One Person Can Make a DifferenceWhen Arabian breeder Karen Malcor-Chapman (of KpM Cornerstone Arabians, in Norco, CA) had a Part-Arabian foal born carrying a rare and unique coloring, she was thrilled! When she went to register him, she found out that the IAHA (International Arabian Horse Association) didn't have a classification for his color at all. Her choices were to pick the accepted color that most closely matched his look, or to lobby for a change in the registration process. Having always had an interest in genetics, and being a stickler for accuracy, she decided to lobby.
Karen collected books and articles documenting the color "Champagne" and explaining that it is a whole different gene unto itself, and not just a "shade" of another color. She copied articles, printed out (in color) websites, sent color photos and color copies to document and educate. After 10 months of back-and-forth communication, waiting for the annual Convention (where
the Registries board forgot to vote on the issue), getting people involved online, and waiting for the January 1999 meeting of the Registries Board, finally the vote was taken, and Karen's colt (named "Khalvin Khlein KpM" because of his "designer genes") is now the first horse registered with IAHA as a Champagne!
What's more, there will now be a space on the [AHA registration application under color that will read "Other:_____" so that future owners of Champagne, or ANY other color that isn't currently listed, can have their horses registered correctly!Champagne is a gene only recently identified as a separate locus, that acts much like the gene that causes palomino and buckskin, but with some significant differences: Champagnes are born with bright pink skin and BRIGHT blue eyes, and their eye color actually changes as they grow up, fading into a green-grey, and then darkening into a hazel brown, usually lighter than normal horse eye colors. They retain a pinkish skin tone throughout their life, although darker mottling can appear. When Champagne acts on a black base coat ("Classic Champagne"), the horse is turned into a grey/brown/gold shade with darker mane and tail. On a chestnut base coat ("Golden Champagne"), horses can either look palomino (gold with white manes and tails) or all golden all over! On a bay base coat ("Amber Champagne"), the horse looks sort of like a buckskin, but the points, mane and tail are a lovely chocolate brown rather than black. Karen's colt Khalvin is an Amber Champagne, as was his dam, a lovely mare who died in 1998. If Khalvin is bred when he gets older, he will have a 50% chance of passing the color onto each of his get.
The Champagne gene is discussed in more detail in the book EQUINE COLOR GENETICS by D.Phillip Sponenberg, DVM, PhD, and there are photos of Karen's Champagne horses at the KpM Cornerstone website. Karen can be contacted for more information or for photos of Khalvin, at: (909) 734-7307 or fax: (909) 372.9455
Our thanks to Karen for submitting her story.
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