Carolyn Shepard wrote a wonderful article for the ICHS (International Champagne Horse Registry) www.ichregistry.com/. , based in Paso Robles, Ca. It is titled: “Just About Everything You Need to Know About Champagne Colored Horses”, http://www.ichregistry.com/articles/Just_About_Everything-rev6-10.pdf .
This is a really cool article, one that even the layman can understand.
Especially interesting to me was the part that explains how the Champagne gene is strictly found in American breeds of horses:
“The champagne gene appears to be American, as we have not yet seen the color in the current Spanish or European breeds, the ancient breeds, such as Icelandic horses and Shetland ponies, or in any of the breeds of South America, Russia, India, China, or Arabia. So far, the champagne gene has only been isolated in breeds of American origin. These include the American Quarter Horse, American Paint Horse, American Appaloosa, American Saddlebred, American Cream Draft, Tennessee Walking Horse, Missouri Fox Trotter, Kentucky Mountain Saddle Horse, American Miniature Horse, and crosses from these breeds. One only needs to review the names of these breeds to realize the gene has its foothold in North America.”
Neat, huh!?! She goes on to tell us specifically about the Champagne colored individuals:
“The first known and photographed champagne colored horse was Golden Lady, a Tennessee Walking Horse mare born in Tennessee in approximately 1910. Old Granny, an American Cream Draft horse was born in 1913, but there are no known photographs. The first photographed champagne American Saddlebred, Jonquil, was born in 1920. (This line is the oldest known, and may extend well into the 1800’s.) The first known registered champagne colored Quarter Horse was Triangle Lady 10, born in 1930. Gold Bonnet was the first known registered champagne colored American Paint born in 1964. The first known champagne American Miniature Horse, Hidden Meadows Grulla, was born in approximately 1974. Interestingly enough, all of these “first” horses are mares.”
Then Carol explains a bit about the Champagne gene mutation, and where it originated:
“The common ancestor for all champagne horses appears to have been the Saddlebred, or the horses used to produce the original Saddlebreds. Analysis of the champagne gene and surrounding “markers” indicate there was just one mutation to champagne – so all known champagnes are believed to have descended from the same horse. The gene has not been traced before the mid 1800’s, so it is quite likely the original mutation occurred around that time – or was very rare in the population if it occurred earlier. The gene apparently spread to Tennessee where it appeared in the Walking Horses, to California where it was popular in the “Parade Horses,” and to Texas where it was first found in Quarter Horses.”
Fascinating! Go to: http://www.ichregistry.com/articles/Just_About_Everything-rev6-10.pdf for the rest of this very interesting article about Champagne colored horses.
Thank you to Carol Shepard and the International Champagne Horse Registry www.ichregistry.com/. for all the excellent information!