Numenor Farms

Quality horses for quality performance

Equine Coat Color Basics: Agouti

by Joanna Byrne

Bay, Blood Bay, Dark Bay, Brown, Red Bay, Mahogany Bay… so many colors for one actual color. Just like Chestnuts, Sorrels and all their variances, Bays come in a whole spectrum of shades. But what is bay?

Cutters Sierra Star (AQHA) and Colts Tax Deadline (APHA) showing shades of Agouti.

Last week I went over the Red Factor, and I touched briefly on Agouti or bay. Most fundamentally the Agouti gene acts on a Black base coat, lightening the body, but leaving the legs, mane, tail and ear tips black. This shading appears in every shade from darkest brown to the lightest cherry red. On a Red basecoat, Agouti does not visually present itself, and so can be carried in hiding through several generations of Red basecoat horses.

There is a mention at Etalon Diagnostics to Agouti genes At and A+, resulting in Brown and ‘Wild Bay’ colors, but it is stated that at this point only a test for A is available.

I will take here to issue a note of caution: If you find some cool web pages with equine coat color genetics information and absolutely zero sources listed, do not waste your time. I found several pages when searching Agouti gene information that referenced markers such as A-, A+, and At, none with links to actual research and all with ties to one online horse game or another.

KAB MyHiddenTreasure is heterozygous Black and homozygous Bay: E/e A/A. Despite his white legs, he still exhibits black in his mane, tail and on his ears.

Agouti, with all its shades, is pretty cool, and Bay is undoubtedly a common color either on its own on mixed with a dilute like Cream or Dun. Remember though, a faded Black is still a black, and not a Brown, though sun fading can be deceiving.

If you are interested in the study about the effects of Agouti and Red Factor on equine behavior, check out the link here:

To read the introduction to Red Factor go here.


Agouti (Bay/Black). (n.d.). Retrieved from VGL UC Davis:

Agouti (Bay/Black). (n.d.). Retrieved from Animal Genetics:

More about Agouti. (n.d.). Retrieved from Etalon Diagnostics:



Equine Coat Color Basics: Red Factor

By Joanna Byrne
Stormy Can Do (PT) by Storm Tracker, a sorrel tobiano, out of Kayan Can Do (QH), a brown.

I am questioned often about what color I think a mare will produce when crossed with a particular stallion. Most of the time it is pretty straightforward, but I usually have the most difficulty explaining base colors. As much as I enjoy doing coat color calculations, I thought it would be interesting to put together some basics.

Red Factor

Equine base color is either Red or Black. Red is recessive, meaning it takes only one black to cover it up. While this sounds pretty simple, your base coat can have a significant effect on modifier and dilute colors. I will designate Red with a lower case ‘e’ and Black with and uppercase ‘E’.

Frequent Fliers Cash (QH) by Cash Kingpin, a sorrel, out of Dreamin Sixes, a sorrel.

Each horse gets one gene from each parent, giving them a pair that decides what their base color is. So, ‘ee’ would be red and ‘Ee’ or ‘EE’ would be black. UC Davis’ VGL website lists a rare ‘ea’ gene also but does not state if it affects the shade of red exhibited.

A Red parent will always give a Red gene, while a Black parent with heterozygosity for Black (one E and one e) would produce the ‘e’ gene 50% of the time. A parent with homozygosity for Black, or ‘EE’, will always produce a Black foal.

Color Presentation

Hail the Dark (TB) by Malthus, a brown, out of Senorita Fever, a bay. Both black base coat colors.

We can all agree that black horses are always black, though they do sun fade in the summer. But Red horses are a different story because red color can vary even between family members. Some have flaxen manes, some show sooty shades, some have honey colored highlights, some are copper or mahogany, but they are all Red genetically. Eventually, perhaps the changes of tone in the red hair can be better explained with genetic markers.

Beau, showing a real copper-penny shade of the red factor.

Red Factor is heavily affected by the Agouti gene, which creates Bay on Black base coat horses. I will address Agouti in the next article, but I have linked to a journal article from 2016 that suggests that Red Factor and Agouti may have an effect on equine behavior. If you are a fan of heavy scientific jargon, check it out here:

Has anyone had any crazy colored red horses?

There is a 2018 filly by Gotta Be Free that is a sooty red and has varied shading in her coat, including a black spot with white hair in it. Really interested to see what she looks like when she sheds again!

2018 filly, by Gotta Be Free (TB) out of a bay dun mare.


Jacobs, L. N., Staiger, E. A., Albright , J. D., & Brooks, S. A. (2016, May). The MC1R and ASIP Coat Color Loci May Impact Behavior in the Horse. Journal of Heredity, 107(3), 214–219. Retrieved from

Red Factor. (n.d.). Retrieved from UC Davis Veterinary Genetics Laboratory:



Riding Apps: Equilab

By Joanna ByrneScreenshot_20180819-223714_Google Play Store

Finding a good app to track speed and distance while riding has been an effort of trial and error, fortunately as smartphones have gotten more advanced the options have gotten better. One of the apps that I have been trying out Equilab by Schvung Ride AB. It is pretty in depth, and has lots of options, and is available on Android and iPhone.


Screenshot_20180820-005237_EquilabRider profile is pretty straightforward, with name, gender, and weight. A profile picture can be added, and that pretty well sums it up. Nicely if you go into settings, you can link it to your Google Fit account, which is handy because I can tell you that Google Fit usually thinks I’m riding a bicycle when I ride my horse.Screenshot_20180819-224542_Equilab

Horse profiles are a little more in-depth than rider profiles. You can edit the photo, registered name, nickname, main discipline, type, breed, weight, and date of birth, as well as ad multiple riders to each horse. For each horse, there is a Trends tab where you can swipe through several graphs of information over weekly and monthly windows.

In the Stable Profile, found on the rider page, you can add your stable and the GPS location. Unfortunately, this seems to be a buggy part of the program, and I could not get it to cooperate to take screenshots of the options. After a few weeks of use, this seems to be the only buggy area in the app.

Screenshot_20180819-231257_EquilabLogging Rides

The homepage is pretty straightforward, showing a location map and which horse you are currently riding. You can quickly change the horse, and present riding type, before pressing start. If you forget to do either of those, you can always change the information after your ride. Once you are done, it asks about rider and horse performance, what kind of footing you rode on, and gives you a place to make notes about your ride.


Here you will find data on everything documented with each ride, broken down into weekly and monthly charts. Your input and the GPS data are grouped in graphs showing the trends in your riding habits, which can be very informative on your good and bad habits.Screenshot_20180819-224922_Equilab

Under Trends I like the Turns page because I know I spend more time on one side than the other. This gives a break-down of how much time you spend turning each direction. It has made me much more aware when I’m riding, and I am making a conscious effort to keep track of it. It also charts footing, speed, distance, and performance ratings.

If you scroll to the bottom of trends you find a tab for All Trainings for ride history, Energy Consumption for calculated energy burned and required calories to maintain, and Compare which matches your training trends to different disciplines.


The app has a Friends menu that works like a news feed for you and your horse riding friends. Since it’s just me using it, I don’t have anyone else on my riding feed. I think this would be most useful for riders that stable together because you can see the ride notes, and leave comments, which leaves the opportunity for information exchange about horses, footing and other conditions.

My Rating

I rate the app a 4 of 5, only because of the bug in the Stable Profile option. Everything works smoothly, it does not shut down when you open another app, and it has lots of options. I’m sure there are some things that users could suggest being changed, reading the app reviews shows that. Overall though I think this is a great app and I will keep using it, although I am known for running multiple apps at once to see which performs better. You can find Equilab in the Google Play store, Apple Store or check out their webpage:

Leg Wraps: Richland Boots

By Joanna Byrne

I have never been crazy about sports medicine boots. Since my first horse was allergic to neoprene, I avoided it, even when lined with something. I quickly drifted toward polo wraps, and have used them successfully for about eighteen years. My biggest concern with polos is that they offer minimal impact protection for horses that over reach or crossfire. However, they have been adequate protection and budget friendly for the horses I have that tear through wraps regularly.


I have looked for several years at padding options that go under polos, and finally purchased a set of Richland boots. Here I will list my impressions of them through the process.


Round 1

Initially, I was surprised at how light they were. I had expected them to feel heavier, despite knowing their actual weight.

I attempted to fit them to Leonidas (Primoris Prognatus), using vet wrap as I do not yet have a set of Saratoga wraps. Fortunately, he is more patient with me than I was with the boots. In attempting to get them situated to determine if they needed trimming, I managed to tear one of them… Not the best first impression, but I reminded myself they were second-hand new and had been in storage for a few years.20180802_203947

I decided they were a project for another day and rode for what little daylight was left without them.

Round 2

After trimming the torn front ones down where I should have cut them to start with, and leaving my Richland boots rolled up and wrapped in vet wrap for a few days, they were easier to manage and successfully set them up on my boy’s front legs. I did not finish trimming them yet since they were close to fitting. I secured them with vet wrap, then added a standing style polo over them in the front because I was planning on doing some work that would have a high risk of my brand new boots getting torn up. Polos are hands down too bulky over them, I’ll be pulling out some track wraps until I get Saratoga wraps.

First Impressions


Leonidas was not fussy about them like he is with boots that have a noticeable weight to them, and he was more comfortable crossing over on his spins. After we rode, the Richland boots were soft and had shaped nicely to his legs. I got a good idea of where I need to trim them now that they are leg-shaped.

Round 3

I trimmed the fronts, the backs were perfect, and we had a nice work on fence day. After the ride, I decided that the fronts will need a little more trimming, maybe a half inch, and should be perfect. I am quite pleased with them, they did not pick up a lot of dirt, and were easy to clean.

I am satisfied with the Richland boots for the short term and will give my long-term impressions of them after I use them for a while. Time is the best determination of value for the dollar spent.


Contender ThinLine / Back On Track Western Saddle Pad Review

By Joanna Byrne

I will not market a product that I have not used myself. I am very serious about that – if I don’t believe in it, why should I try to talk you into buying it? So, that said, here is my review of the Contender pad.

I spent one playday switching between Leonidas (Primoris Prognatus) with a Contender pad and Tier (Tiers of Lords) with a Zone pad. I love the Zone pads – seriously, I am not knocking them, I own four – but the Contender pad blew me out of the water.

The Contender is a joint venture between ThinLine and Back On Track. I do not own a trailer load of BOT, like just about every other barrel racer I know, in fact, this pad is my first BOT product.


So what has me sold on it?

Leonidas has an issue when we run with the hair on his shoulders looking carpet burned. The pad I have had the most success with (until now) was the Zone pad. (Before anyone screams saddle fit, my Custom Ryon saddle fits him like a glove.) I’ve never had white spots, but when those curled hairs show up, he’s a little touchy and pissy about it – I don’t blame him either. With the Contender pad I saw three things that sold me on it:

First off, my saddle fit better with the Contender under it that it has with anything else. There is zero obstruction to saddle fit from this pad. My seat felt much like my close-contact hunt saddle, which I really like.


Second, in going back and forth between the two horses with two different pads, I noted considerably less saddle movement on Leonidas than on Tier. They are similarly built, the saddles are as close to identical as two hand-made saddles by the same saddle maker can be, both saddles fit both horses well, and both were cinched with ThinLine girths. A marked difference being that Tier is not quite running and turning as hard as Leonidas, so I expect less saddle movement on him. Except, comparing the two, I had more sway with Tier, without the ThinLine pad, than I had with Leonidas.

Third, and most telling, after some pretty stunning runs from both boys, when I pulled the saddle off of Leonidas I saw with 100% certainty that I would be riding that Contender pad from now on. He had zero burned hair, no dry spots, and no tender spots.


So, I’m sold on them. I also like the option of being able to shim the pad for minor differences in fit, as well as it being machine washable.

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