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"Most Common Horse Colors You Must Know For Identification" Topic

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Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP15 Sep 2022 9:08 p.m. PST

"Horses come in an extensive range of colors. They also spot a variety of markings. These horse colors and markings have a significant role to play in the identification of individual horses. Because of this, some conventions should be adhered to when referring to your horse colors and marking. Knowing the right way of referring to your horse's coat colors will also aid in communicating about your horse…"

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Archon6415 Sep 2022 9:39 p.m. PST

21!!! OMG, I use three!

These are:
chestnut – VMC cavalry brown
bay – VGC beastly brown
brown – VMC Dark rust

Also black, which is rarer. White is more a highlighter grey. Also rare.

Swampster16 Sep 2022 1:47 a.m. PST

Of the 21, quite a few are the multi-coloured ones (skewbald etc) which for painting purposes could be lumped into fewer groups.
For most historical areas and periods, chestnut, bay, brown, roan and dun/buckskin will be enough. For some, the main difference for painting is whether black is used for mane, legs etc. and also how much white is on the points.
One thing which I think many painters overlook is that horse eyes are different to humans. There are very few horses where you can see anything but black/dark brown – these descriptions point out some of the exceptions.

The multi-coloured horses were not favoured at many times. Some colours were more dominant in some areas or were chosen for different uses e.g. in Horse and Musket era Europe, darker horses were considered stronger and used by preference in heavy cavalry units. Selective breeding reinforced this to some extent.

While campaign wastage could alter the mix of colours in a regiment, many campaigns were short enough that the original mix would still dominate and iirc there are reports of heavy cavalry units being allowed to commandeer 'heavy' coloured horses if light cavalry units had acquired them.

Acronim16 Sep 2022 2:36 a.m. PST

Very informative and useful! Thank you

jwebster Supporting Member of TMP16 Sep 2022 7:57 a.m. PST

This article is a little misleading for painting horses, as these are for modern North American horses and doesn't describe some of the variations, or the white markings, that occur in very characteristic ways. Also, the majority of horses are Bay, then Chestnut, Black or Grey (white) with dun and roan being a bit more common historically. I throw in a piebald or skewbald occasionally. You really can't go wrong with Bay

With Bay and Chestnut, the exact shade of brown varies, so it's not a question of finding the perfect colour, but using a variety of shades in the unit

We have written records of units with specific colour horses for the whole unit or different colours for each squadron. I don't know how much evidence there is for what occurred in practice. I personally doubt that these regulations lasted beyond the parade ground. However, I do feel that the Scots greys deserve all grey horses …


Frederick Supporting Member of TMP16 Sep 2022 8:47 a.m. PST

I used to think of horses as brown (mostly), black, white and grey – full stop

14Bore16 Sep 2022 12:18 p.m. PST

Probably in the 1,000> horses have every kind, I find pictures of a horse and try and copy it.

14Bore16 Sep 2022 12:19 p.m. PST

But saved the site so will have more pictures of horses, in case I missed one

Personal logo etotheipi Sponsoring Member of TMP16 Sep 2022 4:18 p.m. PST

I am not an ACW player. Or a fan. But I have some ACW figures. I got some nice ones that were sculpted to represent 10 actual generals, each side. Of course, they were mounted. so embarked on a historical quest to find the "right" colors for the horses. I found 15 or 16. A few (I would have to look it up) had records of riding two different horses.

The ones I found all had different colors/markings.

Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP16 Sep 2022 4:20 p.m. PST



14Bore16 Sep 2022 4:35 p.m. PST

Doubt historical but made my generals have all kinds of different horses.

Oberlindes Sol LIC Supporting Member of TMP17 Sep 2022 11:06 a.m. PST

Thanks. I saved the site in case I ever need to paint a horse again.

Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP17 Sep 2022 4:23 p.m. PST

A votre service mon cher ami….


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