Wednesday, 22 October 2014


Horses and ponies all have different markings, these make each of them unique.  Some markings will be different colours or they may be the hair lying in a different direction like Whorls.  Ches has many whorls on his body which distinguish him.  Unfortunately some white marks occur where the hair has been rubbed in the past or even where the horse has been mistreated.

Head Markings

Is a small touch of white usually in the middle of the forehead. Baz has one of these!

Is a larger white mark on the forehead.  Fidget has a lovely Star which is usually hidden under his forelock!

A narrow white strip down the face.  It usually starts at the forehead and finishes around the nostrils.

A broader white strip.

White Face
This is a white marking that covers most of the face.

This is a small white marking between the nostrils.  Baz has quite a large Snip to go with his Feint.

White Muzzle
Is when there is white on the mouth and around the nostrils.

White Lip
Is when there is just white around the mouth, on the upper or lower lip or both.

Often horses have a combination of these. So actually Ches has a blaze but also a white muzzle.

Leg Markings
These are areas of white hair on the legs.

Is white hair from the hoof to above the fetlock.

Is white hair from the hoof to around the knee or hock.  The near fore (leg nearest) shows a stocking.

A White Leg
Is when the white goes beyond the knee or hock.  This horse has a white leg on his off hind and off fore (nearest us).

Some are names according to the portions covered...
A White Heel
Just the heel is white.

White Coronet
Ches has one of these - on the near fore (with a sock on the off fore).

A White Pastern
Is a white pastern!

A White Fetlock
Is white up and past the fetlock.

Ermine Marks are black spots which occur within areas of white hair.  They can be very small and barely visible.

Other Markings
Dorsal line (or List)
Is a black stripe from the top of the tail along the backbone.  This is characteristic of some breeds and is often seen on Dun coloured horses and ponies.

Mixed or Bordered
On coloured horses (skewbald or piebald or odd coloured) the patches can have a border of a different colour.

Flecked and Ticked Markings
On darker horses and ponies flecked markings show as white patches of hair, ticked markings show up as small, thin stripes.  They can be all over the horse or only on the belly, barrel and flank.

Zebra Markings
These are markings arranged in a pattern like black zebra stripes.  Usually on the legs and are characteristic of some breeds.

Liver and Strawberry Marks
These show up as dark patches on lighter coats.  Liver marks are usually seen on chestnut coloured horses and ponies and strawberry marks on chestnuts.

This horse shows a Liver Mark.

Toad Eye
This is a lighter shading around the eye. This is a characteristic of certain breeds (eg: Exmoor)

Mealy Muzzle
Is where the muzzle is lighter or cream in colour.  This is a characteristic of certain breeds (eg: Exmoor).

This Exmoor pony shows a Toad Eye and Mealy Muzzle very clearly!

Flesh Marks
Are normally found on light coloured horses.  The skin around the muzzle is pink.

Hair Markings
These are where the hair lies in a different direction to the coat, usually occurring on the neck.  As I said at the beginning, Ches has lots of these.  

Injury Marks
These are often more obvious on darker horse where white hair has grown over an old injury, often around the saddle or on legs.

Prophet, Miller's or Devils Thumbprint
This are seen as small thumb sized indentations in the muscles, usually on the neck and shoulder areas.

The horny growths, which are found on the inside of each leg, also are unique to each horse.  They are said to be as individual as human fingerprints!  On the forelegs they are found below the knee, on the hind legs above the hock.

Hoof Colours
Markings on hooves are again unique to each horse.  Hooves are usually dark, so markings are usually white stripes or patches.  However, dark markings can also be seen on white hooves.  Ches has lots of different markings on his 4 white hooves.

Artificial Marks
Many owners identify their horses in case they are stolen.

Freeze Marking
Is when a series of 4 numbers and letters are applied to the back or shoulder.  Done by applying extreme cold it turns the hair white.  In grey horses the marking turns pink.  This is a permanent method of marking a horse and the number is kept on a national register and on the horses passport.  Chesney is freeze marked.

A Brand
This is a scar on the skin made by a hot iron, this is specific for various breeds of horse.  Fidget was branded when we had him.

Lip and Ear Tattoo
Numbers are tattooed into the skin usually on the ear or top lip.

Hoof Brand
The Farrier brands letters or numbers (which can be a postcode) onto the hoof - unfortunately this will grow out and need redoing.

Tail Trims
A section of the horse's tail is cut.  Often used to identify wild or native horses- unfortunately this will also grow out.

Markings have always fascinated me and Ches has quite a variety.  Which markings does your favourite horse have?

Until next time!

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