Mustang DNA Report

There were a lot of great guesses yesterday. I enjoyed seeing what other people thought and how much your guesses compared to mine and to the results. Before we got the results my own guess for Eugene was something Iberian (that roman nose) and Paso Fino or related for the gaited because it looks more like a paso shuffle than a running walk. For Levi, I figured some sort of draft horse, quarter horse, and probably some Iberian as well. He has that uphill, rocking -horse canter like the Andalusians.

As I kid I spent hours pouring over those big horses books and loved reading about the different breeds. Getting these test results inspired me to go back to those days and do a bunch of research read of a bunch of Wikipedia article on the breeds.


Levi’s was simultaneously exactly what I thought and really surprising. He’s obviously got some draft in him so the Belgian Draft and Cream Draft make total sense. But Akhal Teke? The skinny, gorgeously metallic coated horses? That part was unexpected.

I’m not complaining. Akhal Teke’s are gorgeous and I’m happy to pretend I own one. Interestingly the Akhal Teke’s carry the creme gene, while the Cream Draft – despite the word “cream” in the name – carries the Champagne gene. Both produce what looks like a palomino, but aren’t technically palominos. Now I’m tempted to send Levi’s hair in again and see what color he officially is.

Obviously he’s a lot lighter boned than either the Cream Draft or the Belgian, but I think Levi looks more like either of those than the Akhal Teke. I can certainly see him having a combination of both with the bigger bones of the draft lightened up by the Akhal Teke.

Levi says “this sand stuff is amazing.” #beachride #blmmustang #horsesofinstagram #beachhorse

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Eugene’s report was also surprising. The Quarter Horse part makes sense. Many of the herds in Nevada are from generations of feral ranch horses so they have a lot of QH blood in them. We went on a Mustang viewing pack trip a few years ago and one of the horses we saw was a gelding. Apparently someone just turned him loose.

We had binoculars and one of the guides pointed out the gelding, but this is the closest picture I got.

Trekehner was a surprise though. I really didn’t expect to see any warmblood in Eugene. The Trekehners are a light breed of warmblood with close ties to Thoroughbreds, but still. I would have guessed Standardbred before warmblood.

Finally, the Mountain Pleasure Horse. I knew Eugene was a bit gaited, but thought he looked more Paso than Walking Horse to me. But I really don’t know much about gaited horses and which gaits are which. I love riding them, but I am not good at identifying the various gaits.

Interestingly, the Mountain Pleasure Horse registry requires DNA testing for registry. I wonder if more registries will start doing that and then we can get an even better understanding of horse genetics.

I forgot to chain Eugene’s door and came back to find him just standing there.

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In the end, the DNA report changes nothing. They’re still Mustangs and we like them just the way they are. But I thought it was a lot of fun to do. I could see doing this with any random horse I bought or adopted in the future. In the future if anyone gives me any disdainful attitude about Mustangs, I fully plan on claiming I own an Akhal Teke cross and a Warmblood cross.

32 thoughts on “Mustang DNA Report

  1. Kaity

    Wow, I never would have guessed Akhal Teke or Trakhener, either, but that’s actually really cool! (And you definitely should start referring to them as fancy crosses instead of as mustangs 😂😛)
    How accurate are the DNA tests done r horses?

    1. Olivia Post author

      They’re not that accurate. If you read the article I linked to in the first post, they explain why the tests cannot be very accurate. But they’re not totally off the mark. The biggest issue seems to be shared traits among breeds.

  2. Liz

    When I had Q and Griffin done I was surprised by the secondary and tertiary results for each of them, as well. Ultimately, Q’s is a bit off per TA&M because I was able to dig into her past a few years later and find that she’s a Morab not an Arabian with Brazilian breeds. Griffin? I’ll never know for sure. I’d honestly guess QH something, but the tests said warmblood/Arab. *shrug* It was definitely worth sending off the samples though!

    1. Olivia Post author

      They admit it’s not a perfect test. I still think it’s fun and it’s more information than I had before.

  3. Grace C

    My friend has a BLM mustang from Nevada and his DNA results also came back with Mountain Pleasure horse! Maybe he and Eugene are distantly related haha

    1. Olivia Post author

      I’m sure they’re somehow related, but I think Nevada currently has 31000 horses in the wild. We could call them brother from another Mother?

  4. Sarah W

    If Levi has a kind of orangey, mottled look to his skin, then he may be champagne – there’s some great examples of what it can look like if you google “champagne horse skin.” 🙂

      1. Sarah W

        “Orange” is the official term of description, but to be honest, to me it looks more like the pink is slightly the wrong color, if that makes sense? I’m sure it’s orange in comparison to pink skin, but on its own… yeah, it’s not really what I look at and call orange. lol

  5. Cathryn

    I am kinda sad that Levi doesn’t have any Morgan in him!! He looks kinda Morgan-ish!! Regardless, still very cool!

  6. Nicole Sharpe

    This is awesome but DEFINITELY made me giggle. The idea that an American mustang has Akhal Teke in him is vanishingly small — there’s only something like 400 registered AT’s in the US. And they are very closely related to the Iberian horses on the cladogram you provided yesterday, so I wonder if the DNA pinged a false positive one the AT genotype. Regardless, I’m more than happy to pretend the handsome Levi is part Akhal Teke!

  7. Emma

    Ha this is so cool! The Akhal Teke thing is funny to me too. We actually had two at Isabel’s barn for a while. They are quite unique horses in some ways! And like, also kinda rare lol

  8. Terri

    I have 2 Mustangs and had them tested. The first came back #1 Shetland Pony, #2 Garrano & #3 Galacian. I literally cried from laughing so hard when I got it. He is in no way shape or form (literally) a Shetland Pony! In fact he is my endurance horse! The other mustang came back #1 Galician, #2 Garrano and #3 Kentucky Mtn. That makes sense as she is very “Spanish” looking and does a weird gate thing sometimes. But like you, I did it just out of curiosity. However, if I ever come across a “I love my Shetland Pony” t-shirt or bumper sticker ….

  9. Stacie Seidman

    So interesting! I think that Trakehner is why Eugene gets so tense at shows. They’re a little that way 😉
    Also, if you ever disown Levi, can you send him to me? I love him!

  10. Ann M. Long

    Just got my DNA results for my Goshute, Nevada HMA Mustang:
    1. Andalusian
    2. Belgian Draft
    3. Akhal Teke

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