Do Baby Horses Change Color as They Age? Foal Colors Explored

Last Updated on February 23, 2022 by Allison Price

As they age, baby horses develop a different color. The color of foals is usually a pale version of the adult color. The dull color of the foal’s coat camouflages them from predators in the wild. They shed their foal hair around three to four months, and then begin changing into adult colors.

Horse owners breed horses for their desired color. However, it can take a while to determine if their foal will have that color.

Baby horses come in a variety of colors

Foals have a tendency to change their colors. They are born with dull, drab coats that they shed about three to four months after they were born. Few horses are born with the same color as their adult horses. White markings can be permanent.

Some foals have native markings on their legs and tails. These characteristics usually fade after birth, but they are strong enough to fool owners into thinking that they are a dun or grilla.

Which color are buckskin foals?

Buckskin foals can come in a variety of colors. They are difficult to identify because they have so many variations. Some buckskin babies have dorsal stripes, while others don’t.

Most buckskin foals won’t reveal their dark points or dorsal stripes until they shed their rough foal hair. Many buckskin babies have a yellowish-white to tan or yellowish-tan coat, with some black hairs scattered throughout their tail and mane.

Buckkins can also be born in different shades of brown. Buckkins are consistent in one thing: they don’t have any red hairs. Your baby may look like a buckskin, but have red hair.

Gray foals are the color.

Gray babies can be born with a variety of coat colors. It is difficult to tell if they are gray. There are two signs that indicate gray babies: gray hairs around the eyes and mouth, and solid-colored lower legs.

Gray is a dominant colour gene which influences a horse’s base color. Gray horses all have a base color. It can be either black, bay, or chestnut. A dominant gray gene dilutes this pigment.

The color of the base determines the color the baby horse will be when he or she is born. A foal with a grey gene and chestnut foundation will have a different coat from one with a black or bay base.

Gray can be either homozygous (carries two copies the gray gene) or heterozygous (has one copy the gray gene). Gray offspring are always produced by gray-colored horses that are homozygous.

We need to know the parents’ base colors in order to make an educated guess as to what color our friend’s foal would be when it is fully grown. The gray mare may have a bay base, while the stallion’s base color is chestnut. It could be any combination of gray, bay, and black.

Gray horses will continue to change in color with age. Many look completely white by six or seven years of age. Horses that are heterozygous lighten faster than horses that are heterozygous, and can often be whitened out by four years.

What is the appearance of a dun foal?

There are many colors duns. Red duns are also available. However, almost all dun foals have a dark dorsal stripe across their faces.

If you are examining your foal to determine its final color, don’t be alarmed if it doesn’t have leg stripes. Leg striping is usually not seen in dune babies until they are three to four months old.

A newborn dun’s coat is, however, dull like all foals. A bay dun’s coat is muted and sandy, while a red dun foal’s coat is usually light red-brown.

One distinctive characteristic of dun foals are their dark ear tips. If you want to know if your horse is a dun, then look out for a dark dorsal stripe, a dark mask and dark ear tips.

What is the appearance of a bay foal?

Bay horses can be identified by their dark spots, deep reddish brown coats, and dark skin. Baby foals don’t usually have noticeable dark leg tips, but they will show their lower leg points once the foal has shed its coat.

Bay foals have a slightly reddish color with light colored lower legs and black-tipped ears. They also have small black spots at the heels. Their dark skin is often mistaken for a chestnut.

You will also notice “foal fringes” in them. Foal fringes are light-colored hair that often highlights a foal’s tail. These fringes can be found in all newborns, but they are most noticeable in bay babies.

Do Baby Horses Change Color as They Age

How does a foal of chestnut look when it is born?

Chestnut horses have red hair with no black hair. There are many shades of chestnut, from light to dark.

Foals have a wide range of coat colors due to the variety of chestnut colours. They are all born with red coats.

Many of them have light-colored legs, and lighter-colored bellies (either cream, peach or tan). The skin of a chestnut foal is usually yellowish-pink and darkens soon after birth.

Although dark chestnuts can shed and appear black, they are still genetically chestnut horses. The beautiful, light-colored manes of flaxen chestnut foals don’t come from birth. They develop them as they age. Some foals may show signs of future flaxen at the roots of their manes.

How does a black foal look when it is born?

A black foal will usually be born in a musky grey or charcoal color. It may have a dorsal and lower stripe, as well as darker colored legs with dark stripes. It may develop a dull brownish color after shedding.

Black foals can change their colors over time, and you may be misled into believing it is a bay, brown, or chestnut horse. It may take up to a year for the foal to develop its black coat.

How can you tell if a foal will moan?

It is difficult to tell if a foal will roan when he or she is born. The foal’s hips are the most common area to show roan, and usually occurs within the first two months of birth.

After the foal shedding has finished, the baby’s roaning should be visible and spread across its hips, sides and neck. Red roans foals are usually born sorrel.

Are foals’ eyes changing color?

Sometimes foals’ eyes can change color. Champagne foals, for instance, are born with blue eyes which turn amber and then turn green or brown. Blue eyes in buckskin foals often darken within weeks of birth.

Palomino foals’ eyes color changes, usually from blue-gray to brown. Even the color of foals’ eyes can change. A palomino foal who had bright green eyes changed to pale green with amber flakes.


What are the most common colors for horses?

The most popular horse coat colors are Sorrel and Palomino.
This article will help you learn more about colors for horses: 12 Horse Coat Colours: Patterns and Genetics

What does a baby horse look like?

Foals are baby horses. They are called colts and fillies regardless of gender. What’s a Baby Horse Called?

Is a pony a horse for babies?

Ponies are not baby horses. However, they are equines which don’t exceed 14.2 hands in height. You can find out more by reading these articles: Is A Pony a Horse? and 10 Differences between Ponies & Horses: Size, Breeds,…

Allison Price
Allison Price

I’m Allison, born and raised in San Diego California, the earliest memory I have with horses was at my grandfather’s farm. I used to sit at the stable as a kid and hang out with my Papa while he was training the horses. When I was invited to watch a horse riding competition, I got so fascinated with riding!