Originally Posted by Phly
My boy is grey, but in the summer you'd never know from 30' So I pose the question, what is a black horse? Visually? No blood tests etc.... I've been under the impression that a black horse is black. Any devience is ... Grey, paint, roan etc. I'm sorry if I shouldn't of asked on this thread, but the OP had color questions so maybe we can dump the black answer here?
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A black horse is a horse that is genetically E_ aa. There are fading and non-fading blacks; both will be visually a "true" black whenever a new coat grows in. Fading blacks can bleach out dramatically in the sun, but are still considered black. The other colors you mentioned (gray, pinto, roan, etc.) are due to other genetics that may or may not be present in addition to having a black base color.
Smoky black is a black base color with a cream gene. While smoky blacks tend to fade more than "true" black horses, they are most often indistinguishable from each other and can only be determined with genetic testing or by producing offspring expressing the cream gene (from a non-cream horse).
OP's horse looks like a fading black to me.