“Hell hath no fury like a chestnut mare.”
You can find this saying on T-shirts, coffee mugs, and on the lips of many horse owners. And chestnut geldings and stallions aren’t excluded – people tend to think they’re hot too, and not in the Tinder kind of way.
While it’s a common notion that chestnut horses are hotter than most, is there any truth to the “crazy redhead” thing? One study says maybe not.
In a pilot study published in Applied Animal Behaviour Science, researchers collected data on chestnut and bay horses via an internationally accessible online questionnaire. The study authors asked questions about behavior of each horse during handling and exercising as well as in response to objects and creatures in their environments.
They found that the breed, sex, and age of the horse influenced many behaviors, but the scientists found no evidence that chestnut horses were more likely than bay horses to exhibit naughty behavior. Maybe that chestnut mare of yours is just cranky because she hates dressage.
Interestingly, though, the study results showed that chestnut horses tended to show more curious and bold behavior, being more likely to approach new objects and animals around them. “This suggests that selection for the chestnut phenotype in horses may have inadvertently involved selection for boldness and altered the way horses interact with their surroundings,” the study authors state.
So while you may not be able to genuinely claim that your chestnut is hot because of his color, perhaps you can claim that his intellectual curiosity is due to it. Better get him a subscription to Popular Mechanics.