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Bay Color Horses: Interesting Facts and Pictures
Though horses appear in many colors, there are actually only two base color genes; chestnut and black. Bay horses have an additional color gene called the agouti gene that controls the way their black hairs are distributed. Because of this, bay horses have black points, but their bodies are a shade of brown. All bays will have black on their manes, lower legs, and tails, but the shade of brown on their bodies can vary widely from a light red to a deep brown that’s easily mistaken for black.
Black bays are the darkest bay horses. They often appear to be truly black, but with DNA testing, you’ll find the agouti gene present. These horses generally have a brown muzzle and flanks, though the rest of their body is nearly black it’s so dark.
Dark bays are also often mistaken for black horses. These horses aren’t quite as dark as black bays, but they’re not too far behind. Like all bays, they have black points.
Blood bays are the most widely known type of bay. They have coats that are dark red; very close to a chestnut coloration, but with black points.
Similar to a blood bay, only Mahogany bays have a more brownish color with a red hue
These bays tend to have lighter coats than most other bays. Furthermore, they usually have a light-colored muzzle, often white. You’ll also hear these bays called pangare or mealy bays.
Brown bays have a brown coat with black points.
There are many different types of bays. What’s common to all of them are the black points that differentiate them from other color patterns. If you see a horse with similar coloration and no black points, they’re most likely a chestnut instead.
Featured image credit: Rita_Kochmarjova, Shutterstock
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