Have you ever wondered what it is that makes some horse coats shine with an almost metallic shine? Well, in most cases it is due to a champagne dilution gene which in essence lightens & brightens base coat colors.
Out of all horse breeds around the globe, the one most known for a glowing metallic coat is the mighty Akhal Teke. I have always been under the assumption that the Akhal gleam was due to a champagne gene because it tends to be prevalent in certain breeds.
I was, however, 100% mistaken. The Akhal gleam is from a different source entirely and it’s something that is all their own. There is a long, scientific explanation for this, so I’ll simplify it and interested parties can further research.
It’s All In The Hair
As it turns out, this particular breed has a very unique hair shaft structures. Some of the hairs display specific scale patterns at high magnification and these are thought to be responsible for the metallic sheen. It seems the more smooth and flat the cuticles, the brighter the glow.
Essentially the differently scaled hairs reflect light differently than most horse hairs.
In A Nutshell
This is a very quick and scaled down explanation of this coloring. There isn’t much information online to be found about it, but I collected what I could for those interested in further research.
I thought it was because of how thin and short the coat was…but really interesting
WOW, that is completely fascinating! Great photos to illustrate and a good explanation, too. Mother Nature sure does interesting stuff….thanks for the info!
Thanks for the article explaining the science behind the shimmer. The pictures are gorgeous, too.
Only mother nature knows for sure! I only wish Clairol would bottle it!
Facinating Page – thanks for sharing
yw. It was a real eye opener, the equidae family is incredibly varied.
Living in Colorado and riding gaited horses….I wonder what these shinny horses are used for….dressage….jumping….?
They are desert horses and known for their incredible stamina & strength. I think they are making their way into a variety of equestrian disciplines.
why are they so thin? I find the exposed ribs unattractive
They are thin because they are in top physical condition. I’d say the white guy is an older horse…and looks a bit wane due to old age and having a longer back-line (not so good conformation wise). The horse in the last photo is a nice one…tho the head is not as refined as an Arabians. Looks like a kind horse with good body conformation..and that SHINE….triple love it !