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A blue roan horse is a color variation of the Thoroughbred breed. It is one of the most common colors seen in this breed, along with chestnut. Blue roan is an inherited coat color characterized by black and blue-hairs evenly intermingled to create a steel blue appearance. The blue tint results from the lack of red and yellow pheomelanin pigment and therefore can appear either blue or grayish. This color pattern may also be known as "bluet" in some circles.

The coat has no true black hair; there are only dark-colored hairs with lighter tips giving the horse's hair a blue cast overall. A blue roan should not be confused with a dun, which has primitive markings that include a light-colored face and legs, belly, mane, and sometimes tail.

A blue roan gets his color from the Extension gene. This is one of the most dominant genes in the horse's coat coloring process. All blue roans are at least E/E or EE homozygous for the Extension gene, meaning they have double copies of the blue allele. A blue can carry other coat colors along with blue as long as he also carries two blue alleles. A blue roan can be bay, black, chestnut or palomino if he also has one or two other coat color genes in addition to being blue dilution homozygous (E/E).

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Can a blue roan be found in other horse breeds?

No. The blue roan horse is found only in the Thoroughbred breed and their bloodlines. Horses that do not possess enough blue dilution to appear blue roan may be chestnut or black, depending on other coat color genes they carry. Roaning can occasionally be seen in other breeds, but it is not as common as with the Thoroughbred breed.

The blue roan pattern of coloring most often appears in registered Thoroughbred horses with no more than one "non-thoroughbred" (i.e., a horse from a breeding line outside of the Thoroughbred breed) parent. In this case, at least one grandparent must have been a blue roan since both parents contribute equally to the genetic make-up of their offspring.

The blue roan color coat appears more frequently when breeding from closely related horses; therefore, it is not unusual for some blue roans and near blue roans to appear within the same family - notably on the sire’s side rather than the dam’s side of the pedigree. In this case, it is possible that there could be several generations of blue roans among these horses with multiple different sires being double carriers themselves.