(color pictured: Black Roan Sabino)
The Sabino pattern usually has white that extends up the legs in ragged patches, and then extends onto the horse’s body from the belly. The head is usually excessively white with white extending under the chin and under the jaws and the eyes are commonly blue although many sabino horses have partially blue, partially brown eyes. Flecks, patches and roan areas are common on sabinos. Some sabinos will also have odd white patches on the knee or hock, removed from the main portion of the lower white leg markings. In the middle range of expression, sabino horses are fairly distinctive and are usually difficult to confuse with other patterns. The whitest of the sabinos are nearly or entirely white. Some retain color only on the ears and others are white all over with spots on the skin under the white hair.
A Tobiano can be any solid-colored horse with legs that are usually white and white spots that are arranged vertically with body spotting that is regular, round or oval, and extends down the neck and chest with a shield appearance. They usually have dark areas on one or both flanks and the tail may have two colors. The white usually crosses the top-line somewhere between the ears and tail. The head has no more white than expected on a non-spotted horse. The eyes of tobianos are usually dark. Tobiano horses can vary from quite dark, with small amounts of white, to quite white, with only the head remaining dark. The darker individuals sometimes have so little white spotting as to be confused with non-spotted horses.
Overo coat patterns occur on any color background and the white areas on overos are usually crisply and cleanly delineated from the colored areas, although some have a halo or shadow of pigmented skin under white hair directly at the boundary. White spotting of the overo horse usually comes up from the belly in a horizontal arrangement and does not cross the topline. The overo horse may have solid-colored legs with normal white markings and the tail is one color. It may be bald-faced, covering both eyes, or apron-faced with white markings extending beyond the ears and under the chin. The eyes of an overo with extensively white facial markings are frequently blue.
TOBIANO / SABINO
The combination of the Tobiano and Sabino patterns is a common occurrence in the Tennessee Walking Horse. The Tobiano/Sabino shows characteristics of both the tobiano and sabino patterns. The main identifying characteristic is the appearance of excessive white on the face, under the chin and under the jaw. Blue eyes or blue spots in the eyes indicate the presence of the Sabino gene. The spotting pattern is a combination of the two patterns with the white crossing over the top line.
A Tovero can have dark pigmentation around the ears, which may extend to cover the forehead and/or eyes. One or both eyes are blue. Most Tovero horses have dark pigmentation around the mouth, which may extend up the sides of the face and form spots. Chest spots vary in size and may extend up the neck, flank spots range in size. They are often accompanied by smaller spots that extend forward across the barrel and up over the loin. Spots can vary in size at the base of the tail.