Unusual Markings! Always fun… And things I wish they would invent!

Note:  12/8/10

Today got away from me… I spent the entire day with Norma and hadn’t prepared my post for you in time for my deadline.  So, I hope you don’t mind me re-posting an Oldie but Goodie.   Thank you for reading!


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.

4)  Brindle!  Wow!

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!



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!

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HORSE AND MAN is a blog in growth... if you like this, please pass it around!

14 comments have been posted...

  1. CJ

    I have a purebred Arab, Chestnut with lacing across her back. Everybody seems to want to chime in on what it is, most are negative. So it was refreshing to read about it. Thanks for posting.

  2. Dianne

    The bay with the pale tail looks like a genetic type called ‘Gulastra Plume’. Look it up…

  3. Lara

    No 1 is interesting. I’ve never heard of a lacing pattern and don’t blame you at all for thinking it was scarring from an ill fitted saddle.

    No 2 is known as smutting or smuts in the palomino world or bloody shoulder depending on the breed or colour of the horse.

    No 5 is indeed Mystic Warrior and well worth a quick Google search. They have a page dedicated to his coats transformation as he aged.

    No 6 part two is most likely a bay horse with a silver gene, also worth Googling for some stunning images.

    As for your inventions or wishes, they sure woukd be great!

  4. Suzy Roeder

    We have an appy just like your fresian cross–almost identical to yours as a colt. He is now nineteen and fluffy white in the winter. In summer, his black spots are visble on his skin when he’s wet. When dry, the hair is white but raised over those areas. Like a topographical map. He sometimes looks fleabitten in summer. He’s a love.

  5. Katie

    As for my comment on Mystic Warrior (the Appaloosa Friesian Cross Colt/Stallion), I revise my statement about Warrior a.k.a. “Domino”. He’s not grey His turning “white” with spotting is due to the expression of the Leopard COmplex Gene he inherited from his mother. He may very well continue to turn white but he should, as a Leopard Patterned Appaloosa retain those black spots. That said, he COULD potentially turn into a Fewspot Leopard Appaloosa but now that he’s now 7 years old (he was born in 2006) he’s most likely finished changing color but could turn more white once he enters his “senior” years. (at around 18 to 20 years old).

  6. Katie

    On your list, #2 does have a name. Actually two names if you want to get technical. First is called a “Bend Or Spot”. The second name is “bloody shoulder”. While the “Bloodly Shoulder” is most often seen in grey Arabians. The markings have been found in other horse breeds and do not always appear on the shoulder(s) of the horse. They can literally appear most anywhere on the body of the horse. The first term, “Bend Or Spots”, is generally used to reference Thoroughbred horses who have this marking which is typically found on the hindquarters but again can appear anywhere on the body of the horse. Hope this helps :-)

    As for the Friesian Appaloosa Cross Colt. He is “turning all white” now because he is actually Grey, not because of any weird genetics at play. His mother is/was a grey Appaloosa and so he inherited the Grey gene from her and so as he’s gotten older has slowly begun to turn grey. Brooke is correct in that as he gets older he will turn more white so that when he’s fully matured he most likely not have any visible spots due the Dominant Grey gene being expressed.

  7. Brooke

    In regards to the Friesian Appy Cross. His name is Mystic Warrior. (Or Domino) He has turned white with black spots like a Leopard Appy. I think he will turn all white as he gets older, which in my book is too bad. But even so, he looks like a big beanie baby. Love him!

    Oh, and He was a demo horse at the 2010 WEGs!

    Scroll down on the page (see link) to see some pictures of him.

  8. Seabiscute

    I’m on a Morgan colors list and it is all so interesting! I wonder if the flaxen bay might be what they are calling a Wild Bay?

    Also, the wet-looking spots might be Bend Or spots. My flaxen chestnut Morgan has them — smaller than in your illustration, but they look about the same shade. He has one that looks like a butterfly, or a club from a deck of cards, on his rump — kinda cute.

    Did you know that brindled horses are chimeras? That is, they have the chromosomes of two individuals — the embryos apparently fuse at a very early stage and all that shows of this is the odd coat color. Some sire — can’t remember the breed, sorry — had issues with his DNA (well, he didn’t but his humans did) and this turned out to be the explanation. Brindle is not an uncommon coat color in some dog breeds but I don’t think they are chimeras, just horses.

  9. Jan

    The lacing looks like scars from rain scald, are you sure that’s not what it is?

    The bay with the flax tail looks like a Potential Investment QH I had. potential Investment is homozygous for bay, and the horse I had looked al sot buckskin – silver in the black on this horse,s legs, same tail and mane. It is actually a recessive bay gene.

    I LOVE the brindle horse. I,ve actually seen an AQHA horse in this color.

  10. Kent

    I love the expression on the duck horse. “Yeah, it’s a duck with a neck tie. What about it?”

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