it’s thought that horses that present markings like this (and brindle) are actually chimeras

it’s thought that horses that present markings like this (and brindle) are actually chimeras

basic face and leg markings

obviously facial and leg markings vary but most of them can be described by using the terms in these two graphics

basic colors

there are a huge variety of horse colors but for now i’m just going to go through the basics without having to get into the genetics of the shades/varieties

True Black pretty self-explanatory, really.  true black horses will not fade or bleach in the sun

Faded black some black horses will fade or bleach in the sun.  some will fade to almost a pure brown color

Chestnut/sorrel these terms are quite often interchangeable, though chestnut is the more common (sorrel is mostly used in reference to American quarter horses by people who ride western style). chestnut is generally a lighter color, while sorrel is a darker red.



Grey  some grey horses appear white.  the difference between grey horses and white horses is, basically, the color of the skin.  grey horses have black skin while in order for a horse to be white, it must have pink skin.  the quickest way to determine a horse’s skin color is to look around the muzzle and eyes



Dappled Grey all grey horses are born chestnut, bay, or black and fade over time to be grey.  during the ageing process, some of them dapple.  they can stay dappled for many years, sometimes not completely greying out until their teens

Flea bitten Grey not all grey horses turn solid grey, many of them keep flecks of their original color.  this is called fleabitting (has nothing to do with fleas)

Bay a bay horse is horse with a brown body, black mane and tail and black points (tips of the ears, lower legs)

Brown  brown is not commonly used to refer to a horse and only certain breed registries recognize it as a color (specifically the Jockey Club which is the registry for thoroughbred horses).  brown horses are usually referred to as bay although the difference between body color and mane/tail and points is much closer

Buckskin buckskin horses have a tan/golden body with a black mane and tail and black points.  the body color can vary in the shade of color

Palomino  like a buckskin, a palomino will have a tan/gold body except the mane and tail will be white

Chestnut with flaxen mane and tail  many times these horses are mistaken for palominos, but you’ll see that the coat color is usually darker and the mane and tail aren’t a pure white, they’re simply a lighter shade of the body color

gender and age

i’m going to talk about gender in this post.  these terms apply to all horses, ponies, minis (different terms are used for donkeys and mules and i’ll try to remember to do a separate post about that).

foal is a gender-neutral term used for all baby horses

filly is a female foal and the term is usually used until the horse is three or four years old

colt is a male foal (used regardless of whether he’s been castrated or not) and the term is usually used until the horse is three or four years old

stud colt isn’t technically a proper term, but it is used for colts that have not been castrated.  the term is usually used until the horse is three or four years old

weanling refers to a foal that has been weaned

yearling obviously refers to a horse that is a year old.  yearlings generally aren’t referred to as foals anymore

mare is an adult female horse

gelding is an adult castrated male horse (most male horses are castrated)

stallion is an adult male horse that has not been gelded (is intact)

stud is a term that is often used improperly to refer to a stallion.  technically, a stud is a large breeding farm that stands several stallions

note: it is very, very rare for a female horse to be spayed.  it’s obviously quite an invasive surgery and horses don’t generally do well with abdominal surgery.  it’s much more uncommon for a horse to breed accidentally (unlike dogs or cats) so it’s not done to keep that from happening.  it is occasionally done for particularly vicious mares or for medical reasons (if a mare being bred would put her life in danger, for example).  there is no term for a spayed mare.

horses, ponies, miniature horses

the differences between horses, ponies, and miniature horses tend to confuse even experienced horse-people simply because there’s no real standard.

in a lot of open shows, a pony is anything 14.2 hands or less while horses are anything bigger than 14.2.  this sounds simple enough, but it’s not exactly factual, it’s just a way of dividing up what can be shown in a pony class and what has to be shown with the horses (pony classes are a very big deal in certain parts of the world).  some equines that are under 14.2 are actually horses because of their breed (Arabians, for example) while some that are over 14.2 are actually ponies (Connemaras, highland ponies, etc).

Arabian horse:


Connemara pony:

the fact is, there are physical differences between horses and ponies.  generally speaking, ponies have thicker, fuller manes and tails, they tend to be stockier than horses, their ears are smaller, and they just have a certain keen look to their faces.



one breed in particular that tends to confuse people is the Icelandic horse.  they’re pony-sized (an Icelandic that is 13.2 is considered tall), but they’re always referred to as horses, which tends to confuse people.  physically, Icelandics are ponies.  the reason they’re referred to as horses is because there is no word in the Icelandic language for pony.  (i’ll do a whole separate in-depth post on Iceys in future)

Icelandic horse (should be clear that they are of pony proportions):

miniature horses are another sticking point.  strictly speaking, a miniature horse should be just that - a smaller version of a horse.  there should be few-to-no pony traits.  a miniature horse should be an equine of horse proportions that is no taller than 38” at the withers.  quite often you’ll see dwarf miniatures, which are NOT desirable.  some people seem to think they’re cute, but they have massive health issues and are not considered to be proper minis.

proper miniature horse:

dwarf miniature:

if you have questions, please don’t hesitate to ask, i know this can be a tricky topic


Submitted by trippingxeyes 
All that I know is that I believe in
the sound of music and the
running of a horse. All else is
Bukowski (via let-it-remain)
measuring horses and ponies

horses and pony heights are measured in a unit called “hands”.  the hand unit is used mostly in the US, UK, Australia, Canada, and Ireland.  in most of the world, measurement is simply expressed in terms of meters or centimeters.

one hand is equal to four inches.  when you measure a horse, you measure from the ground to the withers.

the abbreviation for hand is “h” with a plural of “hh”.  a horse is measured in terms of full hands and inches.  for example a horse that is 63 inches at the withers is 15.3 hands (the fifteen being hands and the 3 being inches).  a horse that is 64 inches would be 16 hands.  you should never see a horse listed as more than x.3 hands (people do sometimes list a horse as being 14.5 hands which is incorrect - i generally assume they mean 14-and-a-half hands, which would correctly be 14.2hh).

when spoken out loud, a height is generally stated as “sixteen-two” for a horse that measured 16.2.

the hand unit of measurement is used on horses and ponies, but miniature horses are always measured in terms of inches.


we lost one of the horses at the barn.  his name was Doc and he belonged to the barn owner for 17 years.  Doc was the king of the barn/pasture and everyone knew it.  he was a big 16+ hand quarter horse gelding who was Jason’s steer wrestling horse (he’d also been trained for roping).  he was such a handsome horse and exceptionally sweet and quiet (none of the other horses would mess with him, though).  it’s going to be weird walking into the barn and seeing his stall standing empty.

reblogged from my personal blog.  sorry if your’e seeing this twice

these are the basic points of a horse.  i’ll try to remember to link back to this post when i mention any of the terms
you can click through to get the larger image

these are the basic points of a horse.  i’ll try to remember to link back to this post when i mention any of the terms

you can click through to get the larger image