                            WWSD? (what would Suerte do?)


                              And who knows, the pony we had could have had some sort of trauma at one time. He was actually very good to ride; little kids could ride him around huge fields safely, but he was just really skittish on the ground. Could have been man-made for sure.
                              Signature Sporthorses


                                Originally posted by RiddleMeThis View Post
                                Everyone I know that has had them said if they could they would make all of theirs deaf.

                                This statement is going to give me nightmares.

                                A friend bought a WB from somewhere near San Diego and 6 months later discovered he was deaf. He is a very tough ride. He is hyper alert and when he "sees" something that interests him, she has the devil of a time regaining his attention. Breeding deaf horses is the same insanity as breeding for the cutting horses that lose their skin. I think a lot of those people should be put on fugly. It's not just the backyard breeder that's bad.


                                  Probably a silly question, but I'm gonna ask it anyway. How do you know if a horse is deaf?

                                  I have a bald face blue eyed half paint (splash, sabino, overo and all that), but I don't *think* he's deaf. He moves his ears and such like he's listening to me, but he's done another thing that makes me wonder if he can't hear me coming, as to why he's doing it. Reading these stories makes me wonder now. I own his parents and they're both fine in the hearing department.

                                  Gunner is beautiful.
                                  A Merrick N Dream Farm
                                  Proud Member of "Someone Special to me serves in the Military" Clique


                                    Not sure if it works in horses quite like it does in dogs - but for dogs, the deafness itself is not "genetic".... It's the lack of pigment inside the ear.

                                    Whether it's dogs or horses, why would it be okay to breed an animal specifically to be handicapped?
                                    The rebel in the grey shirt


                                      Originally posted by JWB View Post
                                      Whether it's dogs or horses, why would it be okay to breed an animal specifically to be handicapped?
                                      Well to the people I know its not a handicap. Its the exact opposite. It makes them even better at what they do.

                                      ETA:I just wanted to say that yes that is how I believe they said it works.
                                      Check out my Equine Genetics Blog! Updated April 25th with Splashed White!!!


                                        Originally posted by JWB View Post
                                        Not sure if it works in horses quite like it does in dogs - but for dogs, the deafness itself is not "genetic".... It's the lack of pigment inside the ear.
                                        Depends on what the actual cause of the deafness is. If it's due to the Splash gene limiting the pigment to the inner ear, than since it has to come from one parent or the other, that makes it genetic. It's either genetic, or congentital. So yes, even in dogs, it's genetic, unless you're saying it's a common congenital defect?

                                        Whether it's dogs or horses, why would it be okay to breed an animal specifically to be handicapped?
                                        I suppose it depends on what the handicap is, and what the reasons are. I don't think it's good practice to breed for a deaf horse. I personally don't feel deafness is SO bad that no Splash horses should ever be bred again. I think it's not common enough, nor is it such a handicap for most horses.
                                        The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET