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Frame Overo TBs: Thoroughbreds That Look Like Paint Horses

Stunning photos of the colored Thoroughbred Variegated have been circulating around social media lately. It is quite rare to see a Thoroughbred with these markings. It has left many people wondering “how could this be?”. How could a purebred Thoroughbred have the same markings as a Paint Horse?

Frame Overo

Frame Overo is a color that can be found in purebred Thoroughbred horses, though it is rare. Each Thoroughbred of this color will carry a Ile118Lys EDNRB mutation gene. This mutation results in a loss of pigment that creates that frame overo pattern that we find so beautiful.

There are a few Frame Overo lines in the Thoroughbred breed. Horses carrying the Frame Overo gene have a 50% chance of passing it down to their offspring. With careful planning and consideration, breeders have been able to continue creating these magnificent looking horses.

How did Variegated get his color?

Variegated is sired by Bah Da Bling, an unraced Frame Overo Thoroughbred. Bah Da Bling's dam Sassie Derby carried the Frame Overo gene. The gene has since been passed down to Variegated!

Variegated is registered with the Jockey Club as being bay, just as his sire and grandsire were registered as chestnuts despite their white markings.

Variegated’s Future

Variegated will not be able to pass on his Frame Overo gene as he is gelded. He did not find success on the racetrack in his debut, though it is not too surprising considering that many of the horses in his pedigree were unraced. However, there is still plenty of time for this gelding to prove himself. His careful training and patience can pay off!

Photographer Dottie Miller says there is already a long line of people interested in this gelding after his time on the racetrack is through. He will certainly make an outstanding sport horse for someone in the future.

Time will tell if his future is as wonderful as his color. The horse racing world will certainly be waiting anxiously to see this boy on the track again.


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