White horses. Whether you’re young or old, nearly all horse lovers possess a
certain allure for the rare and mythical beauty of a horse with a coat colored
like driven snow.
The Paint Horse breed has an intriguing twist on the already-enchanting appeal
of these white horses. Within the APHA registration barracks, there exists a
notable number of Paints registered with “white” color. Among these horses, a
small number of white solid Paint-bred (SPB) horses are begetting offspring with
striking tobiano and tovero markings, even when bred to Quarter Horses and
Cowboy Kasper is perhaps one of the most intriguing white SPBs. The 1996
stallion has sired 100 percent tobiano and tovero offspring out of 16 breedings.
Eleven of his get are out of Quarter Horse or Thoroughbred dams, evidence that
they inherited their tobiano gene from “Kasper.” Owner Julie Bangs of Providence
Forge, Virginia, explains that her stallion is a homozygous tobiano, despite his
solid Paint-bred registration status.
“He was genetically tested and found to be homozygous for the tobiano gene,” she
said. “He is mainly a solid white APHA stallion with a small, quarter-sized
sorrel spot near his temple and a second small sorrel area on his rump.”
A peek at Kasper’s pedigree identifies the origin of his tobiano genes—he was
sired by Spooks Trophy Boy, a bay tobiano, and is out of the sorrel tobiano
Illusive Cowgirl. In fact, all four branches of Kasper’s pedigree run thick with
tobiano horses, including the likes of APHA Champion Tinky’s Spook and APHA
Supreme Champions Lucky Straw and Silly Filly.
Bangs says she’s noticed another interesting paradox—Kasper’s foals almost
always take their base coat color from their dams.
“We have noticed that breeding Kasper to APHA mares, regardless of the amount of
color they have, will produce [foals with] 70–90 percent white, while the
remaining percentage has been the mare’s dominate color,” said Bangs. “On the
other hand, breeding AQHA mares has produced foals with approximately 50–60
percent white, and the remaining percentage has always been the mare’s dominate
This phenomenon has also been reported by David and Ryan Higbee of Dewey,
Oklahoma, owners of GQ Santana, a 2000 sorrel overo stallion who carries the
dominant white gene.
“[GQ Santana] would always let the mare dominate the base color,” said Ryan. “If you bred him
to a bay mare, typically you got a bay or black baby. If you bred him to a
sorrel, you’d get a sorrel. If you bred him to a palomino, you’d get a
palomino.” It’s unclear if this observation is related to the stallions’ white
coat color or genetic makeup.
Interestingly, the 2008 white SPB stallion B C Boy has also been genetically
tested as a homozygous tobiano—to date, he has not sired any get. Owned by
Porfirio Olivas of Odessa, Texas, B C Boy was sired by the JK Bucks Sky Lark, a
bay tovero, and is out of the black tovero mare JK Bucks Cinder O War.
One of the most prolific white solid stallions is Hightone Buzz, a 1989 stallion
who died last year, according to owners Scott and Christine Robinson of Butler,
Tennessee. The sire of 72 Paints, Hightone Buzz’s breakdown includes 31 overos,
20 tobianos, 16 toveros and five solids (including one white solid). When bred
to Quarter Horse mares on 47 occasions, he sired Regular Registry foals 44
While Hightone Buzz was not a homozygous tobiano, he did carry a tobiano gene.
Hightone Buzz descends from the Skip Hi line of tobianos through his sire, the
black tobiano Buzz Bar Jr. His dam, Hightone Sungodess, primarily goes back to
Another white solid stallion siring a high percentage of tobiano and tovero get
is PO White Trash, a 1995 stallion. Though he was reportedly gelded a few years
ago, according to owner Vernon Malone of Finchville, Kentucky, he sired a total
of 18 get—11 toveros, four overos, two tobianos and a single solid.
Approximately two-thirds of PO White Trash’s offspring are out of Quarter Horse
or Thoroughbred mares, and all qualified for Regular Registry status.
Though never genetically tested, PO White Trash does have a tobiano gene, which
could have come from his sire, the sorrel tovero Sunshine Ranger who also goes
back to Skip Hi via his dam. Hustlers Jubilee, the dam of PO White Trash, is of
overo and Quarter Horse descent.
“He was just pure white, with no skin coloration or spots on him,” said Malone,
who used PO White Trash to sire hunter-jumper prospects. “He crossed beautifully
on Thoroughbred mares, and that just fascinated me—a white horse that could
produce [color] from Thoroughbred mares. He sired some of the most gorgeous
babies you could ever imagine.”
White SPB stallions aren’t the only ones begetting tobiano and tovero offspring.
Miss Canadian Angel, a 1998 white solid mare, has produced two bay tovero
offspring when bred to the Quarter Horse stallion A Cool One PR. Her tobiano
gene could have come from her dam, the bay tovero Miss Powerchick, who descends
from a tobiano line headed by APHA Supreme Champion Power Chick on her dam’s
side. HF Sonnys Spark, Miss Canadian Angel’s sire, primarily goes back to overo
and Quarter Horse lineage, although his dam line does trace to the national
champion tobiano Skipalou.
Gunner Cool Whip, a 2003 white daughter of Colonels Smokingun and out of the bay tobiano My
Paint Wagon, is another solid Paint who has passed on a tobiano gene at least
once. Bred to Who Whiz It AQHA, she produced Who Whiz Mcmurtry, a 2009 buckskin
tovero foal. My Paint Wagon has produced two white SPBs, two overos and a tovero
when bred to “Gunner” and a red roan SPB when bred to One Time Pepto AQHA.
The proof is in the Paint
APHA statistics indicate that 561 of its registered horses to date have been
labeled as “white.” Some of these white horses may actually be misclassified,
says Managing Director of Registration Cindy Grier—some cremellos and perlinos,
for instance, may have been registered as white because their true colors were
not always recognized by the association.
Yet, the color-producing abilities of white SPBs like Cowboy Kasper and PO White
Trash are intriguing. Obviously, these solid Paints are carrying tobiano genes
and passing them on to their offspring—the evidence is especially clear when
these horses produce tobianos and toveros when bred to Quarter Horses or
Thoroughbreds, breeds that are incapable of contributing the tobiano gene. Are
such Paints maximally expressed tobianos or toveros themselves that lack the
two-inch spot of contrasting color that would afford them Regular Registry
status, or are they simply SPBs that harbor the tobiano gene?
Perhaps in the future an APHA rule change will allow these SPBs passing on
tobiano genes advancement to the Regular Registry. A possible scenario could be
registry advancement after producing or siring a certain number of tobiano
offspring when bred to Quarter Horses or Thoroughbreds.
“We would definitely support a rule allowing stallions like Cowboy Kasper to
advance to the Regular Registry after meeting certain criteria,” said Bangs.
Currently, however, no such rule is being considered. Nevertheless, it’s
intriguing that some SPBs are refuting the common belief that they’re incapable
of contributing Paint-specific color genes to their offspring.