Difference between Sorrel and chestnut? - The Horse Forum

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post #1 of 23 Old 04-12-2013, 08:11 PM Thread Starter
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Difference between Sorrel and chestnut?

First off, if there is a thread about this already someone please direct me toward it. If not, Can someone please tell me if there is a difference between sorrel and chestnut? If there is, what is it?

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post #2 of 23 Old 04-12-2013, 08:13 PM
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Genetically, there is no difference. The difference depends on your breed of choice, your riding style, and your location.

In Australia, sorrel is absolutely unheard of. Only a few "western" people use the term. Everything here that is red is chestnut.

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post #3 of 23 Old 04-12-2013, 08:35 PM
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It is common in the Paint circles around here to differentiate between the shades of chestnut and sorrel. The APHA recognizes:

Chestnut
body color dark red or brownish red; range from very light to liver chestnut; liver chestnut can be distinguished from black or brown only by the bronze or copper highlights on the legs; mane and tail usually dark red or brownish red, but may be flaxen.

Sorrel
body color reddish or copper-red; mane and tail usually same color as body, but may be flaxen or very dark.
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post #4 of 23 Old 04-12-2013, 08:44 PM
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I agree with Painthorses. Chestnut has the diff mane and tail . Sorrell same color mane and tail. And I grew up with being called Chrome when they have sox and flaxen mane tail .
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post #5 of 23 Old 04-12-2013, 09:00 PM
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What Chilaa said. Genetically there is absolutely no difference, it's just a matter of nomenclature.

Generally in western circles, any red horse that is not a bay, dun, or roan is a sorrel. If you ask my old BO (who is an old-school cowboy), every horse that is red (not bay/dun/roan) is a sorrel, regardless of shade...unless it's an Arab. Then it's a chestnut. Lol.
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post #6 of 23 Old 04-12-2013, 09:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DraftyAiresMum View Post
What Chilaa said. Genetically there is absolutely no difference, it's just a matter of nomenclature.

Generally in western circles, any red horse that is not a bay, dun, or roan is a sorrel. If you ask my old BO (who is an old-school cowboy), every horse that is red (not bay/dun/roan) is a sorrel, regardless of shade...unless it's an Arab. Then it's a chestnut. Lol.
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That makes sense why our vet said my wife's horse is chestnut even though when we first got him, he was the color of a new penny. Have to guess that's why they named him Copper. All of our other horses that are the same color are sorrel. Copper is part Arab and the rest are QH or TWH.

My wife still argues that there is a difference between the two. I've heard that with English riders, chestnut is used but western use sorrel.
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post #7 of 23 Old 04-12-2013, 09:11 PM
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For me it's always been sorrel has a red body and a lighter mane and tail, chestnut is red body and red mane and tail.
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post #8 of 23 Old 04-12-2013, 09:16 PM
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Like Chiilaa and Drafty said, genetically, as far as base coat goes, there is no difference between this


And this

As both of those horses are genetically e/e (red)

However, whether you use both terms to differentiate shade will greatly depend on where you're from and what circles you run in.

Where I'm from, there are 3 recognized shades that have their own names...a sorrel, like the first one I posted and any other red horse that leans toward an orangey color; a chestnut, which is a deeper, richer red like this


And a liver chestnut, like the other one I posted above.

BUT, there is absolutely nothing wrong with calling all "red" horses either sorrel or chestnut as both are technically correct...though chestnut is more widely recognized.

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post #9 of 23 Old 04-12-2013, 09:54 PM
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Where I'm from, there are 3 recognized shades that have their own names...a sorrel, like the first one I posted and any other red horse that leans toward an orangey color; a chestnut, which is a deeper, richer red

That's how I grew up - I had a deep copper chestnut horse (who even had a few black liver spots here and there with a black hair or two in his mane and tail) and I called him a chestnut and I had a lighter, orangy-er (LOL) gelding that was several shades lighter and I called him a sorrel. I don't think I could change it if I tried - it is sort of stuck in my head that way now.

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post #10 of 23 Old 04-12-2013, 11:02 PM
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Lol where I'm from red horses that are not bay or dun are sorrels. But chestnut and sorrel are two names for the same color the are all e/e.
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