What is a cremello horse?
It is easy to think it is a breed of horse when you first hear the term.
However, it is actually a color!
This guide tells you everything you should know about this beautiful and unique type of horse.
What is a Cremello Horse?
A cremello horse is not a breed but a coat color. Many horse breeds can have cremellos but it is more common in some.
So, what exactly is cremello horse color? Cremello color comes from a combination of the base coat color genes and a color dilution gene. In the case of cremello it is the cream gene.
Here are some quick facts about Cremello Horses.
@anaislaliberte I hope this answers a few questions x🐴🤍 #equestrian #equestriangirl #equestriantiktok #horse #cheval #cremello #cremellohorse ♬ The Magic Bomb (Questions I Get Asked) [Extended Mix] – Hoàng Read
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Cremello Color Genetics
For a foal to be born with a cremello coat it must get two copies of the creme dilution gene, one from each part. They are called double dilutes. They also must get the gene for a chestnut base coat. 
There are different dilute colors that depend if it is a bay horse, black horse, or chestnut horse. For cremello the base has to be chestnut.
This means that part of their genotype is Cr/Cr. Cremello only happens if the horse has a chestnut base coat color. If a horse with a bay base coat color inherited Cr/Cr it will have a perlino coat.
And if the horse has a black base coat color with Cr/Cr it has a smokey cream coat.  These are called smokey blacks or smokey cream.
Buckskin horses also have a dilution gene. But unlike the two that the above colors have, they only have one cream gene and still have black pigment in their coats.
Learn more about horse coat pattern genes in this video. It talks about a variety of color genetics including cream dilution, the agouti gene, and other coat pigmentation that you will come across.
So what do these horses look like and how can you recognize one? Let’s take a closure look.
RELATED: Palomino Horse Characteristics
Physical Characteristics of a Cremelo Horse
The double equine cream gene that produces cremello gives these horses some distinctive physical characteristics.
A cremello is a very pale shade that looks like cream or ivory. Some look nearly white. “Cremellos are sometimes called pseudo-albinos” according to Horse Genetics. 
Cremello foals can have a slightly darker birth color than an adult. But their fair skin is a giveaway to their adult body coat color. Facial markings and leg markings are sometimes more obvious in foals.
This is because of their other distinguishing characteristics, which I’ll talk about next.
ALSO CHECK: What is the Rarest Horse Coat Color?
One unique feature of a horse with a cremello color coat is that it has pink skin. Unlike other coat colors where the skin is black and only pink with white markings.
They have pink skin around their eyes, which is one reason they are mistaken for albino. They also have obviously pink noses.
Mane & Tail
The mane and tail hair of a cremello is very pale and sometimes white. It is a similar color to a palomino, but usually lighter.
One of the most distinguishing features of a cremello is its eye color. They always have blue eyes. Sometimes the eyes can be quite pale and look almost light grey.  This is sometimes referred to as glass eyes.
Some people think that cremello horses don’t have markings but that isn’t the case. Horses with this coat color can have white socks or a star on their face.
However, due to the very light color of their coat, it can look like they don’t have any leg markings or facial markings.
The American Quarter Horse stallion in this video is a wonderful example of a cremello. He is a pale cream color, though it is easy to mistake him for a white horse with a white mane.
Cremello Horse Behavior
A cremello horse is just like any equine when it comes to behavior. The color has no bearing on the horse’s behavior.
What does affect behavior is age, breed, and breeding. A young horse is often more lively and still in the process of its education which means it can sometimes be spirited.
This coat color can appear in just about any horse breed. Horse breeds have different temperaments. So a cremello can be anything from placid and gentle draft horse to lively and spirited Akhal-Teke.
This also means that they can have any type of personality that you will find in horses.
Check other basic horse colors.
Cremello Horse Health
Cremello horses have only one thing that puts them at higher risk of health issues that other horses do not – fair skin. Other than this, these horses do not have any other health implications due to their color which differs from other equines.
Their pink skin makes them more susceptible to sunburn. Their blue eyes also have pink skin surrounding them. This can result in sunburn and irritation. It also means these horses can have higher rates of skin cancer.
According to the American Association of Equine Practitioners – “One of the most important known risk factors for developing squamous cell carcinoma (SCC, a form of skin cancer) is pink skin.” 
This means that you need to take care to protect these horses’ fair skin from the sun. You can use UV fly sheets and fly masks, provided shaded paddocks, and stick to night turnout only.
One myth is that their blue eyes are susceptible to eye problems. This is not true, but the pink skin that often surrounds blue eyes is what the risk is. 
Your cremello horse will need annual or bi-annual vaccinations. The specific ones will depend on where you live. If unsure, it is best to ask your vet. Vaccination protects your horse from serious and even fatal diseases.
Your horse will need an annual dental treatment called teeth floating. This can be done by a vet or a qualified equine dentist.
Regular and good farrier care is also essential. Always use a qualified farrier with a good reputation. No foot, no horse, as the saying goes.
Hooves need to see the farrier every six to eight weeks. This includes trimming and replacing shoes if your horse wears them.
What is the Average Lifespan of a Cremello Horse?
The average lifespan of a cremello horse is the same as any other type of horse. That means they live an average of 25 to 30 years.
What to Feed Cremello Horse?
You need to feed a cremello horse a healthy equine diet. This includes plenty of forage such as hay which is essential for healthy equine digestive systems.
Of course, grass, is also an important part of any horse’s diet, so long as they don’t suffer from a health problem that requires limited grass.
The Humane Society of the United States states that “A horse should eat one to two percent of their body weight in roughage every day.” 
Their coat color doesn’t mean that they require a special diet, different from other horses. Some cremello horses might need grain added to their diet. While some also might benefit from supplements.
Roughage is the most important part of a cremello or any horse’s diet as it ensures a healthy digestive process. If you feed grain it should be fed in small amounts spaced out during the day.
How Much Does Cremello Horse Cost?
The costs of a cremello horse will vary greatly. In some cases, the price might end up higher because it is a rarer color. However, not everyone likes the color, so it could in turn make them cheaper.
Regardless of the purchase cost, every horse is a big financial commitment that goes beyond the initial price.
There are a lot of factors that will affect the price these include:
- Competition results
This means the cost can range from $1,000 to tens of thousands for a high-quality competition horse.
It is becoming popular to purposely breed for a cremello coat color. This means that one of the best places to buy a quality cremello is directly from a breeder.
There are also online horse ad directories where sellers advertise their horses. One example is Dreamhorse.com.
A word of caution, especially when searching for a horse to buy via online directories is to know what you’re doing.
If you are inexperienced at horse shopping, always enlist the help of someone very knowledgeable to avoid the many pitfalls.
You can also buy a horse privately. By that, I mean, is to ask your trainer to help you find a cremello horse that can do the activity you want.
They will use their contacts to help you find a suitable horse. Often these types of horses are only sold by word of mouth and are not publicly advertised. This is a good way to find a quality horse.
How to Take Care of a Cremello Horse?
Your horse will need proper housing, food, and pasture. Because of their pink skin, their shelter will need proper roofing to protect them from the sun. The proper housing also protects against harsh weather.
It is important to have safe fencing to avoid serious injury. Never use barb wire fencing around horses.
Always ensure the horse has access to fresh, clean water and good quality forage.
Like all horses, a cremello needs regular exercise appropriate for their age and ability. This can be anything from ensuring the horse has turnout every day to more intense exercise if in training.
Never leave your horse stuck in a stable 24/7. Make sure they get out and move around. The more time they spend outside the better.
The horse will need to be wormed regularly for parasites. Certain wormers are used at certain times of the year. Many horse owners and vets now advocate fecal egg counts to help slow down the growing resistance to wormers.
You will need to regularly clean manure from pastures and if your horse is stabled in a stall, you will need to muck it out daily.
It is important to provide these horses with protection from the sun. As already mentioned use UV fly sheets and masks to provide shade, and turnout at nighttime.
You should also use horse sunscreen to protect a cream horse.
Quick Cemello Horse Facts – What Breeds
As you have just learned, cremello horses have features that distinguish them from other equines, such as blue eyes, pink skin, and are a pale ivory color.
But do you know what horse breeds can have this color? Cremello coat color appears in several breeds of horses.
These common categories of horses where the creme gene appears and thus can produce a cremello include:
- American Quarter horse
- Connemara pony
- Welsh pony
- Tennessee Walking horse
- Missouri Fox Trotter
- Icelandic Horse
- Miniature horse
- Shetland Pony
It can even appear in warmbloods, thoroughbreds, and the Lusitano. However, two breeds that do not carry the creme gene are Arabian horses and Friesian horses.
Take a look at these two adorable cremello foals. Can you tell which one is cremello and which one is palomino color? Hint, the one with a palomino coat color has a slightly darker mane and body.
What horse breeds recognize the cremello?
The American Quarter Horse Association recognizes cremello, but only in the last 20 years. It is also recognized by Connemara, Welsh, and Tennesse Walker stud books.
How rare is a cremello horse?
Cremello is one of the rarest coat colors. This is because it is only possible with certain genetic combinations and because it was once an undesirable color.
What is the difference between cremello and perlino?
The difference between a cremello and a perlino is the base coat color. Cremello is a red or chestnut base color, while a perlino horse has a bay base color. Both colors are double dilutes.
Do all cremello horses have blue eyes?
Yes, all cremellos are blue-eyed horses. This is because of the double cream gene which causes less pigment in their coat and eyes.
A cremello horse is a unique equine with a beautiful ivory coat color. They are easy to spot for their pink skin, blue eyes, and nearly white color.
Other than their distinguishing features these beautiful horses are just like any other and can be found in many breeds.
Does anyone have a cremello horse?
What are your thoughts now that you know what a Cremello Horse is? Share with us down in the comment section!
- 1. Veterinary Genetics Laboratory. Cream | Veterinary Genetics Laboratory [Internet]. vgl.ucdavis.edu. [cited 2022 May 24]. Available from: https://vgl.ucdavis.edu/test/cream#:~:text=Matings%20with%20any%20genotype%20are
- 2. cremello horses [Internet]. www.horse-genetics.com. Available from: https://www.horse-genetics.com/cremello-horses.html
- 3. Labelle A. Common Equine Eye Myths | AAEP [Internet]. aaep.org. Available from: https://aaep.org/horsehealth/common-equine-eye-myths
- 4. The rules of feeding your horse [Internet]. The Humane Society of the United States. Available from: https://www.humanesociety.org/resources/rules-feeding-your-horse#:~:text=A%20horse%20should%20eat%20one
Siun is an all-around animal lover, with a passion for horses. She grew up in the United States, competing in the hunters, equitation, and jumpers. Now living in Ireland, she competes with her own showjumping horses. She is experienced in the care and training of horses, as well as teaching riding lessons. She loves to combine her love for horses with her work. When not working, Siun will be found at the stables, rain or shine.
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