What Colors Look Best on My Horse?

We’ve all seen the posts on social media asking which colors look best on someone’s horse. Well, Horse Nation is stepping up to the plate to offer an official guide on what color actually DOES look best on your horse.

When browsing social media, it’s amazing how often people post pictures of their horses asking strangers on the internet what colors would look best on their horses. Posts such as these are not at all uncommon to see:

Knowing that we all want to look best when we enter the show ring, Horse Nation decided it was time to officially tackle this question. So readers, if you wonder what color looks best on your horse, wonder no more!

There are plenty of color wheels out there that designers and artists use to build a palette. The equestrian world is no different. We have color wheels of our own to show which combinations of horse color and accenting shades go well together, but here’s a simple compilation for starters.

Some of us like to match our saddle pads with our sport boots. Some of us like to match our shirt with our chinks. The truly dedicated like to go all out and match their entire outfit with their horse’s tack set.

Each rider has the option to color coordinate their jacket, shirt, hat, chinks or chaps for an aesthetically pleasing outfit. Riders can then customize their horse’s saddle pad, sport boots, polos, girth and bonnet to correlate in the same shade.

Photo by Lance Jeffrey.


Let’s start with one of the most common color horses, bay. A bay horse can wear a plethora of colors — subtle or bold, a bay is sure to pull it off. If you don’t like patterns and you want to stick to something more simplistic, you can’t go wrong with beige or champagne.

But, if you want to enter the show ring with a bolder appearance, bays always look sharp in blue and purple. No matter the shade, a bay will surely grab attention if it’s dressed in one of these two colors.

Photo by Catching Dreams Photography.


To anyone who owns a black horse, you know that many of us envy you. You can go to the tack store, close your eyes and point because your horse can pull off every color. Any color you throw onto a black horse is sure to pop.

One of the most basic color you can choose is white and even that is a bold option on a black horse.

Shades bolder than that are reds and blues. These are two of my favorite options for black horses, but any bright color will really pop.

Photo by Tim Frank.


Opposite from a black horse in terms of finding flattering colors are chestnut and sorrel horses. Their red coats seem almost impossible to match sometimes. Not that they’re hard to match, but getting a color to really pop on a chestnut horse can be more difficult than with other colors (believe me, as the owner of a chestnut gelding, this is a dilemma I face on a regular basis).

Subtle options for these red heads are champagne, rich browns and white (especially if they have a significant amount of chrome).

Unfortunately, bold options that pop on other horses don’t have quite the same effect with chestnuts and sorrels. Using bright colors with these guys doesn’t quite get the same wow factor as if you were to put the same color on a gray or black horse. The boldest option for sorrels and chestnuts is blue. I prefer navy blue, which is not much fun but royal blue looks just as nice.

Photo by Catching Dreams Photography


Palominos are another shade that can be hard to choose colors for. When selecting a subtle option, stay away from beiges. These tend to make palominos look dirty. Pick from different shades of gray instead.

Yellow should not be included in bold options for a palomino. The yellow hues on a yellow horse don’t blend well. Instead, blues, pinks and purples tend to be the more stand out option.

Photo by Joyce Higgins.


Like black horses, white and gray horses look fantastic in just about any color. The only color I can say doesn’t look the best on these light colored horses is white. You can go as bold or subtle as you’d like with white and gray horses.

Want to go extremely bold? White and gray horses can pull off colors such as fuchsia and lime green.

Photo by Jennifer Mayo.


Grullas look sharp in less conventional colors. A subtle option for grullas is black or gray because it goes well with the black and gray tones in their coat.

Bolder options — and this is where the less conventional options come in — are burgundy and plum. Grullas can pull off these colors better than any other color horse.

Photo by Kelle Winkle.


For roans and duns, they best way to choose colors for these already flashy horses is to go by their base color. Bay roans, go with bay options. Red duns, refer to sorrel and chestnut options.

When choosing options for roans and duns, I like to take the more subtle route. The natural color these horses have is what should take the main stage. Neutral colors such as whites and browns really allow the color of the horse to be showcased.

Photo by Catching Dreams Photography.

Beyond your horse’s coat color, you must also decide what works best for you. Bolder options make you stand out more to everyone, including the judges.

However, err on the side of caution with bolder options — especially if you’re a beginner rider. Brighter shades tend to make your flaws more visible. Choosing a more subtle color will draw less attention to you and minimize the visibility of your errors.

Regardless of the color you choose for you and your horse, rock it! Feel great in what you’re wearing. Nothing looks better than confidence.

Match your horse and go riding, Horse Nation!