Skip to Content

Buttermilk Buckskin Horses: Facts & Photos

Buttermilk buckskin horses look like creamy-tan colored horses with black manes and tails and amber eyes. Buttermilk buckskins are a paler variation of traditional buckskin coloring. Genetics researchers aren’t exactly sure how buttermilk buckskins get their creamy near-white fur color.

In this article, you will learn about the unique characteristics of a buttermilk buckskin and learn how you can spot and correctly identify this stunning horse color. I’ll also share a little more about their rarity, the breeds they most commonly belong to, and how you can get a buttermilk buckskin.

Key Facts at a Glance About Buttermilk Buckskin Horses

💡 Key Information
Rarity📊 About 0.25% of all horses are buttermilk buckskins
Average Price (Buttermilk)💲 $6,500 (limited dataset)
Average Price (All Buckskins)💲 $9,319.32 (full dataset)
Breeds Quarter Horse, Appaloosa, Mustang, Morgan Horse
🏇 English vs. Western Training📊 5% more likely to be ridden Western then English
  • 📊 About .25% of buckskin horses are classified as buttermilk buckskins (2.5 out of every 1,000 horses might be buttermilk buckskin)
  • 💲 The average price of a buttermilk buckskin was $6500, though the available dataset (of 10 horses sold in 2023) was too small to get meaningful data
  • 🏇 The buttermilk buckskin coat color is most common in horse breeds such as the American Quarter Horse, Appaloosa, Mustang, and Morgan Horse,
  • 📊 Buckskin horses of any type account for around 5% of all horses
  • 📊 A horse born today has a 95% chance of being a color other than buckskin.
  • 🏇 Buckskins are 5% more likely to be trained for english vs western riding, according to analysis of buckskins for sale.
  • 💲 Average price of all buckskin horses in fall 2023 (including sooty buckskin and golden buckskin) was $9,319.32. This average dropped to $8801.38 if we removed the 5 highest and 5 lowest prices.
Image of a Buttermilk Buckskin horse standing in an arena, facing the camera.
image used with permission from: @bucking_intoxicated

What is a Buttermilk Buckskin Horse?

Buttermilk buckskin is a variation of the buckskin coat color. Just like a standard buckskin, they have golden coats paired with black points on the legs, mane, and tail.

Coat Color – What makes them different from a standard buckskin is the strong creamy dilution of their golden colored coats, leaving them very light in color, almost like milk.

👁️ Eyes – Most buckskins will have amber-colored eyes, which adds to their unique appearance. Although golden eyes are the most common color for Buckskins, they can have pale blue eyes, though blue eyes are rare for horses with a buckskin coat.

🦓 No Dorsal Stripe – Dorsal stripes, a common marker of dun horses, are not present in true buckskin horses, although this is a common misconception. “A true buckskin does not display a dorsal stripe although it may display barring on the inside of the leg above the black points.” ( The Illustrated Guide To The Morab Horse. ISBN 9780578004655 . PG 54 ))

Black Points 🔺 – According to the AQHA color guide, the lower legs of a buttermilk buckskin are “usually
black to some degree, usually in the form of stockings or socks” 1 but sometimes only the pasterns (that’s the part of the leg just above the hooves). The tips of a buttermilk buckskin’s ears will be black or dark brown.

Breeding and Genetics of Buttermilk Buckskin Horses

The buttermilk buckskin color is created by the presence of a single cream dilution gene.

Genetically, to get a buttermilk buckskin requires three things:

  1. ⚫🟤 A bay horse color base coat caused by the presence of the agouti gene.
  2. One copy of the cream gene. (i.e. one parent must be a palomino, buckskin, smoky black, cremello, perlino, or smoky cream.)
  3. 🍀Luck!

Luck is important because there’s no reliable way to get a buttermilk buckskin horse versus other colors of buckskin– it’s just luck! In the same way that a solid brown horse might be blood red, light brown sorrel, or deep deep chestnut brown, the lightness or darkness of a buttermilk buckskin’s coat seems to be based on chance! It may also be related to how nature and nurture interact to let the cream gene influence the appearance of the coat to a greater or lesser degree.

Horse Color Breedings that can
Create Buttermilk Buckskin: 
(( The Illustrated Guide To The Morab Horse. ISBN 9780578004655 . PG 55-56))

Bay x Cremello⚫⚪ + ⚪⚪ = 🥛
Homozygous Black x Pearlino⚫⚪ + ⚪⚪ = 🥛
Bay x Palomino⚫🟤 + ⚪🟤 = 🥛

How buckskin genetics work:

“One copy of the cream allele on an otherwise bay horse results in a buckskin. The cream allele dilutes the red pigment of the body while the black pigmented points remain dark”2

You can generally tell if a horse is a buckskin color just by looking at them, but if you want to be 100% certain that your horse is a buckskin, you can get DNA color genetic tests that confirm your horse’s coat color.

Image of a Buttermilk Buckskin standing in a field with a blanket and a saddle on.
image used with permission from: @premierhorsesales,

Famous Buttermilk Buckskin Horses in History and Pop Culture

Buckskins on the big screen

Spirit – Possibly the most famous buckskin horse in cinematic history is Spirit, from the Dreamworks animated movie. “Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron,” released in 2002, is an animated adventure film that tells the story of a wild mustang’s journey for freedom and self-discovery in the American frontier during the late 19th century.

Buttermilk – Famous in previous generations was a horse named Buttermilk Sky, or Buttermilk for short. He starred alongside his owner Dale Evans in the Roy Rogers Show and very quickly amassed a large fanbase. Buttermilk lived to be a very old horse.

Buckskins in pop-culture

You can also find Buttermilk Buckskins in modern-day pop culture. Beyond cinema, buttermilk buckskins often appear in video games.

In Red Dead Redemption

For example, a buttermilk buckskin is one of the ‘hidden’ horses you can find by exploring the story mode of Red Dead Redemption 2.

🤠🎮 In the video game Red Dead Redemption, horses play a crucial role as the primary mode of transportation for the player character, Arthur Morgan, and other characters in the game. Horses are used for traveling across the vast open-world landscape, allowing players to explore the game’s rich and immersive environment. Players can also form bonds with their horses, which affects their performance and behavior. Horses can be customized, and players can acquire different breeds with varying attributes, such as speed and stamina.

In Star Stable Online

You can also add a buttermilk buckskin to your online stable in “Star Stable Online” a popular horse-themed RPG.

To get a buttermilk buckskin horse in Star Stable Online, you can purchase one from the in-game store using the in-game currency. Alternatively, you might earn a buckskin horse as a reward for completing specific quests or missions in the game. Thirdly, players can trade buttermilk buckskins with other players if they can convince them to part with their buckskin horses.

Image of a Buttermilk Buckskin horse in an arena.
image used with permission from: @bucking_intoxicated

Buttermilk Buckskin Breeds

Buttermilk buckskin is more common in some breeds than others. For example, they are common in stock breeds, including:

  1. American Quarter Horses
  2. Morgan Horses
  3. Australian Stock Horses

Because the buckskin coat color requires a cream gene, not all breeds can produce a buttermilk buckskin horse. Horse breeds with bloodlines that make a creme gene-based color like buttermilk buckskin impossible include Friesians, Arabians, Cleveland Bays, and Suffolk Punch horses.

Fun Fact:

The buckskin likely got its name from the fact that the color of a buckskin horse resembled the color of a tanned deer skin. These tanned deerskins were often called “a buckskin.” For cowboys in the American West, it became natural for them to begin referring to horses bycolors by this familiar color association. In spanish speaking countries, a buckskin is called “ante”.

Key Takeaways

  • Buttermilk buckskins are characterized by their creamy-tan bodies, dark black manes and tails, and often, amber eyes.
  • While they capture attention, they remain relatively rare, comprising only about 0.25% of all horses, with an average price of $6,500.
  • These horses are commonly found in breeds such as the Quarter Horse, Mustang, and Morgan Horse.

Buttermilk Buckskin horses are a unique twist on the classic buckskin coat color. Their rarity, distinct characteristics, and beauty have made them the star of big screens, small screens, and many hobby barns and boarding stables.

  1. AMERICAN QUARTER HORSE: Color Coat Genetics. American Quarter Horse Association []
  2. J. Warren Evans, Rhonda M. Hoffman, Jessica L. Petersen, L. Dale Van Vleck. (2020). The Horse: Third Edition. Waveland Press. []

Click to share: