What Are Blue Roan Horse Breeds?
Are you in love with blue roan horses? This unique coat is a rare coloring that is only found in certain horse breeds. Blue roan is a trait that is dominantly inherited from parents with specific genetics. If you would like to get your hands on a blue roan horse, there are a number of specific breeds you should look into.
What horse breeds can be found in blue roan? Blue roan is a coat pattern or color found in several different breeds of horses. Ten of the breeds that most commonly produce blue roans are:
- American Quarter Horse
- American Saddlebred
- Tennesee Walking Horse
- Paso Fino
- Icelandic Horse
Blue roans tend to be a rare find, even in the breeds in which they exist. Due to their unique coloring, blue roans tend to be more expensive than your average bay, chestnut, or grey horse. Keep reading to get a cost breakdown of blue roan horses and the breeds to which they belong!
Blue Roan Horse Breed #1: American Quarter Horse
The American Quarter Horse is the most popular breed of horse in the world and is an icon of the American West. The breed is known for its athleticism, stamina, and easy-going temperament. They dominate on ranches and in the Western show rings, but they are also found on trails, in the hunter ring, competing at lower-level events, in lesson barns, and on family farms.
The purchase price of a Quarter Horse will vary greatly depending on the breeding. One six-year-old American Quarter Horse named Moonin The Eagle made headlines in 2018 after selling for $2.1 million. On the other end of the spectrum, many unregistered Quarter Horses can be found for four figures or less. I bought my unbroke paint/quarter pony for $600.
Quarter Horses average between 14 and 16 hh and have a stockier build than most sport horses. They are found in almost every solid color and are also found in roan. Because the most common color in Quarter Horses is chestnut, red roan is the most common roan found in the breed. However, blue roan and bay roan are not uncommon.
Quarter horses end up on both the list for most expensive horse breeds and the list for cheapest horse breeds! To get the rundown on the cheapest horse breeds in America, visit my article Cheap Horses: 10 Cheap Breeds & Where to Find Them.
Blue Roan Horse Breed #2: Mustang
Mustangs are not an intentionally developed breed but rather the term used to describe the population of feral horses found in the Western United States. Every year the Bureau of Land Management rounds up a number of Mustangs to sell privately with the goal of controlling the feral population.
Because Mustangs have the genetics of so many other breeds in them, they come in every color and pattern, including blue roan, red roan, and bay roan. Mustangs can typically be found at auctions for a very low price, and in some cases, the BLM will even pay someone to adopt one of their horses.
A wild, untamed Mustang may be sold by the BLM for $125, with a $1000 incentive given after 60 days of owning the horse. That being said, you have to apply and qualify to adopt these horses.
You can find Mustangs that have been gentled by government-approved trainers and started their basic training still under $1000.
Blue Roan Horse Breed #3: Standardbred
The Standardbred is an American horse breed that was originally developed for harness racing. The breed registry was developed in 1879, with one of the requirements being that a registerable horse must be able to trot a mile in less than two and a half minutes.
Most Standardbreds are between 15 and 16 hh, and they most often come in the solid colors bay, chestnut, black, and gray. They also have roan genes in many bloodlines, giving them the ability to produce blue roan, red roan, and bay roan. The cost of a Standardbred will depend on its intended use; a racing foal can be purchased for around $20,000, but a foal from a line not used for racing may be substantially less.
You can also purchase Standardbreds retiring from the track for very cheap, oftentimes in the three figures. Many of these horses can be restarted to excel in other riding disciplines.
Blue Roan Horse Breed #4: American Saddlebred
The American Saddlebred is another breed developed in the US and is, in fact, also called the “Horse America Made.” They were most popular in the 1800s as an officer’s mount in the Civil War. Since then, their popularity has grown not only in the United States but around the world.
American Saddlebreds stand between 15 and 16 hh, and they come in almost any color and pattern. Because they can be found in black, chestnut, and bay, they have the ability to produce blue roan, red roan, and bay roan. If you are interested in purchasing an American Saddlebred, you may be able to find one in the low four figures, but like most purebreds, you can also find some in the six figures.
Saddlebreds are frequently used by the Amish, being trained as riding horses and pulling buggies. Unfortunately, many of these horses end up in kill pens to be sent to slaughter. You can pull a well-trained Saddlebred out of a kill pen for usually just over $1000. To learn more about this, visit my article How to Rescue a Horse: All You Need to Know.
Blue Roan Horse Breed #5: Tennessee Walking Horse
The Tennessee Walker was developed in the South as a plantation riding horse. It is known for its smooth gait and easy ride and is still a popular riding and trail horse throughout the United States.
Tennessee Walkers can be anywhere between 14.3 and 17 hh and are well-muscled with a solid build. They come in every solid color and may also carry the gene that will throw roan foals. This means that they can be found in blue roan, red roan, and bay roan. A Tennessee Walker can cost anywhere from $1,000 to $10,000.
If you’re looking for a trail partner that you could ride for long periods of time, I highly recommend a Tennessee Walker. These horses are hardy and sure-footed and also excel at endurance. I also find them to be very smart!
Blue Roan Horse Breed #6: Percheron
The Percheron is a large draft breed developed in France in the 18th century. They were originally created to work as war horses until war tactics began to change and lighter, faster mounts were required. Percherons were phased out of the cavalry and began working in agriculture and forestry, where they are still used today.
Percherons can reach up to 18.1 hh and can weigh as much as 2,600 pounds. They are most commonly found in gray and black but can also be found in chestnut and bay. Because they have the ability to produce the roan coloring, they can be found in blue roan and occasionally in red roan and bay roan. You can often find a Percheron for under $10,000. Like Saddlebreds, many well-trained Percherons end up at auctions and kill pens and can be purchased for low four-figures.
Blue Roan Horse Breed #7: Brabant
The Brabant horse is the heaviest of all draft horse breeds. These horses look like bodybuilders. Ranging in height from 15hh – 17hh, these horses can way up to 3,000lbs! The Brabant horse has undergone many changes throughout its time, once adapting to become the original Belgian horse breed. Since then, selective breeding has happened to differentiate between the Belgian horse and the Brabant…I know, confusing!
Blue roan is commonly found in the Brabant horse breed. Between their unique coat coloring and their large and muscular size, it’s hard to miss a Brabant! On average, you can find these horses for sale in the high four figures to mid-five figures. They are mostly used for agriculture and farm work.
Blue Roan Horse Breed #8: Paso Fino
The Paso Fino is a gaited breed with origins traced to Spanish ancestors. Like the Tennessee Walker, the breed was originally developed as a comfortable riding horse that could be used by landowners when navigating the plantations and farms in Puerto Rico and Colombia.
Paso Finos are a light breed of horse and typically stand between 13 and 15.2 hh. They can be found in most colors and patterns, including blue roan. Like other breeds, the price range of a Paso Fino will vary greatly. You may be able to find one in the low- to mid-four figures, or you can spend six digits at an elite breeder.
Blue Roan Horse Breed #9: Icelandic Horse
The Icelandic Horse Breed is the most colorful horse breed in the world; You can find just about every coloring and coat pattern in this breed, including blue roan.
While considered a horse due to the way they are built, these horses tend to stay under 14hh. They were bred to thrive in the elements of Iceland, growing thick coats in the winter and having long manes and tails. While these horses walk, trot, and canter like normal horses, they have two unique gaits known as the tölt and the flying pace.
The Icelandic Horse is known as the purest horse breed in the world; no horses are allowed to be imported into Iceland, and any horse that leaves can never come back. Because of this, the horses in Iceland don’t need to receive any vaccines, and the horses you see there today are just like their ancestors from 1000 years ago.
Since there are so many Icelandic Horses in Iceland, it is relatively cheap to purchase them there. However, they haven’t become popular in America yet. If you can find one in America, expect to pay in the low five figures. It could even be cheaper to import one from Iceland to America, with the import process costing, on average, $5600.
If you want to learn more about the Icelandic Horse, check out this video I filmed in Iceland:
Blue Roan Horse Breed #10: Clydesdale
Made famous by the Budweiser commercials, the Clydesdale is a large draft breed originating from the farmlands of Scotland in the 1800s. Originally bred for agriculture, nowadays, these horses are primarily used as carriage horses.
When I look at a Clydesdale compared to another draft breed, I consider Clydesdales to be more lanky and athletic. They have long legs and long bodies, ranging from 16hh – 19hh! Other primary features include white stockings on their legs, encapsulating the feathering around their hooves. While Clydesdales are sometimes solid in coloring, many of them have paint markings and roan coats. Blue roan Clydesdales are especially striking.
The average price for a Clydesdale in America is in the upper four figures. There are not as many of these horses in the country, and they are often sought out as specialized carriage horses; for this reason, you don’t usually find them at auctions or in the kill pens.
What Is A Blue Roan Horse?
“Roan” is the term used to describe a coat pattern or color that has an even amount of white hairs and other solid-colored hairs interspersed together throughout the body. This gives the coat a unique look that is unlike any other solid color or coat pattern. The roan coat is typically confined to the body of the horse – the head, lower legs, mane, and tail are usually a solid color without the sprinkling of white. There are three recognized roans:
- A blue roan is a roan with a black base coat. The black base coat mixed with white hair gives the coat a silver or “blue” appearance.
- A red roan is a roan with a chestnut, sorrel, or palomino base coat. Depending on the shade of the horse, this is also sometimes referred to as a strawberry roan or a honey roan.
- A bay roan is the term now used to refer to a roan with a bay base coat. These horses originally fell under the “red roan” category, but in the early 2000s, the American Paint Horse Association and the American Quarter Horse Association developed the term “bay roan” to distinguish between the roan shades over bay and chestnut.
If You Want Blue Roan, You May Have To Hunt
While the blue roan color is not considered particularly rare, it is not very common. Combine that with the fact that it is a highly desired color pattern, you may have to hunt for a while before you find a blue roan horse that works for your needs and budget. If that is your situation, know that the time you spend looking for the right horse will be well-rewarded, as you will get to groom that beautiful coat for years!
Many breeds on this list are known for their long flowing hair and whimsical feathering. To learn more about these breeds, visit my article Top 10 Horse Breeds With Long Hair & Feathered Feet.