Equusite.com > Beginner Basics > Colors and Markings > Gray

WRITTEN BY: Cheryl Sutor   [January 2000]

Gray horses have black skin with white or gray hair. Many horse people will call a gray horse "white", but if their skin is dark, they are gray! Gray horses are born dark, sometimes black or brown, and their hair coat turns lighter as they grow older.

Light Gray
Romans Royal Tee © Penncross Ranch

Light Gray
This is the type of horse that people mistake for "white". This horse is a light gray, not white. See how the skin (around his nose, inside his ears, and between his hind legs) is black? That is how you can tell that this horse is really a light gray.

Dapple Gray
A dapple is like a small, white "eraser" mark. Dapple gray horses usually have dapples throughout their entire body, often with darker colored points.

Horse: Silver Mystique   © Eithne Mac Carthy

Horse: Nick   © Karen Welch

Horse: Unknown   © Laura Mathis

Fleabitten Gray
Horse: Hello Lillet   © Margie Wolson
Fleabitten Gray
A fleabitten gray is a horse with a light gray body, but with little speckles of black and/or brown. These speckles are like tiny dots that are pretty much evenly distributed throughout the horse's body. Don't get this color confused with roans or appaloosa coat patterns!

Steel Gray
Horse: Centelleadora   © Pat Fausser

Steel Gray
Steel gray horses are a dark gray, silver color. The horse has a black base coat with lightly mixed white/gray hairs. Many steel gray horses lighten and turn into a dapple gray or a light gray with age.

Photo: © Ria Thress

Rose Gray
Medium gray whose hairs are tinted with red. This type of hair gives the horse a light "rose" tint. Rose gray horses often have points that are darker than their body color, including mane and tail.

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This article was published on: January 2000. Last updated on: January 2000.