Hippology: Studying the Horse

The Five Basic Coat Colors

Black: The horse's coat, mane, and tail are black.
Brown: The horse's coat, mane, and tail are brown. The color may be nearly black, or lighter. Very dark seal brown may be distinguished from black by looking at the muzzle. If there are brown hairs here, the horse is brown.
Bay: The horse's coat is reddish brown. The mane and tail are black, as are the horse's legs. Bay horses are said to have black points, and these are the legs, mane, tail, points of the ears, and the muzzle.
Chestnut: The horse's coat is a shade of red. The mane and tail are also chestnut, and may be the same shade as the coat, lighter that the coat (flaxen) or darker than the coat, but NEVER BLACK. (If he had a black mane and tail then he'd be a bay).
White: The horse is entirely white, with pink skin. If he has dark skin, he isn't white, he's gray.

The Epistatic Modifiers

gray: a progressive silvering after birth. The horse is born one of the other colors and then goes from dark gray to almost white with age. The color may change at various rates depending on the individual.
roan: white hairs are mixed with hairs of any other color. Roan on bay is red roan, roan on black is blue roan, and roan on chestnut is strawberry roan.
dominant white: an absence of pigment which causes the fifth basic coat color, white.

The Dilutions

Grulla: a dilution of black
Buckskin: a single dilution of bay
Perlino: a double dilution of bay
Palomino: a single dilution of chestnut (three shades lighter or darker than a newly minted gold coin).
Cremello: a double dilution of chestnut

Color Patterns

piebald: black with white spots, or vice versa
skewbald: white with any other color
pinto: large spots (includes tobiano and overo)
tobiano: color on white (white extends over the back)
overo: white on color (white does not cross over the top line)
appaloosa: small spots (includes leopard, blanket, snowflake, and roan with appy markings) *see Breed notes, appaloosa

Facial Markings

star: white marking approximately between the eyes
snip: white marking on the nose
stripe: narrow band of white running down the face
blaze: white extends almost to the eyes, but not past
bald face: white extends past the eyes

Hippology: Studying the Horse