Anticipation of the birth of a new foal builds. Names are contemplated and birth preparations are completed. A gestation of 11 months, allows for a lot of time to wonder about the coloring of the new foal. There are 17 colors within the American Quarter Horse breed. To avail some of the mystery, first determine the genetic color of the mare and the stallion involved. Enter the genetic color of both parents into an equine color coat calculator. The calculator will reveal the possibilities and odds. Hints for the American Quarter Horse color genetics listed below are often deceptive. These hints will assist owners to form an educated guess to predict the coat color for the anticipated new foal.
- Brown: Chestnut, smoky black, or seal brown should not be included in this category. For this category, only the dark shades of bay are incorporated.
- Chestnut: Chestnuts have a red to reddish-brown coat with a mane and tail in the same color, lighter or darker. Darker Chestnuts are sometimes confused with Blacks and lighter ones may resemble a Palomino. A true chestnut horse coat contains no black hairs, although the skin is black and the eyes are dark brown. There is a possibility for white markings and blue eyes with a Chestnut horse.
- Red or Black Dun: Horses with red, bay, seal brown or black coat pigments often carry a dilution gene. These horses are known as Duns. A Bay with a Dun gene may be confused with a Buckskin. There is now a test available to detect Seal Brown Duns.
- Roan: A Roan has white hair intermingled with another colored hair on the majority of the body. The head, mane, lower legs and tail may be a solid color such as Chestnut. In this case, genetically the horse is a Chestnut. A horse with white hair mixed in with black is known as a Blue Roan. If the head, mane, lower legs and tail are black, the horse is genetically Black.
- Sorrel: A Sorrel is easily mistaken for a Chestnut. A Sorrel also carries two sets of red genes. The red genes in sorrels are dominant. There is no other gene, including black that is passed to the lineage. An equine with a red body, mane and tail could possibly be a Sorrel. While the body and tail colors may have some variation from red, such as blonde or flaxen, the body will have a red appearance. A Sorrel may be mistaken for a Palomino or Red Dun.
*Photo courtesy of The Field Out Behind My Mother and Father’s Home by Jennifer Morton at Flickr’s Creative Commons.