|These young horses, though all the same color, exhibit uniquely different markings, which can be used to identify individual horses.|
Markings on horses usually are distinctive white areas on an otherwise dark base coat color. Most horses have some markings, and they help to identify the horse as a unique individual. Markings are present at birth and do not change over the course of the horse's life. Most markings have pink skin underneath most of the white hairs, though a few faint markings may occasionally have white hair with no underlying pink skin. Markings may appear to change slightly when a horse grows or sheds its winter coat, however the difference is simply a factor of hair coat length, the underlying design does not change.
On a gray horse, markings visible at birth may become hidden as the horse turns white with age, but markings can still be determined by trimming the horse's hair closely, then wetting down the coat to see where there is pink skin and black skin under the hair.
|A marking on a horse's muzzle showing pink skin under most of the white hairs, dark skin at the edges of the marking.|
|Facial markings. Top row, L-R: Blaze, Stripe, Stripe (or thin blaze) and snip, Irregular blaze, Interrupted stripe, bald face. Bottom row, L-R: Faint star, Star, Star and strip, irregular star, snip, lip marking|
Common facial markings are:
Additional terms used to describe facial markings include the following:
|Leg markings. Top row, L-R: Stocking, Sock or Boot, Fetlock or Sock. Bottom row, L-R: Pastern, Coronet, Partial Pastern|
Leg markings are usually described by the highest point of the horse's leg that is covered by white. As a general rule, the horse's hoof beneath a white marking at the coronary line will also be light-colored ("white"). If a horse has a partial marking or ermine spots at the coronary band, the hoof may be both dark and light, corresponding with the hair coat immediately above. Where the Leopard gene is present, the hoof may be striped even if markings are not visible at the coronary band.
From tallest to shortest, common leg markings are:
Additional terms used to describe white leg markings include:
|A "baldfaced" horse||A horse with a blaze||A horse with a star, interrupted stripe, and snip||A horse with a star|
Shorter marking is sometimes called a "fetlock" or a "sock," taller marking is clearly a sock
A horse with "high white," including stockings on all four legs
A coronet marking
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