Flaxen lightens the manes and or tails of chestnut to be lighter than their body color. The difference in shade can vary from white to only slightly lighter than the body color. Other flaxens can have manes and/or tails that are a grey silvery color. Flaxen chestnuts are sometimes mistaken for palominos or silvers. The inheritance of flaxen is not yet known, however a study in Morgan Horses indicates it is inherited and it does appear to run in families. It also appears to be recessive. A famous line of dark chestnut flaxens in Chincoteagues are descendants of Surfer Dude. It was long thought he was a silver, however years of of observation of his descendants has disproven this and they have tested as chestnut.
Flaxen bays have cream colored or silvery hairs in their manes and/or tails. Often only the mane or tail, also known as gulastra plume, is affected and not the other. It is less common than flaxen chestnuts. The cause or inheritance is not known at this time, however it does appear frequently in some breeds.
Palominos have flaxen manes and tails and silvers often do, but those are characteristics of those colors and are separate from the flaxen described here.
Flaxen chestnut. Island Star, 2008, Picture by Amanda Geci.
Dark chestnut splash with a flaxen mane. Star Gazer, Picture by Amanda Geci.
Flaxen chestnut sabino. Son of Star Gazer. Ken, 2011, Picture by Amanda Geci.
Dark flaxen chestnut splash. Surfer Dude, 2007 & 2010, Picture by Amanda Geci.
Dark flaxen chestnut splash mare. Dam of Surfer Dude. Gremlin, Full body pictures courtesy of Linda Insley, Headshot from The Chincoteague Pony by Charlotte Wilcox.
Dark flaxen chestnut splash as a yearling and a 2 year old and a five year old. Son of Surfer Dude. Surfer Dude's Riptide, 2010 and 2012 and 2014, Picture by Amanda Geci.
Flaxen chestnut. Daughter of Surfer Dude. Dreamer's Gift, 2014, Picture by Amanda Geci.
Dark flaxen chestnut splash. Maryland pony, Picture from an undated postcard.
Flaxen chestnut tobiano. Cezanne, 2006, Picture by Amanda Geci.
Chestnut with a flaxen mane. Sanddancer, 2014, Picture by Amanda Geci.
Flaxen chestnut. Attitude, 2001, Picture by Amanda Geci.
Flaxen chestnut. Historical reference. Wild pony, 1967, Screen shot from a Wild Kingdom episode.
Drawing of a possible flaxen chestnut, could also have been a silver. Historical reference from 1893. Drawing from the San Francisco Chronicle.