What Does A Blood Bay Horse Look Like? (14 Answers From Horse Owners)

Horses are beautiful and come in so many different sizes and colors. Watching them run is truly so relaxing and riding them is becoming one with that animal. It’s no secret that all horse owners think of certain horse colors as the same thing. It really boils down to where you are from and how you were brought up. Just like English vs Western although most everything is generally the same it is called differently.

Even though they are beautiful they need to be respected at all times with their weight, strength and stamina. Horses brought up differently will all act different just like with most any animals. Here you won’t only here from the scholars you will also hear from the owners.

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What Does A Blood Bay Horse Look Like?

A blood bay horse is a rarer color that looks like a darker blood-red shade some relate this color to a chestnut but there are differences. This will depend on where you are from on what you call this specific color as well.

Horse Owner Answers Found On Forums across the internet like Reddit and Horse.com.

What Is Blood Bay To You?

  1. Avna  Answered – I have always understood “blood bay” to mean a bright red bay. Or a deep red bay. But anyway, a distinctly red bay. Now two local horse people have told me that “blood bay” describes a bay horse of any tone, which has no white on it. I had never heard this, nor does it turn up in any google search. I have surmised that it is a local term originating in the central California rancher tradition, because one of the people is learning the ‘Vaquero’ riding discipline from this area (Tom Dorrance etc), and the other grew up here.Does anybody else call a blood bay what I might describe as a ‘self’ bay, or a bay without any white markings?Just curious.
  2. Anndankev Answered – I think of blood bay as you do, a certain shade of red-ish.A bay of any shade with no white markings at all I would call a solid bay.Or a solid blood bay, if that was the case. Don’t know if I actually identify the exact shade correctly though LOL.
  3. Chessie Answered – I agree, a blood bay, or blood chestnut, is the deep red red horse.
  4. HombresArablegacy POSTED PICTURE – I would consider this blood bay. Cleveland Bay horses are usually what I think of when I picture blood bay. Horse Owner Example of Blood Bay
  5. Saranda POSTED PICTURE AS WELL – I’ve been told that my gelding is a blood bay.
  6.  DraftyAiresMum – What she considers a blood bay is also below. I would consider this blood bay. Cleveland Bay horses are usually what I think of when I picture blood bay. Horse Owner Example of Blood Bay
  7. Anvas Response with Picture This Time – This is my idea of a blood bay. No ‘shadows’ as most Cleveland Bays have, just red red red. We can all have our own ideas . . . This is a Hanoverian mare named Foreign Affair.
  8. Whinnie –Ha! I would call the Cleveland Bay a Burnt Bay (because of the shadowing) and the Hanoverian a Cherry Bay because of the brightness. To me, a Blood Bay is a dark liver red. It must be regional.Should there be a book written, “50 Shades of Bay?”P.S. to my husband, they are all “brown” horses.
  9. Saddlebag – My previous horse was a bay like the Cleveland Bay until I vacuumed him. Then he was a blood bay as he was noticeably reddish.
  10. LoriF – I’ve always called bays that are dark red a blood bay as opposed to brownish or golden tint.
  11. DuckDodgers –Yes, I’ve always thought of/heard of a “blood bay” being a RED bay horse. One with a more vibrant, colorful red coat than a brownish coat. The photo posted of the Hanoverian is what I think of. I love blood bays!I’ve never heard of anyone call a bay with no markings a blood bay. Well I guess it COULD be, assuming the shade was right. I’d just call such a horse a plain bay- nothing negative or boring about it, just plainly colored. Or just call it solid colored, or the bay without any markings.Of course, as mentioned everyone has their own color definitions. I’ve seen people get snippy online about there being a clear distinction between a chestnut and a sorrel horse, but you’ll never catch me referring to a sorrel horse unless they’re shown to be genetically distinct 😉 No problem if someone else wants to, though!
  12. WhattaTroublemsaker response to Anva in agreement of her description “This is my idea of a blood bay. No ‘shadows’ as most Cleveland Bays have, just red red red. We can all have our own ideas . . . This is a Hanoverian mare named Foreign Affair.”
    THIS is exactly what comes to mind when I hear the term blood bay
  13. Textan49 – (great points in response) I think it all depends on what part of the country you are in, what period in time, and who’s “words of wisdom” got stuck in your brain. I grew up in New England and I guess my parents taught me what a bay and a chestnut were. I haven’t heard “mahogany bay” in years but I would call the Cleveland Bay mahogany, blood bay is dark red bay without the dark shading, and copper bay is a lighter bay. At least IMO. Chestnut was chestnut or “liver chestnut”, and sorrels had a lighter mane and tail. Then someone told me sorrel was just a western term. Then I was “corrected” again and told that reddish chestnuts are sorrels regardless of the mane and tail, and chestnut applies only to liver chestnuts. Hmmmm? I never heard the term “cherry bay” until recently but assume it’s like a blood bay and don’t see what any white has to do with the shade of bay. I just happened to come across this recently . . . .a horse described as “dark bay or brown”, well which is it?
  14. FrostedLilly – To me, blood bay is a deep, deep red. Ones like this come to mind. But it really depends on what you’ve been taught, what you’ve seen, where you’re from, etc.

Recap Of Owner Answers

Although this is a small sample size you can see that based on where you are from your answers will more then likely vary a bit. The overwhelming consensus and agreement is that a blood bay is a darker blood-red shade

What Is The Difference Between A Bay And A Brown Horse?

The difference is the bay horse is usually a very dark brown-red and also the other parts of the body including the mane, tail and legs along with tips of it ears will be black.

Brown horse usually don’t have these black points but will have a lighter areas of their other body parts.

Different Red Color Horses

  • Chestnut – reddish with no black
  • Bay – light to dark reddish broken down into sub categories
  • Dark Bay – very dark red or brown
  • Blood Bay – darker blood-red shade
  • Brown – brown can still have a reddish tint
  • Liver Chestnut – very dark brown can still have a reddish tint
  • Sorrel – reddish tan to red coat
  • Rose Gray  – a gray horse with reddish or pinkish tinge to its coat

Final Thoughts

There is no set in stone answer to this question as horses have been crossbred over so many years there really can be no set standard. But if you look at the pics and keep looking at them you will overwhelmingly be right more then most other people that think they know everything about horses.



I have owned over 50 horses and currently own a small horse farm with 8 horses. I have competed on and off for over 25 years while doing mostly trail riding and cow sorting these days. I write these articles to help anyone out there if you love this article pin it to your Pinterest or Share on other social media platform. Thanks for visiting.

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