Considerations of Owning A Grey

Discussion in 'Horse Management' started by equinetamer, Jan 12, 2014.

  1. equinetamer

    equinetamer New Member

    What's seemingly wrong with a grey?
    What do you have to do differently or take into consideration when owning one?

    For example, sun protection due to increased chance of melanomas (true or false?), increased time for grooming! :rolleyes:

    Also, I have another question. A friend told me about his mate's horse who was apparently born a very light cream/gold with a dark mane and tail (not saying pally cos it sounds more dun? ), was let out for half a year in pasture (no rugs), brought back in and was white, with a kind of bleached mix of dark and light mane and tail? He wonders if the colour would come back if he was brought back into work and lightly rugged (protected from sun) and fed something like Palomino Gold, would the colour come back in his next coat? Hard to believe if the horse was as white as he said he was.
  2. wawa85

    wawa85 Guest

    No idea about the colour problem with your friends horse.

    I have a grey and as she has dark skin she's fine doesn't require any extra sun protection than any other non grey horse. If a grey has big patches of pink skin I.e. Under white markings I'd put sunscreen on these on high uv days but again this would be the same for any horse with pink skin.
  3. NaeNae87

    NaeNae87 Well-known Member

    I am not sure about your friends horse either.

    I have a grey, he mostly has dark skin except he has a little pink patch on the end of his nose. I just make sure he is wearing a fly veil with a nose cover in summer. I don't use zinc or filtabac as in my experience it rubs off too easily.
    I treat him exactly the same as my chestnut. They get groomed the same, bathed the same and rugged/not rugged the same. The only thing I do differently is use purple shampoo on my grey.
  4. JustJam

    JustJam Well-known Member

    Nothing wrong with a grey - love my grey! I can't imagine owning any other colour (I'm grey bias lol) **)

    He has a bit of pink on his nose so he has a fly-veil with the nose flap to protect from the sun, but I'd probably put one of those on any colour horse anyway... flies walking on my nose would annoy me, so I figure it does them too! lol
  5. myyky

    myyky Well-known Member

    LOL I said I'd never get a grey. I actually didn't think about anything when I bought my gelding, just that he was cute and also supposedly quiet.

    I researched and apparently it doesn't matter whether they have light or dark skin, they are still susceptible to melanoma because the greying process strips the melanin (or something) from the skin. Also apparently homozugous greys grey faster and have a higher chance of cancer.

    I haven't heard of any greys that have died from their melanoma, it seems like most get them in their teen years and live happily with them until they pass away from something unrelated.

    The washing sucks.. but they suit lots of colours and look pretty all the time :D

    Edit: mine is a gelding so no dirty back legs from squirting everywhere :p I'm sure Lucksta can show you pics of her mare when she decides to get dirty!! Haha
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2014
  6. equislave

    equislave Well-known Member

    I love greys and have owned a couple but after my last fella - no way never again. They say they die of old age before the cancer gets them but they don't tell you how bad the cancer can get and how much management it can involve. I realise all horses are different but in the last five years or so we really had to manage him well over summer or his tail would get fly blown and full of maggots. The last two years his tail / anus area was cleaned and treated up to twice a day and he was heavily rugged to keep the flies off him. He was PTS at 27.5 but by then the cancers were a stinking oozing mess, you could smell him long before you saw him. I know I sound negative but so many people underestimate how nasty they can become.
  7. myyky

    myyky Well-known Member

    Why not PTS before it got to that stage? :(
  8. celestialdancer

    celestialdancer Gold Member

    I love my grey dun, she'll eventually completely grey out but for now at least I don't have to worry about white legs ;) However her tail is toffee/black and white and VERY hard to keep clean! Raindeer, her daughter and I spent about two hours washing it before the Royal and it still didn't look clean! Hhaha.

    Although I'd love for my mares to only throw yellows/browns/bays/mouses, I do love the greys, and I think there's something very striking about a clean, well presented, correctly attired grey. And like Mykky said, any colour suits them!
  9. GoWelshCobs

    GoWelshCobs Well-known Member

    My 32yr old pony has melanoma in his anus as well he can still pass manure so ATM we hare happy to let him lived it his years as long as he is comfortable and happy in himself, 2 of his children had to be pts due to the melanomas in their anus's causing them not to be able to pass manure and having compaction colic, one also got them in her jugular and it affected her breathing is she was put into a frame. One was under 10 I'm pretty sure and the other around 20. It can affect some but not others. He had 15 odd foals I think and they are the only ones I know that have had to be pts
  10. Bartholemanew

    Bartholemanew New Member

    I have owned frets all my life have lost a champion riding pony to melanoma he had 50 lumps on his penis and was in his throat and tail. I said I would never own a Grey again well I got another two . My current Grey mare is covered in a summer rug and neck rug . All year round. I refuse to run the risk again . Also chestnuts are also susceptible.
  11. equinetamer

    equinetamer New Member

    So rugging them + a full face fly mask is the best way to go? I've lost every single one of my animals who have died because of cancer. They were never light colours, but everyone seems to be saying grey horses get them more. ';'
  12. Trojane

    Trojane Well-known Member

    Some of my favourite horses have been grey, but I'd avoid another.
    The usual statistics thrown around say that by 15 years of age, about 80% of greys have visible malignant melanomas.

    But if you must go grey, get a quarter horse. QHs appear to have a lower chance of melanoma:
    Coat color genotypes and risk and s... [J Vet Intern Med. 2013 Sep-Oct] - PubMed - NCBI

    These grey melanomas may be complicated by chestnut genes.
    Chestnut horses are like fair, redheaded people.
    The genetic mutation melanocortin-1 (MC1R) gene receptor responsible for red hair also triggers a cancer-promoting pathway.
    Redhead mutation increases melanoma risk | Australasian Science Magazine

    There is work afoot on a melanoma vaccine, not sure of results on this.
  13. wattle6180

    wattle6180 Gold Member

    I've owned greys for most of my horse-owning years :D Not all greys are pre-disposed to melanoma. Follow the pedigrees. If all greys were so risky, breeds like the Andalusian and Lippizaner would have become rarities :)

    I take more care of my black/brown's and chestnut's coats than I do of my greys coat :D

    We've previously leased a horse (TB) who had melanoma. While he didn't die of melanoma, he colic'd (back at his Owner's)and intestinal melanoma ruptures couldn't be ruled out without surgery, and he was later euthanised. Colic surgery wouldn't be viable in a horse that had 3mths previously been given 6mths or 6yrs due to his melanomas.
  14. SueC

    SueC New Member

    Sun exposure appears to have little to do with melanoma in equines. In any event, a body and neck rug mostly covers parts of the horse that don't tend to get melanoma on them. Also most melanomas in grey horses are encapsulated and benign. (Some aren't, but other colour horses can get malignant cancers too. I personally wouldn't make that a purchase consideration. A horse of any colour can end up with a horrible disease. Or break its leg.)

    Super veterinary article on equine melanomas here:

    My grey Arabian mare developed melanomas under the tail aged 17 and is now 32. In that time two of them have gone from grape sized to plum sized. They don't seem to bother her. My commiserations to all of you who have had bad experiences with this kind of stuff. (But aren't you glad your horse had you to care for it?)
  15. InkibahD

    InkibahD Well-known Member

    worst thing about owning a grey is the washing... buy shares in glo white, every time u go anywhere it requires more effort unless you don't care if they are dirty. my boy has all dark skin but he does have a pink penis that he liked to hang out a fair bit.... never thought about that part of him getting cancer till just now

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