Home Forums Horse and Musket General Horse and Musket Black horses rare?

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    Avatar photoJonathan Gingerich

    There seems to be a factoid that pops up every so often about horse color that a true black horse is “rare”. This doesn’t seem borne out by Wikipedia (and before you kvetch their horse color genetics articles are very good). In fact, some breeds are consistently black. I do vaguely recall an assertion that the breeding pool has changed in the last couple of centuries, but still, it looks to me like this, ahem, chestnut needs reexamination. Anyone up on the subject?

    Avatar photowillz

    I do believe that you can get pure black horses, as to their rarity I cannot answer.  Black horses as a general rule tend not to be pure black, at times it is more like a very dark brown with black.  Though the colour tends to look different darker or lighter, black or very dark brown depending on the natural light.  On a sunny day black horses look a different shade or colour than on a dull / dark day.

    When painting black horse I tend to add dark brown in the mix and lighten the colour for shade then wash with black ink.

    Avatar photoDM

    Thanks to my daughter I’ve experienced quite a bit of Gloucestershire equestrian life over the last 4 or 5 years. I’ve certainly not encountered many black horses in that time (we have one though, or at least e very, very dark brown)

    Avatar photoDeleted User

    Probably speaking from equine ignorance, I have the belief that in the past, any dark horse was labelled “black”.

    So dark chestnuts & bays were considered fine for those Napoleonic squadrons or regiments that required “strong” horses: darker colours supposedly being a sign of a more robust animal.

    I do know that Europeans in the past did not differentiate between colours like we do (all those paint swatches when re-decorating….). So anything from pink to orange was called “red”.




    Avatar photoMartinR

    I was at an agricultural show last weekend and about a third of the horses were black (or at least, a very, very dark brown), there were a couple of greys and the rest were traditional brown with the odd white bit.



    "Mistakes in the initial deployment cannot be rectified" - Helmuth von Moltke

    Avatar photoMcKinstry

    For what it is worth, driving about in rural Colorado for the past two days I’ve been past a number of horses and thanks to the thread, been very aware of colors. I’ve seen a significant number of browns of all shades and a stunning number of paints (Western US effect?) but no black horses at all.

    The tree of Life is self pruning.

    Avatar photoJonathan Gingerich

    After my initial posting, I realized that the horse color chart I posted (in the General folder – it’s really nice) calls black proportionally rare which certainly seems reasonable. I have green eyes which are proportionally rare. Doesn’t mean a lot of Turks don’t have them too.

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