Picking Color Schemes for Your Hunter Jumper Horse

Updated May 11, 2023
bay horse in navy color scheme

Anyone passionate about shopping for their horse has gone down the rabbit hole of color coordination. Whether you pick one color for each horse in the barn to keep things organized or always buy your farm’s colors, the color dilemma happens. 

Plus, some trainers are big on having everyone’s horses’ gear match the barn colors, like navy and white or red and black. Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean your barn's colors will look good on your horse. So, if matching with your barn isn’t required, you might want to pick colors that accentuate your horse’s natural coat color. Or, if you are unsure, crisp white is a safe color and looks great on any horse.

Here are some tack color combinations to help you choose the perfect color scheme for your hunter jumper horse.

Light Bay

light bay horse in navy color scheme

Picture a coppery-colored bay and a young rider who loves purple. Despite the trainer's best efforts, they purchase purple items for their light bay. Bright colors on a light bay draw your eye to the tack and away from the beauty of the horse. Traditional colors will let a light bay horse’s coat shine.

Hunter green and dark navy are excellent options for bay colored horses that you both can look sharp in and out of the show ring!

Dark Bay

iris purple color scheme on dark bay horse

Hunter green is a very polished look for darker bays. Riders wearing a green or black show coat would look great in the hunter ring on a dark bay horse. For schooling, a black saddle pad and polos may look a little dark depending on how dark your bay is, but white, navy, and crimson red are great options. For schooling, a light iris purple color is fun and complementary to a dark bay horse’s coat. 


Grays look great in basically any color! Use this to your advantage. If you aren't showing at high levels, giving your gray fun pops of color can set them apart. Pink, burgundy, yellow, and dark green all look great. Depending on how dark your gray is, black can look very striking, and you can even have fun with grey pads with a pop of color around the edges. 


Luckily black horses look great in every color, too. Yet you will find favorite hues that stand out amongst the others and pair with your horse’s character. Hunter green saddle pads with burgundy trim and white piping blankets look beautiful on black horses. Don’t be afraid of purple and turquoise color saddle pads as well! 

Another classic look for black horses is white. Remember that white saddle pads and polo wraps will exaggerate any confirmation flaws and get dirty quickly. Look for black tack with a pop of silver, gold, or white when thinking about your black leather on the black coat. This is a subtle way of creating a polished look.


chestnut horse wearing hunter green color scheme

Similar to bays, what colors look good on your chestnut will depend on the darkness of their coat. While navy would look great on a lighter chestnut, it may look too dark of a blue on a liver chestnut. For a liver chestnut, burgundy or hunter green would be a more appropriate color selection.

If you have a palomino, paint, or appaloosa, check back on this page in the future as we are constantly updating and may have recommendations for color schemes for boldly colored horses soon!

The information provided in the Horsemanship Library is based solely on our SmartPak authors' opinions. SmartPak strongly encourages you to consult your veterinarian or equine professionals regarding specific questions about your horse's health, care, or training. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat or cure any disease or behavior and is purely educational.