What color is my foal?

Under The Foal Coat: Clues for Getting the Right Color
US Arabian Horse Registry records the following coat colors: bay, chestnut, grey, black, and roan. Most Arabians are registered as foals between the ages of three and six months. Sometimes, this makes it difficult to correctly specify the coat color on the registration application because foals are usually born chestnut or dull bay and change colors after losing their foal coats.

Most foals will begin to lose their fuzzy baby hair around the eyes and nostrils and the root of the tail first, followed by the legs. Check the color of the smooth hair in these areas. Usually, that will be the foal's permanent color.

Per Webster's Dictionary and Common Knowledge, Coat Colors are Described as follows:

  • Black: The entire coat of the horse is black, including the muzzle, the flanks, the mane, tail and legs, unless white markings are present.
  • Chestnut: Any shade of pure or reddish brown with mane, tail and points of the same or a lighter shade. The mane, tail and legs are usually variations of coat color, unless white markings are present. Chestnut foals who will not grey are generally born with pink skin around the eyes that will darken in a few days.
  • Bay: The entire coat of the horse will vary from a reddish brown to a dark brown, with some areas around the flanks or muzzle showing tan. The mane, tail and lower portion of the legs are always black, unless white markings are present.
  • Grey: A neutral color ranging between black and white. The mane, tail and legs may be either black or gray, unless white markings are present.
  • Roan: The majority of the coat will have the base coat of (as black, red, grey, or brown) muted and lightened by admixture of white hairs.

It may be difficult to tell the difference between a rose grey and a roan at first. Roans show their permanent coat color after shedding their foal coats. Unlike greys, they do not dapple nor do they progressively lighten in color. Most roans will have a dark head, while grey foals will first turn light on the head.

How Do I Know if the Foal will be Grey As an Adult? Here are some helpful hints if you are having trouble determining if your foal will be grey as an adult:

  • Always remember to look for pink skin underneath the white hairs and mark "yes" or "no" in the Underlying Pink Skin boxes.
  • If it is feasible, clip and/or wet the legs and face to make it easy to identify pink skin.
  • If the hoof color is light or parti, you will almost always find pink skin above the coronet band.
  • Only white markings with underlying pink skin are "true" markings on a grey horse as when the foal sheds to its adult coat, those markings will disappear.
  • If there are no dark areas around the eyes and muzzle and the foal is born with a colored foal coat, the foal will be grey
  • If the eyes develop a "raccoon" look around the outside of the eyes, the foal will be grey.
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