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21 facts About the Buckskin Horse

Buckskins are a beautiful and unique color of horse. They are usually golden in color with black mane and tails with a dorsal stripe on the back of the horse. Buckskins got their name from the buckskin clothing that was popular among early American settlers and Native Americans. The first buckskins were probably Spanish horses brought over by the conquistadors in the 1500s. These horses were then bred with other European breeds, such as Andalusians, Barbs, and wild horses such as Mustangs. Here are 21 interesting buckskin horse facts that you might find interesting:

1) "Buckskin" is an ancient color

It is safe to say that Buckskin horses have been around for a very long time. Their origins can be linked back to the Sorraia horse breed all the way back to the 1500s.


Photo: Pinterest

2) Only Specific breeds display the buckskin color

Only some breeds have the buckskin color in them, including: Welsh Ponies, Cobs, the Tennessee Walking Horse, the Peruvian Paso, the Morgan, the spanish Mustang, Lusitano horse, the Andalusian, and the American Quarter horse.

 3) Unique pattern

The distinct coat and body color of true buckskins can be recognized instantly. It is actually a result of a dilution gene. Bay horses have a black base color on their coat. The agouti gene present in bay horses is responsible for directing the black color to certain points on their coat. The dilution genes that can be found in Buckskin horses actually dilute the dark color of their coat, making the dark points created by aguouti gene more visible. Hence, the unique pattern and color that makes the Buckskin so unique. The lower legs are darker too.


Photo: buckskin horse stock photos

4) The IBHA (International Buckskin Horse Association) was founded back in 1971.

It is a registry for buckskin horses as well as grulla and dun horses. However, stock-type horses tend to form a considerable portion of the registry. 

5) Lots of varieties of Buckskin horses

The lightest color that you will find on a Buckskin horse is Buttermilk. Other different buckskin coloring include sooty buckskins, silver buckskins, brown buckskin.

6) Buckskin horses cannot have blue eyes

The single dilution gene prevents buckskins from having blue eyes. The reasoning behind this fact is that when you mate two horses that have the single dilution gene, they will produce a foal that is double diluted and hence not a buckskin.

7) No primitive markings

Primitive markings such as leg barring and dorsal stripes are not found in buckskin horses and are usually exhibited by dun horses. However, it is not always the case, as there have been exceptions.

8) Hollywood History

Buckskin Horses have appeared in a lot of movies and TV shows. Some famous examples include:

  • Gunsmoke – Marshall Matt Dillion used a large buckskin horse in the show. Although several different horses were used during the lifespan of the show, the actor's favorite was a Buckskin horse aptly named "Buck."
  • This same horse was later used by Ben Cartwright, who also loved riding it. In fact, he grew so fond of Buck that he ended up buying the animal from the studio to keep in his personal stable.

9) Buckskins are not rare

Buckskin horses are not rare at all. This color might even be considered the most common among most horse breeds.


10) Buckskin Horses are not exactly a breed

Buckskin horses are not technically a breed, but a color.

11) A small horse

Regardless of the breed, a buckskin horse typically range between 13hh-16hh, meaning that they tend to be a smaller horse.


Photo: buckskin pony

12) Creme gene

Buckskin horses have a copy of the crème gene. Buckskin horses are bay horses that have the cream gene, which is responsible for lightening the color of the horses. On the other hand, if a bay horse has two copies of the cream gene, it would be a perlino. 

 12) Buckskins are frowned upon in Northern Europe

In northern Europe (scandinavia), buckskins are not as popular in english disciplines such as Showjumping and dressage. They are viewed as a 'western breed' and not fancy enough for showing.


Photo: horse art

13) Versatile horses

Today, buckskins are used for a variety of purposes, including pleasure riding, show jumping, dressage, racing, and even working cattle. They are also popular as parade horses and trail riding horses.


Photo: Ehorses

14) Went viral as the 'Most Beautiful Horse'

In 2015 - the Akhal teke breed went viral on youtube and facebook as 'The most beautiful horse in the world'. This is because of their shiny coat, elegant small framed body and fairytale like appearance. Everyone's horse taste is obviously different, but many horse enthusiast fell in love with the buckskin color after these viral photos and videos.


Photo: iStock photo

 15) Often mistaken as Red Dun Horses

To the untrained eye, a red dun horse looks similar to a buckskin horse. However dun coloring is sandy brown and primitive markings while a true buckskin horse have a tan color with black points. Not the same color as a dun despite the fact that the term is used interchangeably. You need to understand that a true dun would not be affected by the cream gene. 

    16) The majority of buckskin horses have a Spanish origin.

    The reason behind this is that during the Middle Ages, the Spanish were fascinated with breeding golden horses and tried to breed as many of them as possible. The Colonial Era only led to more bloodlines appearing as the Spanish were introduced to the beauty of different colors that the New World brought.


    Photo: Pinterest

    17) Buckskin horses features black points and a cream-colored body.

    A buckskin horse has black points on its legs, ears, tail, and mane. Even though the exact shade of the color tends to vary, you can expect a cream color. Some buckskin horses have a light cream color, whereas others have a dark tan.


    Photo: western buckskins

    18) Buttermilk, Dale Evans' horse, was actually a buckskin.

    The American quarter horse gelding lived until the age of 30 and even appeared in The Roy Rogers Show.

    19) Have amber-colored eyes.

    It is standard for buckskin horses to have dark eyes, which is also the case for palomino horses.

    20) Stallion of Cimarron, an animated star, is actually a buckskin.

    The movie Spirit features an animated Buckskin horse.

    21) Western TV

    Television Westerns have portrayed buckskin horses for a long time, such as the Trampas' horse shown on the Virginian and Ben Cartwright's horse, which appeared in Bonanza. Other films to feature buckskin horses include The Man from Snowy River and Dances with the Wolves. 

    That’s the top 21 facts about this beautiful horse. If you are a horse lover and love the color buckskin, please let us know in the comment section below. We would love to hear from you! 

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