Shethinksmyfactorsexy has a way of turning heads at the horse show. Is it because he stands over 18 hands high? Sure. His sweeping stride? Of course. But more often than not, it’s the 2020 overo gelding’s eye-catching markings that makes people do a double take.
Dotted with white snowflakes, “Enzo” sort of looks like a dappled gray—except he’s not gray at all. The markings aren’t consistent with vitiligo, and though they somewhat resemble Birdcatcher or Tetrarch/Chubari spots—unique spotting thought to be tied to the Thoroughbred racehorses of the same names—Enzo doesn’t seem to descend from that heritage, either. Enzo is by The Wow Factor and out of Fancy Impulse—and, yup, he’s parentage verified via DNA testing.
Unique by Design
Curiously, Enzo’s coat was completely dark bay last year, says Shannon Gillespie, who trains the gelding and helped client Susan Demeo purchase him at the 2022 World Show. Foal-age pictures show Enzo sporting a standard mahogany coat, with tall stockings on all four legs, blue eyes and a wide blaze that spreads down his muzzle and back up his jaws.
“A year ago, he was a normal bay horse. He was huge then and green-broke, and the plan was to bring him along slowly and show him as a 3-year-old,” Shannon said.
Over the last year, though, Enzo’s added the blizzard of white flecks to his coat. They come and go with the seasons, Shannon says. Knowing that sort of thing can sometimes be tied to nutrient deficiencies, the Gillespies had the gelding checked by their veterinarian to ensure Enzo was in perfect health.
“Last fall, I started noticing some roaning up by his ears. It didn’t look like spots, just like roan hair. Then we went to the [All American Quarter Horse] Congress and were gone for about three weeks; when we came back, it was all across the top of his neck,” Shannon said. “We started looking into it, and there was no change in pigment. We ran blood tests—all of that was fine. The spots just kept coming.”
While they’re not sure if there’s a genetic root to Enzo’s eye-catching additions, for now, the team is content to embrace his uniqueness—in and out of the show ring.
“It’s non-stop. People follow you around and ask what it is,” Shannon said. “He’s a spectacle. Anytime you take him anywhere, someone wants to talk about him. And not only does he look like that, he’s also two hands taller than most other horses. There’s no hiding him!”
[Reprinting all or part of this news release is permitted, so long as credit is given to the Paint Horse Journal and a link provided back to apha.com.]
The American Paint Horse Association is the world’s second-largest international equine breed association, registering more than a million horses in 59 nations and territories since it was founded in 1962. APHA promotes, preserves and provides meaningful experiences with Paint Horses.