What colors do we like on different colors of horses? (the thread where we show off our pretty horses in their pretty clothes)

I think I like burgundy and hunter green on pretty much every horse. Purples and reds are iffy. I think palominos look great in teal, but that might just be me. Thoughts??


My palomino looks amazing in black - lots of colors suit him, but black is best I think! It sounds boring but I think it looks pretty striking.

Teal, burgundy and navy also are nice.

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My chestnut & white Belgian/Paint looks best in navy IMHO. I would never put him in any shade of red as I think it would clash with his chestnut too much. He does look good in teal and hunter green.

I’ve always loved a bright blue/teal on a palomino.


I have a dark mahogany bay, dark rich blue (such as navy, cobalt, royal) looks amazing on her. Mulberry/wine purple also looks pretty nice, as does simple black and white. I’m not a huge fan of bright colors on darker coats, but that’s just me.

Always loved pine/moss green on our penny-bright chestnut.


My colors are hunter green, cream, and gold, which I think looks sharp on any horse. My sister does black, light blue, and white for the same reason.

I really like burgundy (one of my favorite colors to wear) but it does not flatter a red bay or a chestnut. It was a lovely color on my first horse, a dark bay.

As a braider, the color I go through the fastest is navy blue. On a dark mane, the slight contrast helps the rider get the braids out at the end of the day. On a light mane, provided the neck is good, it makes a nice line.


I also like burgundy on horses such as darker bays and blacks. Purples look good also. That’s because I love these colors for myself. Cream, gold and black trim looks nice.

Chestnuts, I like darker blues like royal.

Greys look good in almost everything except tans, creams and “off white” colors. At least that’s what I think!




Lime green:



Hmm. I think it also depends on the discipline. Cross Country and maybe Endurance, like TB racing, look good with very bright colors that identify you at a distance.

In Western I really like the muted earth tones, like Navajo rug colors with mid brown tack.

Schooling English I like the traditional horsey colors, muted darks like navy, forest green, maroon, red, brown, black, white. Whether your saddle is brown or black also plays a role.

Black and grey can take most colors, as long as there’s a bit of contrast. Red and yellow horses look good in blues, greens, browns, and all those olive and moss and maybe dull gold colors. Bright bays are often more red in tone than a chestnut.

Of course you also need to consider what you wear, and it’s inconvenient when you are a different “color season” than your horse. I’m a “winter” and look good in red, purple, pink, jewel tones,and black. Mares is an “autumn” chestnut Paint and would look awesome in dull golds and moss greens but of course those don’t really exist in English saddle pads right now.

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@phantomhorse . How Cool!!! I’m so envious of distance riders!! My horse would have an aneurism going up the incline that your grey is going up! Would want to stop for a cocktail and a body sponge down. I have a friend who does this on her very cool Arabian and loves it! Arabians are so cool for their drive to go anywhere. Warmbloods are comparative couch potatoes. THANKS for these pictures! So cool! Love your colors and commitment to them. Even the lime green glasses!

ETA: just for my own curiosity because I know nothing. I see your horses aren’t wearing boots. Are they all barefoot? Is shoeing dangerous in the type of terrain you ride in? I know nothing about your sport so am curious. Thanks!


It’s one of life’s little ironies that many trail riders and endurance riders go barefoot, with boots as needed especially for competition, but desire to ride barefoot on all terrain.

Whereas many, perhaps most, folks who compete in arena disciplines keep their horses shod all way around evrn when they never hack out at all.

Renegade Boots were designed for endurance horses.


I have a Buckskin and I swear most everything looks good on him. Even colors I didn’t think I would like. I had a light, olive green pad I had bought for a Chestnut but it looks great on him too.

One of my trainers was ridng him the other day and she was wearing a very bright red. And it actually looked pretty striking on him.

My go-to’s for him are black, blue, turquoise, burgundy and that olive, muted green.

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My last horse was whited and he looked fab in black and silver. He had a royal blue pad, too along with one that was an adaptation of the American flag - smashing.

My grey mustang was another that looked great with black and silver but a white saddle pad made her stand out. Red was her best color.

I think it depends on the horse. Red is not my fave color but it did look great on the mustang so that was her color.

@phantomhorse - you look like you are having SO much fun. I’m a little envious :slight_smile:

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Ummm, no one wants to pay for shoes. It’s usually not a choice. All of my horses started barefoot until that wasn’t working anymore for the discipline.

Her horses are not wearing boots in any photo. I’ll wit for her to respond.


I meant that it’s common for competitive endurance riders to have barefoot horses. Or they might train barefoot but use glueons for big competitions.

It’s much more common for endurance horses to be barefoot than it is for dressage horses to be barefoot, even if the dressage horse never leaves the arenam



Leaving the arena or not leaving the arena has no bearing on why most dressage horses wear shoes. No one just puts their horse in shoes for no reason or because “everyone else does”. It kind of sounds like you’re saying dressage people and people who “ride in rings” somehow favor shoes because that’s what everyone does. I honestly don’t get your comment that dressage horses get shoes even if they don’t leave the arena. Can you explain?

It makes sense, I think, for endurance horses to be barefoot over that terrain. Or boots. Not shoes. But I don’t know.


Nevertheless, in my experience it has been true that trail and endurance riders, who might be expected to want and need shoes for rough terrain, are more likely to go barefoot. And sport horses who perform in groomed arenas are more likely to be shod.

There may be very good reasons for those sport horses to be shod. I wasn’t trying to be insulting. I just meant that when one looks at the footing involved, it’s the reverse of what one might expect. As you expressed when you pointed out the endurance horses were barefoot.

Obviously there’s going to be some performance horses barefoot and some endurance horses in shoes.


If you zoom in on the photos, the gray in red and the chestnut in teal are clearly shod. On the two horses in blue I can see what might be shoes but it’s harder to tell due to the photo angle and quality.

I love burgundy on a dark bay and sage green on a chestnut. I’ve never had very fun-colored horses on which to experiment though. I’m also very picky about saddle pads and boots, and don’t like to accumulate too many of either.


FWIW - my two lower level dressage horses are barefoot. However, It think the bare or not issue is a matter of conditioning. We unfortunately don’t have lots of big pastures with varied footing, or opportunities to regularly go hacking around in different terrain. I’d imaging that most endurance horse training programs would involve a much better hoof conditioning program, and dressage horses that were ridding out in the same way could probably stay barefoot more of the time. I do ride my older mare in front boots much of the time as she can get a little tentative when the ground is harder (we don’t have lovely groomed arenas) and I suspect that I’ll need to shoe her during show season if we’re ready for second level next year to ensure she can show her medium trot if the show grounds footing isn’t perfect. As someone who’s been trimming my own horses for 13 years, I cringe at the thought of going to shoes, and it does seem that many at my barn keep their horses shod just because it’s the thing that’s done.

But back to the OP’s topic. I have two chestnut mares - one is very deep chestnut/red, the other is lighter and more orange. I’ve been surprised at how much difference there is in the colors that really complement their coats. The darker one looks smashing in a nice navy blue, but navy is just OK on the lighter one. I have some nougat brown Mattes pads with black binding and white cord that look great on the lighter chestnut, but quite “meh” on the red mare. Dark gray looks nice on the red mare, but “meh” on the lighter one. The lighter one can also pull off brighter colors like the turquoise shirt/pad combo I picked up this summer. They both look pretty good in hunter green.

Red mare in navy:

The Orange Terror in the nougat pad and hunter breeches:


Love looking at all the photos of pretty horses and pretty colors!

So, color gurus, here’s a pic of my new horse. He’s a bay roan Paint. His tail is a mix of colors with a lot of silver, but his mane is black. I’ll be doing some western stuff on him (NOT western pleasure) and also hunters under saddle. This will all be at Paint shows.

What colors would you recommend? I was thinking a grey hunt coat, but maybe the new burgundy/pomegranate color? For western, my chaps are the ubiquitous black. But what color shirt?



Boy, that’s a good looking horse. What a kind looking face he has.

I would wear a green or navy coat to show him in- burgundy might work if you could find the right tone- and I like that shade of red in your Navajo pad for your show shirt showing Western.

I also want to take a moment to remark on COTH culture… 10 years ago there was all kinds of moaning and complaining that the H/J forum was all about “what color coat should I get for my horse” and then that died down for awhile and here we are again. :slight_smile:

I saw a mossy olive green mesh hunt coat on one of my barnmates this summer that made my fingers itch. It was a very good color for my horse. Who was retiring at the end of the season… and did not need to be decorated by a hunt coat… which was discontinued anyway. But I did think about setting up an eBay alert for that coat in that color, just in case.

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