Color Me Roan   1 comment


I’ve been collecting (in photos) unusual horse colors, off and on, for a while.  I’ve been meaning to get this mare for a while. 

She is a bay roan.  She could be called a red roan, but bay roan is more accurate.  Genetically, she is a bay horse (reddish-brown with black mane, tail, legs, and ear-tips) with a roan gene.  That gives an overlay of white hairs distributed through the coat.  My Duffy is a chestnut roan — a dark red color all over, with a sprinkling of white hairs.  This mare has more white intermixed into her coat than he does.

I wrote about Duffy’s color on my old blog, pointing out that roan is a color that has a lot of seasonal change.  In the winter, Duffy looks solid chestnut.  Then he goes through a “pink” stage, ending up with a light roaning throughout his coat.

This mare has a lot more roaning than he does, though not as much as some.  I’ve seen pictures of horses that were almost all white; again, except for mane, tail, head, and legs.  If I understand it correctly, the roan gene is activated by body heat, so the cooler parts of the body (where bone is close to the surface) are not affected.  But it’s complex, and I don’t claim to understand genetics.  For instance, this mare has a lot of white in her mane and tail, where Duffy has almost none. 

Notice, too, the darker spots in her coat, especially on her rump.  This sometimes leads to a roan being mistaken for an Appaloosa; but these spots are not present at birth.  They appear to mark the spots of minor injuries, but are not scars.  It’d be interesting to watch a scratch on a roan and see if the hair comes in darker.  Duffy hasn’t cooperated; all of his scratches have been on his head, from sticking his nose in where it doesn’t belong.


Posted July 27, 2009 by stablewoman in Horses

One response to “Color Me Roan

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  1. Hi Roberta,

    I was just viewing you blog and seen you had Sadie on there. Thanks for showing her off. We love her so much.

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