Humans have been fascinated by white horses for millennia. Geneticists have now pinpointed the "genetic architecture" that connects blonde manes in people and equines. The study of white horses goes all the way back to ancient Rome, where depigmented horses were identified as "candidus" (white) or "glaucus" (gray). The PLoS Genetics journal notes that two thousand years ago, the white horse was held sacred by the Saxons. It served as an augur for the German tribes, its behavior considered a sign of divine approval or disapproval. The white horse was so revered that it featured on the flags of Lower Saxony and North Rhine-Westphalia. Even earlier, white horses were celebrated by the Celts in Great Britain. The White Horse of Uffington (Oxfordshire, England) is Bronze Age hillside artefact, dating back approximately 3,000 years. The figure of a 374-foot long horse (perhaps representing the Celtic horse goddess Epona) was cut into the soil, its white coat naturally pigmented by the chalk beneath the turf.
The PLoS Genetics journal points out that most white horses carry a "graying-with-age mutation." They are born with a solid-coloured coat which turns white by age of four to six. However, occasionally a pony is born with a solid white coat. Take, for example, the solid white mare named Cigale, born in 1957 out of solid brown parents from the Swiss Franches-Montagnes Horse population. Geneticists have studied all of Cigale's white-born descendants and isolated an inherited mutation in their pigment forming cells. Different horse populations, such as white Thoroughbreds, Arabians, and Camarillo White Horses, reveal independent pigmentation mutation events. In other words, the white horses in each equine family exhibit their own special brand of mutation leading to their white coats. But the common chromosomal factor appears to be what geneticists call the KIT gene, responsible not only for white horses but also for blonde people.White horses appear in the religious literature of many lands. Here's a small sampling:
Here is some blonde ponytail inspiration from the COLOURlovers library: Cover by superdove.
About the Guest Author, Craig ConleyWebsite: http://www.OneLetterWords.comCraig is an independent scholar and author of dozens of strange and unusual books, including a unicorn field guide and a dictionary of magic words. He also loves color: Prof. Oddfellow