Camarillo White Horse History
 By Saferaphus   •   2nd Aug 2017   •   462 views   •   0 comments

Most horses that are white didnít start out that way. Horses that are white are often actually greys. They start out a dark color and as they age, their hair coat turns white. The skin color of a grey horse, even though its coat has turned entirely white, is grey. So there are very few horses that we see that are truly white with no pigment in their skin or coat. But there are indeed exceptions such as the Camarillo White Horse.

The Camarillo White horse is not a new breed but it has always been rare. Established just over a hundred years ago from a single stallion, the breed existed almost solely in California. The foundation stallion, Sultan, was said to be a Spanish Mustang, pure white in color. Sultan was crossed with Morgan mares, and for the first half of the breedís history, the offspring was only owned by the one family that developed it.

Although its color is important, early crosses with Morgan horses helped make the Camarillo White Horse more than just a color breed. A specific showy, sturdy type was also ideal. One family, whose last name was Camarillo, controlled the breeding of these horses. It wasnít until the death of the founderís daughter in 1987, that the horses were sold and the exclusive ownership by the Camarillo family came to an end.

By the early 1990s however, there were only 11 of the horses left. So, it was decided that a Camarillo White Horse Association should be formed and horses of other breeds crossed to bolster the bloodlines. To ensure the hardiness, other breeds were introduced such as Standardbreds, and Andalusians. By the following year, there were 15 horses in the registry

These horses with brilliant white coats and the presence of the Morgan and Mustang ancestors were popular sights in parades and other events. They appeared regularly at the Tournament of Roses Parade in California.

Breeding all white horses is a challenge and not without its pitfalls. The white coat color occurs thanks to a dominant white gene. If both mare and stallion give this dominant gene to the foal, it will not survive to term. When two white horses are bred, there is only a 50% chance they will produce a white foal. There is a 25% the foal will be another color, and there is a 25% the foal will not survive.

This is not Lethal White syndrome, that leads to complications when breeding Paint Horses. Because breeders are concerned with not just the color, but the quality of the foals they breed for, the Association's motto is ďBreed for conformation and pray for a white foal.Ē

Thanks to genetic science, identifying true Camarillo White horses has become easier. The gene that gives the horses the white color and pink skin is a mutation. An inexpensive test can determine if the horse you wish to breed has the specific ĎW4 mutationí unique to the Camarillo White Horse.

These horses are not albinos. Albino horses donít actually exist. Another North American breed, the American White Horse also has a similar background, and genetic story.
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