Did you know that less than 8% of horses have blue eyes? It means only a million horses out of 58 million horses have blue eyes!
Are Horses With Blue Eyes rare? Equines with blue eyes are very rare and more sensitive than brown eyes. The gene “cream” is the agent which makes the coat color light and eye color lighter. Blue eyes are associated with some breeds more commonly. But they appear with any horse.
This blog post will discuss blue-eyed horses in detail. Let’s start the article now.
- Horse Breeds With Blue Eyes
- Horse Coat Colors And Blue Eyes
- Light-colored Horses
- White Markings and Spotted Horses
- Why Do Some Horses Have Blue Eyes?
- Why Do Some Horses Have One Blue Eye?
- Blue Eyes On Arabian Horses?
- Problems With Blue Eyes (Risk For Eye Disease Or Injury Etc)
- How to Prevent Ocular Squamous Cell Carcinoma (SCC)?
- Are Horses With Blue Eyes Rare?
- What Causes Blue Eyes In Horses?
- 7 The Truth About Blue-Eyed Horses
- Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Horse Breeds With Blue Eyes
You don’t see blue eyes every day, so it seems they are rare. It would be easier to understand that the blue eyes are generally because of the light-colored coats.
The horses with more common blues are of the breed:
- Miniature HorseTennessee Walking Horse
- Gypsy Vanner
- Paint Horse
- Quarter Horse
These horse breeds have the most significant blue eyes, but thoroughbred horses and Arabian horses also have blue eyes, but the balance is less frequent in those breeds.
Thus, it implies that some horse breeds have blue eyes more frequently because of their genes.
Horse Coat Colors And Blue Eyes
The deciding factor for blue eyes is the genetics of horse color. Let me throw some light on this.
Horses with light-colored coats, mainly cream or white, have more frequent blue-eyed babies. The double-dilute color always results in blue eyes, e.g., the perlino or cremello. Single-dilutes may have blue eyes, but it is less frequent.
The horses like chestnut, bay, and black have blue eyes, but there aren’t more reports. In these horses, white markings are present.
Average Ratio of Blue-eyed (Coat Color) :
More Ratio of Blue-eyed (Coat Color) :
- Splashed white
- Sabino patterns
- White-faced horses
It is often seen in horses with light skin (coat); they have more blue eyes.
Why do we see a distinction of eyes in light-colored horses? The reason is simple and because of a phenomenon of double-dilution in which horses have two cream genes; thus, they have blue eyes.
Here’s what happens when a horse has double cream genes.
The double cream genes make a horse’s coat look very light, and thus we see many light blues (pale) or pink-colored eyes.
But the pink-colored double diluted horses are not the same as un-pigmented pink horses, and their coat color fluctuates from white, rust, off-white, or cream.
Single Dilute VS. Double Dilute
The table will give us examples of single-diluted horses and double-diluted horses.
|Single Dilute Horses||Double Dilute Horses|
|Smoky black||Smoky Cream|
White Markings and Spotted Horses
Now, you must be thinking that double-diluted genes are needed to have blue eyes, but the truth is that horses with white faces without hair tend to have blue eyes more often.
Pintos, overos, and paints are the best example of white marking horses having blue eyes. Splash, frame, and Sabrina’s being overos have blue eyes because of the diluted iris.
Why Do Some Horses Have Blue Eyes?
Every characteristic that an organism has is due to genes. For example, the color of the coat, the length, the weight, the strength, and other traits mainly depend upon the genes.
Blue eyes are also because of e gene known as” Cream Gene.” The gene doesn’t directly affect the eye color but diminishes the coat color, and dilute dilution occurs, making the eyes blue.
Let’s make this phenomenon more clear by deeply looking into the genetics of eye color.
Another thing affecting blue eyes is the amount of Melanin. Melanin is a chemical compound found in the bodies of all mammals, like in humans as well. It makes the color of eyes and skin darker.
In horses, Melanin is found in the iris, which is a circle around the pupil. Every horse has a unique color range and density of Melanin.
The darker and concentrated Melanin will cause the darker color of the eyes. That’s why a horse with natural blue eyes will have a low density of Melanin.
It means green, light brown, pale blue; all the horses having these eye colors have less Melanin in their eyes.
Why Do Some Horses Have One Blue Eye?
While some horses have blues eyes, there are some cases when a horse will have both eyes different in color.
These horses have only one blue eye, and the other eye is either black, brown, or even pink.
Horses with one blue eye and another eye with different colors have a condition called “complete heterochromia.” Hetero means other, and Chromia refers to the color. It occurs when Melanin is different in both eyes.
Heterochromia can be of different types. One of the heterochromia is segmental heterochromia.
In segmental heterochromia, the same eye has different color parts, and this condition is scarce. Only 1 percent of horses out of 58 Million have segmental heterochromia.
All these explanations are still in the process of debate and experiments as no complete proof completely describes why horses have blue eyes.
Blue Eyes On Arabian Horses?
While I wondered if blue eyes are present in 5% of horses, I wonder if the Arabian Horses.
Do Arabian horses have blue eyes?
Arabian horses don’t have blue eyes, but a small percentage (<0.5%). The reason is that these horses have a greater concentration of Melanin and lack the cream gene. It makes their coat darker and their eyes either black or dark brown.
So despite the Arabian horse being popular horse breeds, they scarcely have blue eyes. On the other hand, paints, pintos, Perlinos, and Cremelloshave blue eyes are more common.
Problems With Blue Eyes (Risk For Eye Disease Or Injury Etc)
Let’s talk about the common blue eye problems and rumored myths about them.
Humans have proven that blue eyes are more sensitive than black, brown, or other eyes, but it is not valid in horses.
Science describes blue eye disorders more accurately, and a 2014 study has suggested that blue-eyed horses are equally susceptible to all the diseases as dark-eyed horses.
The scientists studied two horse groups in 2015, and both of these groups have an equal ratio of blue-eyed horses. All the diseases, but one is exceptional in blue-eyed horses.
Ocular Squamous Cell Carcinoma
The disease, Ocular Squamous Cell Carcinoma(SCC), occurs more commonly in horses. The disease is also known as the cancer of blue-eyes.
What causes SCC? The non-pigmentation of the iris majorly causes SCC. The space around the iris is white with circular blue eyes. The white area is susceptible to cancer due to UV rays.
Very high-intensity UV rays can cause SCC, and that’s why blue eyes are sensitive even in humans.
How to Prevent Ocular Squamous Cell Carcinoma (SCC)?
SCC is tough to treat, as cancer will make the eyes blind if the intensity is vital.
The only way to prevent SCC, or cancer of eyes in horses, is by:
- Fly Masks
- Providing Shade in high light
Have your horse rest in a shady place in the peak hours so that it won’t get any cancer.
Are Horses With Blue Eyes Rare?
Most people are not familiar with the terminologies. The word rare does not only describe something as less in number. It means threatened b/c less in number.
The horse population rarely has blue eyes because of the “cream gene” associated with a light-colored coat and less pigmentation of Melanin.
Melanin is the iris that decides the eye color after the cream gene. Greater the Melanin, darker the coat, and the eyes are, so your horse may have brown, black, or dark eyes.
The people saying blue eyes are due to any genetic mutation are correct, but it is not harmful or a disease. Blue eyes only get cancer when they are exposed to high-intensity UV rays for a long time.
That is why doctors and vets always suggest sunscreen protection.
(Pro Tip: buy a Flyer Mask for your horse, or provide a shady place for it to sit, or rest in the peak hours to minimize the chances of SCC, i.e., Eye Cancer in Horses)
What Causes Blue Eyes In Horses?
Blue eyes are due to the under-development of a pigment in the iris.
Blue eyes of horses mark the most negligible concentration of Melanin and high gene density of “Cream Gene.” Different colors in both eyes suggest heterochromia.
- If only one eye is blue, it is complete heterochromia
- Different colors in the same eye refer to segmented heterochromia.
There’s a condition in horses, which we call Central Heterochromia. The state explains different colors within the same eyes, but the central area around the pupil’s borers has different colors.
Horses with central heterochromia have blue eyes, but the main borders around the eyes will be golden Shade, making the eyes incredibly attractive.
Such horses are the rarest species and are estimated to be less than 0.5% in the world. The only thing the heterochromatic horses are susceptible to is the dangerous Ultra Violet (UV) rays.
7 The Truth About Blue-Eyed Horses
Let me tell you some amazing facts about blue eyes that will clear the myths circulating among people worldwide.
1. Same Vision as Dar-Eyes Horses
Some people may disagree with me, but studies suggest that dark-eyed or blue-eyed horses perceive two colors and are Dichromatic.
If a horse has both different colors of eyes, it means he has heterochromatic. It may have one blue eye and another black eye.
3. Segmental and Central Heterochromia
A rare condition of heterochromatic is segmental, in which a single eye has different colors. Central heterochromia occurs when the pupil and iris have different colors near the main border.
4. BEHA Study Blue-eyed Horses
Blue-Eyed-Horse-Association is the body that registers such horses and studies them without discriminating any coat color or breed.
5. Champagne-Colored Coat Horse
These horses have changing eyes. When champagne-colored coat horses are born, they have green-blue eyes, but they become dark as they grow older.
6. Cream-colored Coat Horses
The cream-colored horses have the most significant ratio of blue eyes, and the phenomenon is known as Double Dilution (horses having a pair of cream genes).
7. Only Sensitive to High UV rays
All the horses are the same regardless of the color of their eyes un getting diseases, but the only distinction of blue-eyed horses is they are susceptible to High UV radiations and may get SCC (Ocular Squamous Cell Carcinoma)
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Horses With Blue Eyes Final Verdict
The rare color blue is often linked to sensitivity because of the light pigmentation of Melanin. Horses with blue eyes must be protected from ultraviolet rays and sunlight.
That concludes our topic of “Horse with Blue Eyes.“
I hope it helped you with a lot of new information. Please don’t keep the knowledge to yourself, and share it with your friends to help others learn about the blue-eyed horses!
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