I have seen a lot of very confusing descriptions of what the cream gene is and how it works. I think if a geneticist was to critique my description of what it is I would probably get a B- But in plain English and with some poetic license here is the easiest way to explain it....
First keep in mind Cream is a color modifying gene that is in addition to other color genes not instead of other color genes. It works in conjunction with the base coat color of the horse.
There are 3 base coat colors in horses, Chestnut, Bay and Black...that's it! Everything else covers or modifies those colors...for example - cream, pearl, grey, tobiano, champagne...
The cream gene gives you different colors depending on the base coat of the horse. Since here at Moonbrook Farm we have cremello horses let's use that as an example.
A horse with a Chestnut coat who does not carry cream is Chestnut. A Chestnut horse that carries one cream gene is Palomino. A Chestnut horse that carries two cream genes is Cremello. If you look at the chart you will see it works the same for bay and black.
Bay to Buckskin to Perlino
Black to Smokey Black to Smokey Cream.
Cremello, Perlino and Smokey Cream can look so similar the only way to know the difference is to
see the test results.
Why does it matter what the difference is, they are all double cream...who cares? If you are hoping for a certain color of a resulting foal, it is a must!
If you end up with a smokey black foal when you were expecting palomino I am guessing you wouldn't be to happy. Do your homework! Also keep in mind you need to know the genetics of your mare to get a clear answer of what color a resulting foal might be. Your mare is half the equation. Agouti, how black is displayed on the body, is part of the equations as well. In points-legs, mane and tail (Bay) or all over (Black).
That is a lesson for another day.
Below is a link to a very good tool to help you calculate the resulting color of a mating.