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You can help maintain  the purity of the breed.

This can best be done through accurate record-keeping and correct identification of each individual horse as supplied by owners in filling out registration applications.  Please study the information in this brochure and keep it in your barn office or some other safe place near your horses. Please also refer to this guide before completing your next registration applications.  As an effort of your Association to bring about a more meaningful and concise method of identifying your purebred Tennessee Walking Horses, this Official Guide to the coat colors and to the  face, legs, and other markings is published.

 Color illustrations, charts and other guidelines are used in this brochure to help owners identify their horses for the records of your registry, the Tennessee Walking Horse Breeders' and Exhibitors' Association.  The description of the individual horse on the Certificate of Registration as to its color, markings, tattoos or scars should identify that horse for life, although these may be amended in cases where change occurs with maturity and advancing age.  This is why it is urgently important for owners to provide accurate descriptions of the horses' overall color, facial and leg markings plus other unusual physical characteristics.  One of the basic purposes of the TWHBEA is to protect and maintain the purity of the breed. 

Coat Colors of TWHs

The Association recognizes and records the many coat colors, principally bay, black, buckskin/dun, champagne, chestnut/sorrel, grey, overo/tobiano, sabino, palomino and roan. Since most Tennessee Walking Horses are registered as foals between the ages of three to six months, it is sometimes difficult to relate the color of the foal coat to that of the maturing horse after the shedding of its birthday fuzz. Here are a few tips to help owners decide what color a foal will be after losing its baby hair

  •       Loss of the foal coat usually begins around the eyes, nostrils and the root of the tail, followed by the legs. The new, smooth hair in these areas is most often the horse's permanent color.  Ordinarily, a foal that will be black is born a mousy grey color and a foal which looks black will not remain that color.

  •       White hairs appearing on any area of the face indicate that the foal may be grey, particularly if that foal has at least one grey parent.

  •       The foal will usually be bay if the foal coat is replaced by black hair on the legs.

  •       In cases where the foal coat on the legs is replaced by chestnut hair and the foal's mane and tail are not black, the foal will usually be chestnut. (The mating of two chestnuts results in a chestnut foal).

  •       Another rule of equine genetics is that a foal will never turn grey unless one parent is grey.

Color Genetics

1.      Grey - One parent must be Grey.

2.      Greys may be registered originally as Blacks, Bays, Chestnuts, etc.

3.      Grey crossed with Roan  may require picture over two year period to distinguish.

4.      Roan - Should have one Roan parent.

5.      Sabino - May be a Roan-White interacting.  

6.      Roans may be registered as Greys or a solid color.

7.a    Palominos usually from Palomino x Palomino or Palomino x Chestnut.

7.b    Can be from Black x Black but both Black parents must have a Palomino parent.
         Same with Black x Bay.

8.      Two Chestnuts or Sorrels always produce Sorrel or Chestnut.  

9.      Black x Chestnut or Sorrel results in Black, Bay, or Chestnut.  

10.    Black x Bay can result in Black, Bay, or Chestnut.

11.    Bay x Chestnut can result in Bay, Black or Chestnut.

12.    Tobianos must have one Tobiano parent.

13.a  Overos do not have to have one Overo parent.

13.b  Usually generous white within last three generations.

14.    Buckskins are usually result of breeding Palomino to Bay or Black or Brown.

15.    Buckskin x Buckskin - Bay, Buckskin, Perlino

16.    Perlino x Bay - Palomino or Buckskin

17.     Bay x Bay -  Bay, Black, Sorrel

18.     Palomino x Palomino - Sorrel, Palomino, Cremello

19.     Cremello x Sorrel or Chestnut  100% Palomino

20.     Cremello x Palomino - 1/2 Cremello, 1/2 Palomino