Bay horses run from light reddish or tan shades to dark brown and mahogany/auburn shades. Bay horses always have black points (legs, muzzle, mane and tail, and the tips of their ears are black). Many bay horses have black legs that are covered by white markings.

Dark Bay

Dark brown coat, reddish or black highlights, black points. An uneducated horse person may think this horse is black...but we know better!



Grey horses have black skin with white or grey hair. Many horse people will call a grey horse "white", but if their skin is dark, they are grey! Grey horses are born dark, sometimes black or brown, and their hair coat turns lighter as they grow older.

Light Grey

This is the type of horse that people mistake for "white". This horse is a light grey, not white. See how the skin (around his nose, inside his ears, and between his hind legs) is black? That is how you can tell that this horse is really a light grey.

Dapple Grey

A dapple is like a small, white "eraser" mark. Dapple grey horses usually have dapples throughout their entire body, often with darker colored points.

Fleabitten Grey

A fleabitten grey is a horse with a light grey body, but with little speckles of black and/or brown. These speckles are like tiny dots that are pretty much evenly distributed throughout the horse's body. Don't get this colour confused with roans or appaloosa coat patterns!

 Steel Grey

Steel grey horses are a dark grey, silver colour. The horse has a black base coat with lightly mixed white/grey hairs. Many steel grey horses lighten and turn into a dapple grey or a light grey with age.


Rose Grey

Medium grey whose hairs are tinted with red. This type of hair gives the horse a light "rose" tint. Rose grey horses often have points that are darker than their body colour, including mane and tail.


Chestnut, (also known as "sorrel"), is reddish brown. The points (mane, tail, legs and ears) are the same colour as the horse's body (other than white markings). Chestnuts range from light yellowish brown to a golden-reddish or dark liver colour. All chestnuts have shades of red in their coats.

Red chestnuts

Bright reddish and/or orange shades. This colour is very appealing since it is usually bright and shiny, and very saturated. The red chestnut always has red highlights that really stand out.

 Light Chestnut

Light reddish-brown. Light chestnuts do not usually have points that are lighter than their body. The tips of their manes and tails may be lighter, but the base is the same colour. If their mane/tail/legs etc. are significantly lighter than their body, they might be a flaxen chestnut or palomino.

Flaxen Chestnut

Flaxen chestnuts are a chestnut coloured body with a light flaxen (cream/off-white) coloured mane and tail. Legs and tip of ears are the same colour as the horse's body. Many people get confused between flaxen chestnut, light chestnut and palomino. This horse is a flaxen chestnut

Liver Chestnut

A liver chestnut is the darkest of the chestnut colours. Liver chestnuts do not have black points. Notice the chestnut tint in the horse's mane and tail?


Black horses have pure black coats with no signs of brown or any other colour. Many horse-people mistake dark bays or liver chestnuts for black. If you can see any other colour (with the exception of white markings) on the horse's coat in the winter, he is not a true black. The reason I say "in the winter" is because the sun tends to lighten a dark horse's coat in the summer, and the exception is when the hair has been sun-burnt.


Dun horses have a sandy/yellow to reddish/brown coat. Their legs are usually darker than their body and sometimes have faint "zebra" stripes on them. Dun horses always have a "dorsal" stripe, which is a dark stripe down the middle of their back. Sometimes the dorsal stripe continues down the horse's dock and tail, and through the mane. Many dun coloured horses also have face masking, which makes the horse's nose and sometimes the rest of the face a darker colour than the horse's body.

 Typical Dun

Bay Dun

This horse is a bay dun. Bay duns have a bay colour, but they are not bay since they have the dun characteristic of a dorsal stripe down the middle of their back.

Red Dun

This horse is a dun, but with reddish/chestnut highlights. He has a dorsal stripe down the middle of the back, and the legs a darker color than the body colour.



Palomino horses have gold-coloured coat with a white or light cream coloured mane and tail. The Palomino's coat can range from a light off-white shade to a deep shade of gold.


Roan horses have otherwise solid coloured coats, but with white hairs interspersed. The white hairs are not actual spots, but single white hairs mixed with the darker coat colour. You'll find descriptions and pictures of some common roan colours below.

The Roan Gene can be applied to any colour of horse. The most common are Red Roans, Bay Roans and Blue Roans. There are also Palomino Roans, Red Dun Roans, Dun Roans, Buckskin Roans, etc. The Roan gene adds white hairs into the body of the horse. The legs and head are not affected and will remain darker then the body. The mane and tail are usually not affected, but some may have some white hairs mixed in.

Bay Roan

A Bay Roan is a horse with a bay coat and the roan gene. The roan gene gives the horse interspersed white hairs on his body. The Bay roan sometimes looks very similar to a red roan or a blue roan.


Strawberry Roan

Strawberry roan is a chestnut or sorrel horse with the roan gene. The roan gene gives the horse interspersed white hairs on his body.

Blue Roan

A Blue Roan is a black horse with the roan gene. The roan gene gives the horse interspersed white hairs on his body. The horse to the left is a blue roan.




The Equine

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