17 Jul 2011

Base Coat Colors


Chestnut Base Horse Coat Color

Chestnut Horse

Basic Chestnut

All horse colors are built on a black or a chestnut base and different colors are achieved by dilution genes and color modifiers to provide the wide variety of colors and patterns in existence today.

A Few Chestnut Facts

  • Chestnut horses have no black hairs, they have a red coat and red points
  • Chestnut and sorrel are interchangable terms and the same genetically
  • Colors range from dark reddish brown, to deep red to light red
  • Mane and tail can achieve a sunstreaked look making it lighter than the body hairs
  • Mane and tail can be almost black all the way to blonde and flaxen

Different Chestnut Shades

There is a rainbow of reds in the chestnut family, but most fall under one of three main categories.
Liver or Black Chestnut
Liver Chestnut Horse
  • Darkest red color
  • Can be very dark, however hair will retain a red color
  • Common in the morgan breed
  • Can be confused with silver dapple
Chestnut / Red Chestnut / Sorrel
Sorrel Horse
Image from Methos31
  • Lighter red hairs
  • Mane and tail can be very light in color
  • Most common shade of chestnut
Light Blonde / Sandy Chestnut
Sandy Chestnut Horse
Image from Imoan Arabians
  • Very pale red
  • Mane and tail can be very light in color

Chestnut Dilutions

Chestnut horses can display a wide variety of colors when diluted, here are a few of them.
Red Dun
Red Dun Horse
Chestnut base with a dun dilution gene.
Palomino
Palomino Horse
Chestnut base with a cream dilution gene.
Creamello
Cremello Horse
Chestnut base with a double dose of the cream dilution gene.
Image from Steven_Walling
Gold Champagne
Gold Champagne Horse
Chestnut base with a champagne dilution gene.
Image from Kersti_Nebelsiek

Chestnut Modifications

Most of the known modifiers affect the chestnut base, some of them are even exclusive to chestnut animals. Here are a few examples.
Mealy / Pangare
Chestnut Mealy / Pangare Horse
Chestnut base with a mealy / pangare gene.
Sooty / Smutty
Sooty / Smutty Horse
Chestnut base with a sooty / smutty gene.
Image from Just chaos
Flaxen
Flaxen Horse
Chestnut base with a flaxen gene.
Image from Mihai Bojin

White Patterns

Chestnut horses can display all of the white patterns, creating an even wider variety of colors.
Appaloosa
Chestnut Appaloosa Horse
Chestnut base with an appaloosa white pattern gene
Image from evelynbelgium
Skewbald Pinto / Paint
Skewbald Horse
Chestnut base with a pinto / paint white pattern gene
Image from Lienhard_Schulz
Strawberry Roan
Strawberry Roan Horse
Chestnut base with a roan white pattern.

Black Base Horse Coat Color

Black Horse

Basic Black

All horse colors are built on a black or a chestnut base and different colors are achieved by dilution genes and color modifiers to provide the wide variety of colors and patterns in existence today.

A Few Black Facts

  • The black gene occurs in most breeds
  • Black horses have no brown or red hairs
  • They have a black coat and black points
  • The only white is in markings on face and legs
  • Black horses do better in cold climates
  • Dark hair absorbs heat from the sun making hot weather work difficult
  • There are two types of black, fading & non-fading
Non-fading black
Non-Fading Black Horse
  • Their coat never fades from sun, weather or work
  • They are born black and remain black throughout their life
  • Can be a smokey or blue black
Fading black
Fading Black Horse
  • Coat fades from sun and weather
  • Usually born smokey or dark bay
  • Cannot generally produce bay foal
  • Also called ‘Barn Black’ because unless they are kept from the sun they will fade with age

Black Dilutions

Black horses can display a wide variety of colors when diluted, here are a few of them.
Grullo or Grulla (male – female)
Grulla Horse
Black base with dun dilution gene
Image from Amazona
Smokey Black or Smokey Cream
Smoky Black Horse
Black base with a cream dilution gene
Image from Liberty Walkers
Classic Champagne
Classic Champagne Horse
Black base with a champagne dilution gene
Image from Kersti_Nebelsiek
Silver Dapple or Chocolate Silver
Silver Dapple Horse
Black base with a silver dilution gene
Image credit Equine Now

Black Modifications

Not all modifiers have an affect on a black coat, here are a few examples of those that do.
Mealy / Pangare
Black Mealy / Pangare Horse
Black base with a mealy / pangare gene
Sooty / Smutty
Black Sooty / Smutty Horse
Black base with a sooty / smutty gene
Image from Rozpravka

White Patterns

Black horses can display all of the white patterns, making them incredibly colorful without any color at all.
Appaloosa
Black Appaloosa Horse
Black base with an appaloosa white pattern gene
Piebald Pinto / Paint
Piebald Horse
Black Roan / Blue Roan
Blue Roan Horse
Black base with a roan white pattern gene
Image from Caronna

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