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Champagne Connection

Introduction  || Champagne Colors - Part I

September, 1999

Our Champagne correspondent, Audra Pennebaker, introduces herself this month, giving us a little background on how she became interested in this rare and unusual color.

We at are delighted that she is joining our team to acquaint us with a fascinating coat color which has been around for a long time, but not recognized by most horse people. Hopefully, much more will be learned about the inheritance of the Champagne color, including which bloodlines have been it's source in the Quarter Horse and Paint breeds. (A few very popular Quarter Horse families carry this gene.)

So, let's raise our glasses in celebration of the first specialist to join the HorsesOnly team. May the Champagne quest begin!

Audra Pennebaker

I am sure that if the Fire Marshall ever saw my room, it would be condemned as a fire hazard. For the last 15 years, I could never bring my self to throw out any horse magazines or books. I studied anything equine and in any discipline. My obsession eventually spread to the rest of the family. My father and I loved to trail ride, and for over 10 wonderful years we have traveled all over Kansas on horseback.

Four years ago I made the transition into breeding and raising horses, when I got my first quality mare from World Champion lines. A search lasted for close to two years before the perfect match was found. He was a nice older stallion and whose lines were a proven "nick" on my mare's. An added bonus was that he was a "dun, "and I set my hopes on a quality colored foal. Snakewater Farms was on its way to being established.

Much to my dismay, I missed the big event. I remember being so nervous walking up to the stall. When I looked in, I was crestfallen and disappointed. Laying in the straw was a bay colt that had bright blue eyes. Around his pink muzzle and eyes were lighter, "mealy" hairs. All on the underside was a pale creme color that matched his nose.

For the next six months he changed so many shades. The eyes darkened and his coat lightened first to a red dun color. Then he turned golden with brown points. I had never seen anything like it before. I searched my "library" and showed photos to anyone remotely involved with horses. From every person, I got a different color. I registered my little "disappointment" as a buckskin when the time came.

The champagne coat has a high metallic
shine and is very reflective in the sun.

SW Take Care Too,  an Amber champagne Quarter Horse stallion.  One of several champagne colored horses owned by the author.

Time passed and I was away at school earning an equine farm management degree. I spent several nights exploring the horse side of the Internet. I found Sharon Batteate and her unusual equine colors website. It was a complete accident that I found my first information on the champagne color. I learned everything I could about this rare color. Every fact fell into place and matched my chameleon colt. The pink skin, the blue eyes at birth and the dark foal coat that lightened up to a dilute coat. It was even more exciting when I found there had been very few registered Quarter Horses that were the champagne color.

I discovered that the champagne gene has only recently been identified. Since there are so few champagne horses, it was often misidentified as dun, buckskin or palomino ... even with the unique and obvious traits. The champagne gene dilutes red into gold and black into liver. Their pink skin has tiny dots of gray pigmentation that is nothing like the Appaloosa mottling. The champagne coat has a high metallic shine and is very reflective in the sun. The adult eye color can range from green to the more common amber or light brown. Once you see this rare color, you will never forget it.

I enjoy tracing the champagne color back to its early roots. I am part of a wonderful team at the Champagne Horse Association and work as the stock horse contact. The majority of my time is spent educating and identify champagnes.  Researching pedigrees is my favorite task in my efforts to isolate a champagne line. Another aspect of being the stock horse contact is the opportunity to help people buy and sell documented champagnes. I look forward to helping people to find their ideal champagne horse.

My future plans include working closely with CHA on education, promotion and pedigree research. I am working on "introducing" champagnes to the stock breeds. In the near future, I will campaign to get the champagne color recognized as a registerable color.

Please feel free to contact me ( ) if you have any questions about the champagne color. We will try to post questions and answers of general interest on this site, as well as ongoing information about this unique color and it's inheritance.

Audra Pennebaker
Snakewater Farms
Champagne Horses for sale occasionally
Westphalia, KS
e-mail Audra:
e-mail HorsesOnly Webmaster

Introduction  || Champagne Colors - Part I

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