Updated Color Guide


Cerbero, brown tobiano Neopolitan owned by Emperor Charles VI, painted by Johann Georg von Hamilton in 1725. (Lipizzaner Museum, Vienna, Austria.)


Pluto-Lina, also called Bajazzo, a Lipizzaner stallion born in 1913. This photo is from book Pferde aus Licht und Schatten. (A wonderful book, by the way, even if you cannot read German.)

For years I have published an article, “What’s Possible”, that outlines the colors and patterns found in some of the more popular breeds. The idea was to give model horse show entrants and judges a better idea of what was accurate (and acceptable) for the breeds they were most likely to see in the show ring. At the end of the year I would update the charts in the article to reflect any new discoveries or changes in registry rules.

This past year, I realized that the charts had reached the point that merely updating them was not enough. They needed an overhaul. Appaloosa patterns are more complex than the current chart reflects. New colors like pearl and Dominant White need to be added, and something needs to be said about mushroom and “light” (or dilute) blacks. There was also a companion article entitled “More Possibilities” that was never published. It had the same kind of information on some of the less common breeds. The more I looked at both articles, the more convinced I became that I just need to get back to work on the book those charts were supposed to summarize!

I’m still working on that, but since I am still a long way from finished it seemed a good idea to at least correct the article and republish it. I know many showers and judges still refer to the charts, so accurate but incomplete information is better than inaccurate information! Newly updated charts (in PDF form) can be found here.

There are a lot of changes, in part because it has been so long since they were last updated, but also because I’ve made an effort to be a bit more thorough in noting historical (“extinct”) colors. (Like the Lipizzaners in the pictures at the top of this post.) The rise in registries with online databases has also allowed me to pin down some of the genes that were previously listed as “unknown”.

And finally I should note one entry that is sure to be controversial. Yes, there are questionable circumstances surrounding that horse’s papers, and yes, I know the registry has been informed. I had actually delayed uploading these charts, hoping that the issue would be resolved. As of this morning, this horse is still listed on DataSource as a registered purebred. Legitimate or not, unless and until those papers are revoked that color is in the breed.

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3 Responses to Updated Color Guide

  1. Sarah August 19, 2008 at 4:51 pm #

    I love the idea of the charts getting a complete overhaul but this update is nice too! I was at a show recently when the resin and cm judge didn’t know the colors well and none of us had this chart to hand her.

  2. Mel Miller August 19, 2008 at 8:43 pm #

    Thank you Lesli! <3

  3. Reannon December 3, 2008 at 6:09 am #

    I wanted to mention that I have seen photos of possible appaloosa PRE horses, they were also greys, but you could see the spots present under the grey. I wish I still had the photos, the horses were on a sale site in spain. I have seen a few examples of the molted muzzles and spots. I have also seen possible Splash Iberians as well, with at least one blue eye. I am sure there are quite a few colors that are hidden by grey that may be present but are of course unconfirmed.

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