Blood Bay Horse Colors, Characteristics and Genetics

We adore all shades of Bay horses, don’t we? What if we inform you that there is a Bay horse that is just as adored as Mahogany Bay, Copper Bay, and Standard Bay? Yes yes, you have guessed it right, we are talking about the Blood Bay horse. In this post, we would be shedding some light on Blood Bay horses because the said horses deserve to be known and admired. Allow us to address the misunderstanding first; 

Blood Bay is Not a Breed, It’s a Shade

No doubt, the Blood Bay horses look spectacular enough to have a separate breed but it’s a shade of a “Bay” coat color. This breathtaking shade can give any horse breed an astonishing appearance but the Blood Bay or simply Bay coat color is common in Quarter horses. 


The slightest blend of color distinguishes the Blood Bay shade from the Bay coat color. It has become mandatory to discuss which color is more dominant. The Blood Bay, as its name suggests, has a bit more bloody red or strawberry roan hint than the regular Bay horses. The regular Bay horses appear duller whereas the Blood Bay horses look rather fresh in the bright sunlight. The reddish hint is so dominant in the Blood Bay horses that they start appearing plum or purple when the sun sets in. Their mane, tail, and legs are usually darker whereas the red of the body appears a bit lighter.

Learn more about few shades


The Blood Bay is not a breed, so it’s super hard to tell how exactly tall the horse would be. No matter which breed the Blood Bay horse belongs to, the said adult horse would stand somewhere between 1.4 to 1.8m(at the withers).


If the Blood Bay was recognized as a breed, it still would have been quite hard to tell how much they weigh. Even the two horses belonging to the same breed and being fed the same can have different weights. If we are supposed to give an idea, the Blood Bay horse can weigh around 900 to 2000 pounds.   

Distinctive Feature

The only bloody hint is all that makes the Blood Bay horse stand out from the crowd. If we do not limit the comparison to Bay horses only, the traditional bay black points make them far more beautiful than the other coat colors.


The use depends on the breed this Blood bay-shaded horse belongs to. If this shade appears in Quarter horses, the Blood Bay horse would be raised for farm work, riding, and rodeo events like calf roping, barrel racing, team roping, gymkhana, and O-MOK-See, etc. If this shade appears in another breed, they would be kept for what this particular breed is usually raised for. 

Health issues

The Blood Bay horses, like other Bay horses, usually stay healthier but it’s highly unlikely for them not to face any regular horse disease. They can get to deal with colic, laminitis, desmitis, gastric ulcer, and arthritis, etc. 

It’s clear that the Blood Bay is a coat color, not a breed, the said horses can achieve average height, have average horse weight, and no specific health issues. This post still can not be winded up here as we do have more to share;


Everything Else You Need to Know About Blood Bay Horses

The Blood Bay coat is not that red, it’s not that brown or bay either

The Blood Bay horse coat color may appear reddish or seal brown but it’s not that red to be called red. The Blood Bay coat might be the second darkest shade but it appears more fresh and bright at the same time. This color blend looks even more spectacular than the other bay shades. 

Besides the coat color, The Blood Bay are quite ordinary 

It’s just the unusual color blend that makes the Blood Bay horse slightly more attractive than the other Bay horses. Other than the color, the Blood Bay horses are quite ordinary. They are not superior to regular horses in any other sense. 

Blood Bay is not a common coat color at all

Even most of the horse admirers do not know that this unusual coat color exists. The Blood Bay coat color is quite rare, one in a hundred horses can get this rare coat color. 

The Blood Bay horses have black points around parts of the body

Like most of the Bay horses, the Blood Bay has prominent black points around the muzzle, eyes, nose, legs, and ears. The Blood Bay horses often get complimented for the said markings. 

Blood Bay horses are often confused with Sorrel horses

The Blood Bay horses appear as bright and fresh as Sorrel horses. They look quite similar but the Sorrel horses have a more orangey tone whereas the Blood Bay is a bit reddish. The Sorrel horses have no darker parts but the Blood Bay horses have dark legs, mane, and tail. 

The Black Bay is the darkest Bay shade, Blood Bay the second

The Bay coat color has a variety of shades, the Black Bay is the darkest shade of the Bay horse coat color and the Blood Bay, for being exceptionally dark, is considered the second darkest shade of the bay coat color. It might appear so dark probably because the Blood Bay horses are usually dark-skinned. 

Frequently Asked Questions 

What do Blood Bay horses look like? 

The Blood Bay horses have a deep red bay-colored coat that looks almost purple in the shade. It has black points around the eyes, muzzle, nose, legs, and ears. Their legs, mane, and tail appear darker than the rest of the body. Other than the said differences, the Blood Bay horses are just the regular bay horses. 

Which breed Blood Bay horses belong to? 

The Blood Bay is a coat color, the Blood Bay horses can belong to any horse breed. Usually, this coat color appears in Quarter horses, the horses raised for farm work and to perform in rodeos shows. 

Do Blood Bay horses have any sort of markings? 

Yes, the Blood Bay horses have black points around certain parts of the horse’s body. The areas that appear darker because of the black points are the eyes, muzzle, nose, and ears.


Hi, I am Waqar and active in the horse world since 2012. I have MSc (Hons) in Agriculture from the University of Agriculture Faisalabad. I love to solve equine health care issues and note down in the form of research papers. I have written hundreds of equine health care, accessories, names, and history-related blogs. My equine related work is watering a lot of horse-related magazines and blogs.

Leave a Comment