The Falkland Islands and South Atlantic


The South American gauchos, brought to the Falklands to work the wild cattle have left a legacy of the Spanish/ criollo system of naming horse colours (and horse gear) accurately. Many words have been changed slightly to a Falklands version over the years.   

Alazan and sub-categories of Alazan -Falklands  ALASAN reddish goldAlazan horse

All counties and breeds have Alazan horses, it being the chestnut (light) or sorrel (where and legs are generally lighter from knee to foot). This is the ‘firey’ and beautiful horse. The coat of the Alazan horse is made up of blonde, yellow and red hairs the mixture and proportions varying and thus there are many shades of Alazan. Where there is a great predominance of yellow hair the Alazan is lighter and the horse can be described as Alazan claro the lightest. Alazan dorado is gilded chestnut and shines. If there is a greater amount of dark red hair, and the mane and tail are brown the horse may be described as Alazan tostado or even Alazan requemado, when very dark. When the alazan horse has a flaxen or almost white tail and mane it is Alazan ruano.

Bayo -  Falklands BASZHO varying shades of yellow or cream Bayo horse

At its very lighest shade Bayo blanco there is only a hint of yellow on white, at its darkest the Bayo encerado is almost gateado colour and in between there among others, shades of Bayo amarillo a yellow/ white shade, Bayo naranjado orange/ white shade, Bayo huevo de pato a creamy yellow like wild duck egg. Bayo is the Isabel light dun horse of Britain and USA.

Blanco - Falklands WHITE any white horse Blanco horse

White horses are dark colours as foals and whiten with age. The darker it is born the longer this takes. Traces of the original colours can remain. A blanco mosqueado has black fly- sized spots regularly distributed through its white coat, similarly a blanco sabino has dark pink spots. Blanco albinos have no pigmentation at all even in the eyelashes and iris.


Lobuno ‘Wolfish’ - Falklands LABUNA seal blueLobuna horse

The name of this horse colour fits exactly, it being very similar to that of a wolf. This is in fact a variation of gateado and a ‘dilution’ colour where each individual hair is slate coloured as opposed to the blue of  moro where there are both black and white individual hairs give the blue or grey colour. The blue colour usually will have stripes showing through in places i.e. above the knee and hock, and always with a dark mule stripe running down the spine from the base of the tail to the mane giving the animal a primitive horse appearance. Often a dark stripe may be seen on the withers. This is the ‘Blue Dun’ of Britain and the ‘Mouse skin’ or ‘Blue’ of cowboy America.

Colorado- Falklands COLOROW, red Colorado horse

In Britain this is the ‘Bright Bay’or ‘Red Bay’ and the ‘Blood Bay’ of the U.S.A. The Colorado horse is simply the ‘red’ horse with black mane, tail and legs. Various white facial markings will often be present and is used to accurately describe the horse.   eg. Colorado lista blanca is a red horse with a white stripe right down its face. Colorado malacara is a red horse with a white forehead and white extending down towards its snout.

Gateado- Falklands GATEAEOW, brown dun gateado horse

Gateado horses can be confused with bayo as the base colour is so similar but the great difference is that a gateado always has a mule stripe down its spine and other primitive marking stripes visible in varying degrees, over its body, particuarly on the legs. The mane, tail and ears will also be darker. The name gateado indicates cat-like ( gato Spanish for cat), hence the stripes. This horse is the true native horse of the pampas, the emblem and most typical colour of the Criollo horse, hardy agile and fast, it's colour adapted to the environment. Gateado has many variations, among them Gateado claro is very light and Gateado barcino has many dark body stripes. This is the Isabel striped dun of Britain and the buckskin of the USA.


Moro- Falklands MORO, iron grey Moro horse

The moro horse is a iron grey or blue colour with black head and legs mane and tail. The colour is made up by an even mixture of white and black hairs all over the body but not on the head, legs and mane. This is the ‘Blue roan’ of USA and Britain. Similarly, in the Rosilla horse the head would have solid red hair. If some red hair was is in the moro horse’s coat it would be a Rosillo moro. They can vary from ‘Moro claro’, very light iron grey.

Oscuro- a black horse Oscuro, black horse

Oscuro describes a solid black horse. There are two types of black horse, one being Oscuro común coal black and dull as the hair picks up no reflection of light, and the other is Oscuro renegrido, raven or jet black and shiny as the pigment in the hair is angled to reflect light. Black horses may have white markings.


Overo- a basic dark colour with large horizontally arranged irregular patches of white                                                overo horse

Overo horses are the direct opposite of Tobiano with white irregular patches spreading horizontally along the body on a base colour that originates underneath the horse's belly and on the legs. Usually white does not cross the spine and the topline and tail will be solid colour as is well. The face typically has a large white irregular patch. The base colour of the Overo varies and dictates how they are named, thus; alazan overo, bayo overo, gateado overo, overo negro, lobuno overo, tostado overo etc. allows accurate descriptions. Overos are not native to Europe, but peculiar to the New World, North and South America and are thought to have began as mutations. They were and are common in Criollo horses especially in the pampas wild horses where they had natural camouflage.

Picazo- Falklands PICASSO, black with white on the the face Picazo horse

A Picazo horse is always black, oscuro (dull black) or sometimes really zaino negro where the black of the zaino almost eclipses the red in the coat making it seem black but what makes this horse Picazo is the presence of white on the front of the face combined with it’s ‘black’ appearance. Legs may be, but are not necessarily, be white, and there may be other white markings on the black body, but basically the term is always applied to a very dark horse with any white on the face. The white can be of any degree and can be broken down to give various exact descriptions: Picazo lista - black with a white stripe (no wider than a man's two fingers) down the face, which can be extended to Picazo lista tuerta when the stripe trails off to left or right.

Rosilla -Falklands, ROSISZHA, head red, mixed white and red hairs on body

RosilloRosilla is the red roan of USA and Britain. The head is red and the body has a uniform mixture of individual white and red hairs, the white superimposed on the red body area but not the head and legs. The tail and mane and legs will be black. If some black hair is present in the rosilla horse’s coat it would be a ‘Rosillo moro’.


Tobiano- Falklands, TABIANA, white with patches of colour Tobiano horse

Tobiano horses have a pattern of colour on them which crosses the spine, usually in several places including the tail, and spreads vertically down the animal to meet white spreading vertically upwards from the always white legs.. As tobiano is the white pattern interacting on a base coloured coat a particular horse may be described as tobiano negro (white on black or piebald), tobiano colorado (white on red or skewbald) tobiano alazan etc.

Tostado- Falklands, TOSTOW, toasted alasan

TostatoIn the Falklands pronounced ‘Tostow’.
Tostado means ‘toasted’ or ‘tanned’ and really is a sub –category of Alazan, literally toasted or burnt, best thought as of the colour of toffee,. Manes and tails and lower legs are dark brown. Tostado is further broken into shades; Tostado claro being a equivalent to an English light chestnut and Tostado requemado being very dark.


Zaino -Falklands, SINO dark reddish blackZaino

The zaino horse is neither black nor brown but mid way between an Oscuro (black) and Colorado (red) horse. This is the brown bay of horse of Britain.
A zaino horse that tends to more black than red and looks more black than colorado may be termed a zaino negro, and similarly a zaino horse that looks more red is zaino colorado.




Barcino....... a horse with darker stripes all over the body eg. gateado barcino

Claro............ horse of any colour but a very light shade of that particular colour, eg  alazan claro, gateado claro

Pangare horse

A Pangaré horse has a light 'cast' to the underbelly, muzzle, and the insides of legs and gigots. This can also occur around the eyes sometimes. The pangaré trait is most likely to be seen in colorado horses but occurs in gateados, zainos  and other colours.


Cabos negros- a horse with all its extremities black- black legs and hooves, mane and tail.

Rodado ...... large round lighter spots on the coat, apple size eg alazan rodado

Ruano........... horse of any colour with white or flaxen mane and tail eg alazan ruano, bayo ruano

Requemado.. horse of any colour but a very dark shade of that particular colour, eg alazan requemado, tostado requemado

Sources: Pelajes Criollos- Emilio Solanet, Vocabulario Y Refranero Criollo- Tito Saubidet, Horse Color Explained- Jeanette Gower,The Color of Horses - Dr Ben K. Green, but mostly learned from Chris Perry