Colours of the Horse


Chestnuts are a copper color, varying in shades from a light golden-red to a dark brown, known as "liver chestnut."  Occasionally, a chestnut will have a "flaxen," or blonde, mane and tail.  Sometimes, the mane and tail will be a mixture of blonde and chestnut hairs or brown and chestnut hairs. Quite often, the mane and tail will be the same color as the body coat.
Chestnut foals often have light blonde baby hair on their legs. This hair should not be confused with true white markings. If you aren't sure, wet down the hair and look for pink skin.
The rule of genetics is that the mating of two chestnuts always results in a chestnut foal.
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Bay horses come in a variety of reddish-brown hues, and are distinguished by black points (mane, tail, legs, ears, knees, hocks, or any combination thereof). If there are white markings on the legs, there will usually be black above the markings.
Light bay horses may seem to resemble chestnuts in some cases, but the distinguishing difference will be the presence of black points.

A grey horse's coat color is a mixture of white and dark hairs growing out of dark skin. Rarely is any  foal born as a distinctly recognizable grey. They are usually born chestnut or bay, and within weeks will begin showing signs of grey around the eyes, flank, and below the elbow.
Occasionally, grey splotches will develop on the body, croup, or thigh before they are visible around the eyes. The rule of genetics is that a foal will not turn grey unless at least one parent is
During the greying process, a horse may show varying shades of grey. Some may appear steel grey, a mixture of black and white hairs. Others may be rose grey, a mixture of chestnut and white hairs, or bay grey, a mixture of bay and white hairs. Dappling is common. As grey horses age, their coat colors lighten, sometimes appearing to be white. Oftentimes, older grey
horses grow tufts of reddish brown hair. This coloring is called "flea-bitten." All of these combinations are  "grey."


The entire coat, including the muzzle, flanks, and legs, must be black with the exception of white markings. If any doubt arises between black and dark bay, black can be determined by noting the fine black hair on the muzzle.


  A roan is defined for  as a horse with about a fifty-fifty mixture of white hairs with either chestnut, bay, or black hairs throughout the body. The mixture is usually white and chestnut, creating the
"strawberry roan." 
It may be difficult to tell the difference between a rose grey and a roan at first. Roans show their permanent coat color after shedding their foal coats. Unlike greys, they do not dapple nor do they progressively lighten in color. Most roans will have a dark head, while grey foals will first turn light on the head.

Body Markings:  These additional markings should be noted for identification purposes.

Body markings usually fall into four categories: 
1) dark patches on a bay or chestnut; 
2) grey or roan patches; 
3) white marks other than on the face or legs(called outcrops in quarter horses) and
4) any discernible scars. Brands, tattoos, or freeze marks should also be recorded, noting design and location.

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