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1 DESCRIPTION OF COLOURED HORSES

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DESCRIPTION OF COLOURED HORSES RAISED IN TURKEY1
Orhan YILMAZ2, Mehmet ERTUĞRUL3
2
Iğdır University, Agriculture Faculty, Department of Animal Science, 76100, Iğdır.
3
Ankara University, Agriculture Faculty, Department of Animal Science, 06100, Ankara.
Corresponding: [email protected]
Office: +90-4762261314-Ext:2015
ABSTRACT
Even though coloured horses are very rare in Turkey, there is a group of such
horses in a small region in the east of the country. This study was undertaken to
verify, by analysing sex, coat colour, and morphological dimensions and
comparing these with other Turkish horse breeds, whether this group of coloured
horses is a crossbreed or a separate breed. In this study, 42 male and 35 female
horses were divided into four age groups (1-3, 4-5, 6-8 and 9-18 years). The
frequencies of body coat colour of the sampled horses were predominantly bay on
white 55.2%, predominantly gray on white 17.2%, predominantly white on bay
8.6%, predominantly white on buckskin 8.6%, predominantly black on white
6.9%, and predominantly white on black 3.5%. Descriptive statistics gave the
following means: withers height 134.5 cm, height at rump 135.3 cm, body length
138.2 cm, heart girth circumference 153.2 cm, chest depth 61.0 cm, chest width
39.4 cm, cannon circumference 17.6 cm, head length 54.6 cm and ear length 13.4
cm.
Keywords: piebald, skewbald, morphologic traits, coat colour
1
This research has been published in Bulgarian Journal of Agricultural Science and Technology
(2011), 3 (3): 203-206.
1
TÜRKİYE’DE YETİŞTİRİLEN ALACA ATLARIN TANIMLANMASI
ÖZET
Alaca atlar Türkiye’de nadir bulunmasına rağmen, Doğu Anadolu’da küçük bir
bölgede Alaca at yetiştiriciliği yapılmaktadır Çalışmada Alaca atların don ve
çeşitli vücut ölçüleri tesbit edilerek, bu özellikler bakımından diğer Türkiye yerli
atları ile karşılaştırmak suretiyle kökeni hakkında ön bilgilere sahip olunmasına
çalışılmıştır. Çalışmada dört farklı yaş gurubundan (1-3, 4-5, 6-8 ve 9-18) 42
erkek ve 35 dişi at incelenmiştir. Don renginin dağılımı; doru % 55.2, kır alaca %
17.2, alaca doru % 8.6, alaca kula % 8.6, yağız alaca % 6.9 ve alaca yağız % 3.5
olarak belirlenmiştir. Vücut ölçülerine ait tanımlayıcı istatistik değerler ise; cidago
yüksekliği 134.5 cm, sağrı yüksekliği 135.3 cm, vücut uzunluğu 138.2 cm, göğüs
evresi 153.2 cm, göğüs derinliği 61.0 cm, göğüs genişliği 39.4 cm, ön incik
çevresi 17.6 cm, baş uzunluğu 54.6 cm ve kulak uzunluğu 13.4 cm olarak tespit
edilmiştir.
Anahtar Kelimeler: alaca, morfolojik özellik, vücut rengi.
INTRODUCTION
The horse is a large odd-toed hooved (ungulate) mammal in the family Equidae.
Most scientists believe that the Central Asian steppes, the original homeland of
the Turks, are almost certainly one of centres of origin of the domestic horse
(Düzgüneş 1946, Yarkın 1962). In Central Asia horses have been used for
millennia for warfare, personal transport, and agricultural operations as well as to
provide food for their owners who are nomadic herders (Wilson 1999). In the
1950s and 1960s working horses were almost completely replaced by tractors, so
that horses lost their importance to general human life in Europe and to a certain
extent also in Turkey (Herold 2001).
2
The colours of horses have fascinated human beings throughout recorded history.
Especially nowadays, more and more horses are valued for mainly aesthetic rather
than utilitarian purposes. It is a human idiosyncrasy that most people tend to
choose a horse of a colour that appeal to them, when all other things are equal
(www.apha.com 2011, www.horsecolor.com 2011). Horses display a different
array of body coat colours and some distinctive markings. It may be noticed that a
horse is generally first described by its coat colour rather than by value, breed or
sex (en.wikipedia.org 2011).
The main Turkish horse breeds are the Anatolian Native (Anadolu Yerli), Midilli
of Ayvacik (Ayvacık Midillisi), Kula of Camardi (Çamardı Kulası), Canik,
Çukurova, East Anatolia (Doğu Anadolu), Kolu Kisa of Hinis (Hınısın
Kolukısası), Karacabey, Karacabey Nonius, Malakan, Rahvan, Rumeli (Trakya),
Turkish Arab, Turkish Throughbred and Uzunyayla (Batu 1962, Sönmez 1973,
Arpacık 1996, Emiroğlu 2010, Güleç 2005, Kırmızıbayrak 2004, Bayram 2005).
Even though there are a few scientific contributions on horses in Turkish
literature, there is none specifically on ‘coloured’ horses, i.e. those that have
colours mixed with white, such as in piebald or skewbald combinations. In
existing contributions, withers height (WH), height at rump (HR), body length
(BL), heart girth circumference (HGC), chest depth (CD), chest width (CW),
haunch width (HW), limb length (LL), cannon circumference (CC), head length
(HL) and ear length (EL) were measured.
In Turkish horses the most common coat colours are bay and gray. The rarest
horse colours are pinto, isabelline and buckskin, as seen in Table 1. In addition to
the information given in this table, some further remarks may be made.
According to Yarkın (1962), in Turkish Arabian horses bay, gray and chestnut
coat colours are the most common and are preferred. Black is seen rarely. Arpacık
(1996) reported that, in pure-breed Arabian horses, between 1940 and 1980
frequencies of the chestnut colour increased two fold, gray colour decreased 7-8
fold and the bay color was stable.
3
Table 1. Body coat colour distributions of horse breeds.
Breeds
Gray
Bay
Chestnut
Black
Isabelline
Buckskin
Dun
Piebald/
(%)
(%)
(%)
(%)
(%)
(%)
(%)
Skewbald
(%)
Anadolu
44.7
37.3
14.2
2.9
23
52
25
12
48
19
21
0.9
1
Native
Malakan2
Uzunyayla
2
Turkish Arabian
3
5.5
19.7
74.5
0.3
4
41.5
41.5
12.2
2.4
5
38.4
31.9
16.2
4.2
6
37.8
27
29.7
Anadolu Native
Anadolu Native
Anadolu Native
1
2
0.8
0.9
0.9
1.6
7.4
5.5
3
(Said 1940) (Arıtürk 1956) (Arpacık 1996) (Kırmızıbayrak 2004)4 (Bayram 2005)5 (Alarslan
2009)6
In the Midilli of Ayvacik breed the most common coat colour is bay. The roan
colour can be seen, but rarely. However, Batu (1962) reported that the Midilli of
Ayvacik are commonly bay, and Yılmazer (2007), in an MSc thesis on the same
breed, reported only a chestnut coat colour for those horses.
Aral (1974) has reported that the bay colour is common in Uzunyayla horses.
Black and gray colours also could be seen, but the chestnut colour is disliked by
owners. Batu reported that gray, bay, chestnut and black colours were common in
Turkish Native horses, and buckskin and other colours could be seen. Batu also
reported that Malakan horses are commonly black. According to Emiroğlu (2010),
Uzunyayla and Canik horses generally were of a bay colour. In the Kolu Kisa of
Hinis breed, each coat colour could be seen, but bay was the most common.
The Turkish Coloured horse has a mixed colour pattern controlled by a dominant
gene. One parent must therefore be a ‘coloured’ horse for the pattern to occur. The
‘colour’ gene produces white-haired, pink-skinned patches on a base coat colour.
There are various terms for this combination in the literature, depending on the
size, distribution and proportion of the colours as they relate to the white areas.
For simplicity, the terms ‘piebald’ and ‘skewbald’ are applied here, and this
general type of horse will be described as ‘Coloured’.
4
The skin underlying the white spots is pink and under the coloured areas it is
black. The spots are generally regular and distinct as ovals or round patterns
(en.wikipedia.org 2011, www.vgl.ucdavis.edu 2011). Usually, all four legs are
white below the hocks and knees. The pattern is clearly marked and characterized
by white across the spine that extends downward between the ears and tail. The
coloration is present from birth and does not change throughout the horse's
lifetime.
Figure 1. An example of Coloured Horse
Figure 2. An example of Coloured Foal
Figure 3. Coloured Foal and Mare
Figure 4. Coloured Horses
In 1940s an Armenian citizen brought a Coloured filly from a village located in
Armenia to an adjacent Turkish village. Later this filly was sold to another horse
5
breeder who lived one of villages in Kars Province. When the filly matured, all
her offspring were Coloured foals. Those Coloured horses became famous, and
were used by other horse breeders. Later in the century, some horse breeders in
Ardahan Province had them (pers. comm.). Nowadays these horses breed widely
in Ardahan and Kars Provinces. Beside their colours and characteristic
morphology, they are calm, quiet and obedient horses (pers. obs.).
The aim of this study is to determine whether Turkish Coloured horses are a
separate breed or only a colour variety.
MATERIALS AND METHODS
Experimental animals
In this study a total 77 Coloured horses, 42 males and 35 females, was analyzed in
Göle (40047’N; 42036’E), Arpaçay (40051’N; 43020’E) and Susuz (40047’N; 430
08’E) in the Northeast of Turkey (www.googleearth.com 2011). The horses were
aged from 1 to 26 years, grouped into four age groups of 1-3, 4-5, 6-8 and 9-18
years respectively.
Measurements
The study was carried out from October to December 2010. Withers height (WH),
height at rump (HR), body length (BL), chest depth (CD), and chest width (CW)
were measured using a measuring stick. Heart girth circumference (HGC), cannon
circumference (CC), head length (HL) and ear length (EL) were measured with a
specially graduated metal measuring tape (Sönmez 1973). Ages were determined
from the horse owners. Body coat colours were classified according to whether
the white area was bigger than the coloured area or not. For example, for the
‘piebald’ coat colour, if the white area was bigger than the black area it was
classified as ‘predominantly white on black’, and vice versa is ‘predominantly
6
black on white’. For the bay colour, properly skewbald, if the white was bigger
than red area it was classified as ‘predominantly white on bay’, vice versa was
‘predominantly bay on white’ (Yarkın 1962).
Statistical analysis
Data were analyzed with Minitab 15 statistical software program. Descriptive
statistics for body dimensions were analyzed using ANOVA and Student’s t-Test
that also determined the impact of sex, region, body coat colour, and age group on
the response variables of WH, HR, BL, HGC, CD, CW, CC, HL and EL
(Anonymous 2011).
RESULTS
The frequencies of body coat colour were as given in Table 2. More than fifty
percent of horses had bay in their colouring. One tenth of the horses were piebald
and rest of them were skewbald.
Table 2. Distributions of body coat colour of Coloured horses in Turkey.
on buckskin
Predominantly white
on bay
Predominantly white
on white
Predominantly grey
on white
Predominantly bay
Skewbald
on black
Predominantly white
on white
Predominantly black
Piebald
n
4
2
32
10
5
5
%
6.9
3.5
55.2
17.2
8.6
8.6
As seen in Table 3, between male and females horses there was no significant
difference for morphological dimensions except for the leg and ear lengths.
7
Table 3. Descriptive statistics and comparison results of the phenotypic traits
overall and in different sexes in Coloured horses (cm).
WH
HR
BL
HGC
CD
CW
CC
HL
EL
Overall
137.9
138.1 ±
143.9 ±
158.9 ±
63.5
40.7
18.2
55.9
13.6
(n=58)
± 0.55
0.45
0.96
0.92
± 0.48
± 0.39
± 0.14
± 0.34
± 0.15
Female
137.5a*
138.2a
146.6b
161.4b
64.0a
41.8b
18.0a
56.1a
14.0b
(n=24)
± 1.05
± 0.77
± 1.41
± 1.56
± 0.85
± 0.68
± 0.22
± 0.52
± 0.23
a
a
a
Groups
a
Male
138.3 *
138.1
(n=34)
± 0.59
± 0.55
141.9
± 1.21
157.2
± 1.03
63.2
a
± 0.57
39.9
a
± 0.43
18.4
a
± 0.17
55.7
a
± 0.46
13.3a
± 0.19
a, b: P<0.05.
* There were no significant differences between means showed in same letters of alphabet in same
column and factor group.
DISCUSSION
Descriptive overall means for these horses were as follows: withers height 137.9
cm, height at rump 138.1 cm, body length 143.9 cm, heart girth circumference
158.9 cm, chest depth 63.5 cm, chest width 40.7 cm, cannon circumference 18.2
cm, head length 55.9 cm and ear length 13.6 cm. As seen when compared with
Table 1, the results from this study did not agree with any of the reported results
from other researchers. So these results suggest that Turkish Coloured horses in
almost all body dimensions are smaller than Karacabey Yarimkan (Batu 1931),
Arabian (Düzgüneş 1953), and Uzunyayla (Arıtürk 1956), but larger than Turkish
Native (Said 1940), Turkish Arabian (Said 1940), Cukurova (Said 1940), Canik
(Yarkın 1962), Central Anatolian Turkish Native (Sığındere 1977, Kırmızıbayrak
2004, Alarslan 2009), Rahvan (İnal 2004), Ayvacik Midillisi (Yılmazer 2007).
Arabian is a race breed, and normally it is larger than the Turkish native horse
breeds (Yarkın 1962). On the other hand, Ayvacik Midillisi is actually a miniature
horse breed in Turkey (Yılmazer 2007), so their dimensions could be expected to
be smaller than those for Coloured horses. From the results obtained, Coloured
horses were larger on some traits and smaller on other traits compared with the
8
Malakan and East Anatolian horses. The Malakan horse is the only draught horse
breed of Turkey, and it is anyway generally larger in size than other Turkish horse
breeds (Arıtürk 1956).
Table 2 gives the results obtained from a related study which provided additional
information on the coat patterns of the Coloured horse.
The present data demonstrate that Turkish Coloured horse is smaller in body size
than most of the Turkish native horse breeds. On the behavioural side, these
horses are also different to other Turkish Native horses. Turkish Native horses are
cautious, suspicious and alert to the presence of strangers, whereas Coloured
horses are more placid. One point should not be ignored: the female ancestor of
these horses was from Armenia, implying they could be seen as a separate breed.
In the USA there are two coloured horse associations, the American Paint Horse
Association (APHA) (www.apha.com 2011) and the Pinto Horse Association
(PtHA) (www.pinto.org 2011). Coloured horses are accepted as a separate breed
by both associations. In order to decide whether the Turkish Coloured horses are a
new breed or crossbreed, there should be DNA analysis carried out on these
horses.
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
The authors gratefully thank Prof. Dr. Fırat Cengiz (100. Yil University), Prof. Dr.
Ensar Başpınar (Ankara University), Prof. Dr. İbrahim Zafer Arık (Akdeniz
University), Prof. Dr. Gürsel Dellal (Ankara University), Prof. Dr. Saim Boztepe
(Selçuk University), Prof. Dr. Aşkın Kor (100. Yıl University), Assoc. Prof. Dr.
Yalçın Bozkurt, Ertuğrul Güleç (Freelance writer) and Dr. Peta A. Jones (Donkey
Power-South Africa) for their constructive comments, careful scientific revision
and English edit.
9
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