Montana's Blue Nugget P.

Nugget at 2 years of age


Montana's Blue Nugget P. V-98

We first found Nugget on the internet at the web page for the Peterson's in Montana. We had been looking for a stallion prospect to act as a cross out stallion for our breeding program and wanted to incorporate some other old Missouri Foxtrotter lines of Foundation stock at the same time.

We liked the look of Nugget and his pedigree pretty well and felt he would add some refinement to the heads and necks of some of our horses plus bring in a bit of color. He had a good hip and nice shoulder as well as a long forearm that we like to see. He was not as strong in the bone and joint as Toy Boy but we felt it worth exploring to produce fillies from him to take back to Toy.

As it happened the Petersons had relatives that lived quite near us so transporting was not a problem. We made the purchase and waited anxiously for Nugget to arrive.

One of the first photos we saw of Nugget

It was winter when he came and he had more hair on him than a good coated bear! My what a gob of fur he had. His coat was woolly and deep and long but it was also rather dull and brittle looking.

Petersons had wormed Nugget just prior to shipping but wormers are not as affective as they once were so we figured we needed to really purge this kid. We wormed him and it was utterly disgusting what came out of him! No wonder his coat was brittle and coarse!

We waited ten days and wormed him again and once again he passed so many worms I'm amazed he didn't suffer a blockage! We waited ten days and wormed him yet again… STILL he was passing absolutely cups full of worms.

Next we double dosed him with Ivermectin. EEGADS!!!! That poor colt passed every kind of worm you could think of and in mass quantities. AND he was still loaded with long worms. We just could not seem to get him cleaned out! This was before the advent of daily wormer so what to do?

We called the vet and had her run a fecal on him. She was very concerned because she knew we had been worming him every ten days and yet he was still packing a load. She recommended we do a five day Panacur worming. We did. Every day he passed more and more worms.

When he arrived, Nugget was woolly as a bear and dull coates as well as somewhat pot bellied from a monster worm load!

After that cycle we waited ten days which is the average life cycle of the parasites and then we wormed him with a double does of Ivermectin again! AND again we still got piles of worms. I mean it was just terrible! He passed more worms than stool!

All this while Nugget seemed perfectly healthy and happy. He ate well and had good energy. He played and was active and didn't seem to be affected by the terrible infestation he was harboring at all!

When the five day and double dose follow up with Ivermectin didn't work we called the vet again! She came out and this time she tube wormed him. She lived just around the corner from us and had seen what we had been getting out of this poor horse. She couldn't believe it herself. She really could not believe he could harbor that many worms and still not have a blockage!

We had contacted Petersons to warn them that they may have the same problem with others of their horses. It would have been remiss of us not to do so.

As a yearling he was upright and developing well though small.

To make a gross and long story short, Nugget got wormed every 10 days for a year before we finally got ONE pile that didn't have worms in it. We celebrated when we finally got him cleaned out! But we were then concerned he'd be immune to the wormers.

Our fears were unfounded when after several months he was still clear and never seemed to get a load of any parasites afterward with just normal rotational worming.

Nugget slicked off in the spring to a lovely mellow yellow tone that was very iridescent and smooth. We noticed however that his skin was pink! His eyes were a deep moss green with gold flecks in them.

The skin on his muzzle was silver gray but the skin around his eyes was nearly black. How odd that he would have pink skin everywhere else…inside ears, under the tail, genitals etc yet have dark skin around the eyes!

Like so many other things we just thought it was a novel and just a "Nugget" thing.

By 18 months he was showing signs of being a real pretty horse!

I called Mrs. Peterson and asked…"When Nugget was born did you notice anything unusual about him?" Instantly she replied " Why yes! He had the most brilliant blue eyes you ever saw!"

A short time later the champagne gene was identified. Some of the clues to champagne prior to there being a test for it, was foals were born with bright blue eyes that turned either amber or green and their skin was pink!

I sent pictures of Nuggets eyes and skin to Dr. Sponenberg who felt Nugget qualified as being champagne but by then there was also a champagne registry that had sprung up and they refused Nugget because the skin around his eyes was dark.

Nugget was a very active horse yet not hyper. He was gentle as a kitten yet he had the spirit of eagles. He performed many gaits in pasture but spent most of his time galloping. He worked his body like a stock horse and was so fast he would toss mud clear over the top of the barn when he took off racing. I mean totally over the barn! He was agile and quick on his feet as a little fox and loved to do quick stops and turns just for sport.

Nugget at 18 months had the presense and style we liked to see.

In my opinion his active nature was an inherited trait from Mack K's Yankee. He was a pretty boy with a lot of go but he didn't take too kindly to being penned up. He wanted to MOVE!

Nugget was very respectful and quick to learn. He never, ever challenged my authority and he never once showed temper or tried to dominate me. He was just a very friendly, relaxed sort of colt that liked to play.

When Nugget became old enough to breed we put him to the test. He was not a very big horse and he had some problems reaching taller mares but he got his job done all the same.

When his first foals were born we were surprised to see most of them born with brilliant blue eyes and odd tones to their hair coats. There was Foxvangen's Aysha and Foxvangen's Royal Paisley in the first group of foals and both were born with blue eyes. Aysha's eyes were the shade of periwinkles but within a few days turned silver like sterling… very odd and ghostly looking. By time she was 18 months old her eyes began to darken and eventually turned a lovely light amber.

Nugget grew longer and began developing at 20 months but was still under 14 hands.

Paisley's eyes were born cobalt blue but turned dark amber at maturity but the oddest thing is both these fillies had skin that was nearly white! It could not even be termed pink by any standards because the skin was the color of chalk!

Paisley's hair coat at birth was dark coffee brown until you got her in the sunlight. Then it looked bright yellow like someone had wrapped her in yellow cellophane. Aysha's coat was a peachy gold and basically normal for a palomino but more to the pink /peachy shade than most.

Once we knew we were moving to Arkansas, we had to make a tough decision. We could only keep one stallion. Which would it be? Eventually we chose to keep Toy Boy because he has the superior conformation, frame, feet and has no lateral motion in him.

Nugget was a good cross out choice but he was very small. He never topped 14.2 and he was very slight in body mass. He did not have enough joint or bone size to improve on our mares and he had so much trouble reaching the taller mares we felt it was too difficult for him.

Nugget had a lovely head with a slight dished face and a pretty soft eye.

We opted to breed all our mares to Nugget and then sell him. We found a loving home where he was adored and eventually gelded. Meantime he produced 7 more fillies! And 1 colt. Each one was born with blue eyes and dilute skin save one.

In our group we produced Foxvangen's Belle Lyra, Foxvangen's Que Se Ra, Foxvangen's Lady Rosebud, and Mysti who was a half Arab cross.

Lyra is a palomino with dark amber eyes and dilute skin. Que looks chestnut but with an odd tone. She has amber eyes and dilute skin. Rosie is a chestnut that has dark amber eyes and dilute skin. Mysti, the half Arab cross is a buckskin and has dark amber eyes and dilute skin.

When a test was developed for champagne, we tested these horses. They all tested negative! Dr. Sponenberg suggested we test them for Pearl so we did. They all tested negative. Yet they all have dilute eyes and skin even the chestnut appearing ones.

Nugget was a very active young stallion. He seemed to always be on the move!

What is more, Nugget's offspring produce more of the same! Aysha has produced two colts by a solid chestnut stallion ( Foxvangen's Braveheart Two) Aries was born with brilliant blue eyes and kept pink skin.

Lyra produced Foxvangen's Solaris who was born with blue eyes that turned amber. Solaris has dilute skin.

Que Se Ra has produced three foals from three different sires yet all three were born with brilliant blue eyes and grew up to have dilute skin and amber or green eyes. Her latest foal was actually born with eyes that looked pure white and then turned to bright blue before deepening to gray and then to green. His skin is pink at the age of 3 months.

Foxvangen's Solaris, Grandson to Nugget has produced so far, four foals. Three are colts and one is a filly. Three are palomino and the filly is a flaxen, golden chestnut. All four were born with blue eyes and have dilute skin.

At 3 Nugget was still growing and developing. He was gentle and kind.

Whatever it is that causes this dilution has not been identified as yet but we do know that at least in our group, Nugget was the progenitor. We cannot get detailed enough information on his parents to see if one of them had light skin or amber eyes but we do know that his grandsire, Gold Exchange had amber eyes. His great grandsire, Golden Governor was said to have dark skin and dark eyes…that is recorded on his papers however things can be relevant. Some amber eyed horses look like they have brown eyes unless very careful scrutiny is paid to them. Some horses with dilute skin may have gray skin that is fairly dark, just not black as it should be.

None the less, in the horses we have produced from Nugget's line the dilution is fairly easy to see on the skin, feet and eyes. The lighter the base the easier it is to see the dilution but even in the black based buckskin it is clear that she has dilute eyes and skin and feet.

At this posting it is January 2010. We are expecting four Nugget great-grandchildren sired by Foxvangen's Solaris this fall. Perhaps those foals will give us another clue as to what they are.

Nugget at age 4 at his new home. He was gelded shortly afterward and became a riding horse.

According to Dr. Sponenberg, a color geneticist, believes we have a single dilution going on and is currently exploring the possibility of getting a researcher to locate the genetic marker for what causes this dilution. He has asked to see what this does on a black base so we have bred our dark bay mare to Solaris to see if that foal is born with it.

Nugget was a joy to own and produced very pretty heads and necks on his offspring. He produced a nice big, soft eye on them as well and all his offspring had good energy although not the over abundance Nugget had himself. They are very people oriented, affectionate horses and they are all nicely gaited. He produced a broader range of gait than we prefer but he didn't produce any offspring that preferred to pace. All his offspring default to foxtrot.

He did a nice job and we appreciated him greatly. None of the photos above do Nugget justice for his beauty. He was like a little Dresden figurine. He passed his quality on to his offspring and always put a kind nature on them.

Here are some of his offspring as they are today.


Foxvangen's Aysha.... Nugget and Gambler's Jasmine


Foxvangen's Belle Lyra....Nugget and Miss Molly Fox


Foxvangen's Que Se Ra....Nugget and Chief's Magic Ribbon


Foxvangen's Royal Paisley....Nugget and Casey Ann Kay


Foxvangen's Lady Rosebud...Nugget and Fire's Strawberry Wine


Mysti... Nugget and Bay B Doll ...Half Arab cross out that gaits at Foxtrot and flat walk beautifully!




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