Colour Reference

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Coat Shade Variations

  • Shaded (Sooty) black hairs among a lighter base coat, resulting black shading. Occurs on the entire body
    but more commonly on the top line. Varying degrees of density. Most commonly in bay horses but not excluded
    in other colours.

Distinguishing Features

  • Black points:
    – Mane
    – Tail
    – Legs
    – Point of ears and the legs

Colour Groups

  • Bright/light bay, red coloured coat with no black shading. Toffee coloured flanks.
  • Brown bay, the coat colour is more a brown (tan) than red.
  • Dark bay, the majority of the coat is shaded with minimal base coat showing.
  • Brown, Appearance is that of a black horse, with a slight degree of red/tan around eyes, muzzle, back of elbows, and between the hind legs and flanks.

Foals

  • Red shaded coat with the distinguished black points. A foal with black (dark) shading over the body is described as a dark bay. Once a foal reaches the yearling stage its true colour becomes apparent.

Coat Shade Variations

  • The entire coat is black. The only pigment throughout the body is black

Distinguishing Features

  • White markings may be present.
  • Dark bay horses can be confused for black.

Coat Shade Variations

  • Coat has a red appearance.
  • Variations may be:
    – Dark red
    – Brownish red
    – Yellow red
    – Golden red
  • Black points, may be a distinguishing factor between a bay and dark chestnut.

Distinguishing Features

  • Mane and tail may vary in colour to body.
  • No black/bay leg markings present.

Colour Groups

  • Flaxen Chestnut: mane and tail significantly lighter then body colour.
  • Liver chestnut: dark reddish brown appearance.
  • Sorrel: term used mainly in America describing red horses having manes and tails being a similar shade or lighter shade to body colour.

Foals

  • Foals born to two chestnut parents will always be a chestnut.

Coat Shade Variations

  • Has a black skin with a combination of white, black or other colour hair.
  • Therefore whorls, flesh marks and hooves are very important.
  • It varies between breeds and individuals at what speed the greying takes place.

Distinguishing Features

  • The base coat will shed as the grey gene is dominant.
  • “Indistinct” should be used to describe indistinctive markings.
  • A grey horse must have at least one grey parent to be grey.

Colour Groups

    • Rose grey develops from a chestnut base.
    • Heavily Flecked used in thoroughbreds with extensive roan-ing.
    • Colour Varies with:
    • – Dark with mostly black hair.
      – Light with mostly white hair.
      – Dappled circular areas with mostly black hair.
      – Iron grey coat lack dapples.
      – Flea-bitten contains spots of black or brown hair throughout the coat, specified as lightly to heavily flea-bitten

Foals

  • May be born any base colour with bay, chestnut or black being the most common. Grey can be seen in the face, around the eyes, muzzle and tip of ears. Mane, tail and points are usually the base colour.
  • During the transition, grey- and the base colour is used, if the colour is uncertain the word ‘confirm’ is written at body descriptions.

Coat Shade Variations

  • The body coat is a base colour with superimposed white hair.
  • Corn spots are dark spots appearing on roan.
  • No transition to a certain colour hair as in grey.

Distinguishing Features

  • Head, mane, tail and points are usually the base colour and is darker than the body, with no white hairs present.
  • Shades of roan varies with season.

Colour Groups

  • Bay/Red Roan: mixture of bay with white hair, head, mane, tail with points being bay.
  • Strawberry Roan: chestnut base with mixture of red and white hair, points being that of the base colour.
  • Blue/Grey Roan: mixture of black and white hair, points usually black.

Foals

  • Can be born roan or become roan when the foal coat sheds.

Coat Shade Variations

  • Dun is one of the most primitive horse and pony colours.
  • Dun is a diluted form of a darker shade.

Distinguishing Features

  • Dun horses have a dorsal strip (eel stripe).
  • May have Black (dark) stripes at a vertical angle to long axis of the body
  • Dark points

Colour Groups

  • Yellow/Buckskin Dun: yellow coat with a black point
  • Red Dun: various shades of red with darker red primitive marks and points.
  • Blue Dun/Grullo: diluted black coat with a black points.

Foals

  • Born dun

Coat Shade Variations

  • Shades:
    – Cream
    – Golden yellow
    – Dark gold
  • Sooty/shaded black hair present in either points and body.

Distinguishing Features

  • Pigmented skin (dark).
  • The points usually lighter than coat but not necessarily white, generally a flaxen colour.

Colour Groups

  • Isabelos: pale palomino with amber eyes and dark cream bodies.

Foals

  • Born palomino.

Coat Shade Variations

  • Cream horses are lighter than palomino horses.

Distinguishing Features

  • Cream coat with unpigmented skin and blue eyes.

Colour Groups

  • Different shades:
    – Cremello
    – Cream
    – Albino horses
  • Perlino: cream horse with a darker mane and tails.

Foals

  • Born cream.

Coat Shade Variations

  • True white.
  • Pink (un-pigmented) with white hairs covering body.

Distinguishing Features

  • All points are white.
  • Colour of muzzle distinguishes between grey and white.

Colour Groups

  • White

Foals

  • Born white.

Coat Shade Variations

  • Similar to a dun, have yellow pigment as against the red of a bay.
  • Shaded/Sooty.

Distinguishing Features

  • They have no dorsal stripe or primitive marking.
  • Black points.

Colour Groups

  • They vary from light to golden shades.

Foals

  • Born Buckskin.

Coat Shade Variations

  • USA (preferred) The base colour is given followed by the white pattern imposed on it.
  • UK:
  1. Piebald, white with black patches.
  2. Skewbald, white with any colour except black.

Distinguishing Features

  • Irregular patches of white with any other colour.
  • Any colour can be predominent.

Colour Groups

USA patterns descriptions:
A. Tobiano:
– Most common.
– White base with large coloured patches.
– White leg and feet markings, all four legs are usually white.
– The White crosses the top line between the ears and tail.
– The white patches have a vertical a arrangement and are generally distinctive and regular.
– Head markings are similar to that of a solid horse colour.
– Eyes are usually dark.
– A patch will usually cover one or both flanks, and the tail has mixed hairs.
– Ink spots are darker spots of the base colour within the white.
– Dark tobianos can have very little makings and may be confused with a non painted horse, they may have extensive leg markings.
– The patches may have boarders with a shadow like appearance.

B. Overo
– Includes 3 patterns and overo can generally be used to describe a non-tobiano.
– Has a coloured base with white patches.

1. Frame
– Generally all or at least one of the legs are dark having a common white marking.
– The head has extensively white markings.
– The tail is usually one colour.
– Patches usually have an irregular, splashy appearance.
– Horizontal arranged patterns, which does not cross the top line.

2. Sabino
– Extensively white marked faces.
– Eyes can be blue.
– All four feet are generally white with high leg markings extending past the knee or hocks in ragged patches.
– White markings are generally broken or mottled.
– Flecking or roaning areas are present on the coat.
– White extends from the belly.

3. Splashed White
– Extensively marked with white.
– The edges of the markings are crisp.
– The legs and bottom part of the body is usually white.
– Eyes can be blue.

C. Tobero / Tovero
– Displays both colour patterns as it is a progeny of a Tobiano and or Overo.
– The ears and mouth have dark pigmentation.
– One or both eyes are “glass” or blue.
– Spots vary in size and shape at the chest, flanks and the base of the tail

Spots: Leopard Complex

Coat Shade Variations

  • Spotting pattern imposed on any base colour.
  • Spotting may change with age.

Distinguishing Features

  • Features include;
    – White sclera
    – Striped hooves
    – Mottled skin
  • Spotting pattern with base colour should be indicated on identification form.

Colour Groups

  • Frosted
  • Snowflake
  • Blanket
  • Blanket spotted
  • Leopard spotted
  • Near leopard
  • Few spot leopard
  • Vanish roan or marble