ROAN HORSE

Pictures of Roan Horse photographed by Ejaz Khan.

ROAN HORSE FACTS

What is a roan horse? The term “roan” refers to animals whose coat is a mélange of white and colored hairs. When this occurs, it is referred to as coat color genetics (this includes both grey and white roan horses).  A genuine roan has a distinct “allele” gene inherited by one parent. During the winter their coats darken, and in the summer, they become lighter.

Blue roans are considered to be the most attractive as opposed to grey and white roans. They are often confused with a grey roan whose coat lightens with age.

Red roans have a beautiful chestnut-colored base coat and are sometimes referred to as “strawberry roans,” and are noticeably different from grey and white horses for their roan coat.

Another type of roan is the bay-colored breed. They have a base shade of black interspersed with a reddish sheen and are mistakenly taken for red roans until seen up close. 

In general, most roans are born with a solid-colored coat. In time, the first coat will shed revealing its true color. The roan is believed to have origins in Europe.  They are now found in North America, Japan, and also Arabia and are highly praised for their unique equestrian beauty worldwide.

 

ROAN HORSE CHARACTERISTICS

The terms “classic roan” and “true roan” are most often used to describe the overall roan breed. Roan equestrians have a coat color pattern mixed with color and white hairs on their body. The head, “points” (lower legs), mane, and tail are typically solid-colored.

Roan Horses have white hairs evenly intermingled throughout other colors. Their head, legs, mane, and tail have fewer scattered white hairs or none at all. Their patterns are dominantly inherited and also found in different horse breeds. In 2007, 7% of the horses registered with the American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA) were roans.

True roan characteristics are present at birth however for all roan horses,  and it may be difficult to see until the foal’s first coat sheds. Their coats for all roan horses may lighten or darken depending on the season. Unlike the grey coat color of the grey roan horse, which also begins with intermixed white and colored hairs, roans do not become progressively lighter in color as they age. The silvering effect of mixed white and colored hairs can create bluish or pinkish coats.

Roan horses have other characteristics.  For example, if they damage their skin such as scrape, cut, or brand, the coat grows back in a solid-colored without any white hairs for all roan horses. These regions where the solid-colored coat grows are referred to as “corn spots” or “corn marks.” These marks can appear on all roan breeds even without the horse having a visible injury.

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