What is the difference between sorrel and chestnut? - The Horse Forum

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post #1 of 38 Old 01-10-2012, 02:40 AM Thread Starter
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Question What is the difference between sorrel and chestnut?

They look pretty much the same to me.
Thanks.

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post #2 of 38 Old 01-10-2012, 03:39 AM
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They look the same because they are the same. Genetically, a sorrel and a chestnut are the same thing. Here in Australia, I only ever heard the term "sorrel" except in books like My Friend Flicka.

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post #3 of 38 Old 01-10-2012, 05:17 AM
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^What Chiilaa said. They are the same, just different terms used by different people/organizations in different venues...
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post #4 of 38 Old 01-10-2012, 05:38 AM Thread Starter
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Smile Thank You

Thank you for the quick replies all of you!
Have a nice day,
EmrysGal

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post #5 of 38 Old 01-10-2012, 05:48 AM
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I think that they are the same too. I've heard that chestnut is used more for dressage/english and sorrel is used more for western. Some say chestnut is a darker brown and sorrel is more of a red and brown. In the end they are still the same.
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post #6 of 38 Old 01-10-2012, 06:19 AM
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usandpets - They are the same. There is no thinking about it. On the genetic level they are both ee (lacking black pigment), aka red.


There are only two base colors in horses.... Red and black. Everything else is a modification of those two base colors.
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post #7 of 38 Old 01-10-2012, 11:45 PM
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post #8 of 38 Old 01-11-2012, 08:35 PM
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Haha I used to get confused at this too ! Ya they're pretty much the same thing, usually chestnut has the same color mane and tail, while sorrel has a more flaxen mane and tail. Anyways, it all depends on the preference of the person.
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post #9 of 38 Old 01-16-2012, 03:43 PM
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They aren't pretty much the same thing. (That would indicate there are differences).

They are EXACTLY the same. For some reason, someone decided sorrel sounded good? I don't know. Genetically, they are the same. The majority of the world recognizes the color as chestnut. Half the registries in the world only include the term chestnut (including TB and Arabian). But someone, somewhere, likes the word sorrel I guess. Some say that sorrel means they have a flaxen mane and tail, but many arabians have flaxen manes and tails, and they aren't "sorrel".. they are flaxen chestnuts. As we get more and more information on genetics, it would be nice if breed registries kept up (like the UK Welsh.. calling buckskins.. dun. There is no dun gene, so they aren't dun.. it's the term they call buckskins. Calling palominos "creams", etc.).. It just confuses people.
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post #10 of 38 Old 01-16-2012, 03:51 PM
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I think the only time I have seen sorrel used is in the quarter horse or stock type horses. Typically, chestnut is used instead.

My husband always said he didn't want a sorrel horse, and he ended up with one anyway, a fox trotter with the plainest markings you can get. I told him since it was a fox trotter we would say he was a chestnut, so chestnut he is!
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