Eye Color


























Brown Eyes

The majority of ponies have dark brown eyes. In some light the entire eye can appear to be black, but the iris is dark brown.


Chestnut with brown eyes. Misty's Desert Sun, 2015, Picture by Amanda Geci.


Buckskin tobiano with brown eyes. Randy, 2015, Picture by Amanda Geci.


Bay with brown eyes. Daisey, 2015, Picture by Amanda Geci.

Diluted Eyes

Heterozygous Creams
Some palomino and buckskin ponies, which have one copy of the cream dilution, will have light brown eyes. However, most will have the normal dark brown eyes. Cream dilute foals will sometimes be born with blue eyes that later darken to brown.


Buckskin with light brown eyes. Copper Moose, 2014, Picture by Amanda Geci.


Buckskin with light brown eyes. Kachina Grand Star, 2015, Picture by Amanda Geci.

Homozygous Creams
Double cream dilutes always have blue eyes. Cremellos, Perlinos, and Smoky Creams are double cream dilutes. Their blue eyes are softer or are muted than the ones found on pintos. They also sometimes have a greenish tint or are blue green. The blue eyes are accompanied by pink skin.


Cremello. Misty's Icicle, 2011, Picture by Amanda Geci.


Smoky cream tobiano. Misty's Silver Moon, Pictures courtesy of Jennifer Hagquist.

Pinto Blue Eyes

Ponies with bright blue eyes are a result of them having a pinto pattern/white pattern. No independent blue eyed gene, such as in people, has been identified in horses. Pinto blue eyes are brighter than the blue eyes found in double cream dilutes. Ponies could have two blue eyes, one blue eye, or partial blue eyes.

The Splash White pinto pattern (SW1) is generally the reason for blue eyes in Chincoteague Ponies. Homozygous splashes will usually have two blue eyes. Heterozygous splashes can have two blue eyes, one blue eye, a partial blue eye, or none at all. The inconsistency of blue eyes in ponies with splash white is why blue eyes sometimes seem to skip generations or seemingly appear out of nowhere in a family line.

The Tobiano pinto pattern that is so common in Chincoteagues has not been found to cause blue eyes. Occasionally Chincoteagues will not visually appear to have a pinto pattern other than tobiano, but blue eyes indicate the pony has another pinto pattern.

Other pinto patterns such as Frame, Sabino1, and White Spotting can have blue eyes. Frame and Sabino 1 are not found in Chincoteagues and the presence or frequency of any of the White Spotting patterns has not yet been proven. There are also likely untestable versions of splash accounting for more occurrences of blue eyes.


Chestnut homozygous splash with two blue eyes. Surfer's Rouge Wave, 2010. Picture by Amanda Geci.


Chestnut heterozygous splash with one partial blue eye. Diamond's Jewel, 2015, Picture by Amanda Geci.


Solid bay heterozygous splash with two blue eyes. Wild filly, 1996, Picture by Amanda Geci.


Bay tobiano splash with blue eyes. Azure, 2016, Picture by Amanda Geci.


Bay tobiano splash with one blue eye and one brown eye. Carol's Little Freedom, 2015, Picture by Amanda Geci.


Chestnut tobiano splash with one partial blue eye. Misty's White Out, 2016 and 2014, Pictures by Amanda Geci.

White Sclera

White Sclera is the white area around the colored iris of the eye. All ponies have white sclera, but it is usually not visible. The white sclera on some ponies is always visible and is sometimes called "wild eye". On others it is only visible when the pony has moved or rolled its eyes. Visible white sclera is common in horses with the appaloosa pattern. Ponies with extensive white on the face are more likely to have visible white sclera.


Chestnut splash or sabino with white sclera. Ken, 2014, Picture by Amanda Geci.


Bay tobiano with white sclera. Patchy, 2015, Picture by Amanda Geci.


Bay tobiano with white sclera. Wild Thing, 2015, Picture by Amanda Geci.