In the same way as it happens with the Zaino horse, the tordillo or gray horse is one with a characteristic and differentiating coat regardless of the breed to which the equine belongs. The denomination "Thrush" comes from the name of a bird whose colors resemble to these equines: gray with white spots in several ways.
La layer torda is a highly valued and appreciated in the various equine breeds. The gray horses, They are usually born with a dark color that becomes clearer with the passage of time regardless of the type of fur it has. This process is due to a depigmentation pattern. Do we discover a little more about this type of equine coat?
Before going on to describe what gray horses are like, we want to make a small remark about the horses of this coat. If you have one of these beautiful animals, it is important to take into account one aspect of their health, and that is 75% of thrush specimens over fifteen years of age develop benign melanomas. In some cases these melanomas they can become evil, and therefore we must be prudent with our animals.
Melanoma is a type of cancer that in gray horses takes the form of dark spots in the sparsely furred areas such as under the tail. In mild cases it is treatable with ointments and antibiotics, although the most serious cases end up ulcerating and must be removed by surgery. In order not to reach this situation or not to favor it It is important to adopt simple preventive measures such as avoiding that our animal is exposed to direct sunlight during the central hours of the day. In addition to the care that any horse needs to have good health, such as a good diet or exercise according to the breed and age of the animal.
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The gray fur
A relevant aspect in the equine world is the fur (understood as the set formed by the hairs of the body, the mane and the tail) that can convey essential information about the animal to us such as measuring your health or assessing your ability to serve the human being.
Eumelanin and pheomelanin are two pigments made by melanocytes (cells housed in the dermis that make the pigments that give color to the skin and hair) and therefore they are responsible for the tonality of each of the equine coats. The first is a black or brown pigment, while the second is red or yellow. Both generate the so-called basic tones that turn out to be practically uniform and rather dark. A large number of tonalities derive from them when the dilution genes that lighten these coats come into action. The lack of these two pigments, either total or partial, generates albinos and albinoids respectively. Now, in what did you sew the characteristic depigmentation of the gray fur?
Phases of the process depigmentation
We commented at the beginning of the article that gray horses are usually born with a dark coat that is lightening. Taking into account this depigmentation process, in which equine skin and eye pigmentation remains unchanged, can be established phases according to the moment in which the coat is found of the gray horses:
Phase 1: The hatchling coat
The gray foals are born with him normal base coat, usually dark in color, with rare exceptions that can be born with an advanced gray phase or completely white. Often the eyelashes and around the eyes indicate their character of thrushes presenting white hairs in these areas.
Phase 2: Fledgling Thrush
With the first coat shed some white hairs appear on the body. These are more numerous on the head, while the mane and tail can be either whiter than the body or darker.
Phase 3: Rolled Thrush dark
White hairs they turn more numerous with successive molts after the first. Appear grouping together and forming small white spots on the ground coat which is usually darker. These spots can be round in shape and relatively large in size. These spots are separated from each other by dark fur. Hence the denomination of "wheeled thrushes".
Phase 4: Rolled Thrush clear
In this phase white hairs predominate compared to dark ones, giving the equine a clearer appearance. This increase in white hairs makes the size of the spots of this color increase and begin to merge leaving the dark hair parts isolated with each other and, in some cases, with a rounded shape.
Phase 5: Muscat thrushes and atruitats
Continue on increased white hairs andconsequently, the decrease of dark hairs until only small dark spots remain. It is called "muscat thrushes" if the base coat is black or brown and "tordos atruitats" if the base coat is chestnut or chestnut.
Phase 6: Gray or White Thrush
In this last phase of the depigmentation of gray horses, all fur (which includes the tail and mane) becomes completely white. In some cases a little more particular, a regression can occur why after this last phase, equines show pigmented areas again.
According to race to which the gray horse belongs, may present variations in phases depigmentation. Andalusian Thoroughbred horses or Lusitanian horses have the very marked rolling phase. In other breeds such as the Arabian, it is common for the rolling phase to be very mild or nonexistent going directly to the muscat and atruitats.
Varieties of the gray horse
In addition to the different names according to the depigmentation phase in which the horse's fur is, we can find different varieties in terms of coat color of the gray horses. Some denominations of the varieties are similar and related to the phases.
- Light gray, It is one that has some black hair on the neck, back and rump, on a white hair cape.
- Pissed off thrush, They are the ones with white hair painted with small black spots like flies. This is one of the most esteemed coats within the varieties of thrushes.
- Silver or argenteado thrush, has white and shiny hair with a few black hairs, which gives it a lucid and shiny appearance like burnished silver. When this type of coat, the neck and the upper part of the head are all sore, it is considered an excellent coat.
- Pork thrush, It is the one whose black hairs are more abundant than the white ones.
- Mended thrush, they are the equines that on a layer of white hair have, all over the body, bursts of black spots without order or proportion.
- Rolled thrush, the horse is told that on the back and the haunches it presents large and round spots of hair darker than the rest of the coat.
I hope you enjoyed reading this article as much as I did writing it.