Are these bay horses or are they actually brown?

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Are these bay horses or are they actually brown?

This is a discussion on Are these bay horses or are they actually brown? within the Horse Colors and Genetics forums, part of the Horse Breeds, Breeding, and Genetics category

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    04-18-2012, 03:48 PM
Green Broke
Are these bay horses or are they actually brown?

I always thought I understood the difference of a bay and brown. Lately though, I have been seeing many horses that I would call bay that are being termed as brown. I am very open minded and have learned many things and want to know what the difference is. I will share with you pictures of all the horses that I know their genetic history since we bred and raised them.

First up is the first bay I know very well, she is a sweet and spicy 24 years old now. My mom's second in command and herd matriarch (they all follow her even if she isn't the official "boss").
Princess May 2005.jpg

Princess 2009.jpg

Princess July 2011.jpg
Princess's genetic background, her sire was Ee aa, her dam was ee A? (dam's full sister is Ee aa)

Is she a bay or a brown?

Now we have Diga on the left and Katie on the right. I have always called Diga and Katie bays as well
October 1996.jpg

Katie as a teenager below
Katie is Princess's only child. Princess is Ee Aa, she was bred to a stallion that was EE aa

Is Katie technically a bay or is she a brown?

Here is now Diga as a 9 year old
Diga May 2005.jpg
Diga head May 2005.jpg
His dam was ee Aa and his sire was EE aa (same sire as Katie)

Is Diga a bay or a brown?

As a bonus, this is Cocoa. I actually don't know her exact genetics, and my mom couldn't get her registered with AQHA because of a problem with the "original owner" not signing or even having been a recorded owner of the dam and then having a bad address so AQHA couldn't contact him
She is in the foreground as a 2 year old with Princess in focus
Princess and Cocoa May 2005.jpg
Summer coat as a 9 year old below

Cocoa trot.jpg

Is Cocoa a bay or a brown?

I always thought these were bays, so please correct me kindly if I am wrong
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    04-18-2012, 03:59 PM
Green Broke
I believe they are all browns. :p
They all have the signature "mealy" or lighter muzzle, which I've always been told equates to brown, even though they have the darker points on their legs.
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    04-18-2012, 04:10 PM
Green Broke
So, with genetic testing, would the Arabian Horse Association have to add brown as a color for a pure bred? They only list black, bay, chestnut and grey as color choices for registration and Diga's agouti gene came from none other than a gorgeous arabian grandmother.
    04-18-2012, 04:27 PM
The only one that seems like bay would be appropriate for is diga, imo.
    04-18-2012, 04:28 PM
Green Broke
Just along the lines that I was of the belief that purebred arabians are never brown, here is my cousin's registered purebred arabian gelding
He has a mealy colored muzzle as well but has all the other black points to make a bay.

^^This is what I have always thought of with a brown. Black body with a lighter colored muzzle and flank. While a bay could be quite dark, they had red colored highlights throughout their main body.

Should I get Princess tested (steal some hairs while I am home in June) for the agouti gene to find out what kind of agouti she actually has?
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    04-18-2012, 04:32 PM
Green Broke
And Princess's dam is by a purebred arabian chestnut stallion and a solid black based grey mare of an unregistered mix of arabian and saddlebred
    04-18-2012, 07:52 PM
If you are going to test you have to send it to PetDNA. They are the only ones who test fro brown.
    04-18-2012, 08:03 PM
Green Broke
Originally Posted by NdAppy    
If you are going to test you have to send it to PetDNA. They are the only ones who test fro brown.
That is good to know. Since if Princess is indeed a bay and not a brown, then her daughter Katie is also a bay. Now to steal hair from Princess in June
    04-18-2012, 08:06 PM
I was always told that Bays have the dark points...legs, mane and tail. Browns may have the black mane and tail but they are usually missing the black legs. A dark bay has the darker coat, I rfer to it as a "police horse" coat, with the black points though if the coat is very dark the black points may be difficult to distinguish.
    04-18-2012, 08:18 PM
Brown is caused by another form of agouti, which is a gene that restricts black. In bay horses, the black is restricted to legs, mane, tail, ears, and nose. In brown horses, the agouti gene only lightens the soft points of the body, like the muzzle, elbow, and flank. So browns can and do have black legs.
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bay, brown, color, identification, question

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