Something about the outside of a horse is good for the inside of a man.
           –Winston Churchill

 The sensory of sight….what do horses look like? Well that is as varied as the Miss America pageant. What’s more horses vary by what you want them to do. For example, the Thoroughbred is built for racing; long, lean, and fast.  The Quarter horse is built for ranch work; head low to get eyeball to eyeball with the cattle as well as a very muscled hindquarter. The fancy carriage horse will have a very high head carriage and be a very high stepper. The Draft will be like the heavy boxer of the horse world; thick muscles all over and very large splayed hooves up to  15″ across for pulling. This draft was also the early and uncomfortable charger of the knights because he could carry the weight of the knight’s armor. Ponies that were like rolly-pollies and stubborn would entertain children as well as pull ladies carts into down.

Horses come in all sizes,shapes and colorings plus markings. So here’s a paint palette for your horses:

  • Black: Blue-black which don’t sunburn because of their bluish skin tone. Brown-black  black with brownish skin tone that does sunburn to  a reddish tint, most common
  • Bay– brown with black mane, black tail, and black points on muzzle, ear tips, and legs; can come yellowish with black points or reddish known as “blood bay”.
  • Chestnutrich golden brown/burnt-orange, usually with a creamy/flaxen mane and tail; can be light or golden like a gold coin. Red chestnut-with more red in coat,; Liver chestnut-purplish or liver colored. (I knew one of these with a silver mane and tail…beautiful!)
  • Roan– any color with white hair spread throughout the body. Strawberry roan– brown or bay with white hair, gray or dark points. Chestnut roan– chestnut with white hair through coat, no points. Blue Roan-black with white hair through coat, may have black points.
  • Buckskin/Dun/Claybank colors from light silver to mouse-colored hair, HAS a matching strip black down back from black mane to black tail, may have a few zebra strips about shoulders  and back. Very common in western horses.  Claybanks have color the same all over…body, mane and tail.
  • Gray- born black and become lighter with age. Skin remains black though. Steel Gray– young black horse with a few white hairs through coat. easily confused with blue roan, Iron– has more white hair; Flea bitten Gray-tiny flecks of black and brown through coat
  • White- normal skin tone and covered with white hair, will have brown eyes. Albino- pink skin covered with white hair, has  pink skin around eyes and nose with blue eyes,  blisters easily in the sun.
  • Palomino-as golden as a new gold coin, color will vary to light to dark. Mane and tail is white, silver or ivory, skin will be darkish. Eyes are a dark hazel.
  • Spotted horsesMorocco-black and white usually more black than white; bay and white- Pinto or Paints– brown colors and white; Appaloosa– any color combo but usually bay and white, tiny flecks of color or spots all over the horse but mostly spread over the  hindquarters.

Check out these pictures  


  • Star– white hair defined on forehead in the shape of a star
  • Race-white narrow strip down face
  • Snip-white hair between nostrils
  • Blaze-broad splash of white between eyes and down face
  • White face- face is practically white covered



Hooves– normally steel-gray or brownish according to coloring. If white touches hoof will have white/creamy colored hooves where touched, can be streaked even.

Leg markings:     

  •  White coronet/White pastern– meaning these parts of the horse are white around hoof
  •  Quarter-stocking-white spreads from hoof to fetlock
  •  Half-stocking- white has spread midway up to knee
  •  Three-quarter stocking– yep white is spreading up  three-quarters up leg, approaching knee and hock
  •  Full-stocking– you  got it…white all the way up leg

These marking are individual meaning they can vary per leg with each leg with a different marking….or they can be all the same on all four legs or any two legs.

 (More pictures)


  • Cowlick- tuft of funny looking hair that doesn’t flow with the rest of the coat
  • Ray/Cross– dark side to side line over withers 
  • Zebra– dark horizontal strips on foreleg, knee, and cannon area.

Happy Coloring!!!


 Thanks again to Shirley Drew Hardwicke’s manual “Horsemanship, 1953 (Colors and markings don’t change that much over time, I promise.)