Colour Guide

What should your horse or pony wear?

Show ponies, hacks and riding horses should all wear a coloured browband in the ring, and they must be shown plaited, unless the program specifies otherwise, like a non-official event, a t-shirt gymkhana or in the likes of a topsy/fun ring. Hunters, both ponies and horses, must be plaited. Native breeds are generally shown unplaited, according to each individual breed society rules. Cob breeds are generally shown with hogged manes. 

Show hunters and Native/Traditional & Cob breeds do not wear a coloured browband in the show ring; they should be shown in plain leather browbands. Coloured horses and ponies are a little different, depending upon what type of horse or pony he/she is being shown as. Coloured horses shown as open show ponies and riding horses require a coloured browband. 


How to choose your colours?

It is generally a good idea to try to match some colours that are in your riding attire, maybe even the colours in your tie, stock or jacket, and go from there. Equally important is to try to choose colours that will match your horse or pony. 

The amount of white you have in your browband should depend on how much white your horse or pony has on his/her face. If there are no white markings, then using white or cream in your browband can really brighten up the pattern and your horse/pony. A browband in all white/cream with gold can look stunning and will match any outfit! 

Bridal white or Ivory is often used as it is slightly off white and does not make your horse/pony’s white markings look dirty. If your horse of pony has a lot of white, then generally a browband with no white will look better. The use of metallic ribbons along with diamante chains and even mirrors are also great for adding the extra sparkle to catch the judge’s eye. 

The next pages have some basic ideas that may help you to choose what colours will suit your horse or pony. 


Coat Colour Reference Guide


Bays are fairly easy as many colours suit them. Darker bays look great with primary colours such as red & royal blue in the browband. Lighter bays are better suited to more traditional muted colours to avoid clashing. Bays with out white facial markings look stunning in light colours like creams.


Blacks look fantastic in any bright colour browband – especially non traditional colours like bright vibrant pinks, lime greens or even orange and yellow. Traditional colour choices for Black coloured horses are Red, Royal Blue & White combinations with an emphasis on white if there are no white markings. 


Light greys look great in traditional colours of red, navy and gold or red, white and navy. Darker greys sometimes need something a little brighter to lift the coat. Be guided by the tones of the grey – if your grey leans towards rosy or a greying chestnut, than colours suited to a chestnut may look best. If they are a steel grey, colours suited to blacks may work better. Completely grey horses are similar to Black coloured coats, and are a blank canvas and can get away with any colour you choose (except white & cream). If your horse is a flea-bitten grey, take note of the colour of them – use colours that will complement them. 


Chestnuts are quite flexible, depending on their shade. Good colours are blues, darker greens, creams and gold. Liver chestnuts can get away with brighter colours, or a good combination would be navy cream and gold or something similar. Warm shades like Red, Pinks, Yellow & Orange can clash with a chestnut coat, however there are exceptions to this. 


Duns & buckskins suit the more muted traditional colours like wine, navy blue, & bottle green. Lighter shades of buckskin can look nice in brighter reds, and many shades of dun/buckskins can look stunning in colours that suit Palominos like Purple & Aqua. 


Palominos look good in almost any colour. Traditional colour choices include RWB combinations, black, even browns depending on the warmth of the coat colour. Any shade of palomino look amazing in aqua/turquoise/teal blue-green colours, and also in purples of any shade. Pink and orange can be good non-traditional colour choices too. 


Roans coloured horses tend to look best in those colours that suit the base colour of their coat – Blue roans are best suited to the colours for black or steel grey horses, and chestnut roans are suited to the colours that suit chestnuts. The same applies to coloured horses, and colours should be chosen as if they were a solid colour. The only variation on this rule is regarding the amount of white that is present. White is best avoided for coloured horses altogether, and if a lighter colour is needed to break up darker colours, the use of a silver or light grey is a good option. 


Generally speaking, the “flashier” and bolder the horses markings the more subtle and understated the browband colour & design should be.

More white on the horse = less white in the browband

The flashier the horse = less “bling” in the browband

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