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The Colour of Sports Horses

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  • The Colour of Sports Horses

    Would the colour of a sports horse youngster alter how likely you were to buy them? I've heard and read that Grey is a big negative over in Germany and in the UK chestnut fillies can be hard to sell. I've also heard that grey is a no-no for a dressage horse (yet first hand experience says that judges like greys and tend to give them good marks perhaps because they stand out and fill the arena)

    What is your experience? Is colour a deal breaker with sports horse youngstock?

  • #2
    I don't think it is a deal breaker, no. The problem is getting to the 'deal' point when your youngster has been overlooked at first glance because it is grey/chestnut/spotted etc.

    I think you just have to construct your advert headline differently to catch the buyer's attention past the 'drive by glance and mentally discard because of color'.
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    • #3
      The Germans export their greys to the USA where people pay extra for them. Then the buyers spend years cleaning manure stains off of them.


      • #4
        Holsteiner breeders certainly don't avoid gray! Some of the other Verbands are reputed to dislike off colors. The anti red headed mare prejudice is strong in the US today.

        I think all buyers have color preferences, and some may be strong enough to be deal breakers. But it's going to depend on the buyer individually.
        "I'm a lumberjack, and I'm okay."
        Thread killer Extraordinaire


        • #5
          I have found that there seem to be fewer buyers who want either greys or chestnuts. Happily, though, there are some who prefer them. So, I'd never rule out a color. The right buyer just needs to come along.
          Mary Lou


          Member OMGiH I loff my mares clique


          • #6
            I own a bay, a grey, and a chestnut. 'Nuff said.
            "You become responsible, forever, for what you have tamed." - The Little Prince


            • #7
              No deal breaker for me.

              Especially not for greys. I own 2 grey mares


              • #8
                Greys actually happen to be my favorite, but I've found that buyers either love them or hate them, really no middle road.

                I find it hard to believe that grey is "unpopular" in Germany; there are tons of highly successful and very popular stallions (especially holsteiners, as someone else pointed out) that are grey. In fact, I think at one time there was an interesting discussion on this board on the percentage of top producing/performing jumper stallions that were indeed gray.

                For me, I'm not a big fan of the pinto coloring, or the dilutes, but I woudn't rule one out if it was what I was looking for in every other regard.
                Already excited about our 2016 foals! Expecting babies by Indoctro, Diamant de Semilly, Zirocco Blue and Calido!


                • Original Poster

                  I think the German dislike of grey is more attached to dressage horses but I have heard it applied to riding horses in general.


                  • #10
                    Grey is my favorite! It's the one and only think I don't love about my mare. I had to go and fall in love with a dark bay... But if/when I someday breed her I'm REALLY hoping for a grey foal.

                    Personally, I'd never turn down a great horse just based on color.
                    Cascadia- OTTB mare. 04/04-05/10
                    If love could have saved you, you would have lived forever


                    • #11
                      Color has never been a deal breaker for me, but I've definitely noticed some buyers have very definite color preferences. I have a client who will not buy a gray horse, period. And mare owners have expressed that it's a definite bonus that my stallion is homozygous black, because they can't end up with a chestnut foal.

                      Color preference comes into play even more with the unique colors -- when I was expecting a foal with a chance of being buckskin, I had a waiting list for it.

                      I thought it was interesting how many black stallions are going thru the 70 day test right now. Out of 15 warmblood stallions, 9 of them are black. (3 bays, 2 grays, and 1 chestnut.)
                      River Oaks Farm - home of the Elite Book Friesian Sporthorse Grand Prix dressage stallion Lexington - sire of four consecutive FSA National Inspection Champions. Endorsing the FSA.


                      • #12
                        Personally Im not a pinto fan at all, but love sabino markings and dilutes (obviously!)

                        I love the look of greys before they white out, but it would have to be an exceptional grey mare to make it into my breeding program - she wouldnt be my first choice, based solely on her colour ...

                        I love smoky blacks and buckskin's more than I do palomino's, but I get a whack of buyers that are very specific in what they are looking for as in "Palomino filly, thin white blaze, 4 high stockings to the knees and hocks, prefer that they dont go any higher than that, some body white okay but very very little and not overly obvious". Literally THAT specific ...

                        Probably the most response I ever got to any of my foals was my Nightlight filly who is a rich smoky black with a lot of interesting white markings on her. If I had 20 to sell that looked like her, I know I could have easily sold every single one of them

                        I now pray for smoky black and white foals every time ...

                        True Colours Farm on Facebook


                        • #13
                          I guess I'm just one of the oddballs that likes the off colors. I prefer grey's, chestnuts, and I would LOVE a nice palomino WB. I've actually been tempted to breed my chestnut mare for a palomino but I know if it's a filly I'll want to keep it and I already kept her chestnut filly from this year and a chestnut colt too. I'm just not a big bay person but it certainly wouldn't stop me from buying one or breeding to a bay stallion either for that matter!! In fact I own a few bays. I did get turned down from a buyer this year on the possibility that the mare for sale (in foal) MIGHT throw a chestnut...quote "If she has a chestnut filly, I don't know what I'd do with it, people hate them!" People are funny in their preferences- I was hoping for a chestnut filly! Everyone has their favorites. Maybe someday I'll be brave enough to breed for my palomino!
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                          • #14
                            ‘ Les goûts et les couleurs ne sont pas à discuter’ as we say in French. Taste and color are not a matter of discussion.

                            Why do I have to look twice to see faults on a grey horses and it just jumped in my face when it’s a chestnut with a blaze???

                            Of course everyone has his own preference. Grey get my heart beating faster … and have no feeling at all for chestnut, worse with a large blaze...

                            As a matter of fact… I just bought a mare that raised my heartbeat to a point that I was not sure to survive! When I saw her I knew I had to have her, period. She had to be mine, in my barn, NOW!!! I never felt so excited in my life for a horse and she should arrive in three weeks and I will only believe it when she will be there... gosh I am so excited!!!

                            …. Would you believe she is a CHESNUT with a LARGE BLAZE? I know!

                            Color would be a deal breaker if I was an amateur who just wanted to have a fun horse to ride.

                            But when you get serious, as an amateur of a professional you will go for the best horse for your money, despite the color.
                            Last edited by bloomingtonfarm; Nov. 20, 2009, 05:07 PM.
                            Breeder of Royal Dutch Sport Horse


                            • #15
                              Ummmm, let's see. I think, if I counted right,

                              I have:
                              • 3 grays
                              • 5 chestnuts
                              • 2 blacks
                              • 1 black/white
                              • 6 bays - 3 of the bays don't have a speck of white on them.
                              Tranquility Farm - Proud breeder of Born in the USA Sport Horses, and Cob-sized Warmbloods
                              Now apparently completely invisible!


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by bloomingtonfarm View Post
                                ‘ Les goûts et les couleurs ne sont pas à discuter’ as we say in French. Taste and color are not a matter of discussion.
                                "Non, mais ça se change!" (No, but you can work on it!)

                                My utmost favorite colour is a plain bay, any shade of bay, with as little white as possible. I hate cleaning white socks.

                                But I have never turned down a good horse because of its colour... hence why I've owned so few bays!
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