Horses come in a wide range of colors, with a variety of different patterns and unique markings. In this article, we won’t go into detail about each color and coat since this is mainly intended to be a visual guide for new beginners, helping you to understand what the different colors and coats look like so you can associate the looks with the proper names.
Credit: kudybadorota, Pixabay
You can find horses in many different colors, though the names of each color might be difficult to remember and associate with the proper hue. You won’t often use most of these color names in any other capacity.
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- White Palomino
Credit: AinslieGillesPatel, Pixabay
Some horses have distinct patterns across their bodies. There aren’t as many distinct horse coat patterns as there are colors, but they are easily identifiable.
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Credit: pixel2013, Pixabay
Aside from patterns and colors, some horses also have additional markings. Generally, these are on the face, lower legs, chest, and ears.
- Star on the forehead
- Tipped ears
One thing to keep in mind: because of differences in computers and settings, images can look different on each monitor or screen they’re viewed on. As such, the colors you see might not accurately reflect real life. Still, you should be able to get a fairly good idea of what each color looks like so that you can easily identify many horse coat colors and patterns.
Featured image credit: JerzyGorecki, Pixabay
An avid outdoorsman, Dean spends much of his time adventuring through the diverse terrain of the southwest United States with his closest companion, his dog, Gohan. He gains experience on a full-time journey of exploration. For Dean, few passions lie closer to his heart than learning. An apt researcher and reader, he loves to investigate interesting topics such as history, economics, relationships, pets, politics, and more.
Horses are amazing creatures. They are majestic, heart-warming, and, just like shoes, horses come in many colors. Horse coat colors are dependent upon genetics, just as our hair and eye colors are. Red, bay and black are the three base colors that horse colors stem from, but what are the most common colors? Continue reading to find out.
Since bay is a base color, it is no doubt that it is one of the most common coat colors. Bay horses have black points, meaning their mane and tail is black, the rims around their ears are black, and their muzzle and legs are usually black.
The chestnut color stems from the red base color. For a horse to be considered chestnut, the mane and tail must be the same color as the horse’s coat color. A chestnut horse has no black points but can be more of a darker red, or liver chestnut.
A sorrel horse should not be confused with a chestnut horse. Although similar, a sorrel horse is lighter than chestnut and the mane and tail of a sorrel horse is lighter than the horse’s coat color. It can even be flaxen or blonde.
Another base color but harder to classify, a true black horse has no red hues to the coat color. The mane and tail are black, and they have no white areas on the coat.
The palomino horse color stands out in the crowd. The coat color is like a cream and the mane and tail are white. This color comes from the red base color, but the horse has an expressive cream dilution mutation in their genetics, resulting in a beautiful color.
Buckskin is another flashy color with a golden coat and black points. This color is also produced in the same manner as a palomino except for the base color being bay instead of red.
Although not as common, the dun horse color is just as beautiful but unique. True dun-colored horses have a black dorsal stripe, and some have black zebra stripes down their legs. This genetic mutation can affect all base colors and the dun hue color is dependent upon the base color.
Gray horses are born another base color and lose their pigment over time. Eventually, they are a light gray or even white.
Roan horses are unique as their coat is. They have a base color and white hairs scattered throughout the coat. Roan horses have their own colors coming from the three base colors; strawberry or red roan, bay roan, and blue roan – coming from the black base color.
A pinto coat color does not mean that a horse is a Paint. A Paint is a specific breed of horse, a pinto color can affect any breed. This color is basically a horse with a base color with white patches scattered throughout the coat.
All horse colors are beautiful, unique, and come in so many variations and patterns. If only we could have one of each! What’s your favorite coat color? Let us know in the comments below!
About the Author
Horse Courses by Elaine Heney
Dani Buckley is a small-town resident in Montana. She is a veterinary technician manager and mom of eight four-legged kids – 5 dogs, 1 cat, and 2 horses. When she moved back home to Montana, her horses and her dogs moved with her (Carbon and Milo). The pack grew by three when she moved in with her boyfriend, Cody. Altogether there is a German Shepard (Lupay), a Border Collie (Missy), a Blue Heeler (Taz) and her two adorable mutts.
Her horses are her free time passion – Squaw and Tulsa. Dani has owned Squaw for 17 years and this mare has made 2 trips across the country with Dani! Squaw is a retired rodeo and cow horse. Her other mare, Tulsa, is an upcoming ranch horse. The girls have an unmatched personality and bond with Dani. She has been around horses her entire life and rodeoed throughout highschool and beyond. Now, she enjoys riding on the ranch, working cattle and trail riding.
Read this Ghost Of Tsushima guide on the horse. Learn about horse name colors, which horse to choose, recommended horse, if you can change your horse color and skins, name!
Table of Contents
What Is The Best Horse To Choose?
Choose Horse Color According To Preference
You will have 3 options for your horse, based on their colors – Black, White, and Dapple . These are the only horse options you’ll get in Ghost of Tsushima.
No Difference Except Horse Color
Horses in Ghost of Tsushima do not seem to have any differences except for the color of their coat. It is best to choose the horse that appeals to you the most.
Available Horse Colors
Digital Deluxe Owner Gets An Exclusive Horse
Digital Deluxe Editions owners will be able to use a 4th choice, a brown mane warhorse. You may also choose for other colors, as these are purely be cosmetic.
Which Color Did You Choose?
Let us know which horse color you chose for your gameplay of Ghost of Tsushima and why! Leave a comment below so we can find out.
Which Horse Name To Pick?
Choose Between Nobu, Sora, Kage
Once you have chosen the color of your horse, you can pick between three names – Nobu, Sora, and Kage . Each name has a different meaning.
Horse Name Meanings
No Difference Except For In-Game Voice Acting
Choosing the name of your horse does not make any difference. The only difference is how Jin will call the horse’s name in the game.
Which Horse Name Did You Pick?
Let us know what horse name you prefer for Jin Sakai’s trusty steed and why! Leave a comment below so we can find out.
Choosing Your Second Horse
Choose Another Horse In Act III
Due to in-game events, you will lose your horse during the start of Act III. However, you will get the chance to choose another one once you reach the Story Mission, “Heart of the Jito”. This new horse will be your partner throughout the rest of your playthrough.
One New Choice For Color & Name
A new color and name appears as part of the choices: Thin Brown and Kaze. The other 2 colors and names are ones that you did not choose for your first horse.
Does Not Have Any Gameplay Advantages
Like your first horse, your second one does not offer any gameplay benefits or advantages. They fundamentally function like your first one , except for having a different name and color.
New Horse Names & Colors
The choices below were presented to our team. We choose Sora as the first horse’s name and White as the first horse’s color.
New Horse Names
New Horse Colors
What Is Your Horse?
Companion For Traveling
Your horse is essential for getting around the map quickly. Since Tsushima is an open world with several different sites, the horse will be useful for quickly navigating between objectives and points of interest on the map!
Chosen During Prologue
You’ll be able to choose your horse during the beginning of the game. Mid-prologue, you’ll get to the stables and you’re offered to choose from 3 samurai horses.
Horse Is Invincible
Your horse will be invincible and cannot be killed in the game. You can have no fear of leaving your horse in the middle of the dangerous area of the map.
Can Get Knocked Off Horse
Even if your horse is invincible, Jin Sakai can be knocked off while riding, especially during fights or areas with many enemies.
Whistle To Call Horse To You
In order to call your horse, you’ll need to whistle to draw his attention and call him to you. You need to press the Left Directional button to call the horse.
Ghost of Tsushima gives players a choice between three horses and three different names at the start of the game, but does it matter what you pick?
Sucker Punch’s Ghost of Tsushima forces players to make a very important choice at the beginning of the game – select a horse as well as a name for the four-legged companion. With little information provided as to how to make a proper decision, some players may assume this has little bearing on the overall game, and that assumption is correct.
[WARNING: Spoilers for Ghost of Tsushima below]
After Ghost of Tsushima’s tutorial, which includes following the thief Yuna through a Mongolian camp in order to retrieve Jin Sakai’s sword, players will be led to a stable. Here they’ll have to choose between three different horses, one brown, one white, and one dapple. They’ll also be given a choice between three different Japanese names: Nobu (meaning trust), Sora (meaning sky), and Kage (meaning shadow).
The horses in Ghost of Tsushima are practically invincible. No matter what Jin does – trying to ride them off a cliff or stabbing them with his sword – the horse remains alive and well. It’s only once during the main story campaign in Act III that Jin’s original horse eventually dies. Afterwards, players will get a second chance to choose between a mare and a name. The horses this time are black, dapple, and a brown color. There are also three new names to choose from.
Does It Matter What Horse & Name Players Choose?
It may seem as though the choices players make in regard to their horse will have an impact on Ghost of Tsushima’s story, particularly since players can make other important choices throughout the game. However, the choice of horse actually has no impact on the rest of the game. Each of the three options presented to players ride the same. They have the same speed and endurance. The only difference is aesthetic, meaning players should choose a horse and its name based on what they prefer.
If players bought the Digital Deluxe Edition of Ghost of Tsushima, this will give them a fourth option – a beautiful brown horse. Some players may think this horse would has some special abilities, since it’s an in-game bonus not everyone has access to. However, once again, this horse is no different from the other options, aside from its physical appearance. There’s no real incentive to choosing this horse unless the individual player prefers its look compared to the other options. It may be surprising that the horses players choose from have no real impact on the overall game in Ghost of Tsushima, but at the very least, it makes the initial decision less intense when players realize the only thing at stake is aesthetic.
SilverTQ, LLC often receives questions concerning how to properly identify and distinguish the White Buffalo stone from similar looking stones such as Magnesite, Wild horse, Crazy horse or Howlite. What details can one look for that sets the White Buffalo stone apart from others? Wild Horse and Crazy Horse stones are the same, just two different names. They are in fact composed of magnesite from southern Arizona near the Globe copper mines, and contain some hematite that gives its distinctive colors. Consequently, this stone can technically be referred to as either Wild Horse Magnesite or Crazy Horse Magnesite.
Magnesite is magnesium carbonate, and found in veins in ultramafic rocks such as serpentine and other magnesium rich rocks. The color is milk white to pale yellow with brown and sometimes black inclusions. The colors are generally more swirled in pattern as opposed to the White Buffalo having more distinct division of colors. The color of the Wild Horse or Crazy Horse stones distinguish it from the other colors of Magnesite.
Magnesite, Wild Horse or Crazy Horse have no copper for blue or iron for green coloring. Their white coloring is more of a milky or creamy white. The color of their matrix is of varying shades of brown from dark to light from the host rock. The borders of white to color are often less defined, tending to be more mottled than that of White Buffalo. These stones are often dyed different colors and can at times be quite confusing to recognize.
What Is White Buffalo?
The White Buffalo stone originates from the Tonopah Nevada area found in the same general veins as Dry Creek turquoise but has no copper content. Considering this fact, it should therefore not be called “white turquoise” as it does not have the same chemical composition as turquoise, which is a copper phosphate. There is no copper to cause blue color or iron to cause green color. It is a mostly clean white calcite/quartz mix with black chert inclusions (matrix) that are more sharply defined as opposed to being smutty. The better stones have clear delineations of black and white.
How About Howlite?
Howlite is a cream white calcium borosilicate hydroxide with more of grey erratic veining and is often represented as White Buffalo. The grey matrix is, however, a differentiating marker that makes it a different stone. Howlite is porous and easily absorbs dyes to imitate other more costly stones like turquoise, coral and even lapis. This stone when dyed can be confusing to recognize. Howlite has a marble like look and does not generally have as high a shine as white buffalo.
The basic coat colors of horses include chestnut, bay, and black. These are controlled by the interaction between two genes : Melanocortin 1 Receptor (MC1R) and Agouti Signaling Protein (ASIP). MC1R, which has also been referred to as the extension or red factor locus , controls the production of red and black pigment. To date, there are three versions ( alleles ) of this gene that have been identified at the molecular level: E, e, and e a . The e and e a alleles are recessive to E and are considered to be loss of function mutations in MC1R. In homozygous individuals (e/e or e a /e a ) only red pigment is produced, hence the name red factor. ASIP, also known as Agouti, controls the distribution of black pigment. The dominant allele (A) restricts black pigment to the points of the horse (mane, tail, lower legs, ear rims), while the recessive form (a) distributes black pigment uniformly over the body.
Currently, genetic tests for the three basic coat colors include: Agouti and Red Factor
Variability exists among the three basic coat colors. This variability has been described as shade. For example, some horses are a very dark chestnut known as liver chestnut while others are a much lighter yellow shade. While, over 300 different genes have been identified that contribute to mammalian pigmentation, for many of these their contribution to equine pigmentation variation remains unknown. The genetics behind the variability in shade in horses is something we still have a lot to learn about.
There are several genes that that have been shown to reduce the amount of pigment produced and/or reduce the amount transferred from the pigment cell to the hair follicular cells, and these are know as dilution genes. Some of these dilution genes affect only one type of pigment (red or black) while others affect both (red and black). Some dilute both the coat and the points (mane, tail, lower legs, ear rims), while others primarily dilute the points, and still others leave the points unaffected and only dilute the coat. Molecular characterization of six different dilution phenotypes in horses include Cream, Champagne, Dun, Pearl, Silver, and Mushroom. Cream is dominant and has a dosage effect in that a single copy of the cream allele (N/Cr) produces palominos on a chestnut background and buckskin on a bay background. Two doses of the Cream allele (Cr/Cr) produce cremellos on a chestnut background, perlinos on a bay background, and smoky creams on a black background. Pearl is an allele at the same locus at Cream (SLC45a2) but is recessive; two copies of the Pearl allele (Prl/Prl) or one copy of Pearl and one of Cream (Prl/Cr, this is known as a compound heterozygote) are needed to see the dilution effect on the coat.
Champagne, Dun, and Silver are all dominant traits, and therefore only one copy of dilution causing allele is needed to produce the respective phenotypes. Silver is interesting because it primarily affects black pigment of the points (black and bay horses). Chestnut horses with the sliver mutation do not show a different coat color phenotype than those chestnut horses without the silver mutation, as silver does not dilute red pigment. Horses with the silver mutation, regardless of base coat color, have an ocular condition known as multiple congenital ocular anomaly or MCOA for short. Horses with two copies of silver (Z/Z) have a more severe phenotype than those with one (N/Z).
The mushroom allele (Mu) is recessive and dilutes red pigment. Chestnut horses who are homozygous for Mu will have a dilute sepia coat phenotype. Bay horses homozygous for the mushroom phenotype have a lighter shade of red body with black counter shading, suggesting that Mu increases black pigment production having the opposite effect on black pigment as it does on red.
Current genetic tests for dilution mutations in the horse include:
White Spotting Pattern Genes
There are several genes responsible for white coat patterns in horses. These can occur on any base color and in combination with any dilution mutation. White spotting patterns can be divided into distributed white or patch white patterning. Distributed white patterns, in which white hairs are intermixed with colors hairs, include classic Roan and Gray. Both classic Roan and Gray are caused by dominant mutations. Classic Roan horses have fully or nearly fully pigmented faces but white hairs are distributed throughout the coat. Grey horses will progressively loose pigment distributed in the coat as they age. Gray horses are at risk for melanoma . Patch white spotting patterns include Appaloosa, Dominant White, Sabino 1, Splashed White, Tobiano, and Overo. These all vary in the location of the white pattern. For example, Appaloosa white patterning tends to be symmetrical and centered over the hips, but the amount of white can vary from just a few white flecks on the rump to a horse that is almost completely white. Patch white patterns identified to date have all been caused by dominant mutations. Some of these, like gray and silver described above, have pleiotropic effects; that is, a mutation in one gene can affect more than one body system. Homozygosity for the frame-overo allele (O/O) is lethal (Lethal White Overo syndrome). Horses with two copies of the Appaloosa mutation (LP/LP), also known as leopard complex, have an ocular condition known as congenital stationary night blindness, which means they are unable to see in low light conditions.
Current genetic tests for white spotting pattern mutations in the horse include:
Some color assignments and also genotypes can be correctly determined based on physical appearance or phenotype alone. However, genetic testing may be necessary to define phenotypes that are visually ambiguous and can help to determine color possibilities for offspring. For example, it is not possible to know by appearance alone if a chestnut horse is able to produce a black horse. Therefore, genotyping for Agouti can assist in these cases. There are many examples where genetic testing for coat color in horses can an assist with predicting breeding outcomes as well as inform clinical management decisions for those coat color phenotypes with pleiotropic effects. Researchers at the Veterinary Genetics Laboratory and around the globe are working towards identifying other variants involved in producing the myriad of beautiful coat color phenotypes that exist in the horse.
For more information on Equine Color Genetics please see
Sponenberg, D.P. and Bellone, R.R. (2017). Equine Color Genetics. 4th Edition Ames, IA: Iowa State University Press. ISBN: 978-1-119-13058-1.
Wild type allele
Tests Available at the VGL
Currently, genetic tests for specific pigmentation mutations available for the horse include:
Please note that all of the text information on this page was originally composed by me unless otherwise referenced, and was typed with great thought. I have read books and many educational web sites to contribute to my knowledge base. Some of the content was created in the late 1990’s, and may need to be updated. With 300+ pages in this web site, I can’t remember which pages need updates all the time. If you see an out-of-date page, let me know so I can update it.
Some photos were donated by people that have horses with color examples needed to provide educational content. For that reason, permission is not granted for anyone else to use photos from these pages.
Please feel free to link to this page, but do not copy the content and place it on your site.
"UP TO DATE" Note: Some of the color/informational pages on my site have not been updated for a long time due to my lack of free time to do so.
I am leaving the pages up because they are still helpful. BUT, some of the terminology is incorrect and there is also NEW knowledge available regarding color genetics. Some day, I will update these pages. when time allows.
Click here to learn more.
The Quarter Horse breed has listed 17 acceptable colors for registration of foals (as of 2006). More colors exist that aren’t listed, and if you have such a foal, you should register it according to the closest genetic color option that fits what you feel the foal will be at maturity. For example, a white horse with blue eyes that is "aa" for Agouti is really a double-diluted black. But it can be registered as a Perlino, because the correct option for a double-cream-diluted black is not offered by AQHA.
In addition, champagne and silver dapple genes are present in some QH’s, but their colors are not options offered on the registration application. Combinations of multiple modifying genes also exist, and AQHA can help you determine the best color to register your foal if you are uncertain how it should be listed. We have a palomino mare that AQHA registered as a red dun. When questioned, they said it was because they knew she had dun factor due to her sire being a 100% color producer. Although she looks like a white-maned palomino with very faint gold striping, they required that she be registered as a red dun. They have rules they must follow, so inquire if you have a question.
Ghost of Tsushima is a deep, combat-focused RPG, and one of the very first choices presented to the player early on in the campaign revolves around your horse. In this guide, we address a few questions you may have about your trusty steed in the early hours of your journey. Does your horse’s name or color have any impact on its stats? Where do you get the Digital Deluxe pre-order bonus? All these matters and more are discussed below.
Where is my Digital Deluxe Horse?
If you pre-ordered the Digital Deluxe version of Ghost of Tsushima via the PlayStation Store, you’re entitled to a unique horse style that standard-edition samurai won’t get. But it’s worth noting that you can’t use it immediately. After one of the opening missions in which you first encounter Yuna, she’ll take you to a stable where four color options await: white, black, spotted and Digital Deluxe. You’ll find the latter on the right side of the stable.
Does the name or color of my horse matter?
While other action-RPGs like Breath of the Wild and Red Dead Redemption 2 may have trained gamers to look for stats or differences in the horse they choose, there isn’t much of that at all in Ghost of Tsushima. With that fact in mind, it’s worth emphasizing that your starting horse name and color should be chosen entirely on your personal taste. There are no sats, even hidden ones, that we’re aware of, so just pick the creature that best suits your mood.
Here are the horse naming options you’ll see in-game:
- Nobu (Trust)
- Sora (Sky)
- Kage (Shadow)
This choice marks the start of a long friendship with your horse, but it has nothing to do with the horse or Jin’s development.
Is there really nothing I can change?
For the most part, your horse in Ghost of Tsushima is just a way to get from point A to B. All horses do so at the same rate, and all of them can take an unlimited amount of slashes with your weapons or the weapons of your enemies.
In the northeast section of the map, north of the Golden Forest, you’ll find the Ogawa Dojo. Here, there’s an optional quest to recover three Sashimono Banners. There are 80 of them in the game, and they’re used to outfit your horse with a cool saddle. These saddles are also purely cosmetic, however, so don’t go hunting for the “best” one.
General Horse Tips
Here are some other tips worth knowing about your trusty steed.
- Horses in Ghost of Tsushima can take unlimited damage from you and your enemies.
- To call your horse, press left on the d-pad.
- If your horse gets hurt it will take longer to return. Otherwise, this thing will defy heaven and earth to reach your location.
- You can mount and ride any wild or Mongol horse in the game by pressing R2 to mount, just like your main horse.
- Switching to a wild horse does not rid you of your starter horse. Once you whistle to call it, it will come back.
- There are certain story junctures that take you to stables where it’s possible to change your horse. In general, though, get used to the very limited choices you make over the course of the narrative. Your first option for a switch happens at the midpoint of the campaign.
That’s all you need to know about how horses work in Ghost of Tsushima.
Ghost of Tsushima is available now on PS4.
What do you think of Ghost of Tsushima so far? Which horse did you choose? Tell us in the comments section!
Equestrian Color Coordination Guide or How to Find A Perfect Matchy tack For Your Horse
In the continuously developing equestrian world of the 21st century, “ equestrian fashion ” is no longer a new term. You must have seen many professional riders with matching saddle pads, bandages/boots and fly veils with matching clothes of the newest fashion.
You wonder how they catch the best matchy look making them stand out and grab the attention, the answer is simple: “ colors ”. Choosing the best color for the horse and the rider creates a majestic look and, therefore, a perfect impression.
Here comes the real question: “How can you choose the best color of gears for your beloved horsey?” We got you covered! In this article, we help you.
About choosing colors, we can say that there are principles . Principles of colors… Just like the ones that art students learn in their first courses. You need to know the harmony of colors before choosing a tack set for your horse. Remember these tips:
1- Contrast colors look the best together as they highlight each other, or if you don’t want to get highlighted, try a monochromatic look by choosing similar colors to your horse’s coat.
2- If it is getting difficult to match the tacks with your outfit, choose a third matching color.
3- Check the sets sorted by colors to make sure parts of the tacks are matching.
After the first tips, let us tell you more about color coordination:
Whites / Greys
Those with grey horses out there, you guys are lucky. You can be sure that your horse will rock the color of your choice. Just take a look at the contrasting before you make your choice.
We all agree that grey horses look the best in dark colors. Don’t prefer light or neutral colors as these will blend in. We can advise some matte dark colors such as charcoal black or navy blue, as well as some dark and glittery colors.
Dark handsome babies, the black horses! Just like greys, black horses can carry almost all the colors, but they look the best in light colors which are in contrast to their coat.
You can try light pastels or light vibrant colors, or even if you really want to get highlighted, neon colors. Also, white is always acceptable.
Chestnuts & Bays
Two probably the most common horse coats. Bays can suit a lot of colors but pay attention to the red amount of the coat. You can choose a light color or a light pastel color or maybe an icy color for a bay or a dark bay.
Chestnuts, on the other hand, can be a bit tricky to dress with the correct color. Try to use deeper and richer colors, avoid light shades of red. Blues, emerald or mint greens can complete the chestnut coats.
For our cute palomino friends, you can prefer some dark shades, maybe pins or dark greys. Similar colors to the coat such as yellow, champagne, beige, orange can be a misstep. They have enough of these colors.
Just like palominos, they pull off the pastels and burgundies. Just believe in your instincts and choose a color you think will highlight your horse regarding the contrast color principles.
Skewbald & Piebalds & Appaloosas
Of course, we didn’t forget our colorful buddies. You can think like their coats. Mix it! For example, if you have a skewbald you can think as a mix of grey and chestnut.
The colors which look good on a chestnut or grey can look good on a skewbald, the colors which look good on a black or grey can look good on a piebald. You can make your choice considering the number of colors and markings.
Also one last tip from us: before buying something for you or your horse, you need to know yourself and your horse well enough to decide what kind of style or colors you really like. Trust your intuition. Fashion is supposed to make you feel better after all.