A sorrel quarter horse wearing a western pleasure show bridle and saddle. (Copyright and website text will NOT appear on prints and products)
The color "sorrel" looks similar to chestnut and the two are often confused. This is especially true in the Quarter Horse breed where the terms on used interchangeably with most Quarter Horses of red color being referred to as sorrel. But there is some evidence that sorrel and chestnut have genetic differences. Visually, chestnut is usually a medium to dark coppery red with a mane and tail to match, although sometimes the mane and tail are darker reddish. Chestnut with a darker mane and tail is distinguished from a reddish bay by the legs. A red bay will have dark brown to black legs from the knees down. A chestnut will have the same coppery red body color all the way down its legs. For sorrel, the body is usually a lighter reddish brown color. The mane and tail are usually the same or lighter, ranging from a bronzy red to blonde to creamy white. The blonde or creamy white mane and tale are often referred to as flaxen. The horse shown here would be considered a sorrel with flaxen mane and tail.