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Celtic Blue Eye

June 12, 2021 0 Comments

This post first appeared on October 10, 2011
I wanted to share this photo of Gaefa, an Icelandic mare owned by Chantal Jonkergouw. Chantal was kind enough to give permission to use the photos, which really show how the eyes on some splash overos can be rather strikingly blue.

In Lorna Howlett’s book Complete Book of Ponies (1984), she mentions this tendency in blue-eyed Welsh.

Lorna Howlett

Welshmen contend that this is a true sign of the Welsh Pony, and it is believed to have Celtic origin. This is undoubtedly true. Having seen true blue eyes on ponies in Wales, one cannot confuse them with wall-eyes. True blue eyes are quite lovely – deep forget-me-not blue with no loss of pigmentation.Unlike the wall-eye – a definite fault in my opinion – blue eyes appear only occasionally, apparently lacking the prepotency of the wall-eye.

Ms. Howlett had previously explained how common those ‘faulty’ wall-eyes were, and offered a theory about the horse responsible for their proliferation. With the modern understanding of the splash overo pattern, it’s pretty clear now that whatever the difference in shade among individual ponies, the blue eyes in that breed are part of that pattern.

But it is true that the blue eyes on a lot of splashes are unusually vivid in color.

I caught this particular picture of a splash tovero with the eye partially shaded, but even so the blue is quite bright.

Here is a comparison set between the eye of the black splash in the previous picture, and a cremello. Neither picture was color corrected, though to be fair, this particular cremello had eyes that were rather greenish.

It does not seem that all splashes have vividly blue eyes, though observations along those lines are somewhat limited since we don’t have definitive answers on what is and what is not a splash. It’s also not known if splashes are unique in having these bright blue eyes. It is a tendency in the pattern, though, and one that Gaefa certainly has.

By lkathman

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