Sunday, 31 May 2015

Horse reference: Murphy the Mule

Murphy the Mule lives at Hillside Animal Rescue in Norfolk.






Apparently if you're lucky, he gives kisses! Not my best angle but a sweet photo of Murphy.



Murphy's genetics: I'm not sure to what extent horse colour genetics can be applied to mules, but here goes. According to the Horse Colour Bible Equine Tapestry by Lesli Kathman, Murphy looks to be a yellow or zebra dun - a bay horse with a dominant dun dilution gene. This lightens his body pigment but does not alter the colour at his points, as well as leaving him a dorsal stripe. As many dun features such as shoulder stripes are common in donkeys, I think it's safe to assume the dilution came from his donkey parent at least, if not his horse parent too.

Murphy shows several dun factors (or primitive markings): leg barring, dark ear tips, frosting in his mane and tail and a shoulder stripe. Lesli's book says this is also called a shadow, whereas I've heard it called a cross (and even that donkeys have one because they carried Christ, if you are a religious person).

If you are ever in Norfolk, I would really recommend a trip to the sanctuary. It's lovely to see so many rescued animals in a happy home and they have nice enclosures. 

I'm going to start a series of "reference" posts as I do love collecting photos of interesting horses. If you would like to use them as model painting references please go ahead, I only ask that you share a link to the blog if you put your work online. Thank you!

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