Shades of Bay
 By Saferaphus   •   13th Sep 2017   •   322 views   •   0 comments
My daughter has the best view from her kitchen window. When youíre hand washing dishes, you can see directly into her front paddock. So while I was there recently, doing the dishes, I noticed that there were four bay horses in the paddock, and not one of them was exactly the same color. And, not one of them was exactly the same color as my own bay horse.

Bay is a very common coat color. In fact, it is the most common color, followed by chestnut, which also has a lot of variations. So what accounts for all the variety?

First of all, weíll start with a basic description of what the color bay looks like. A bay horse has an overall brown or red-brown body with black mane, tail, legs, ear tips and muzzle. These black areas are called the horseís black points. If the horse doesnít have these points, it isnít considered a bay. Itís chestnut, or some people might call it brown. Under their body and point hair, the skin is dark colored. If the horse has white markings, such as a blaze, star, or stockings, the skin beneath will be white.

Of course, all of this is controlled by genetics. Although color genetics are complicated, there are two very basic colors: red and black. Bay horses are black but have something called an agouti gene that modifies the genetics that would otherwise result in an all black horse. Itís this modifier that is responsible for keeping the black pigmentation to the areas we call the points and allowing red pigmentation to appear elsewhere on the horseís body.

But, other genes come into play to make the red pigmentation we see into other shades. And, not all bays are completely solid colored. Some have roaning, spots, splotches or sooty markings. So there is an endless range of bay color combinations depending on how the genetic soup is mixed.

So bay horses can range from almost black, to almost light tan, and still be considered bay. Here are a few of the combinations that occur.

Dark bays, sometimes called mahogany bays or black bays may appear very dark brown, almost black. These arenít what some people call brown, or even liver chestnut, neither of which have the black points of a bay.

Red bays are lighter, and a richer red color. These horses have a red toned brown coat and are what most people think of when they picture a bay horse. And, there is a very light bay, often with very short points on its legs, that is sometimes called a Ďwild bayí. This might be considered dun by some, but it is a variation of bay. This is caused by another gene variation that makes the hair under the horseís belly, on their legs and muzzle a lighter shade.

Beyond these common shades of bay, other genetic modifiers are responsible for other colors. A Ďcremeí gene will result in a buckskin horse or depending on the mix, cremello, perlino or dun. Silver bays have pale hairs throughout and pale manes and tails. A bay roan will have white hairs mixed with the red body hair. Bay horses may have the genetics for pinto splotches. And, bays may also have leopard-like spots, like Appaloosas, with speckling around their eyes, muzzles and coronet bands, resulting in hoof stripes.

So what color is your bay?
Horse News More In This Category:  Barrel Racing      Horse News More From This Author:  Saferaphus
 More News by Saferaphus
2017 in Horse Science
16th Dec 2017   |   Barrel Racing   |   Saferaphus
Scientific research helps us look after our horses better, become better riders, and unveils some of the secrets about the history of the modern horse. Much of the research is most relevant to other researchers and veterinarians. ...
Horses Set Free To Escape California Wild Fires
9th Dec 2017   |   Barrel Racing   |   Saferaphus
In the path of one blaze was Rancho Padilla in Tujunga Canyon, a family owned ranch where 30 of the 60 horses stabled there were lost to the fire. There was no time to evacuate the horses, as the buildings were already on fire whe ...
The Other Horse Races
8th Dec 2017   |   Barrel Racing   |   Saferaphus
We know that Thoroughbreds, Standardbreds, Arabians, American Quarter Horses and Appaloosas are commonly used for racing, albeit Standardbreds are less used for races under saddle than in harness. But there are other breeds that y ...
Influential Equestrians You Should Know
5th Dec 2017   |   Barrel Racing   |   Saferaphus
Many trainers have influenced how we train and treat horses over the ages. There have been many philosophies about how horses should be handled. Here is a look at a few of the most influential equestrians over the centuries. ...
Winterizing Your Tack Box
3rd Dec 2017   |   Barrel Racing   |   Saferaphus
As I write this snow is gently sifting downwards, and enough is already on the ground to cover the grass. Apparently there is something call meteorological winter that starts on December 1, even though itís not officially 'calenda ...
Training For All Ages
1st Dec 2017   |   Barrel Racing   |   Saferaphus
Itís said that we never really stop teaching our horses. Every time we handle or ride them, they are learning something from us. This is why consistent handling is so important. And training doesnít begin when we start to introduc ...
Should You Wear A Helmet All the Time
28th Nov 2017   |   Barrel Racing   |   Saferaphus
A recent study suggests that only 7% of us wear our helmets while grooming our horses. There doesn't seem to be any statistics about how many of wear our helmets while handling horses from the ground at other times, such as feedin ...
Why Does My Horse Stumble
24th Nov 2017   |   Barrel Racing   |   Saferaphus
We all stumble sometimes, and thatís perfectly normal. So it follows that our horses are going to take a misstep now and then. They have twice as many legs as we do after all. The occasional trip up isnít something to be worried a ...
  View All News by Saferaphus
©2002 - 2017   PonyBox LLC Create Account Terms & Conditions Privacy Contact Us
361 Members Online 238,340 Registered Members 2,366 News Articles 9,626,611 Unique News Article Views 208,341,675 Website Views