Foxvangen's Que Se Ra

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Foxvangen's Que Se Ra at age 7

 

Que's story is really pretty short and sweet. She has had little trauma in her life and there are no real exciting tales of misdeeds or anything when it comes to her. She is a lovely, sweet natured, well conformed and highly gaited mare that we utterly adore.

Foxvangen's Que Se Ra is a daughter of Chief's Magic Ribbon H. Her sire is Monatana's Blue Nugget P. Her name means " What will be". There is significance to that name.

At birth Que was quite dark even after she was dried off

We had bred Ribbon to Nugget just prior to our move to Arkansas, therefore Que was one of the very first foals we had after our big move. We had just completed construction of our main barn in April and Que was born May 6! That was great timing.

Right from the very moment she entered the world we knew she was a special filly and that she would become part of our farm forever. But we didn't know just how special she was until much later.

When Que was born she was quite dark. Not just from being wet but her hair was naturally quite dark and more to a brown tone than red as most of our chestnuts are. She had just one tiny little white mark on her forehead too little to really even call a star. She also had just a thumbprint of white on one coronet band and no other white markings.

For all rights and purposes Que looked like a typical chestnut foal that was simply a bit darker than average. Once she was thoroughly dry and out in the sunlight she looked a little more to the red tones but was still really dark for a newborn. Around her eyes and muzzle the hair was quite a bit lighter than the rest of her hair and her legs had more color to them than most of our sorrels or chestnuts have. We made note of all this and just filed it away as being unique.

At only two hours of age Que is darker than most of our newborns ( she is standing slightly down hill which makes her look hip high)

Another odd thing regarding Que's coloring was not discovered for another day or two. You see Que was born with blue eyes! Her eyes were not the typical grayish blue of normal baby blue eyes and not an actual blue eye that is going to stay blue. Her eyes were a deep true blue but they had a silver ring in them that almost looked as if there was a metal band inside the eye.

Que's sister, Foxvangen's Aysha had been born with similar eyes only Ayshas were a bright Periwinkle blue not the the deep royal blue like Que.

Que's sire, Nugget had green eyes with gold specks in them so we just thought he was producing some form of eye color dilution. He was very metallic in his coat and the color of it was a light peachy golden color.

Montana's Blue Nugget P. at the age of three. He was not just palomino.

Que was an inquisitive little girl with a docile nature and a sweet disposition that just endeared her to us more than she already was. She reminded me of a little pixie or elf. She was very feminine and dainty in her actions but boy she could tear around like crazy when she wanted to move. She was a blast to watch and I think she knew it because she would show off as if she was putting on a show for us. She was the sort that just made a person feel like cuddling her.

As a baby Que Se Ra looked like a little Pixie or Elf meant for cuddling

Though she was not overly tall at birth, Que had very long legs and boy did they grow! It seemed every time I turned around her legs had gotten even longer.

A few days after Que was born, we were visited by two Mustang geldings who managed to break out of their paddock one night and not stopping there they broke into Ribbon's stall. "For more detail see Ribbon's story." They also broke or bent all the other mare's gates but because they swung up hill the geldings could not get into those paddocks.

When they entered Ribbon's stall she immediately went on defense to guard her new little filly. Needless to say when we found Ribbon in the morning she was a badly injured mare but she had kept Que safe from harm. Not one hair on that filly had been damaged

Due to the extent of Ribbon's injuries Que had to stay in the paddock with Ribbon for a few weeks as Ribbon healed her wounds. When she finally got to go back out to pasture she was a bit lost as to how to interact with the other foals but soon made friends.

She has never been pushy or an alpha type so most of the horses accepted her without a problem. She was also curious about everything. She had to smell, feel and taste everything in her realm.

She was such a sweet and docile little girl it was surprising how hard she could play. She had a lot of energy but she controlled it wonderfully well and wasn't antsy or hyper. When she moved, she meant business!

She was younger and smaller than some of the other foals but she took up their challenges and played just as though she was as old as the others!

Que at three months jumping up on a burm that the other colt could step up on. she never was intimidated or backed down from a challenge of ability. Notice how she is lighter around her eyes and muzzle rather than darker as would be most foals!

When Que was three months old she began to shed her foal coat. First, as it is with most foals, she shed around her eyes, nose and muzzle where she rubbed up against her mother to nurse. Most foals are born light and darken at foal shed, but Que was born dark and shed lighter. She reminded me of a mule foal with her coloring and long ears!

She was not exactly the most striking beauty at that age but she made up for it by being a real sweet heart of a filly.

We tried to determine what color she was. At first we thought she might be champagne because she was born with pink skin, blue eyes and was born dark and shed to light which are some of the criteria for that color. But as she matured more her skin turned to a nearly white color. It looked neither pink nor black and not even gray. It was as white as paper! The only dark skin on her was around her eyes.

We asked several vets about it because we were not sure if skin that color denoted a deficiency of some sort. No one really knew what to tell us but all her blood work turned out perfect so they told us not to worry about it.

All the same it was a curiosity we wanted to more fully understand. There were no tests for Champagne or Pearl at the time so we sent photos of eyes, skin and coat to Dr. Sponenberg who thought she was likely a Champagne. He felt that way especially since her sire, Nugget had the green eyes and pink skin.

When Que started shedding her foal coat she shed lighter rather than darker!

The strange thing is, many of his foals had pink skin and blue eyes that turned to amber eventually but they all developed dark skin around the eyes and they all developed sort of a silvery gray skin with mottling on their muzzles.

If Que was a simple chestnut she should have dark, near black or black skin and hooves on legs with no white markings. Her feet were a light brown, and her skin never did get black or anything near that! Her blue eyes turned dark and we at first thought they were brown but closer examination showed they are actually a dark amber!

As she shed her foal coat she looked very much like a patch work quilt. Very unbecoming actually yet intriguing because it was not the normal way chestnuts look when they shed their foal coats.

It took forever for her to shed even though it was really hot. By time she was four months she was only about half way through the shedding process and was growing well but she was certainly no raving beauty!

Around her eyes the hair was turning a sort of muted brassy color and her lower legs had turned the same brassy almost gold color. Her wild mane was getting lighter as well and was frizzy and unruly. Talk about an ugly duckling and that about sums up Que at that age!

Que had long ears and shed light around her eyes and her mane was a frizzy mess!

It was almost as if she was developing reverse shading. Her foal coat was short and woolly but we were impatient to see what it hid! Ribbon is a very dark, common chestnut with black dapples. There was nothing unique or unusual there at all so we felt whatever was going on with Que's coat had to come from Nugget. Several of his foals had been born with the bright blue eyes and odd skin but only a couple were born dark and shed to light, Que was one of them.

Still shedding at four months her feet are still light brown and her new coat is a sandy sort of brassy color.

Between four and five months Que did a lot of growing and filling out! She just suddenly started to grow and develop so fast she looked different from one day to the next! Her color turned to a muted apricot color but her mane went bright orange!! Her mane had been a bit reddish brown and then went to sort of a red gold but within a couple weeks it changed to a brilliant orange color!

She also started getting darker along boney prominences yet she was still very light around her eyes.

Que's mane turned bright orange and her body color looked almost metallic but she was still lighter around her eyes at four months.

The more she changed colors the more intrigued we became but there was no way to really know what she was. All we knew is that she was unusual so we took photos and made notes as to what we saw as she continued to evolve and develop her coat.

As a yearling Que was quite yellow-looking and rather metallic. Her mane and tail were the same color as her body.

After shedding her winter coat in the summer of her yearling year Que turned sort of yellow gold. Of course since her sire was a palomino we began to wonder if perhaps she was actually a dark, one toned palomino. I had seen horses in Montana at Mr. Muma's place that looked like that. We tested Que for the cream gene, but she tested negative for the cream gene! She was sure yellow gold however so we were more and more convinced there was something different going on with her color.

Her muzzle became more and more silvery looking and yet he skin was still not dark. She was becoming mottled on her skin any place we could see the skin yet the skin around her eyes was dark. The only place on her body that was and that is just the way several of the foals from Nugget did. That is the way Nugget himself was! Pink skinned except around the eyes.

The summer she turned two her coloring became what we termed "pumpkin colored". Her skin began to finally darken yet did not go remotely dark enough to be considered "normal" chestnut skin. Her feet began to get stripes on them that were a medium gray. The gray overlayed the golden brown of her feet and then more stripes came along after that until her feet started to look a grayish brown.

At Two Que's coloring was a bit deeper but still had a rather odd tone to it.

She still had a little of the metallic golden hair around her pasterns but was starting to look closer to what a normal chestnut would look. Her eyes darkened and her mane lost the orange look.

By the time she was three we had really exhausted all avenues for attempting to figure out what was going on with her color. We determined there were no clear answers to what was going on with it and that was that.

Eventually a test was devised for champagne and pearl so we had her tested. In both cases she tested negative. It would appear there was no answer to the mystery of the strange coloring.

As a three year old Que's coloring more or less stabilized for want of a better word. Her spring shed brought out the odd pumpkin coloring again but it was lighter and in some way more dilute looking than it had been at the age of two.

It was also in her third year we noticed that her color looked different depending upon the direction light hit it. It was as if she was one tone when light hit one side of the nap and quite another tone when the light hit the opposite side of the nap. Some fabrics are like that.

In Que's third year she began to look rather "pumpkin" colored. She had filled out nicely and was beginning to really shape up into a lovely mare.

Que also began to really fill out and mature in her third year showing a lot of promise and was for the first time actually beginning to look like something. She was becoming quite pretty and when she moved she was full of grace and elegance that attracted me to her.

While we were curious and studying her coat color she was busy growing up. She enjoyed romping with her siblings and cousins and was a perfect lady in the pasture. If there was ever discord it was not caused by Que.

In the summer we moved the fillies down to the lower pasture where the grass is much better and they have good space to run and play. One early morning as I filled water tanks the fillies all took off running their usual morning laps around the field. The only thing different about that morning is that particular day I had my camera with me!

It was barely daylight yet the whole group as if someone shot a starting gun, suddenly took off running perimeter laps of the field.

Que in the foreground during a daily early morning romp with her siblings and cousins.

To me there is nothing more rewarding or delightful than to watch beautiful healthy horses having an early morning romp! They seemed to enjoy it so much they really put on quite a show. The elderly neighbor who lives on the hill above this pasture watches the horses each day. She says they are so entertaining she misses them when they come back up the hill in the winter.

Of all her playmates Que's favorite was Foxangen's Summer Heat. The two were inseparable and spent long hours scratching backs. But each day they also took time to have a nice run or a gaiting fest where they would gait as fast as they could seeming to be trying to best one another.

It is my practice to spend a good bit of time observing the young stock in particular. I like to see how they use their bodies, how their gaits stack up to my specifications, and how many gaits they utilize as they play.

Que defaults to the foxtrot and uses her front end real well. She keeps flat kneed and never falls short on her stride trajectory. Even when she walks she uses extension and keeps her knees flat.

She has long forearms and a good shoulder which she knows very well how to use! Her hind stride is remarkable as well.

Even at a leisurely walk, Que uses her legs to perfection. She keeps flat kneed and has extension.

Que began to develop a lovely elegance that still brings a smile to my face when I see it. She is a very feminine mare and is deceiving in her energy level. She is quite unassuming and fun without attitude. She is also a bit of a prankster in that she can unlock gates faster than I can and is a houdini with her stall door so it is double locked and has a snap on it so she can't get it open!

She is lovely to watch move and is satiny smooth in action. Even though she is a big bodied mare she is also very agile like her mother which pleases us to no end. She is sure footed and athletic. Quite nimble on her feet in fact. She looks bigger than she is due to her body mass.

Que with her favorite pasture buddy, Summer Heat

When she gets next to a typical chestnut her odd toning really starts to stand out. At times throughout the year if the sun hits her just right her coat looks lemon yellow like it has been wrapped in yellow cellophane. It is quite odd looking but intriguing.

If we could improve anything on Que it would be to give her heavier bones and joints. While her bones measure adequate according to the standards set down by Dr. Deb Bennett, we would still like to see a bit more and larger, flat joints.

Conformationally, however, she is a very strong mare with a tight, short back, remarkably well muscled loin, huge hip and a wonderful shoulder. She has a lovely long forearm and nice straight limbs without flaws or deviations. She has nice big, well-shaped feet with thick hoof walls and big frogs.

Que has the long, lean muscling so desired for activities such as endurance, field trials or speed at distance. She has a long under line and a real nice top line so she is a very nice mare that is built to move. Still no horse is perfect and to improve on her would be to give her a bit more bone and bigger joints.

We don't mind that some of our mares are a little light in the bone because our stallions are so hefty in that department. Their combined offspring come out just where we want them to. Great flat, big joints and really nice bone.

Que is a very elegant and feminine mare that is smooth as glass in motion.

Que is so gaited she just can't help moving in gait. She is never slouchy in her action so even at liberty she uses her body to advantage. We like to see that in our horses. She also has good energy without being fractious or hyper. She is not overly reactive or skiddish.

We commonly pony our horses with the truck from one field to another when we change pasture. Our farm is divided in half by a road so we pony down our driveway and then up the road to the lower pasture gate. Que is so fun to pony because she steps right out and foxtrots up that road like crazy. Her rhythm on the road sounds like castanets and is just wonderful to hear as she clips along with an energetic, ground eating foxtrot. She goes to work and does not even seem to notice objects along the way that can tend to spook some horses.

At age Seven Que matured and balanced out to a remarkably beautiful mare. She stands 15 hands and tapes at 1056 lbs.

Que has a lovely head and a big, soft eye. Her head shows refinement and good breeding with an intelligent set to her ears. She has a nice throatlatch and a balanced length to her neck. She is decidedly worth retaining as part of our breeding program.

Que has a very feminine and lovely head and presence about her

As a mature mare her coat color is still odd and her skin is still not black or anywhere close to that. Her eyes appear dark at first glance however they are actually dark amber. Her muzzle is still silvery with mottling.

Still intrigued by her odd color and the fact her skin, like Aysha's , did not darken to black or near black with maturity, we sent more photos to Dr. Sponenberg. We had her tested for SB1 Sabino which can alter skin coloring but she tested negative for that as well!

Dr. Sponenberg said she may be some dilute color that has yet to be discovered. Or she may be a single mutation. We kept that in mind for future reference and planned to monitor her offspring to see what their skin, eyes and coat color would be.

In the photo below you can see the eye on the shady side appears to be dark brown, but if you look closely to the eye on the sun side, it is clear her eyes are amber.

Que's eyes are actually dark amber. "Normal" chestnuts would have brown eyes.

Inside the eye there is a metallic-looking ring that all these horses stemming from Nugget have. It almost looks like a ring of tin foil inside the eye and they have it from birth.

A close up of her eye in light shows it is actually amber and not brown at all as it appears to be at first glance.

Her muzzle is silvery with white whiskers and mottled skin. The skin base color is a dove gray rather than the black or near black of a typical chestnut.

Her skin color is pink with gray mottling. If she were simply a chestnut she would have very dark or black skin and feet yet she does not.

Because of other constraints and our reluctance to trust another trainer, Que did not go to saddle training as a four year old so instead we bred her. Her first foal was sired by Dan'Na's Magni whom we owned at the time. He was a palomino and white Tobiano of foundation breeding and one of the most natural foxtrotting horses we have ever known. Magni had great bone and joints and some of the very best tie ins in the breed which is just what Que needed to improve the next generation.

Dan'Na's Magni at age 3 at liberty foxtrotted everywhere he went if he wasn't galloping! He has a lot of natural head nod and good rhythm.

The result of that mating produced Foxvangen's Elfin. Interestingly Elfin was born with the bright blue eyes just like her mother and all her siblings. At birth Elfin was really dark sort of a burnt apricot color and then, like her dam, eventually shed lighter. Her skin remained pink and her eyes evolved to amber.

Elfin, unlike her dam tests positive for cream which means she is palomino however her color tone was exactly like her dam was at the age of three!

By time she was three months old, however Elfin's coloring changed radically. No longer was she pumpkin colored. Instead she was extremely sooty. Any place she was shedding she was a taupe color so dark as to be nearly black.

Elfin developed to very sooty, near black when she first began to shed.

About the time we decided we may have a sooty palomino in the making, Elfin underwent yet another radical color change. At a year she was nearly white! No sign at all of sooty and no sign of gold either! It was rather shocking to see how light she was birth and considering how very dark she had been as a foal and weanling.

At one year of age, Elfin was nearly white! Quite a shocking change from her coloring as a foal or weanling!

Elfin only stayed light like this for a short time and then began to change to gold but her skin remained pink except in areas where the skin is exposed. In those areas her skin turned medium gray with freckling and mottling. We had her tested for SB1 Sabino and she tested negative just as had her dam...Que.

By the age of four, Elfin was a golden palomino without a glimmer of sooty. Her skin was still pink and her eyes had turned amber. Her muzzle is silvered and speckled like her dam only the freckling is very subdued.

Elfin's pink skin has a grayish cast to it but has not in her four years of life changed to a "normal" palomino skin color which should be a dark gray or black.

Elfin got better bone and joints from Magni and the palomino coloring but her conformation, action and way of traveling is more like Que. She also got the refined head from Que with the amber eyes.

Elfin has a very lovely, feminine head and a stylish elegance

Overall the mating between Que and Dan'Na's Magni produced just as we'd hoped it would. An elegant, substantial, naturally gaited mare with a sweet nature, symmetry and style. We could not have hoped for more. The fact she also seemed to carry the odd gene which diluted her skin and eyes and feet was simply a curiosity.

The next time Que was mated to our senior stallion, Foxvangen's Toy Boy. Again we anxiously awaited the birthing day. Toy Boy produces very gentle natured, strong foals with fabulous bone and joints, a natural foxtrot and a solid thinking mind.

The object of this mating was to again increase joint and bone size on the foal while retaining Que's elegance, style and wonderful way of traveling.

Foxvangen's Toy Boy stands 1 hands and weighs 1200 lbs. He is a gentle giant with a dynamic personality and a solid, true foxtrot.

Since Que carried no Clarkson blood we felt the cross to Toy would be a very good choice for her and would add that great old blood to the offspring. The results of that mating was a good looking colt we named Foxvangen's Noble Ambassador. He was born solid chestnut...however he carried the odd dilution gene because once again he was born with blue eyes, modified skin and feet.

At 18 months Noble was a striking youngster with presence, style and grace. He had more bone and joints than his dam and was nimble and smooth moving. His extremely docile and sweet natured personality was a delight.

Noble at the age of 2 still had the silvered muzzle hair and dilute skin. His hoof color was certainly not close to black as it ought to have been given he was a chestnut. His eyes are a dark amber like Ques. Like Que he tested negative for SB1 Sabino.

Noble was also born curly. His hair coat was like lamb's wool. It was so fine that the hair had to be double magnified to be able to print out when it was used as part of a study on curly hair. Out of all the horses tested that year, Noble's hair was the finest. When he shed his foal coat he shed straight and has never looked curly since, however he tested hypoallergenic with three different people with horse allergies.

Like Que, Noble's feet are dilute when they should be black. His feet are very solid and thick walled and strong, they are simply not black as a chestnut's feet ought to be!

For Que's third breeding we bred her to our Junior stallion, Foxvangen's Solaris. Solaris is another of the progeny of Montana's Blue Nugget P. He is a light palomino with dilute skin and eyes and feet just as so many of Nuggets direct offspring. Solaris's dam is Foxvangen's Belle Lyra. She is Que's sister and the daughter to Nugget.

Lyra carries the Nugget genes which she passed along to her son, Solaris That makes it possible for a foal from the mating between Solaris and Que Se Ra to have two copies of whatever the gene is causing these interesting characteristics.

In 2009 Que foaled a wonderful colt we named Foxvangen's Druid. At this writing he is only a month old. Druid was born with the dilute skin, coat and eyes! His eyes were white at birth and have been changing to a blue/silver tone but it looks as if they will eventually mature to either amber or perhaps the green of his grandsire.

Druid is the same color Elfin was as a foal. I believe this tone comes from Que.

Born on Halloween, Druid is a very strong foal that was able to lift himself up on his hind legs within a couple hours of his birth. Not rearing where a foal jumps up, he simply lifts himself up.

At birth Druid's eyes were white!

At two weeks Druid's eyes took on a slightly blue tone.

The cross between Solaris and Que appears to be an excellent one and one we will surely repeat. It may be that Druid inherited two copies of the odd dilution gene and that may be what caused his eyes to be exceptionally light at birth.

You can see in the above photo that his eye lashes are nearly red at the base and nearly white at the tips.

At a month of age, Druid's eyes are a clear blue and the eye lashes are now gold. His eyes will likely turn amber. It will be interesting to see what his skin, hooves and eyes do.

All the data on Que, her siblings and her offspring have been forwarded to Dr Sponenberg. He is ever more convinced she carries a single dilution of some sort and is currently discussing this with his colleagues to see if one of them is willing to try to locate the gene causing this oddity.

Meantime Que will have the year off in 2010 to get saddle trained and have some down time from parenthood. She is a valuable asset to our breeding program but we also want her to be a saddle horse and not just breed her to death. She is too good not to breed but in moderation.

What we want from Que to add to our bloodline is her lovely symmetry, amazing natural foxtrot, her reach, style, grace and agility. We want her lovely, people-friendly nature and her kind spirit.

What we would like to add to Que's offspring would be a little more bone and larger joints

We have found a trainer we can trust and look forward to riding this lovely mare.

 

 

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