Dappled, or a Thousand Shades of Grey

RDP #40- Dappled

The RagTag Daily Prompt number 40 is dappled. Since I’ve been involved in horses all of my life, I instantly thought of them and couldn’t pass this one up.

Some of these photos are not mine and are used for reference purposes only.

To  be clear, there are color dapples and health dapples. Health dapples can show up on  any dark color and can appear with a shed-out, or disappear when a winter coat comes in. Color dapples are a part of the color, are predominantly in greys and can change slowly over time as the horse ages. Horses with the silver dapple color usually only change slightly and get darker with age. This is a generalization because each horse is unique and the variations are endless.

Grey horses are always born dark. They may be black, bay or chestnut as babies. They can develop dapples as they change from dark to light color. You can tell they’re going to be grey by seeing white or light colored hairs in the thinly haired areas on their face like the muzzle and around the eyes. We call them grey goggles. This is a mare that I used to own. She’s only a few days old here but you can see the goggles around her eyes.


As she got older, she turned more and more grey. She only had dapples for a really short time. Here I think she’s a yearling. She still has the dark mane & tail, but her body has just a tinge of red. This is called a rose grey.

rose grey

She eventually turned a very light grey with fleabits. Fleabits are those little brown flecks or speckles you see on her coat.

Grey with fleabits

This is another horse I used to own. She was born a chestnut. She’s a weanling here and is already a rose grey. It’s unusual for them to grey out this fast. (She has not been body clipped.)


You can see that she still has the chestnut red in her mane and even in  her ear hair. 🙂


Dappled greys can be incredibly dramatic. This horse was born black.


This one was born chestnut.


This exquisite filly is fully grey at a very young age. More than likely she’s been body clipped, which reveals the next stage of the coat under the baby hair.


Here’s the progression of dappled grey on the same horse: Unbridled Song.




This is Austin. His color is a silver dapple pinto. His breed is a Gypsy Vanner. He has since matured out of these star dapples. The dark parts are a solid color now. He’s still very beautiful without them (see below), but in these top two photos when he was younger, he’s phenomenal!


Image result for gypsy vanner stallion austin

11 thoughts on “Dappled, or a Thousand Shades of Grey

Add yours

    1. Hahaha! I thought it was funny that her ear hair stayed red. Rose greys can be really pretty. She looks almost silvery pink in those photos. We laugh about coloring horses’ hair, but it’s actually a common thing to do on show horses’ manes & tails.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. 🙂 Sure, at least back when I was in it.I’m guessing they still do. Especially if the horse’s tail was a dingy grey. Sometimes purple shampoo would brighten it up, sometimes not. I used black on my black mare’s tail because it was sun bleached. A lot of people even put fake tails on their horses, which I think is stupid.They look so fake to me so what’s the point? But that’s just me.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Interesting info. I have a gelding that is a percheron x quarter horse. His tail is white, his name is black with white and grey strands mixed in, and his body is black. During summer he will get dapples where his fur bleaches to various shades of brown. His winter coat is all black. I have assumed he was a silver dapple due to his white tail but his dapples sound like they are Health dapples? I’m really curious what he is as for a long time I just referred to him as black. But he isn’t a true black with his tail. Any ideas?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s hard to say. First impression says black silver, but I’d be guessing. Are his muzzle and flank absolutely black, or are they lighter with a reddish tinge? I had a black mare that would bleach out during the summer. At the beginning of spring, when she was shedding her winter coat, she would get dapples, which were temporary. She was a true black but bleached out so much she looked bay at first glance. There are photos of her in various posts on my blog. There are several forums on horses where you can post a photo of him and get a a more precise opinion from people. Hope that helps. 🙂


Comments are always welcome.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: