When I was in school, I took the foreign language recommended for students with an interest in science: Latin. In hindsight, I wish I had taken German. That’s because some of the most comprehensive books on horse color published in the last few years have been in German. They might not be especially useful to American readers, but we have a surprising number of foreign subscribers that might find them useful.

Die Farben der Pferde
(pictured above)
by Dr. Monika Reißmann
€49,90 order here

I just received this book a week ago, on a recommendation from Thomas Armbruster, author of a three-volume set of books on the Black Forest Horse. I had high hopes for it, since it was by one of the authors of “Coat Colors at the Beginning of Horse Domestication” – easily one of the most fascinating papers on horse color to come out in recent years. Although I have just begun to translate the book, already I can say I am not disappointed. The book covers not only the latest on recently discovered colors, but also many of the quirky aspects of horse coloring that have not been the focus of formal studies. The whole book is lavishly illustrated in full color, and is particularly rich in detail shots.

Farben und Farbvererbung beim Pferd
by Henriette Arriens
€26,50 order here

I had been anxiously awaiting this book since I first heard that Henriette was working on it. There are few researchers I whose observations and conclusions I would trust more thoroughly. It is in many ways a more technical book than the previous one, but still written in a more accessible style. It is primarily a black-and-white book with lovely illustrations and diagrams. (When it arrived I was thrilled to see that I wasn’t the only one who thought a lot of information about color could still be conveyed without color.) It does have color plates in the back, though, and they are all stunning photos by Irene Hohe. There is also a second version that primarily concerns the Icelandic.

Pferde aus Licht und Schatten
by Ursula Schmidt-Basler
out-of-print, but available second hand ~€6,00 – 8,00
copies can be found here

This is an older book, and I believe it is no longer in print, but I had no trouble finding (quite reasonable!) copies. It is not a book about color so much as it is a book about colored horses, most specifically pinto and appaloosa horses in Europe. It is full of fascinating information on the history of some of the colored lines in European warmbloods, particularly those that came from Dr. Lehmann’s Mathildenhoh Stud. There are wonderful rare photos his tobiano Lipizzan and his warmblood Bars, who went on to give the appaloosa coloring to the Polish warmblood breeds. There are color photos, but many of the historical photos are black and white.

Left to right: Pferde aus Licht und Shatten, Die Farben der Pferde and Farben und Farbvererbung Pferd

And finally, a gadget! I don’t recommend those often because unlike the rest of my family I simply lack the “gadget gene”. This one, however, is worthwhile.

This is the (somewhat foolish-sounding) Magic Wand scanner. I originally purchased it to take with me to the National Sporting Library. I wasn’t sure if I could set up my laptop and scanner, and the wand works as a stand-alone product. It uses ordinary AA batteries and stores scans on a micro SD card. It was really useful for that purpose. Not only is it a lot easier to carry around, but in most cases it can scan a lot faster than a flatbed scanner.

But it has gotten a lot more work as a translating tool. It can scan pages of text which are then read by OCR software and fed into Google Translate. It isn’t perfect and it takes a bit of time, but it does make books like these accessible.