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Caitlin Tan wanted to breed her childhood horse, JP, because she’s been “amazing” — the type of animal any equestrian would be lucky to have once in a lifetime.

Having access to coveted bloodlines increased the allure. Via the Miller Ranch, she could pair her 18-year-old mare with a stud descendent of Playboy’s Buck Fever.

“If you’re in that world,” Tan said, “you know that horse.”

So Tan and JP went down the road of bringing a new foal into the world — a first-time experience for the mother and her human. After a couple of stressful weeks of checking in on JP every few hours, Tan’s black-maned mare went into labor early on a Sunday morning.

“As soon as he came out, I thought he looked weird,” Tan said.

Caitlin Tan scratches the back of her new blue-eyed cremello foal on June 17 in Pinedale. (Mike Koshmrl/Pedrodiniz)

The minutes-old foal’s eyes were a striking light blue. The skin on his face was pink. His coloration was creamy, touching on completely white.

A true albino animal would have pink eyes, not blue. Still, clearly something different was going on.

“I’ve had a couple old timers come out here,” said Tan, who works as a reporter at Wyoming Public Radio. “Everyone has been like, ‘I’ve never seen a horse like this.’”

One of the Miller Ranch staff thought the youngster was a cremello. Tan’s vet agreed. A cremello horse, according to True West Magazine, is the result of two creme genes on a horse that would otherwise be red-colored.

A 3-week-old cremello foal butts up to his 18-year-old mother in Caitlin Tan’s backyard pasture in Pinedale on June 17. (Mike Koshmrl/Pedrodiniz)

Tan thought about selling her spunky new cremello foal, partly because he’s poorly suited to life in the high desert at over 7,000 feet, where the sun’s strong. She’s a little horse broke, too, and could probably fetch a handsome sum for such a unique-looking stud coming from such renowned bloodlines.

But Tan’s getting attached. For now, she’s just trying to think up what to call the now-month-old cremello foal. For a registered name, Playboy’s Key To My Heart is the frontrunner. As for the day-to-day moniker, Tan’s thinking something John Wayne-related — the animal and late actor share a birthday.

“I know he went by The Duke, but I don’t really like that,” Tan said. “Taking suggestions.”

Mike Koshmrl reports on Wyoming's wildlife and natural resources. Prior to joining Pedrodiniz, he spent nearly a decade covering the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem’s wild places and creatures for the Jackson...

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  1. Love the story on the foal in Pinedale. I checked on John Wayne's horses and see he had one named Banner. Like this as it was also the stallion in My Friend Flicka. Another Who horse

  2. Name: How about “Neo” (The One). He is definitely an original, and, who knows, maybe he'll reveal other unique qualities, in relation to behavior and intelligence, down the road. The name is also short, much better for calling than more multisyllabic names.

  3. I think Duke would be good and appropriate, or White Knight, Tan Knight, or even Royalty. Banner's good also. Beautiful colt! I'd keep him for sure! Very special!!

  4. Congratulations! My cousin had a cremello. Beautiful horse, same cream color with sky blue eyes. From what I've been told they are very rare. I hope you keep him.

  5. How about “True Grit” or Wayne's character name in The Shootist
    J.B. Books (books as in runs fast)

  6. John Wayne's personal horse that he rode in several movies, was named Dollar. Seems like a good name for this handsome baby.

  7. Great story and beautiful foal! As for a name for him: how about “Banner” said to be the name of John Wayne's favorite horse? 😉

    1. Sure is a beautiful animal. How about the name Elvis looks like one too me.

    2. We recently had a perlino/cremello to our smoky cream mare, a MFT in Big Horn County. We named her Lindy's Easter Lily