Markings

Face and leg markings are areas of white on the horse’s body, they can range from very minimal to extensive. Most markings follow a general rule to their expression however odd and dramatic leg and face markings are becoming more and more popular. Some breeds of horses such as the Friesian and Fjord are forbidden from having leg and face markings (though very small markings may be accepted) where as other breeds like the Paint Horse are encouraged to have bold markings. Horses with black base colours seem to have less dramatic markings compared to horses with red base colours. Markings usually have pink skin under the white hairs, this isn’t true for all horses as in rare cases horses with stars and even a blaze will not have pink skin under the white hairs.

Markings Genetics

Some markings are caused by known genes such the Overo genes which generally produces bold white on faces and legs and Tobiano which often results in bold leg markings. However, it is in great debate to what causes the more minimal markings. Some people claim that all markings are a form of either Sabino or Splash White. Dominant White 20 is an example of a gene that puts on small markings on heterozygous horses. It is known that markings are greatly influenced during fetal development within the womb by non-genetic factors including the temperature in the womb and foal positioning; this is best seen in cases of cloned horses.

Face Markings

Faint – small amount of white on the forehead.
Star – white on the forehead.
Snip – white on the nose between the nostrils.
Stripe – a long but thin line of white down the horse’s nose.
Blaze – a long but wide line of white down the horse’s nose.
Chin Spot – white on the chin.
Apron Face – white stretching over the majority of the horse’s nose however narrows at the forehead.
Bald Face – white stretching over the majority of the horse’s face.
Badger Face – where there should have been a wide blaze however the middle area has been ‘covered up’ with pigmented hair.

Check out the Face Markings album to see pictures of face markings:

Leg Markings

Heel – white on the back of the leg right above the hoof.
Cornet Band – white around the top of the hoof.
Pastern – white stretching up from the hoof to the middle of the pastern.
Sock – white stretching from the hoof to above the fetlock.
Stocking – white stretching from the hoof to the middle or top of the cannon bone.
High White – white stretching from the hoof to above the hock and/or stifle.
Lightning Marks – white on the side of the cannon seen on LP Complex horses.

Check out the Leg Markings album to see pictures of leg markings: