Cheryl Kavicky & her Flaxen Chestnut Haflinger, Donny
Palomino and Flaxen Chestnut horses can look very much alike. There is a genetic difference, however. Palomino is a Red-based horse with the Creme gene, which dilutes the body from chestnut to golden, and dilutes the points to very pale gold, even white. Flaxen chestnut is a red-based horse with the Flaxen gene, which turn its points to light gold or white.
Flaxen Chestnuts, when bred to one another, breed true. They produce more Flaxen Chestnuts. The Haflinger is an example of such a breed. This is because Red and Flaxen will only manifest if they are homozygous for that gene; i.e. Red results only when there are two "e" genes. A single "E" will overpower it, resulting in a black horse. Flaxen, the other Recessive color gene, only affects Red. Flaxen on a Black base coat has no effect. Since Flaxen Chestnuts are homozygous for both red and flaxen, they will always reproduce flaxen and chestnut.
Palomino, however, does not breed true. If two Palominos (each contributing one red and one creme gene to the new foal) are bred together, the resulting offspring will be: 25% chestnut, 50% Palomino, and 25% Cremello.
The only way to reliably produce Palomino is to breed Chestnut to Cremello.
Mustangs with no known ancestry cannot always be identified for certain, as to whether they are deep palominos or light flaxen chestnuts.
Nellis (Nevada Wild Horse Range)