Quarter Horse Colors

  • Horses of Many Colors

  • Sorrel

    WHAT DOES A SORREL LOOK LIKE?

    • The most common appearance of SORREL is a red body with a red mane and tail with no black points.
    • But the SORREL can have variations of both body color and mane and tail color, both areas having a base of red.
    • The mature body may be a bright red, deep red, or a darker red appearing almost as CHESTNUT, and any variation in between. The mane and tail are usually the same color as the body but may be blonde or flaxen.
    • Content derived from AQHA Junior Master Horseman(tm) Level 1 and 2, 2006, with permission.
  • Chestnut

    WHAT DOES A CHESTNUT LOOK LIKE?

    • CHESTNUT, like SORREL, is the most common color in American Quarter Horses, both having a base color that is solid RED, although CHESTNUT may not appear red.
    • A mature CHESTNUT may exhibit a deeper red with an almost wine colored sheen. It is oftentimes a red so dark that it appears BROWN and may be confused with seal BROWN.
    • The mane and tail are usually the same as the body color but may also be blonde or flaxen.
    • Content derived from AQHA Junior Master Horseman(tm) Level 1 and 2, 2006, with permission.
  • Bay

    WHAT DOES A BAY LOOK LIKE?

    • Basically, a BAY has a general base color that ranges anywhere from a deep tan, to copper-red (similar to the color of SORREL), to a darker, brownish-red (similar to that of CHESTNUT).
    • Add to this the color black that is localized to the points (mane and tail, lower legs, tips and rims of ears).
    • As with other coat colors, there are variations of BAY. In addition to the RED color range of the body, a BAY may also have black covering or counter shading over most of the body giving it a sooty or smutty appearance.
    • Content derived from AQHA Junior Master Horseman(tm) Level 1 and 2, 2006, with permission.
  • Brown

    WHAT DOES A BROWN LOOK LIKE?

    • There is somewhat of a variation within the color BROWN. SEAL BROWN horses are consistently dark or seal colored over the entire body.
    • They may or may not have distinct black points, although almost all BROWNS do.
    • A BROWN horse with brown colored points (not black in appearance, but genetically still black) is often confused with CHESTNUT.
    • Some horses registered as BROWN may actually be smutty BAYS, BUCKSKINS, diluted BLACK horses, or BLACK horses with coats that fade.
    • Content derived from AQHA Junior Master Horseman(tm) Level 1 and 2, 2006, with permission.
  • Black

    WHAT DOES A BLACK HORSE LOOK LIKE?

    • BLACK horses fall into one of two categories as far as appearance.
    • Some BLACK horses will appear true black year round, retaining a black mane and tail as well as a black coat that will not sun-fade, regardless of the length of time left in the sun.
    • Some BLACK horses may appear true black if left indoors, but, if left outdoors for a lengthy period of time, the coat will then fade anywhere from a brown to reddish to a color so light it may appear a very dark or smutty buckskin.
    • Content derived from AQHA Junior Master Horseman(tm) Level 1 and 2, 2006, with permission.
  • Palomino

    WHAT DOES A PALOMINO LOOK LIKE?

    • The PALOMINO can appear very pale (almost white), yellow, golden, light tan or a deep, nearly chestnut color known as chocolate.
    • The mane and tail will appear almost white, flaxen or blonde. The skin color is dark gray.
    • The eyes are brown or black. Blue eyes are rare and may be the result of a DOUBLE CREAM DILUTION.
    • Content derived from AQHA Junior Master Horseman(tm) Level 1 and 2, 2006, with permission.
  • Buckskin

    WHAT DOES A BUCKSKIN LOOK LIKE?

    • The BUCKSKIN will appear very light (almost white, known as buttermilk BUCKSKIN), yellowish, golden, light tan or a deep tan that is similar to peanut butter.
    • The mane and tail will be black but may have silver hairs mixed in, sometimes to the point that the mane and tail appear almost solid white or very frosted.
    • The lower legs are usually black to some degree, usually in the form of stockings or socks, but is sometimes contained within the pastern area only.
    • The tips of the ears will be black or dark brown.
    • Content derived from AQHA Junior Master Horseman(tm) Level 1 and 2, 2006, with permission.
  • Cremello

    WHAT DOES A CREMELLO LOOK LIKE?

    • The CREMELLO will appear almost white with the mane and tail being the same as the body color.
    • On some DOUBLE CREAM DILUTED horses, the mane and tail may appear a bit darker and have a bit of a light copper or orange hue, with the lower legs having similar coloration.
    • This would very likely be considered a PERLINO which is genetically different from the CREMELLO.
    • The skin color appears very light, almost pinkish, and does not have the darker grayish pigmentation one finds on the skin color of the other horse colors.
    • Content derived from AQHA Junior Master Horseman(tm) Level 1 and 2, 2006, with permission.
  • Perlino

    WHAT DOES A PERLINO LOOK LIKE?

    • The PERLINO will appear almost white, with the mane and tail appearing a bit darker, and have a bit of a light copper or orange hue, with the lower legs having similar coloration.
    • The mane and tail of the PERLINO will genetically test BLACK.
    • The skin color appears very light, almost pinkish, and does not have the darker grayish pigmentation one finds on the skin color of the other horse colors.
    • It is possible for the PERLINO to have true white markings on the face and legs. The eyes are always pale blue.
    • Content derived from AQHA Junior Master Horseman(tm) Level 1 and 2, 2006, with permission.
  • Red Dun

    WHAT DOES A RED DUN LOOK LIKE?

    • RED DUN has a broad range of color combinations but will never have black points. The body color of the RED DUN ranges from pale red to gold or light tan, or any variation in between, all of which are diluted forms of RED.
    • Like SORREL and CHESTNUT, the mane and tail color of the RED
    • This includes blonde or cream, flaxen, light gold, pale red, sorrel red or chestnut.
    • You may notice that a RED DUN with a golden body and a blonde mane and tail has the same color description as PALOMINO.
    • Content derived from AQHA Junior Master Horseman(tm) Level 1 and 2, 2006, with permission.
  • Dun

    WHAT DOES A DUN LOOK LIKE?

    • A DUN is similar in color to a BUCKSKIN, but genetically, this is where it stops.
    • Like BUCKSKIN, the body will appear yellow, golden, light tan or a deep tan that is similar to peanut butter.
    • The mane and tail will be black and the lower legs are black to some degree--usually in the form of socks or stockings--but is sometimes contained within the pastern area only.
    • The tips of the ears will be black or dark brown.
    • The presence of the black points means that at least one parent must also carry the BLACK gene.
    • Content derived from AQHA Junior Master Horseman(tm) Level 1 and 2, 2006, with permission.
  • Grullo

    WHAT DOES A GRULLO LOOK LIKE?

    • The body of the GRULLO (pronounced GREW yo or GREW ya) will typically appear gray, silvery, smoky or some lighter or darker version of these colors.
    • Each of the hairs on the body is silvery or smoky; it is not a mixture of white and black or dark brown.
    • AQHA oftentimes uses the term mouse-colored.
    • One may note that a wild mouse is smoky-gray in color.
    • Some GRULLOS may have a warmer hue to their coat whereby the coat has a tannish hue, somewhat similar to that of the DUN.
    • Content derived from AQHA Junior Master Horseman(tm) Level 1 and 2, 2006, with permission.
  • Blue Roan

    WHAT DOES A BLUE ROAN LOOK LIKE?

    • A BLUE ROAN has a base color identical to BLACK and sometimes BROWN.
    • On a BLACK horse with the ROAN gene added, white hair is mixed in with the base coat, leaving the lower legs, the mane and tail, and the head typically unaffected.
    • In extreme cases, however, a ROAN may have a concentration of hair above the eyes (but not located directly at the eyes nor immediately around them) appearing as though the horse had white eyebrows The concentration may also be found at the polls or
    • Content derived from AQHA Junior Master Horseman(tm) Level 1 and 2, 2006, with permission.
  • Red Roan

    WHAT DOES A RED ROAN LOOK LIKE?

    • The RED ROAN has a base color identical to either the SORREL or CHESTNUT, including variations in the color of the mane and tail.
    • With the ROAN GENE added, the coat will also have white hair mixed in with the base coat, leaving the lower legs, the mane and tail, and the head typically unaffected.
    • In extreme cases, however, a ROAN may have a concentration of hair above the eyes (but not located directly at the eyes nor immediately around them) appearing as though the horse had white eyebrows.
    • Content derived from AQHA Junior Master Horseman(tm) Level 1 and 2, 2006, with permission.
  • Bay Roan

    WHAT DOES A BAY ROAN LOOK LIKE?

    • A BAY ROAN has a base color identical to BAY. With the ROAN gene added, white hair is mixed in with the base coat, leaving the lower legs, the mane and tail, and the head typically unaffected.
    • In extreme cases, however, a ROAN may have a concentration of hair above the eyes appearing as though the horse had white eyebrows.
    • Content derived from AQHA Junior Master Horseman(tm) Level 1 and 2, 2006, with permission.
  • Gray

    WHAT DOES A GRAY LOOK LIKE?

    • The appearance of the GRAY depends on the stage of graying and/or the age of the horse.
    • The horse may be an immature gray at any age, meaning that the horse is retaining much or some of its original coat color but is showing clear signs of turning GRAY.
    • Among others, these signs of graying are most often found around the eyes and muzzle but may also be throughout the face as well as over the entire area of the ears.
    • Content derived from AQHA Junior Master Horseman(tm) Level 1 and 2, 2006, with permission.
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    • Content derived from AQHA Junior Master Horseman(tm) Level 1 and 2, 2006, with permission.