Wild Bay


I am not going to have time to finish up the post about eye color before I leave for Kentucky, but I did run across these pictures while looking through my coon tail references. The horse has a variation of the  agouti gene  known as “wild bay”. Horses with that form of bay have a reduced amount of black pigment on their points. In this particular horse, it was particularly noticeable on his tail.


I find this version of bay useful when painting sculptures because the variation in color allows you to pull out detail in the tail that would be lost to shadows if the tail were truly black. The gene isn’t found in all the breeds that have bay, and some breeds (like the Cleveland Bay) actively select against the washed-out legs that go with the wild bay gene.


That is visible on this horse’s one (mostly) colored leg. Only the ankle is truly black, and the hocks are just smudged with black hairs. The amount of black on the legs of a wild bay will vary, but the amount on this horse is pretty typical in my experience.

And while it is a poor photo taken indoors with a low-resolution camera, here is a wild bay with a coon tail. It makes for an interesting contrast.


(I suspect the blackest areas at the end of the tail on the first horse, and the lightest areas on this second horse are tail extensions, by the way, so uniformity of coloring there may be misleading.)

The blog will be quiet while I am in Kentucky, but with luck I will return with some interesting pictures as well as the promised post on eye color.


4 Responses to Wild Bay

  1. Danielle Lippard Feldman July 13, 2011 at 8:16 am #

    Do you think the Gulastra Plume in the Arabian breed is a version of Wild Bay?

  2. Karen July 13, 2011 at 10:10 am #

    I have a pony in that color- wild bay! LOL

  3. The Equine Tapestry July 13, 2011 at 10:58 am #

    There are wild bay Arabians, but I suspect that there is a separate trait that makes the tails on some Arabians flaxen.

  4. Rebecca Turner July 13, 2011 at 1:00 pm #

    oh this explains something to me then.. years ago I had a good friend ( unfortunately were not still friends.) who had a big peruvian paso farm and I remember one of her mares having a foal who when born looked a bit like a calf..lol we laughed back then that her mare had given birth to a hefer! it was bay but had a big white blaze and 4 white feet.. ( I think it was 4 but not positive)and I think a big ( almost the whole bell! and up one side a tiny bit) white spot! that really threw us for a loop! both parents were solid.. the color was bay.. but the tail wasnt all black it had lots of cream and white in it.. the mane was black though .. so I always wondered what color this horse was.. now I suspect that it had the sabino gene.. I know one parent was definitely a sabino..she had some white with pointy ends and a white chin and small blaze… but I also wonder if he had the splash gene too… do peruvians have that gene? but now I also realize he was a wild bay. darn it I wish I had some pics of him! she also had an interesting stallion.. and I think he was the sire! she sent some mares out later but I think at the time she only used him and he only had a small star and maybe one or two small socks… …he was dark chestnut but had almost black points..I mean dark…if you didn’t know you would think they were black as was his mane and tail….. I do have a pic of him but you cant see his whole body…his chestnut color was kind of different too.. it was dark and not a lot of red in it.. so he would have been a chestnut with a black or silver gene too? so a silver chestnut? is that right? or a black chestnut? im not really sure.. he was a nice horse and I always really liked his color and have never seen one of the same color to this day…… that was one thing about peruvians.. they come in some odd colors… wish I had know some of this back then though..Id have taken some more pics! hmm I wonder if I can get someone to ask her if she has any photos of those horses… I will look to see if I can find the ones i have of him though..