Come distinguere i “colori” dei nostri fieri amici equini?

Ecco un interessantissimo articolo, in lingua inglese, che ci fornisce tante utili ed interessantissime informazioni su come riconoscere il colore del nostro equino!

Before starting colours, you need to know some basic terminology.

  • Points: This is referring to the the ears, lower legs, and mane and tail.
  • Mane and Tail: These are the pieces of tufter hair that progress from a horse’s spine and his neck and forehead.
  • White leg markings: These are situated on the leg regions and include: Coronet band (very close to the hoof), white heel (very close to the heel, but situated near the cadual wall), sock (comes right above the pastern), half stocking (comes halfway between the pastern and knee),stocking (touches or above the knee), irregular stocking (stocking that only part of it is above the knee and the other is below it), ermine (irregular dark patches near the hoof inside white markings) and pastern (comes just to the pastern).
  • Facial markings: These are situated on the head and forehead and include:
    • Star (little mark on forehead)
    • Snip (little mark on muzzle)
    • Blaze (Wide stripe of white down the front of the face)
    • Stripe (Very thin stripe of white down the front of the face)
    • Bald/white face (Very wide blaze that goes includes the horses eyes)
  • Eye colours: To help tell the different colours apart, though not common, these names may appear: Eye wall, blue eye, teal eye, glass eye, white sclera. Horses can have blue, brown, green, hazel, gold, and red eyes.
  • Other important features of a horse’s colour include: Spots, patches, predominant and base coat

Learn the next features. Within each subcategory, there are mixtures and variations. Here are some colour and distinguishing points:

  • Two bay horses pulling a carriageBay: A bay horse is a brown to red in color. Bays have black points, (ears, flank, knees and hocks). Their mane, tail and forelock are black. Their are many types of bay; there is light bay (where the base is a very light color), blood bay (where the base is a very red color) and mahogany bay (where the coat has a purple tinge, usually sooty and more brown), sandy bay (where the base is only brown, no red tinge), golden bay (where the base coat takes on a yellow color), and primitive bay (the black markings are very faint, and the horse usually has obvious pangare characteristics).
  • This little chestnut colt is a pure chestnut, no taffy colouring at all

    This little chestnut colt is a pure chestnut, no taffy colouring at all

    Chestnut or Sorrel: Chestnut or Sorrel is defined as a horse with no black hairs. Chestnut is a dark red horse. Very dark chestnuts are called Liver chestnuts. Sorrels are more brightly colored, with a lighter coat color. For either, the mane/tail should be the same color as the body. Either color with flaxen mane and tails should have “Flaxen” put in front of the name. Sorrels are often flaxen.

  • A dark chestnut color with a flaxen mane and tailLiver Chestnut: They are a dark chestnut red-brown colour, appearing to have black in their coat – but they do not. The individual hairs are just very dark red. These horses can also have a flaxen or taffy mane and tail.
  • A black pony
  • Black: There is no other color on the horse except black; all points and hairs are black (except for any white markings). Mane and Tail are black. There are a few types of black; Pitch or Raven black, which never fades – Black, which fades in the sun – and smokey black, where the horse looks black at a distance, but closer the horse has a brown tinge.
  • A grey horse

    A grey horse

    Grey or White grey: These horses may look white, but they are not. Their skin is dark and they have dark pigmentation around their eyes, ears and nose. They are born another color, and fade progressively with age.

  • A dapple grey horseAn 'inverted' dapple grey

    Dapple Grey: These horses are still grey, but have ‘dapples’. Dapples are little lighter or darker spots. A normal dapple grey is grey with lighter spots; however an ‘inverted’ dapple grey is grey with darker spots. Dapple greys can be very light and very dark.

A 'fleabitten' grey

  • Steel Grey: This color is when a horse is dark grey, usually with slightly darker points. They have no dappling.
  • Fleabitten Grey: It looks like it sounds — imagine a horse that has been bitten by fleas. It looks like it has tiny black, brown, or red spots about the size of a few pinheads. Their mane and tail will be grey or white and there will often be variations of these colours by way of shades.
  • Rose Grey: A chestnut horse that has turned grey. They have a purple, red, or brown tinge to their coats throughout the greying process. They can have dapples. Their manes are darker than the coat color.
  • Duns: Duns come in many colors, such as Red (dun and chestnut/sorrel), Grullo (black horse with dun factor, black points and faded grey to dark brown body), bay (bay horse with dun factor), and Mouse (dun on a Brown horse; very murky tan coloring). Duns have a face mask (dark face), dorsal stripe, leg barring(zebra stripes on the legs), dark points, and dark mane/tails. They are not to be confused with Buckskins, which only come in one color.
  • A buckskin has a Black mane and tail and they are a tan colour

    Buckskin: Buckskins are very similar to a dun, but they do not have leg barring or a dorsal stripe. They have a yellow base color (ranging from dark gold to yellow) and black legs/black points similar to a Bay. Their mane and tail is black. They can be dappled.

  • A Cream mare and her palomino foal, the mare is actually Palomino, but is a Dilute

    Palominos: These should be less than 20% black. Palominos typically have a lighter color main/tail than their bodies, but can be near the same shade; their shades range from cream to a near chocolate. They are commonly mistaken for champagnes.

Come in many varying degrees of colour and pigmentation. Many peole think of Dilutes as Albino, when infact they are not. A dilute is Perlino, Cremello, and Champagne. Cremellos are a Dilute of Chestnut, Perlino of Bay and Smokey Cream on Black. The cream gene is a dominant gene, and for a Cremello, Perlino or Smokey, there must be two cream genes present in the parents. If only one is present, a chestnut would then be Palomino with white main and tail and with a dark pigmented horse such as Bay you would get a Palomino with a black mane and tail.


Cremellos have Blue eyes. Champagne is another dilution gene that acts on the base color of a horse to produce a lighter color.

It is a dominant gene, so one or two genes have the same affect, and a horse must have a champagne parent to be a champagne. The champagne gene dilutes red pigment to a yellow color, and black pigment to a chocolate grayish color that is sometimes mistaken for grulla. They have freckled skin, and green/hazel/golden eyes.

  • Albino

    Albinos: These horses are actually from a resessive gene. Many poeple think of them a Dilutes. They are known as Dominant Whites when registered, and the Albinos are commonly born with Pink or red pigmented eyes and pink non pigmented skin. They often look the same as Cremello’s, however, they have a different genetic makeup and research shows the Albinoism comes from a Resseve gene, compared to Perlino and Cremello have a Dominant gene.

  • A Bay Roan

    Roan: Roans are a solid colour with white flecking throughout the coat. They come in many colours: Strawberry is a Chestnut colour with white flecking making it seem pink. A Blue Roan is a black with white flecks giving a blue tinge. A red Roan is bay with white flecks giving it a red look. Their manes and tails correspond with their base coat, but can be flaxen for strawberry roans, and other roans can have frosting (where the top of the mane/tail is very light in color).

  • Plain Jane looks stunning with a honey muzzle. She is a seal brown.

    Brown: This is a basic colour and really a Brown horse is well – brown. The exact genetics of brown are not very well understood. They are not the same as chestnut or black. The only defined type of brown is seal brown, where the base color is very dark and they have pangare type markings, where the belly/croup/muzzle/eye area is much lighter in color.

  • Pinto: Pintos are known for their irregular patterning, which is a modifying white gene.Predominant Bay They come in many variations, such as piebald (black and white, large irregular patches of white), skewbald (same as piebald, except base color is anything but black), tobiano (white markings are irregular, and cross over the topline, have white legs), overo (large irregular circles never crossing the topline, usually have bald face and solid legs), tovero (mixture of tobiano and overo), frame overo (overo, but white spoltches never cross topline or bottomline), splash (the bottom part of the horse and legs are white, as if they were dipped in white paint), and sabino (where the edge of the markings have roan characteristics). They can occur on any base color.
  • Predominant White, also a PintoPaint: Paints are actually a colour breed. They are basically pinto Quarter Horses. They also come in all the variations that pintos do.
    Their patches are large and do not go from side to side.
    To be a Pinto or a Paint,their leg markings should be past their hocks and knees if no main coloration occurs.
  • Appaloosa or Spotted: No Appaloosa has the same patterning of spots. Appaloosas come in a wide variety of colours, but the basic patterns include: Snowflake, Blanket, Few Spot, Solid, Leopard, varnish roan, and Snowcap. They have a white sclera and always have striped hooves and spotted genitalia and muzzle
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