What Is A Sorrel Horse?

Last Updated on March 1, 2022 by Allison Price

Sorrel horses are described as a chestnut-colored or reddish-colored horse with no black pigmentation. This expression is argued by horse associations, horse communities, and others who believe that horses with chestnut colors and sorrel horses should not be separated. Some consider them one. Some people may be curious about what a sorrel horses looks like and what they do.

Because it is never settled, the distinction is a hot topic. The color of sorrel horses is their name. Sorrel horses are classified according to their physiology as being tall, short or weak. They can be male or female and any age.

They can also be found in diverse parts of the world, including the most remote and wildest areas of America. A sorrel is a horse that has a light reddish color on its body and no black accents.

What is the Color of a Sorrel Horse’s Head?

The horse community is constantly arguing over this question. It is primarily between the United Kingdom of the United States. Horse riders, breeders, and racers in the UK tend to seperate sorrels from chestnut horses, or eliminate the term altogether. Americans maintain the term and refer to any horse with red-colored bodies.

Scientific View

Scientifically speaking, there is no distinction between sorrels and chestnut-colored horse genetics. Horses can inherit a recessive color that gives them a red base color. This gene can also be found in chestnuts or sorrels.

What color is the red color hue? This category is difficult to define because the horse’s coat color can vary depending on many factors. Trimming the hair of either horse can affect its tone. The hair’s color will depend on how much time it has been exposed to the sun and the temperature of the region. The environment and diet can also affect the hair’s hue.

All these factors increase the red hue and increase the red shades of the brown horse family. Common sorrels are known for their chestnut, brownish-red, and copper-red colors. There are many hues that fall somewhere in between these categories.

Sorrel Horse

Another definition of sorrel? The horse must not have any black markings or pigmentation. A horse with a black mane or tail is not sorrel. It’s simply red, brown or chestnut.

The American Quarter Horse Association defines sorrel and chestnut as horses with red coats but no black markings. Jockey Club does not use this term to describe horses with red skin tones. They define them according to the color of their chestnut. It is up to you to decide what definition you give the sorrel horse. Your opinion will be influenced by which side you choose.

Shades Of Chestnut

There are many shades of sorrel and chestnut horses. These include:

  • Dark chestnut/ liver-chestnut – Horses that are liver chestnut have a reddish-brown appearance. They are often mistakenly called black chestnuts by most people. A liver chestnut horse is distinguished by its tail, lower legs and a mane with small amounts of reddish-colored hair. A pedigree or DNA test can help you distinguish.
  • Basic chestnut – A basic chestnut horse is one whose coat is solid copper reddish. Similar shades can be seen in the tail and mane.
  • Pangare or Mealy – These chestnut horses have pale hairs around the eyes and muzzle, and pale undersides.
  • Blond/ Flaxen Chnut – The flaxen body has a lighter tail or mane than the rest. Sometimes, the difference in color is just one or two shades. It is not common to find flaxen chestnuts with silverfish, or even almost white manes or tails.
  • Sorrel – The sorrel horse is a natural, red one. The red can be found with any color, but must remain consistent throughout the horse’s body, mane, tail and body.

What Breed Is The Sorrel Horse?

Sorrel horses are the most popular classification of registered horses according to the America Quarter Horse Association. This is likely due to the distinctive factor that differentiates horse colors. The breed could also be one of many.

There will be more sorrels among certain breeds than others. Sorrel horses are found in many species, including the Tennessee Walking Horse and Chincoteague Ponies, the Racking Horse, the Belgian Draft Horse, and the Chincoteague Pony. Let’s take a look at each to help you identify a sorrel horses regardless of its size, shape, or style.

1Tennessee Walking Horse

The breed’s unique trot is unmatched in any other horse breed. The purpose of breeding Tennessee Walking Horses was to aid in American plantations during the 18th century. They have been used extensively for leisure riding, and they are often displayed at western events because of their distinctive strut. You can choose from a variety of colors including red.

2. Mountain Pleasure Horse

This American breed is well-known in the Appalachian Mountains. Its origins date back to 180 years ago. These horses are descendants of American settlers’ horses. Mountain Pleasure Horses are calm and sturdy. This trait can be used for many purposes. Their coats are often chestnut colored.

3. Bavarian Warmblood

The 1960s saw a demand for a sport horse in Southern Germany and this breed was born. Bavarian Warmbloods can be strong and have one color, such as copper, red or chestnut.

4. Racking Horse

The Racking Horse is one of America’s most beloved breeds. The breed is often called the model horse. These horses are most likely depicted in films and paintings. The Racking Horse is graceful, strong, and beautiful. The chestnut red color is what makes it a sorrel horse, along with the black and bay hairs.

5. Belgian draft horse

The Belgian Draft Horse, as its name suggests, is a Belgian native. This breed is known for its reddish-hemmed coats, which are also called sorrels. Because most horses are interbred with grey or white horses, the horses look lighter. They interbred during the 1920s, when color-specific breeding was popular.

6. Sella Italiano

The Italian government did Sella Italiano breeding. The goal was to create a horse breed comparable to the English mares. A Sella Italo is easily identifiable by their slim, naturally muscular stature and noble stature. Their coat color is black, bay, or red.

7. Chincoteague Assateague Pony

The Chincoteague Assateague looks a lot like a sports star. Because they have less than 14 hands, they can be called ponies. This is what distinguishes a horse and pony. These ponies, which are short and stocky, are common in the wild regions of Assateague Island on the Virginia Coast of the Atlantic Ocean. They are usually reddish in color.

8. American Paint Horse

The American Paint Horse was created in 1519. It was in America that Hernando Cortes, an Spanish explorer introduced the breed. Their two-tone colors make them easy to distinguish. One tone is always white and the other can be any of the many horse colors like reddish or brown of the sorrel.

It can also have white hairs and white markings, along with a red base colour. They are named for large areas that look like paint splatters.

9. Argentine Anglo Horse

The need for a sport horse led to the creation of the Argentine Horse breed. Breeders created the perfect horse for Polo five decades ago by combining English Thoroughbred stallions and Argentine Crillios. Many Argentine Anglo horses will be seen running in the Polo Fields with a reddish hue. They are distinguished by their large and powerful physiology as well as their chestnut color.

Sorrel Horses are Bred

It is the red factor recessive gene that gives rise to the red color in red horses, as some call it. This means that the horse would have two red genes, as it would not have the red color. One red gene will mean that the other one will take over, so there won’t be any room for a totally red hue. Because two red horses always have offspring with red-colored coats, the horse color is set standard.

How to Get a Sorrel Horse

A sorrel horse can be purchased in the same way as other horses. One can purchase one online from horse owners who list their sorrels. They can also be purchased manually, such as in stables and farms that sell horses.

What is the Average Cost of a Sorrel Horse or a Chestnut?

Like other colors of horses, the price range can vary. It all depends on the place and how difficult you search. Horses can be as much as or more than $100,000. The average cost of a trail chestnut or sorrel mare is around $5,000 These factors influence the price.

  • Condition and age

Price of a horse will ultimately depend on its age and condition. Horses live between seven and fourteen years in prime age, with a lifespan of two to three decades. An older horse will generally have a lower price, but it still depends on its condition.

  • Breeding

Horse prices will be determined by the bloodline of the sorrel or chestnut. A horse that is bred from a stallion to win a show with nothing special will likely be expensive. It is possible. Horse market is different from other animal types because of the bloodline value and potentiality for superior genes.

Even if the sorrel and chestnut aren’t exceptional in their ability or stature but its grandparents or parents were, it still will cost a lot.

  • Health

The cost of the sorrel or chestnut will depend on how healthy the horse is. Before finalizing terms of sale, it is a good idea to have a veterinarian check the horse. Horses with injuries or illnesses can affect their genetics, mobility, lifespan, and ability to live. This could result in high medical bills. A chestnut with minor health issues or a sorrel is still high functioning, especially for leisure rides.


A sorrel is easily identified by their beauty and commonality among horse breeds. Although sorrel is not accepted by everyone, it describes a horse with a reddish-streaked spectrum coat. The red factor is determined by genes.

To be considered a true sorrel, a horse of red color must not have any black pigmentation. The sorrel horse makes a great companion for those who want to explore trails, or as a show horse with stunning coat colors.

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!