Grey Horses and More Grey Horses!!

Hiya!dapple grey in snow

If you’re anything like me you’ll think all horses are beautiful, but there’s just something special about grey horses! Maybe it’s because we’re brought up hearing fairytales about mystical white horses and their riders, or maybe we just remember that little grey pony who was always at every riding school. Whatever the reason, they’re gorgeous!!

Most horsey people know that a horse is never “white” – they’re always called grey – but there’s more to it than that! How many different types of grey can you name? Challenge you!! (Ok, I admit it! I cheated, but if you get all of these I’ll be very impressed!!!)

Grey is technically not a “colour” but a colour modifier. Horses are born another colour such as bay, black, chestnut, or palomino and then grey as they age. A horse’s age can be guessed from whether they are a dark, medium, or light grey. The greying gene (G) is a dominant gene which means some breeds are almost always grey.

Iron grey is dark, seen in the initial stages of greying when the dark hairs mix with the grey hairs. It is also known as steel grey or salt and pepper.

Rose grey is a less common stage of greying than iron grey. It is found when chestnuts or light bays grey and their coat gains a pinkish tinge.

Mulberry grey is when a horse’s coat has greyed but the mane and tail are still the colour of the base coat. This is quite a rare colour, usually only found in young horses!

Dapple grey has darker rings with lighter centres, covering 30-80% of the horse’s body. These are caused by blood arteries closer to the skin warming it. Warmer skin greys faster than cooler skin, creating dapples.

Flea-bitten grey is an end result of greying where the body is covered in speckles from the original coat colour.

White-grey is another end result of greying. White-greys look pure white but are never called white (with the exception of some breeds, just to make it difficult!) as their skin is dark rather than unpigmented.

Have you seen any of these greys? I’ve never met a mulberry grey or a rose grey, but I think they sound beautiful! Do you have a favourite grey?

Until next time, happy daydreaming!!

Horse Daydreamer xxx


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