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Horse Eye Color Variety
 By Saferaphus   •   25th Jan 2018   •   131 views   •   0 comments
A very long time ago, a folk music singer and songwriter named Jimmie Driftwood wrote and recorded a song called 'The Tennessee Stud'. Although the song was recorded and popular before I was born, I remember being fascinated by it, because it was of course, about a horse.

The chorus goes like this:

The Tennessee Stud was long and lean
The color of the sun and his eyes were green
He had the nerve and he had the blood
There never was a horse like Tennessee Stud

Wait! What? Green eyes? As a child, I figured I knew all about horses. And there was no such thing as a green-eyed horse, right? I just couldn’t understand that bit about the green eyes. I thought maybe the writer didn’t know as much as I did about horses, and that the part about the green eyes was just something from his imagination. Turns out, I was wrong about that. It is possible for horses to have green eyes, even though it is extremely rare.

Green eyes occur on horses that are perlino, or cremello type colors. They appear green but might be blue with a gold ring around the outside of the colored area. It is possible for a very pale buckskin colored horse to have eyes that appear green, so that may be where Jimmie Driftwood got the ‘color of the sun’ from. Green may be unusual, but it’s not the only unusual eye color.

Blue Amber Flecked Horse Eyes
Blue Amber Flecked Eyes

Blue
Blue-eyed horses aren’t uncommon. Very often they are horses that have some portion of white facial markings that lap into the eye area. And, sometimes they are horses that are a pale all-over body color like cremello, buckskin, palomino, or something called smokey black, which is a horse with a black coat, that carries the genetics for cream. These horses may be mistaken for dark bays, liver chestnuts or bleached out blacks, but can have blue eyes.

On some horses, one eye may be blue and the other brown. Some horses may have an eye that is half blue and brown, or freckled with brown inside the blue area. Some eyes may appear grey as the horse matures, even though they started out blue.

Amber, Yellow, Orange
Horses can have eyes that appear amber, yellow or orange. In Paso Finos, these amber hued eyes with dark flecks are called tiger eyes, especially on a dark colored horse. The genetics called ‘champagne dilution’ is responsible for the pale body color of many horses may also be responsible for causing an amber colored eye. A mutation might be responsible for these eyes, as rare as they are, are seen most often of horses with Spanish bloodlines.

Hazel
Hazel eyes can be a combination of blue and green, and this becomes more obvious as the horse matures. Foals may be born with blue eyes.

Brown
Brown eyes are the most common horse eye color. Dark colored horses that do not have white markings with borders near or beyond the eye area are likely to have brown eyes. It is possible for a horse to have one brown eye and one blue eye. And, it’s possible for an eye to be partially blue and brown. Or, the eye might be brown around the iris, but fade to blue towards the outside of the retina.
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