I was wondering if someone could explain in some detail the difference between a sorrel and a chestnut. I always kinda thought a chestnut was more orangy and a sorrel was more reddish, but I am taking an intro to equine class this semester and the pictures they have for those colors are similar, as are the descriptions!
Sorrel: body is reddish in color with mane and tail of similar color or flaxen. Legs are same color as body
Well, since some people seemed to be getting huffy in that thread about there even being a distinction, another thread is a great place to discuss it.
According to registries like the AQHA and APHA, a "sorrel" is the lighter colors that tend more towards coppery or orangey, like the picture that you posted. They will often have a lighter or flaxen colored mane/tail but not always.
A "chestnut" horse is the darker, richer shade, almost a blood color and darker. They will often have manes/tails that either match their coat color or are a shade or two darker. Some even have manes/tails that appear black and make them look similar to bay horses without black legs. Though there are others that also carry the flaxen mane/tail.
Then there are what's called "liver chestnuts". Their body ranges from a very deep, dark red to what may appear to be black, though they are genetically red. Their manes/tails are commonly dark, matching their body color, though sometimes you'll see one that is a flaxen.
Sometimes, if they are dark enough, the only way to know for sure is to have them tested, but there are usually indicators, even on a very dark one. Their legs will get just a little bit lighter the closer you get to their hooves, plus, they will seem to have a reddish tinge to their "black" coat when they are out in bright sunlight.
I give you credit for looking into it and doing more research though. Genetics are very complex.
I took an intro to equine class as well and it's definitely important to look into things more. I learned this when they said the description of a buckskin. It "CANNOT have a dorsal stripe" but they didn't go into any further detail. Like the fact they can appear to have a dorsal stripe but it's just counter shading. I wish they would explain stuff like that.
There are genetic/environmental issues that can greatly influence the shade of a "red" horse. I have a registered sorrel AQHA more who is a rich red-orange color....most of the time. When I first got her, she was rust-colored, neglected, skinny, and with a diseased and lice-infested hair coat. Six weeks of feed and grooming later, and she was a rich brown chestnut. Since then, she's been red. This is not her in the photos, but she went from this:
In the span of a couple of months. That is her in the last photo, and her color has stablized there.
I also go with AQHA's color distinctions. Red-orange is sorrel, yellow-brown is chestnut. Phenotypic differences only at this point, yes, but worth clarifying.