11 Fun Buckskin Horse Facts

Buckskin horses are determined by their color instead of their breed. This means that any horse of any breed can be colored buckskin and qualify. This differentiates this color from others, like the Palomino, where only specific breeds tend to have the required coloring. For this reason, the buckskin horse really isn't a color breed. It is, in fact, a rather common color that is found in all breeds of the modern horse.

Buckskin horses have a tan or gold coat that is similar to the Palomino, but instead of white points, this horse will have black points – the mane, tail, and legs. Here are some more interesting Buckskin horse facts to consider as well.

#1. The American Buckskin Registry Association has been around since 1962. 

When the registry first opened for Buckskin horses, it also accepted Grulla and Dun horses as well – horses that are not considered to be a true Buckskin today. In the past, the color differentiations were not frowned upon as much as they are today. Now there are specific color registration options for each variation that used to be considered Buckskin in the past.

#2. The International Buckskin Horse Association was founded in 1970. 

The purpose of the international association was to provide global owners of Buckskin horses the same opportunity to connect with one another that US owners had. The registrations for the international association are based on coloration and marking standards that are followed by the other local Buckskin associations that exist. It is possible to register at the local color association level and the international level if it so desired, though it is not mandatory to do so. 

#3. Most Buckskin horses come from a Spanish origin. 

This is because the Spanish during the Middle Ages had a complete fascination in breeding golden horses. They wanted so many of them, in fact, that they brought over the coloration to the New World during the Colonial Era in the hopes that the color blood lines would spread and create more horses for everyone to enjoy. The Dun factor that is found in many Buckskin horses, however, is believed to come from an Asian blood influence.

#4. Buckskin horses registered to a color association can also register with a breed association. 

This is because the color attributes are not considered to be breed attributes. To register with the breed association, however, the horse will need to meet the standards of that breed without major faulting. If that faulting is present, it will not affect the color registration even if the breed registration winds up being rejected.

#5. Buckskin horses are considered to be working horses. 

The Buckskin horse, regardless of breed, tends to be viewed as an above-average horse in strength. This makes them suitable for most ranch work, farm work, and even some trail work with the right temperament. They are also known for having an above-average stamina. This allows them to be outside of the stable for long periods of time without having temperament issues that other horses may have. 

#6. Many Buckskin horses have “frosting” in their tail. 

If you look at the tail of a Buckskin horse, many of them will not have a sold color. The outside portions of the tail of a classic Buckskin will have white or light brown/tan/gold hair in the tail that gives it a frosted look. If the horse also has a dorsal stripe with the frosted tail, this is an indication that it is not a straight Buckskin. Buckskins do not have leg striping either. 

#7. Although some disagree, a Dun horse is not officially a Buckskin horse today. 

The various expressions of Dun are related to each other, including Grulla. Because they were all grouped together several decades ago as one “color breed,” many people today will still call their horses a “Dun Buckskin” or a “Grulla Buckskin.” Part of this confusion comes from the fact that the ABRA registers Dun factor horses alongside Buckskin horses within the same organization. Unfortunately this terminology is technically inaccurate. This is because the dun gene has several dilution factors that create different colorization options.

#8. Buckskins have the same cream gene as Palominos. 

To get a standard Buckskin horse, you'll need to take a bay horse and give it an inherited cream gene. This will dilute the bay colorization to the Buckskin color. It's the same genetic process for Palominos, but with a different gene combination. Because of this, however, two Buckskin parents have just a 50% chance of producing a Buckskin foal. There is a 25% chance that it will be a bay horse and a 25% chance that the cream gene will hold dominance as well.

#9. Buckskin horses tend to have stronger hooves. 

This is particularly important for working horses or those who living in challenging environments. The stronger hooves give the horse better stability and can lessen the risks of injury. When the mid-size height of the horse, averaging 14-15 hands across all breeds, is also considered, the Buckskin becomes an accessible option for virtually every rider at any skill level. It is considered to be very rare for a Buckskin horse to have legs that are weak or spavined. 

#10. The myth of the albino horse is tied to the Buckskin.

In the past, scientists who studied horses believed that crossing Dun genetics with Buckskin genetics would create the possibility of albino horses. The cream gene in horses, however, is not generally a recessive gene. This means the white horses you see today are the result of mixed genetics and not a true albino, as was initially thought to be with the Buckskin line. This means there are no true albino horses, because those that would potentially qualify are typically born without complete digestive tracts.

#11. The issue of the primitive markings. 

There are certain stripes that can appear on horses because of the Dun gene. It may be watered down to the point that it is barely noticeable, but any primitive markings on a horse with Buckskin coloring will typically disqualify it as a true Buckskin. Even when all of the genetics add up, including the cream gene, the Dun striping can still occur. It may also produce dusty, golden, silvery, sooty, or yellow Buckskin coloration. Without the striping, the various shades of Buckskin will typically qualify the color. With striping, even the dark deer-hide look for the horse may disqualify it.

The issue with Buckskin horses is that the terminologies of color are still used rather loosely today in the industry. This is because we know more today about the genetics of color than we did in the past. These Buckskin horse facts are designed to help set the record straight.