Are you sure its a black horse? Color help!

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Are you sure its a black horse? Color help!

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  • What to do for a faded black horse

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    05-31-2010, 11:51 AM
Green Broke
Are you sure its a black horse? Color help!

A true black horse does not fade correct? And if they do fade they are considered brown, because brown horses are born black and eventually fade into brown. There is a "black" horse at my barn that is fading. Aswell as my friend cory (AQHA1994) his "black" horse fades. Iv heard several opinions on this, im so confused please help.
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    05-31-2010, 11:56 AM
I've heard that a black horse that fades is called a fading black, and a black horse that doesn't fade is a true black
    05-31-2010, 12:05 PM
Green Broke
There is a genetic difference between a fading black and a true black however all colours fade as a result of exposure to sunlight so it can be difficult to tell without a genetic test.

Inheritance of colour is multi factorial (interactions of several different genes control the phenotype) so it is slightly more complicated than simply being homozygous or heterozygous for a certain gene.

The best time to tell would be around Spring time as the new coat is coming in so if he doesn't appear true black now and doesn't spend time outside (poor horse) it doesn't sound like he is a true black.
    05-31-2010, 01:31 PM
I call Vida a "faded" black. She is very black until she sun fades in late summer. Her mane and tail remain black year round.
Here's a quote from
"Black horses have pure black coats with no signs of brown or any other color. Many horse-people mistake dark bays or liver chestnuts for black. If you can see any other color (with the exception of white markings) on the horse's coat in the winter, he is not a true black. The reason I say "in the winter" is because the sun tends to lighten a dark horse's coat in the summer, and the exception is when the hair has been sun-burnt.
    05-31-2010, 02:54 PM
My purebred Friesian (RIP), so 100% BLACK, no ifs ands or buts.
Blacks definitely CAN fade (not all of them do) and it has nothing to do with them being true black or not.

(the Az summer sun is brutal!)
    05-31-2010, 06:19 PM
Green Broke
Now, if it is a liver chesnut would it fade at all if the horse is exposed to the sun all the time? The horse at my barn most certainly looks liver chesnut.
    05-31-2010, 06:40 PM
Horses, if exposed to the sun, will lighten just like your hair does in the summer. My hair is naturally a chocolate brown color but in the summer it lightens within the first two weeks to almost a total golden blonde. Every horse I havever had gets lighter in the summer, even Jester who's already red in the winter turns nearly gold in the summer. The black horses I've had get brown in the summer. It's just like pouring bleach onto them. The sun does the same thing.
    05-31-2010, 07:12 PM
I have never had a chestnut horse fade out in the summer . Even John (my perch) doesn't fade. He might get a few burned hairs but he doesn't fade, and he is outside 24/7.
    05-31-2010, 07:40 PM
Green Broke
There is a very clear genetic difference between black and brown, and a fading black does not make a horse a brown. A brown horse would not have the ability to appear jet black at certain times of the years - he may be brown, or faded brown, but you won't get that jet black Friesian color on a brown.

Someone posted an excellent point - Friesians. Friesians are exclusively black with an occasional chestnut throwback. Agouti flat out doesn't exist in the breed - and yet you'll often see, as pictured, extremely brown/bay colored Friesians during summer.

There is a genetic black that does not fade, Risa's Keegan is a non-fading black, even in summer he is glossy glossy black. "True black" is a very misleading term, and one I wouldn't personally use. True blacks are horses that are genetically black with the absence of agouti, regardless of what physical color they may appear.

LoriF likes this.
    05-31-2010, 07:45 PM
Green Broke
Parden my ignorance but what is Agouti?

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