by Kristin Berkery
At first glance, the stallion pictured here looks like a palomino. But click on the photo to view a larger version and you start to see more characteristics than you’d find on a palomino.
First, he has some dark coloration on his legs, especially around his knees and hocks, and darker shading on his withers. Palominos sometimes have darker shading, which is described as “sooty” and may be accompanied by lots of dapples, but it generally originates at the spine and goes down the sides of the horse in a uniform way. Sooty areas also tend to be larger than the shaded parts on the stallion pictured here.
Now…if Major Hearts Desire had the darker areas on his knees, hocks, and withers only with no dorsal stripe, you’d have to rule out dun. A distinct dorsal stripe is a dead giveaway for the dun gene.
Dunalino can also be modified by other genes. Stallions Now has a listing of dunalino stallions at stud, many of which have additional color genes like tobiano, overo, and Appaloosa. To be sure they are dunalino, look for a distinct dorsal stripe.
Major Hearts Desire stands at Circle P Ranch in Washington.