Top 10 Horse Coat-Color Questions Answered

Do you have questions about your horse’s actual color? Or are you hoping to find a match that produces your favorite color? Read these answers to some of your top questions about coat color.

There are many factors that go into what your horse’s coat color is. Angela Bieber photo.

The color of a horse’s coat means many things to many people. Some people favor particular colors, and some horse breeders try to avoid certain colors breeding. Others are left scratching their heads, asking, “What color is my horse, really?”

AQHA is here to help, with friendly coat-color specialists on hand via phone and email. Plus, during most of the year, AQHA hosts AQHA Equine Coat Color Specialist Lisa Covey for Friday afternoon coat-color chats.

Here are some of the top questions Lisa has answered during Coat Color Chat on the AQHA Facebook page.

1. Q: I'm breeding this mare to a son of A Streak Of Fling. The mare is red dun and the stallion is bay roan. What are my odds for a roan? He is EE and AA.

A: You color possibilities would be bay or dun and the sire could pass the roan gene on about 50% of the time.

2. Q: What color would you consider my horse? The sire is red dun, and the dam is a dun.

A: I would call this horse a palomino dun. We would register this horse palomino.

3. Q: Could my dun mare crossed with a palomino stallion produce a cremello or perlino foal?

A: Only if your dun mare carries the cream dilution. We would register this horse palomino and describe the dorsal stripe, zebra stripes and “carries dun dilution”. The only way you would get a cremello or perlino is the dun mare would have to carry the cream gene.

4. Q: I am breeding this mare to buckskin Frenchmans Got Perks. What color do you think she will throw?

A: Breeding a bay roan to a buckskin, your color possibilities are sorrel, chestnut, palomino, red roan, palomino roan, bay, brown, black, buckskin, smoky black, bay roan, brown roan, blue roan, buckskin roan or smoky black roan (blue roan with a cream gene).

5. Q: I have heard people calling some horses a dunskin. What makes a dunskin? I have a Quarter Horse mare who is dun, but most people call her buckskin. She does have a dorsal stripe.

A: Beautiful mare! A "dunskin" is a dun with a cream dilution. The horse will carry both dilutions. One way to know for sure if your horse is both is to do color testing for cream and dun. Another way you would know if your horse carries both is if one of the parents is dun and the other is perlino or cremello. Then you would know your horse carries both.

6. Q: I registered my 2-year-old gelding as bay roan. But this summer, he's shed out, looking more blue roan. What would you say is his color?

A: This a bay roan. You could even register him brown roan, but he does not have a black head.

7. Q: Registered as a buckskin, dam was buckskin, sire was palomino. Everyone says she's a bay, though, not buckskin. What is she? Seems to change with the season.

A: She is bay from these photos.

8. Q: Have you ever heard of the "Zan Parr Bar belt" expressed on a horse's coat? I was told by the stallion owner of this horse that this was called the "Zan Parr Bar belt" and that it occurred on get and grand-get of the famous horse.

A: I have seen this on horses and we describe it as roan patch on right side of barrel.

9. Q: Hi, I have three registered AQHA champagnes. When will it be possible to register as a champagne? When will AQHA acknowledge the color on the registration papers and not just as a "with champagne dilution" on the back of the paperwork? Thanks for the info!

A: We are waiting on our new computer system before we can start using these colors.

10. Q: I have a yearling that was born sorrel but his mane and tail have turned black. Is he a sorrel or a bay?

A: He is a sorrel or chestnut because his lower legs are red, not black. His ears are not rimmed in black either. He just has a dark mane and tail.

Have a question about equine coat colors? Ask Lisa Covey, equine color specialist, during the Coat Color Chat, beginning February 2nd from 2 to 4 p.m. CT on Fridays on the AQHA Facebook page.