Uncatagorized White and Various Coloured Markings
This page is under construction.It will contain extensive information on various white markings and other colour anomalies that do not fit into any of the established categories of horse colour. We are looking for pictures of horses that are representative of the various markings that can occur on a horse from normal face white to oddities like brindle and birdcatcher spots. For a photo to be chosen the horse must be clean, unclipped, and standing in a conformation type stance that best shows off the colour.
Unclassified Colour Oddities:
Albino: An albino has a complete lack of colour pigment. They are white haired, pink skinned and pink eyed. The pink skin and eyes are caused by the blood flow that is visible under the surface. In all species that have true Albinos the lack of colour is caused by a recessive gene mutation, so that the organism must get 2 copies (1 from each parent) before the lack of colour will show. All white horses so far, show only dominant forms of inheritance for any kind of white pattern. There are no true Albinos either by genotype or phenotype in any horse breed.
Bend Or Spots: Also called Ben d’Or smuts or grease spots, they are random dark spots on a lighter coat. The spots tend to be associated mostly with chestnut and palomino coats and can vary in size from a dime to larger than an outspread hand. The spots are named for the Thoroughbred Horse Bend Or (1877- 1903) who was referred to as a “golden chestnut”. Bend Or is a great-great grandson of Birdcatcher.
Birdcatcher Spots: Spots named for the Thoroughbred horse, Birdcatcher (1833-1860), these are small round, dime to nickel sized white spots scattered through the coat. The spots can appear and grow in numbers for a few years and then disappear or they can stay permanently. It is interesting that the horse Birdcatcher himself is described as having white ticking on his flanks and at the base of his tail rather than being spotted, which is more indicative of Rabicano not the spots named for him.
Blood Marks: Also known as bloody shoulder marks, these are varying sized patches of reddish colour found on grey horses that do not grey-out with the rest of the horse’s base colour. They can be found on any part of the horse’s body.
Brindle: A rare coat pattern where there are dark vertical lines on a lighter coat colour. “Brindle seems to require sooty black countershading for its expression, and reorganizes sootiness into vertical stripes instead of a more uniform sprinkling of hairs.” Sponenberg, 200?)
Brindle, Reversed / White: A rare coat pattern where there are light/white vertical lines on a darker coat colour. The pattern is thought to be Chimeric or possibly an expression of Rabicano or Roan. The Thoroughbred Horse, Catch A Bird, is a white brindle who has sired 4 phenotypically roan foals, yet Thoroughbred Horses do not have true Roan in the breed. Catch A Bird’s daughter Slip Catch has produced at least two roan foals.
Chimera: a condition that is caused when two fraternal (non-identical) twins fuse into one embryo in utero creating a horse with two separate sets of DNA. The resulting horse is often identified by a brindle coat pattern or a pinto like pattern of two non-white body colours. The colour pattern expresses in a way that is not typical of a standard horse pattern and is recognised as “odd”.
Environmental factors: Various white marks are caused by diverse non-genetic causes. Virus and fungal infections can cause white spotting in the coat that can resemble Birdcatcher and Bend Or spots. Scars, rubs, saddle sores and hot spots tend to grow back white as well.
Ermine spots: Coloured spots or streaks in the hair at the coronet band of horses with white socks.
Flaxen: Thought to be a recessive modifying gene that effects Red horses’ manes and tails making them significantly lighter than the body. The mane and tail are usually diluted to a pale yellow or off white with the tail often having a red streak down the center. Either the mane or tail can be lighter than the other. Sooty can intermix with Flaxen creating a mane or tail that appears a silvery-grey. A light red bodied horse with Flaxen can appear to be palomino. A dark red bodied horse with Flaxen can look like a Sooty palomino or even a Red Silver.
Gulastra Plume: Thought to be a manifestation of a Sabino-like spotting pattern, it creates a light coloured tail on an otherwise solid horse. Care should be taken to not confuse a Gulastra Plume with Rabicano, as a Gulastra Plume is not generally associated with any roaning or ticking. Named for the Arabian horse Gulastra (1924-1955), who was a chestnut without much white and surprisingly a tail the same colour as his body, he however produced many descendants with a lighter tail.
Lacing: Also called giraffe markings, marble, cobweb, or cat-backed. This is a pattern of white that starts along the back that often gradually grows larger over the years is in a pattern that can look very similar to the markings on a giraffe. These markings are felt to be caused by a fungal skin infection or a blood disorder but the patterns may also have other causes as the owners of some horses have reported no signs of fungal infections prior to the pattern starting.
Manchado: A white spotting pattern found in Argentina in a few horse breeds: Criollo, Hackney, Arabian, and Thoroughbred.
Occluding Spots: Where the horse’s original colour appears inside a white marking, usually with small random white around the colour that enhances the appearance of the colour being overlaid on the white. Occluding spots generally are noticed mainly on a blaze face and include what is known as a badger face. A badger face at its most extreme looks like a dark blaze surrounded by white.
Pangare: Also known as “Mealy” this coat effect acts on any colour by lightening areas of the coat to a light tan colour. Typically the muzzle, belly, inner forearm, and flank are lightened, with sometimes the chest and around the eyes being lightened as well. Red (ee) horses usually have a flaxen mane and tail. Pangare is most often found in pony and draft breeds: Halflinger, Exmoor, and Fjord
Rabicano: Often referred to as “coon tail” or “skunk tail” this is a roan-like ticking pattern. White hairs at the base of the tail are aligned into a stripped pattern that resembles the rings on a raccoon’s tail. There is also varying amounts of roan-like ticking on the barrel and flank of the horse, yet there is seldom ticking on the neck or hindquarters. This roaning sometimes extends in vertical strips along the ribs that make the ribs appear to have been highlighted. Rabicano expresses most strongly in red horses and appears to have a dominant form of inheritance.
Somatic Mutation: Results from a gene that doesn’t function on certain areas of a horse’s coat, leaving an odd coloured patch. For example a Bay horse that has a patch where all the black has not been restricted to the points, creating a black patch on a red body.
Sooty: Also known as “Smutty” or “Countershading”, the horses coat is sprinkled with darker/ black hairs that darken the tone of the coat. Sooty acts on both red and black pigment. Generally the black hairs concentrate towards the topline and points with a lesser amount in the flank and along the underbelly. Sometimes the black can be so concentrated that the sooty horse is very similar in appearance to a Dun. Sooty has been known to darken the coat uniformly, or conversely can express as smudges, patches, stripes, spots or dapples.
Tetrarch spots/ Chubari spots: Larger, often egg shaped and egg sized white spots found on grey horses. Named for the grey Thoroughbred, The Tetrarch (1911-1935), who was known as “the spotted wonder”. The Tetrarch was a great grandson of Bend Or and also had “Bend Or” spots so was also described as being “speckled with black and white spots).
Vitiligo: Loss of pigment in the skin due to destruction of pigment forming cells called melanocytes. Vitiligo can be associated with grey horses that sometimes also have lightened skin tones as they grey.Go to Top