Classic Roan, also known as Dark-Headed Roan or just Roan, is where there is an interlacing of white hairs within the hairs of the body. These white hairs are not often found on the lower legs or the head (a rare few Roans have the white interlacing track up onto the face). At the front of a Classic Roan’s legs there is often an upside down V between the solid of the legs and the roaned of the body. The Classic Roan horse’s mane and tail do not have the interlacing of white hairs in it. Classic Roan can happen on any horse colour.
Corn Spots are where there are small circular areas of solid colour hair within the roaned body area. Some horses have so many corn spots that they are confused with Appaloosas. What causes corn spots isn’t exactly known. One cause is where the horse is injured (scraped or cut) and the hair grows back in without any intermingled white hairs. Some horses are seen to have the corn spots naturally formed.
Classic Roan can not be truly genetically tested for, although it is located on the KIT locus. There is a test available where you submit information including pictures of the horse, pictures and information of the parents as well as DNA. It shouldn’t be too long before a direct Classic Roan test becomes available.
There has been great rumours that Classic Roan is homozygous lethal. This means when a horse has two copies of the Classic Roan gene it isn’t viable to exist and the pregnancy aborts. This rumour is due to Classic Roan breeders often failing to produce foals when breeding Classic Roan to Classic Roan. The current form of testing for Classic Roan has found many suspected homozygous Classic Roans. These Classic Roan horses breed true to being homozygous (always producing Classic Roan foals). However, until true DNA testing arrives we won’t know for sure.
Chestnut Roan: Red Roan, Strawberry Roan
Black Roan: Blue Roan
Seal Brown Roan: Brown Roan
Bay Roan: Roan
For pictures of Classic Roan horses check out the Classic Roan album: