Colors and Markings
The colour of a pony is determined by considering:
1. the colour of the coat – which covers the neck, body, and upper limbs (above the knee or hock), and
2. the colour of the ‘points’ – the muzzle, the tips of the ears, the mane, the tail and the extremities of the four legs.
A black pony has a black coat with black points.
A brown pony has a dark brown or nearly black coat with brown points.
A chestnut has a ginger or reddish coat. ‘Light’, ‘dark’ and ‘liver’ chestnuts are variations of the colour. The mane and tail of a chesnut pony are usually a similar colour or lighter. ‘Flaxen’ manes and tails are much lighter than the coat colour, usually white or blonde.
A bay has a brown coat with black points. ‘Light’, ‘bright’ (red) and ‘dark’ are descriptions for variations of the colour. The term bay- brown is used for a pony that appears to conform partly but not exactly to bay or brown.
A dun varies from mouse-colour (‘blue’ dun) to golden (‘yellow’ dun). A dun typically has black points and may show either ‘zebra’ marks on his limbs and or a ‘list’ or ‘eel-stripe’, which is a dark line along the back.
A grey pony has black and white hairs occurring throughout the coat, with either colour predominating. A “grey” pony can appear almost black, almost completely white, or any variation in between. An ‘iron’ grey occurs when black hairs are predominant. A ‘dappled’ grey has light grey circular patches on a darker background. A ‘flea-bitten’ grey occurs when dark hairs occur in tufts over most of the body, giving a speckled appearance. A ‘light’ grey has white hairs predominant. Ponies continue to grey progressively throughout their lives and at varying rates. Typically, they finish being very near pure white.
A pony is not correctly described as being ‘white’. True white is a lack of pigmentation. White ponies have pink skin, which is extremely rare. Most ponies described as “white” would be more correctly described as “light grey.”
A roan has white hairs throughout the coat. Variations are ’strawberry’ roan (chestnut coat), ‘red’ roan (bay coat), ‘blue’ roan (very dark bay, brown or black coat). In the Newfoundland pony, a roan is generally also what is called a “radical changer,” meaning that the colour of the summer coat is considerably darker than the colour of the winter coat.
A piebald has large irregular patches of black and white. Piebald ponies cannot be registered as Newfoundland ponies.
A skewbald has large irregular patches of white and any other colour except black. Skewbald ponies cannot be registered as Newfoundland ponies.
Three different types of spotted markings are characteristic of the Pony of the Americas and the Appaloosa. Spotted ponies with these coat colours cannot be registered as Newfoundland ponies:
‘Leopard’ –spots of any colour on a light or white coloured background.
‘Blanket’ – a white rump on which are spots of any colour.
‘Snowflake’ – white spots on a foundation of any colour.
A palomino has a golden coat and very light, almost white, mane and tail.
‘Odd-Coloured’ is a term used to describe a pony that does not conform to a standard colour described above.
Star — a white mark on the forehead – can be any shape: round, oval, half-moon, crescent, pear, heart, irregular, triangular, polygonal, curved, oblique, linear.
Stripe — a narrow white strip down the centre of the face – can be irregular, asymmetric, curved, interrupted, inclined to the left or right.
Snip — a white mark between the nostrils, which sometimes extends into the nostrils – limited to lower face and general nostril area.
Blaze — broad white stripe down the face -usually centred.
White Face — white forehead, around eyes, nose and part of the muzzle.
White Muzzle — white lips and nostrils.
Lip Marks – any
Wall Eye — shows white or blue-white colouring in place of normal coloration.
Leg markings are usually white. Marking on the limbs should be defined with reference to the pony’s anatomy: e.g. ‘white pastern’, ‘white to the fetlock’, etc.
Heel — above hoof at rear
Coronet — just above hoof
Fetlock – the round, ball-shaped joint above the hoof that connects the bones of
the pony’s lower and middle leg.
Pastern — the part of the pony’s lower leg between the fetlock and the coronet.
Sock — a white marking extending from the hoof to the fetlock.
Stocking — a white marking extending from the hoof as far as the knee or hock.
Leg — white marking extending above knee or hock (“knee” of the hind leg)
Ermine Marks — black spots on white hairs usually found around the coronet
Zebra — primitive — rings of dark hair on lower legs.
Other Natural Distinguishing Marks
Whorls (or Cowlicks) are changes in hair pattern at certain points — usually on the crest of the neck, forehead and chest – this irregular setting of coat hairs and can be used for identification since they are permanent markings.
Dorsal Stripe or eel stripe extends from the tail and is often accompanied by a band across the withers and sometimes there are also zebra stripes on the legs. The dorsal stripe is almost always found with a dun coat. T
Prophet’s Thumb Marks – indentation the size of a thumb may appear in the flesh — particularly on the neck — supposedly indicates a good horse.
Mealy Muzzles and Eyes – creamy or light coloration on an otherwise dark coat — this is a characteristic of the Exmoor Pony and some Newfoundland Ponies.
Eyes – generally brown but occasionally may be blue or hazel or wall due to the lack of pigment — some horses have eyes of different colours.
Acquired Distinguishing Marks
Scars and Saddle Marks – these are acquired marks — white hairs caused from a bad fitting saddle, rubbing, an accident, or even abuse.