The Post of Don Sam Incognito

A quick update before I head to the Nutcracker.

A fellow writer, Sue Ann Bowling, has been running a series of posts on her blog Homecoming on the genetics of horse color.   She recently posted on the palomino and the genetics of a black coat–and used a photo of Mattie to illustrate a black horse who gets brown in her coat in summer.  I’m still not clear on Mattie’s color.  It’s more romantic for her to be a black, but there’s less cultural baggage in how humans view her if she’s a dark bay–a bit more ordinary and less of a diva, in her case.

As for Sam–the flea-bitten gray whose winter coat is completely white–I’m still waiting to see what she has to say about that color pattern.

Sue’s a scientist–a meteorologist by profession–who has dedicated a lot of her life to training border collies and has a life-long love of horses.  Though she can no longer ride, she faithfully comes to the fair to watch the dressage–part of a small crowd of dedicated dressage fans in the interior.  In past years, I was in that crowd; this year, Mattie and I were in the arena.  Still fans, but taking the next step.

Sue is also a “speculative fiction” novelist–writing in the genre that crosses the line between science fiction and fantasy.  Her book, Homecoming, was released this year–I read early drafts years ago–and is getting some nice reviews.  She has a new book in the works, too.

We’ve gone from freezing rain, to deep cold, to normal temperatures around ten below.  Mattie and Sam are bored, but doing the horsey things they do in winter–positioning themselves to catch the sunlight as it slants into the corral for a brief hour or so each day, flipping the tires in their corral to see if any bits of hay are still inside, and standing at the fence, staring at the hay barn, hoping some passing human will take the hint.  We’re about two weeks out from solstice now–the dark time, the quiet, inward time of year.  In a month, the light will be returning, and on days of zero or above when I can get home before dark, I’ll begin the slow process of longeing and ground work to get them fit for summer.

Till then, it’s fun to read Sue’s detailed writing on horse colors–enjoy!

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