Blue Horse

Odd blue-colored horse (a HOOFED MAMMAl) of South Africa.

Physical description: Shoulder height, just under 5 feet. Smooth, blue-mauve skin. Completely hairless. Buff-colored face. One large, beige patch on its back. Tail like a pig's.

Behavior: Can be broken in for riding. Performs well in harness.

Distribution: South Africa. Significant sighting: In South Africa in 1860, a man named Lashmar spotted a blue-colored horse in a herd of Quaggas (Equus quagga). He captured it and sent it to Cape Town, where it was sold and sent to London in 1863. It was ridden as a fox-hunting horse on Lord Stamford's estate, examined by Charles Spooner at the Royal Veterinary College in London, then sold in February 1868 to a Mr. Moffat for exhibition at the Crystal Palace. By then its original blue coloration had faded to gray.

Possible explanation: A mutant form of a gene controlling hair development could produce hairlessness, according to Karl Shuker. Presence of the pigment eumelanin in combination with others might result in a blue color. Where the horse came from or why it was accompanying a herd of quaggas is unknown.

Sources: C. O. G. Napier, "The Blue Horse," Land and Water, February 22, 1868, app., p. 80; Karl Shuker, "A Horse of a Different Color," Fate 47 (May 1994): 66-69.

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