A reader asked a question today which made me look back in the archives for this post. I thought I’d share it with you today. It is from October 2010.
I’m writing about unusual markings because I was under the wrong impression for several hundred years. You see, I have a Shetland, Dodger, that I rescued off of a pony ring. He was at auction. Indeed, he had several ugly scar patches of white hairs on his shoulders, but he also had stray white hairs along his back. At the time, I thought he not only had an ill fitting saddle at his wither, but howdy howdy, his saddle rubbed incorrectly all over his back! (Pictured is a long hair coat on my pony taken today. All those white hairs will become a web pattern.)
Now, major scarring would be easy to believe because this little pony does have awful conformation. It would make sense that my pony right circler would have many scars from those tiny kid saddles along his slab-sided top line, narrow high withers and chicken hips. So, for many years now, let’s say… 14, I’ve believed that he had awful scars that kept growing over the years… Huh? Wait a minute… Scars that grow? OK, something was up here. So finally I decided to figure out what the heck was going on with this spider web pattern of white hairs growing on his back.
Lacing! Have you ever heard of it? Me, neither. It can also be called “Giraffe markings”. Literally, every year, this pattern gets bigger. After doing some research, I find that the lacing is genetic and it grows as the horse grows. So, all these years I’ve been blaming a non-existent saddle when in truth, he has a rare coat pattern called “lacing”. Wow. Just another horsey marvel…
Cool, eh? I’ve added a few pics of better examples.
As I was thinking about odd patterns, I thought I would look to find unusual marking on the Internet. Here are several.
1) This is called “Birdcatcher”. It is really an unfortunate pattern! If you can’t quite see it, it appears that the horse was sitting under a few pigeons. .. I think, if it were my horse, I would just get a sharpie or some food coloring or dye of some type. Maybe shoe polish… In my head, I get this image of my mother running over with a tissue she’s wet on her tongue to furiously try and wipe off the bird droppings from my show horse….
2) This one has no name. It is a big blob of a darker color that looks like your horse is wet in that one particular spot. These kind of marks remind me of that Far Side cartoon many years ago… It had the one bear with a bullseye marking on his chest and the other bear says, “Bummer of a birthmark, Larry.”
3) A Heart. I wonder what they named this horse? Cupid, probably. I think I’d like Montague for a colt and maybe Juliet for a filly.
5) This baby is a Fresian/Appy Cross. Way cool! I would love to see where this baby is today!
6) These next two are just unusual…
The first looks like half dun or buckskin and the other half, I’m not sure.
The other is a bay horse with a flaxen tail. It almost looks like extensions.
7) I love the question mark on this horse. It also kinda looks like a duck at the top and a tie at the bottom. Maybe a duck with a really long neck. Or a duck tie.
8) And, last but not least, here is a horse with a horse on his forehead. Perfect!
THINGS I WISH THEY WOULD INVENT
It never fails that if I am going to take a photo, every horse crowds right up against the lens. I have to either surprise them and take a bunch of photos before they catch on, or I have to distract them by throwing carrots and then I only get horsey bottoms. But, with a HorseCamForceField, I would be saved! With this invention, all you would have to do is push a button and a light mist would stun your horses into a lovely, dreamy state. They would feel like posing and moving close to the camera would be a far away thought. They would be inspired to love life and do their best to resemble Barbaro. And, as they prance around, trying to get the perfect action shot, all you would have to do is push another button that makes them freeze in their most becoming action stance. Ahhhh.
HorseCamForceField App – In Hand Genie:
This would be an application for the HorseCamForceField. When you are alone, you could just push a button and your genie would arrive to park out your horse for a decent standing shot. As we know, it is impossible to quick run out and take a successful in-hand shot of your horse. But, now with the In-Hand Genie app, all you do is push a button and out pops a little replica of Clinton Anderson or Robert Redford as the Sundance Kid or John Wayne. If you upgrade, you could get Brad Pitt from Legends of the Fall.
HORSE AND MAN is a blog in growth… if you like this, please pass it around!
The number 2 horse with the dark blob on his side – that’s a “blood mark”. That is a large one, they’re usually smaller and most often seen on the hips and shoulders. This is also a coloration most commonly seen on Thoroughbreds and part-breds. “Blood” is an old-fashioned word for well-bred, hot-blooded, or Thoroughbred. I have owned several TBs with blood marks and two with Birdcatcher’s spots.
A long time ago there was a Thoroughbred race horse. One day when he was turned out a bird flew in front of him and he grabbed it, earning the name “Birdcatcher” for himself. He was a chestnut stallion with many small white spots on his body. As a successful race horse, he went to stud and sired many foals, and quite a few of then had the white spots. These markings became known as “Birdcatcher’s spots. Due to this one stallion, it is not terribly unusual to find a chestnut TB with Birdcatcher’s marks. These white spots have nothing to do with bird poop.
About 19 years ago I had an elderly Arabianmare, straight Egyptian, sired by a stallion in that category of the ever-so-vain Arabianhorsemedia called “Living Legend” – she being a mere five years younger than he. She was one of those rare bay roans (heavily roaned) with a great deal of gray in her mane and tail. One day she began to show what appeared to be a fairly large brand mark on her shoulder – a capital U shape with short bars over the tops of the two prongs of the U. As the weeks went by the mark became more defined and brighter as more pure white hairs apparently became involved. Of course she was not branded (except for the freeze mark under her mane which had been applied in her youth by a Registry-approved technician). The three vets who viewed the mark all said they never seen anything like this suddenly appearing mark and had no clue. My mare did not appear to have any discomfort associated with the mark and certainly there was no swelling or scabbing or hair loss, in fact the mark was of white hairs – no bare skin. The closest guess by one of the three vets was that was possibly the mark of migrating oncocherca parasite(s) but the mark was so geometrically perfect and balanced that I frankly doubted even the most artistically or mathematically talented parasite could draw so convincingly. The mark faded and disappeared over several months leaving no trace. Never seen anything like that before or since. Dawn – sorry no photo available as I lost a banker’s box full of photos of assorted beloved horses now gone to greener pastures at the time I sold my farm. I still wonder about that mark and today’s post reminded me.