How Rare is a True Black Horse?

How Rare is a Black Horse

So many people are mesmerised by the sheer beauty of a galloping horse and more so, the beauty of a true black horse. I know I am!

These majestic creatures always stir up a sense of wonder, but there’s something utterly captivating about the ones cloaked in the darkest shade of night.

Do you think they’re as rare as hens’ teeth? Saddle up and let’s unravel the mystery together!

The Colour Spectrum of Horses

When you think about the countryside, sprawling farmlands, or even the wild bush of Australia, horses are often part of that picturesque view. They come in a palette of colours that could rival any artist’s dream.

Common horse’s colour includes:

  • Appaloosa
  • Bay
  • Chestnut/Sorrel
  • Gray
  • Black
  • Roan
  • Palomino
  • Buckskin
  • Dun
  • Pinto

Have you taken a moment to appreciate how each colour highlights a unique aspect of these noble beasts?

Black Colour

Amidst the kaleidoscope of equine beauty, there’s a colour that holds a unique allure – the true black horse. It’s a deep, enigmatic shade akin to the midnight sky in the Outback. 

Yes, we’re talking about those horses with coats so dark, they seem to absorb all the light around them. Their sleek, glossy appearance is not just a stroke of genetic fortune but a rarity that sets them apart in the equestrian world.

Why does this particular colour capture our imagination?

Unlike their lighter counterparts, these dark beauties offer a contrast that’s both striking and elegant.

What Makes a Black Horse Truly Black?

Distinguishing a truly dark beauty from its near relatives can be as intriguing as deciphering a mystery. The key lies not in the eye of the beholder but in genetics.

A true dark horse carries a specific gene that gives it a coat as deep and uniform as the night sky, without the lighter roots or skin that might characterise greys or the reddish undertones seen in dark bays.

This unique gene prevents the fading that often occurs under the harsh Australian sun, maintaining its rich colour regardless of the season. 

It’s this genetic makeup, a combination of dominant and recessive alleles, that ensures the coat does not lighten and remains uniformly dark, from the tips of their ears to the ends of their tails, throughout their lives.

Just How Uncommon Are They?

Experts suggest that in the global population of horses, those with a truly black coat are considerably less common than their chestnut, bay, or grey counterparts.

In Australia, while specific numbers are hard to come by, the consensus among breeders and equine aficionados is that these horses are a rare sight at best.

According to Gitnux market data report of 2024, around 2% of horses are born black and stay black throughout their lives.

The rarity can be attributed to genetics. The gene responsible for a genuinely dark coat is recessive, meaning both parents must carry this gene to produce a horse of such colour. 

Given the genetic lottery and the expansive range of horse breeds in Australia, from the sturdy stock horse to the elegant thoroughbred, the chances of spotting a horse that is black remain slim. It’s an equestrian needle in a haystack!

Cultural Significance and Myths Surrounding Black Horses

In Australian lore, as in many cultures around the world, horses of this dark shade hold a special place. Indigenous stories often speak of them as creatures of significant power and mystery, embodying strength, freedom, and the profound depth of the country’s landscapes. 

Among the newer tales spun since European settlement, these horses are sometimes cast as the gallant heroes of bushranger legends or as loyal companions to explorers traversing the rugged terrain.

There’s also a lighter side to the myths surrounding these majestic animals. Some say that spotting one brings good luck, much like finding a four-leaf clover in the Outback. 

Others say that they have a knack for appearing when least expected, only to vanish as if by magic, perhaps off to join a gathering of bunyips in the moonlight.

Debunking the myths while preserving the wonder, it’s clear that these horses, much like the vast and varied Australian landscape, are an integral part of the nation’s cultural tapestry. 

Their rarity only adds to their allure, making every sighting or story shared a cherished experience, wrapped in the mystery and majesty of the land Down Under.


We’ve taken a close look at true black horses, learning about their special genes, the stories people tell about them, and how rare they are to find. 

These beautiful horses, as dark as a night sky, are quite unique. Seeing one is a special moment, whether they’re running wild in the Outback or grazing peacefully on a farm.

Maybe you’ve seen one yourself, or your family has a story about a fast, spirited black horse. We’re excited to hear all about it.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Can black horses fade in the sun?

True black horses maintain their colour even under the Australian sun, thanks to their unique genetic makeup.

Are all black horses born black?

Yes, horses that are true black are born with their dark coats, although foals might be slightly lighter before their adult coat comes in.

How can I tell a black horse from a very dark bay?

The key is in the sun! Under bright light, true black horses will retain their deep, uniform colour, while very dark bays may show lighter areas, especially around the mane, tail, and lower legs.

Do black horses have any special care needs?

While their colour doesn’t necessarily require special care, like all horses, they benefit from regular grooming, proper nutrition, and protection from extreme weather conditions.

Is it true that black horses are more prone to overheating in the sun?

There’s no scientific evidence to suggest that black horses overheat more than horses of lighter colours. Proper care and hydration are essential for all horses, especially in hot climates.

Can any breed of horse be black?

While certain breeds may have a higher likelihood of producing black offspring due to genetics, theoretically, any breed can have a black horse if the right combination of genes is present.