Ermine spots are where a horse has white leg markings, then, within those markings on the coronary band there are spots the same colour of the horse’s coat. They can range from one small spot to many large spots. These spots often cause a horses hoof to become striped, as where the ermine spots are the skin is pigmented therefore producing pigmented hoof in that area. There is a great myth about dark hooves being stronger then light ones, therefore striped hooves are considered better then completely light hooves.
Ermine Spots Genetics
There isn’t much of a known cause for ermine spots in most cases, however, in one case there is a clear cause. Homozygous Tobiano horses are know to have many large ermine spots on their legs. Some of these horses have so many ermine spots that the entire hoof is pigmented black where it other wise should be unpigmented light.
Check out the Ermine Spots photo album to see pictures of Ermine Spots: