Splashed white is another spotting gene in horses. It resembles tobiano in that the pattern is usually crisp-edged, and there is no tendency for the kind of uneven roaning often seen in sabino. Splashed white is more common in Europe than in North America, but is becoming common in Paints.
The best description of splashed white is that the horse looks as if it had been dipped feet-first in white paint with its head lowered. Minimal white markings may not be recognized as due to a spotting gene. The next stage includes a blaze that widens toward the muzzle and may extend up the sides of the head, white extending above the knees and hocks, and possibly a belly spot. With stronger grades of spotting the entire head is often white, as well as the entire underbody, and eventually only the ears may retain pigment. Eyes are usually blue or have blue chips. Splashed white can be confused with very crisp sabino markings without roaning, but sabino-1, at least, can be identified through genetic testing.
I am sorry I have no photographs of this pattern, but it is rare in North America. Even Sponenberg’s photos are of Icelandic horses. Splashed white can be very difficult to tell from a crisply marked sabino without roaning. The amount of head white would be unusual for a tobiano. In general tobiano markings look as if white paint was dripped over the horse from the top, while the white in splashed white gives more the appearance of coming up from the bottom. The pattern occurs and is being selected for in Paints, and is known in Icelandic horses, Welsh Ponies, and Finnish Draft Horses. It also is known in the Appaloosa.
Splashed white appears to be associated with deafness in horses, though many splashed whites have normal hearing.
Splashed white is believed to be due to a dominant or incompletely dominant gene, though the wide range of patterns produced by this gene makes genetic studies difficult. There is evidence of at least one white horse being homozygous for splashed white. At the present time, a DNA test for this gene is not available. There is conflicting evidence as to whether this pattern is associated in any way with the KIT locus.