Chestnut yearling greying?

I am currently considering purchasing a chestnut yearling that the woman say she believes may end up grey. The stallion was grey and the mare was chestnut. She said that he has lines of white hairs on his sides, so she believes it is a possibility. Are there any other thing you can look at to get a better idea if they will grey? Also when does it normal start happening? He is about 1.5years old now and that is the only sign. His mane appears to have gotten slightly lighter at the ends from the older to newer pictures. I’m not sure if that’s related or not.

Usually they will start with white around the eyes.

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Do you have a photo?

The timing of when a foal/horse turns gray is really variable. Some are gray as weaners others gray slowly, sometimes not until 5yrs or older. If “the woman” is an experienced breeder then I would believe her.

Usually it’s fairly obvious by then, at least on the face, but if you really need a 100% guarantee, a DNA test is like $40.

OP - If you can get a foal photo, that is best. Most foal coats display a hyperpigmentation of the newborn coat as part of the expression of the grey gene, rather than the usual foal camouflage. Likewise, many greys show something we call “grey goggles” around the eyes.

Not necessarily. There are plenty of cases of horses that go grey very slowly. I’ve seen horses in their teens that were only just starting the depigmentation process. It’s too bad that we don’t understand more on how the grey gene processes itself. I know many researchers are interested in the flea bite repigmentation process, tho, so maybe we’ll have more answers in the near future.


Not necessarily… Most often, yes you can tell but I’ve seen a surprise gray at 10yrs, (and it was not a surprise because the breeder was inexperienced). I mentioned 5 yrs because I’ve seen no sign of graying (different breeder, again very experienced) until 5 and I’m sure 10 is an extreme example.
Neither were my horses, but were bred by breeders that I have known well. Both horses were quite the surprise.:yes:

This would be a surprise not-gray, though, because the breeder said she thinks it IS going gray.

What’s the breeding? Some breeds grey faster than others. Percherons, in my experience, tend to grey slower. I have a 15yr old Perch/TB that didn’t really start to go grey until she was about 8, but once it started, it was pretty dramatic.

I board at a Welsh Pony farm and they’re often completely white by two or three.

I’m fairly certain that “usually” and “most often” mean the same thing.

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Just curious…would you not buy it if it was going to gray?

In my experience, chestnut based gray horses turn light earlier than bay or black based colors. They are often strawberry roan looking as weanlings and yearlings, noticeably going gray between 2-4.

Buy the horse, not the color.!