That's an old horseman's saying.
"No good horse is a bad color... unless it's a gray" is mine. Now I don't mean that like all gray horses are bad, Monty is gray and the equine love of my life. I mean dealing with the heartbreak of melanoma in gray horses, as grays have the highest incidence of melanoma tumors of all horse colors.
Monty is only 13 years old and he's got very aggressive tumors under his tail, under his dock, in his sheath, around his lips and small assorted lumps here and there on his body. The tumors started to appear when he was around 6 years old (which to me seems kind of young) and have steadily progressed to the point they are at today. I've had some extremely unpleasant episodes with the ones on his tail becoming like a boil, then "bursting" and oozing "stuff". These require frequent washing to keep clean and once needed the vet to put in a drain to help the "stuff" clean out completely. At that time, Monty had a piece of rubber tubing in one hole and threaded out a second hole in the tumor, then the ends tied together into the skin of his tail. He looked like he was wearing a very bizarre piercing!
I've tried herbal remedies, which at best perhaps slowed the growths but didn't stop them from continuing to spread. And I really gave the herbal supplements a fair shake because I kept him on it religiously for 2 years. Then, deciding the result didn't warrant the expense I stopped feeding it to him. He's only turned out in the paddock that's all in shade, in case the sun has anything to do with it. I've had discussions with the vet about it but all the treatments are non-confirmed, there is no consistent cure from case to case.
If you see his pictures on my blog, he's big, fat, and in great condition. He will trail ride for hours, gallop his heart out, jump whatever is in front of him, stroll around the yard with me onboard bareback or give my twins a pony ride. He's the most wonderful horse I've ever owned and I cherish every ride, every minute spent with him. The vet says as long as he is eating and drinking well and has no changes in condition or temper that he is healthy enough to do whatever he's asked to do. But it's hard knowing every day what he has will most likely be what ends his life and probably too soon.
There is a new organization called Take The Reins and they are looking to try and find a cure for this condition but they are just beginning. Maybe one day, they will find the answer.
Other sources of information on this condition:
Gray Area - equine melanoma
Virginia Tech researcher examining malignant melanoma in horses
Contained in Article: gray horses unsuitable for slaughter due to incidence of melanoma
Equine Melanoma Study in a Population of Lipizzaner Horses
Equine Melanoma - Very few Solutions