A dapple gray mare and her palomino foal stand in a lovely field filled with colorful spring flowers. (Coyright and website text do NOT appear on original)
Did you know that grey horses are usually born another color? They can be born palomino, like the foal shown here, or bay, black, buckskin, chestnut, or any other base color. The color we think of as "dapple gray" is not actually a color itself but is what they call a modifier. It changes the base color of the horse over time from a normal color such as chestnut. More and more white hairs develop in the horse's coat as it ages, replacing the pigmented hairs until eventually fading out the color altogether. At first these white hairs may appear as dappled patterns within the normal coat color. Young gray horses are often dark, or have lots of color, but are heavily dappled. The coloring can range from gold to red to black. Some grays don't develop dapples and their coat color simply fades with age. With all grays, as the horse gets older, the coat eventually changes to almost completely white. You can often guess if a horse is young or old by how dark or dappled, or how white, it appears. True white horses are actually fairly rare. Most horse we see that look white are just older gray horses that have lost most of their hair pigment with age. Since its mother is gray, the palomino foal in this image may very well grow up to become gray too.