Wednesday 16 March 2016

Guess the Breed

Kachina is grade. Most of the grade horses I know are horses with known parents, but someone along the line lost the papers or forgot to register them. Kachina does not fall into this category, she is a true unknown. The people I bought her from had taken her as a trade for another horse, based on a photograph and the fact that the lady had a thing for black and white pintos (this is a weird way to acquire a horse in my mind, but to each their own). They got her as an unstarted 8 year old who they knew nothing about. I in turn bought her 4 years later because I liked her movement and temperament.

I've never been overly concerned with breeds or bloodlines. I respect people who do care about those things, I've just never felt the need to myself. It doesn't bother me that Kachina is grade. I feel she is a nice individual horse, she is full grown so I don't need to know what her parents look like to see how she'll turn out, and she's not a resale project. BUT... I'm still really curious as to what her breeding is.

So, I turn to the blogosphere and ask you...

What breed (or mix) do you think Kachina is?

If you want to give an unbiased guess based on appearance only, stop reading now and comment below. If you want all the information available, keep reading.

I don't know anything for sure, but here is some information that may or may not be relevant:

  • I live in Alberta, probably at least 90% of grade horses here are mostly or fully quarter horse. I think this is mostly just because quarter horses are more prevalent and often cheaper, and people are more likely to keep track of the papers of more expensive horses. 
  • There is a fairly large number of registered paint horses in Alberta (APHA). APHA horses must be from quarter horse or thoroughbred bloodlines (or a mix), but most in this area are strongly quarter horse type.
  • Based on her colouring, Kachina has a frame overo gene. Her 4 white legs may indicate another overo gene as well. 
  • Frame overo genes have been documented in quarter horses, mustangs, and thoroughbreds. I haven't been able to find out whether it can be from other breeds or not. 
  • Despite the four points above, Kachina does not look like or move like any quarter horse I've ever seen.
  • Kachina is 15.2hh at the withers (lower at the croup), and takes a size 72 blanket. 
  • She was bought from near Innisfail, Alberta (though that's not necessarily where she was born). 
  • Kachina is a registered Pinto, but the Pinto registry is weird as it accepts any horse with enough white regardless of breed. She was registered by the people I bought her from and no sire or dam are listed. 
  • One dressage clinician was convinced that she must be a dutch warmblood with Art Deco lines based on how she moved and looked, but I'm not sure that makes a lot of sense (because Art Deco is a tobiano, among other reasons) 
  • She has no brands or freeze marks anywhere
  • She isn't gaited
I don't have any data to back this up, but if you asked me to name the dozen most common breeds in Alberta (not including drafties or ponies), I'd probably go: quarter horse, thoroughbred, paint, arabian, canadian warmblood, appaloosa, hanoverian,  trakehner, other warmblood, standardbred, friesian, andalusian.

Let me know if there's any other information that you think might help with your guess (how hard her feet are, size of her head, etc). 

I look forward to seeing what you think. I'll probably never know the answer for sure, but even knowing what people *think* she looks like will be cool to know. 


  1. TB, AQHA and Canadian Warmblood is my guess

  2. I see quarter horse just looking at her. There is a quarter horse paint pony that looks super fancy at my barn and I've seen other quarter horses with fancy movement. That being said I would probably say she is a mix and I'm not guessing past quarter horse. I wish they did breed DNA testing but I think there is too much crossing to do that.

    1. That's interesting that you say that. I don't see quarter horse myself but I do know that quarter horse is a huge breed with quite a lot of variation so you could well be right.

  3. Here in Oklahoma, crossing various warmbloods with quarter horses is an incredibly popular thing to do! I'd guess that's what she is.

    A friend at my barn was dying to know what her mixed-breed horse was; everyone's best guess was a QH/Belgian cross. She had a DNA test done on him and it turned out he's Hanoverian/Holsteiner/Mountain Pleasure Horse! She did the testing through Texas A&M's animal genetics lab ( If you're interested, you might contact them. (I don't know if they accept international samples, but I can't imagine why they wouldn't unless horse hair poses some kind of bio-security threat.)

    1. That's cool about the DNA testing, I might have to look into that further. That said, I am naturally suspicious about how much they can tell about ancestry from DNA. I feel the same way about the tests for horse breeds and dog breeds as I do about the tests that claim they can tell what country a person's ancestors came from. I admit that I don't know all the science, but it just doesn't seem logical to me.

      What sport are the QH/WB crosses in Oklahoma usually bred to do?

    2. All the ones I've seen have been bred to do dressage. Some of them have been very fancy! I would have never thought to combine those breeds- I'd have assumed QHs were too stocky to cross well with a WB- but all the ones I've met seem to have come out just fine! There's an Oldenburg/QH at the barn who is just about 15.2 and looks pretty much like a QH with a more refined head, slightly longer legs, and a slightly narrower body. He's a very sweet packer for the lesson kids and a nice mover.

  4. I know of a few QH's and Paint's who move nicer than your average warmblood. I wouldn't be surprised if she was some mix of Appendix and Paint. My top dozen for AB would be similar but I would include Morgan and Saddlebred

    1. You're right about Morgan and Saddlebred, I should have included those. There were even a couple Saddlebreds at my last dressage show. Quarter horse and thoroughbred are definitely the most common ones, I had a hard time thinking what the rankings would be between the rest.

  5. I love the guesses, keep them coming please! :)