Blue Roan or Grey? - Page 2 - The Horse Forum
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post #11 of 27 Old 09-10-2013, 04:04 PM
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No they don't. Appy "roan" or varnish colors out/"roans out"
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post #12 of 27 Old 09-10-2013, 04:32 PM
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Originally Posted by NdAppy View Post
No they don't. Appy "roan" or varnish colors out/"roans out"
But that doesn't stop people from claiming that their gray horse is a roan because roan is apparently more "desirable". There was a woman recently on FB who posted a horse that she called a "rose roan"...but was actually, obviously, a rose gray. When I politely pointed out that the horse was actually gray and not roan, she flew off the handle about how wrong I was.

My thought was "Yep, okay, but knowledgeable horse folks don't buy from someone who can't even get the color of the horse right".

OP, that horse is definitely, 100% gray.
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post #13 of 27 Old 09-10-2013, 05:11 PM
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But that doesn't stop people from claiming that their gray horse is a roan because roan is apparently more "desirable". There was a woman recently on FB who posted a horse that she called a "rose roan"...but was actually, obviously, a rose gray. When I politely pointed out that the horse was actually gray and not roan, she flew off the handle about how wrong I was.

My thought was "Yep, okay, but knowledgeable horse folks don't buy from someone who can't even get the color of the horse right".

OP, that horse is definitely, 100% gray.
Okay I'm sorry to be a party pooper and pop in with questions... But can someone explain the difference between Varnish, Roan, and Grey? I always thought roan DID 'roan out...' :p
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post #14 of 27 Old 09-10-2013, 05:39 PM
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The guy I bought my gray Missouri Fox Trotter from had no concept of gray. She had a previous foal, whom I wanted to meet and didn't get a chance to, that he claimed was blue roan. But I am 99.9% certain he was a gray because his momma is a gray (50% chance of getting gray there) and his sire was the same sire as my mare's current baby, and the sire is chestnut.

I am fairly certain you can't get blue roan from a chestnut stud and a black-based gray.....right? Not only that, but when he saw more recent photos of my mare he said something like "I thought she was darker than that." Um, well, she IS going gray so she looses more color every year!

So yeah, that doesn't surprise me at all. A lot of people can't seem to tell roan from gray.

What might be confusing is that true roans DO change shades with the seasons.....they can change from light to dark quite a bit depending on the length of their hair. But they always keep a dark head. That is the telling factor for me with a "true" roan.

Then you have varnish roans (Appaloosas) which I am not experience with so I will not comment on them.

Then you have sabino roans as well. They won't have the dark head of a "true" roan but will have sabino markings. To me, those are easier to confuse with gray than a true roan.

So yeah, I guess it can get a big confusing, but I always look at the head and the tail. Is the head dark and the rest of the body roan? True roan. Is the head and tail roaning also? If so, either sabino or gray. Does the horse have extensive white markings? If so, sabino.

But one pattern doesn't necessarily exclude the other, so you could potentially have a true roan going gray, or a sabino going gray. That would be a bit confusing.

But like this guy for instance, is sabino, but I could see how someone might confuse him for gray....the face and tail have white hair outside the white markings.

Now do sabinos get lighter with age???



A lot of true roans DO look very similar to the early stages of gray. I have met a couple that look a lot like my 3 yr old going gray, except that my 3 yr old has white in his tail and white on his face. Other than that, they looked very very similar.

So yeah, I look at the head and tail to distinguish.

Now don't even get me started on grulla! Most of the people I have met who say the have a grulla do NOT have a grulla. Usually the horse is sooty buckskin or even sooty palomino.
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post #15 of 27 Old 09-10-2013, 05:45 PM
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Ha ha, the other "will he grey out" thread made me think of this. I forgot all about rabicano! They are another roan pattern.

Here is a nice link I found if I am allowed to post it here:

WHITE PATTERNS, such as roan, gray, sabino, rabicano, etc.

There are a lot of good photos of both true roans, grays, rabicanos and sabinos.
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post #16 of 27 Old 09-10-2013, 06:27 PM
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I'm pretty sure my girl is a true roan. Her head is always dark, she changes color with the season, her knees are conspicuously dark, and her feet are light blonde. The "roaning" on her is all over her body from her jaw down to those dark knees. She also gets "corn spots" of dark where she has been scarred.

A gray you will see the white take over everything, all the way up over the face and down the legs, and they don't change drastic color with the season.

I'm not as familiar with the other white patterns.


I'm glad my roan won't "roan out" except in the spring. :)
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post #17 of 27 Old 09-10-2013, 06:52 PM
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Okay I'm sorry to be a party pooper and pop in with questions... But can someone explain the difference between Varnish, Roan, and Grey? I always thought roan DID 'roan out...' :p
Roan is white hairs interspersed throughout the body of the horse- the head, mane, tail, and lower legs remain unaffected. It will change seasonally and might show up a little more one year than the next, but will never make the horse completely white.

Here's a black horse with roan "blue roan":


Grey causes a horse to gradually lighten over time to white. The first signs of gray are usually in the face and the bottom of the tail. The horse can be born any color (including blue roan!) but over time the color is masked by gray.

Here's a black horse going gray- note the lightness to the face and bottom of the tail:


Varnish roan is associated with appaloosa patterning, which can do some pretty funky things to a horse's coat color. Varnish roan may not be apparent until a horse is older, and while it may change significantly from year to year, it doesn't progressively lighten to white like gray does. It does affect the face, but the "hard" areas of the horse tend to remain their original color.

Here's a heavily varnished horse:
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post #18 of 27 Old 09-10-2013, 07:15 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks all. Took me showing him all these replies to finally get it through his thick skull. Men sometimes...
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post #19 of 27 Old 09-10-2013, 07:18 PM
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Originally Posted by verona1016 View Post
Roan is white hairs interspersed throughout the body of the horse- the head, mane, tail, and lower legs remain unaffected. It will change seasonally and might show up a little more one year than the next, but will never make the horse completely white.

Here's a black horse with roan "blue roan":


Grey causes a horse to gradually lighten over time to white. The first signs of gray are usually in the face and the bottom of the tail. The horse can be born any color (including blue roan!) but over time the color is masked by gray.

Here's a black horse going gray- note the lightness to the face and bottom of the tail:


Varnish roan is associated with appaloosa patterning, which can do some pretty funky things to a horse's coat color. Varnish roan may not be apparent until a horse is older, and while it may change significantly from year to year, it doesn't progressively lighten to white like gray does. It does affect the face, but the "hard" areas of the horse tend to remain their original color.

Here's a heavily varnished horse:
Okay, that makes sense! I could see where it might get confusing if a roan horse had the grey gene LOL

I have one more question about varnish roan. I have an appy myself, and she does have varnishing in her coat. I've been told by many people (incliding an Appy breeder) who said that while you can never tell how much they'll varnish out it's very possible that they can varnish out to look like a leopard. I was even shown a few pics of a blanket appy that was butt-spotted in the younger years and nearly entirely "leopard" in his older years (as well as varnish appies that had minimal change their whole lives). I think it was brought up in the thread I started about her as a possible purchase, the possibility of her "roaning" to look like a leopard. Would this be something beyond varnish roan, then?
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post #20 of 27 Old 09-10-2013, 08:29 PM
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No a horse will not leopard out. They are born leopard or not. Varish will lighten the coat revealing spots (think of spots as a hole in the white blanket covering the horse) that would be visible if they were a true leopard.
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