Red Rabicano

"coon" or "skunk" tail
white bars at top of tail head
 - typical of Rabicano

True Roan
(Bay base)
showing roaned body w/ solid head & lower legs

Appaloosa Varnish Roan
(photo courtesy of Liz Cohen)


Sabino Roan (uniform roaning over entire body, including face; Usually combined with high, jagged-edged leg white) Easily confused with early graying or true roan


 "Roaning" occurs when the coat has white hairs mixed in with it, but the effect is not due to either a gray or true roan gene.

There are a few color patterns that are Roan-like in appearance, but are genetically not linked to the Roan gene. These include:


    Rabicano/Rubicano is often confused with true Roan. Rabicano is a genetic modifier that creates roaning that is usually limited to the underside, flanks, legs, and tail head areas. Rubicanos often have a 'coon tail' of white barring at the tail head and white hairs in the flanks. 

    The tail bars, or "Skunk-tail" indicate rabicano rather than true roan.
      Ochoco Belle, a sabino rabicano mustang from Oregon

    Rubicano is similar to Sabino in that the underside, legs and flanks have the most white splotches.  Sabino will usually be accompanied by jagged-edged white socks or stockings, extensive facial white, and other sabino traits. Sabino does not have the barred tail head ("skunk tail)

    "Frosty roan"
    owned by Julie Yocom of Texas

  •  Appaloosa Varnish Roan

    These horses closely resemble roans and greys. The color develops similarly to grey, in that it gradually overtakes the previous color pattern and covers it up. It is called "varnish" because its action is much like that of brushing varnish over a still-wet painting. The colors will blur and blend into a new, mottled and non-distinct pattern of coloring. Varnish Roan is part of the appaloosa complex.


  •  CORN 
    "Corn" is an effect of the true Roan gene. When a roan horse suffers a scratch or scrape, the hair often grows in over the healed area as the base color (black or red) without any roaning. Over a horse's life, these accumulate to create an effect reminiscent of an ear of Indian Corn.



  •  The GRAYING Process
    in its early stages can look very much like roan, and many young gray horses are incorrectly labeled as roans.

    Note that with the graying process, the face is "roaning" faster than the body. With true roan, the face is not roaned. Gray is also progressive: over time, the horse continues to lighten, going through the classic dapple gray phase, and then finally, almost pure white.


Hit Counter