Belton pattern on the feet


In yesterday’s post, I included Audrey Crosby McLellan’s mare, AC’s Painted Lace. The belton spots are pretty obvious on her face, and I wondered if there were similar spots on her white legs. Audrey was kind enough to provide pictures that show them very well.

These first two images are with the lower legs clipped, so they show the spots very clearly. Like the spots on the faces of the previous horses, they are very round and have the same kind of halo effect where the underlying dark skin is wider than the colored hair.

LaceysLegs2 copy
Those images show the markings very clearly, and these are good shots of wet feet to show what is going on with the hooves.

Right front foot (front and back)

Right hind foot (front, side and back)

Left hind foot (front and back)

These pictures show how the color is concentrating down around the hoof. This kind of density in spotting is often seen in tobianos, where the cat-tracks cluster around the hoof. This gives some tobianos surprisingly dark hooves. It is also seen in some belton dogs. They have heavier spotting on the legs (and face), but it increases still more at the toes. Here is a tobiano with that kind of spot concentration, and an inset image of an English Setter with the black-toed belton look.


I have no idea if the actual mechanism behind belton dogs (T, or Ticking) is even similar to these kinds of spots on horses, but the visual similarities are striking.

I would also add that posting unusual horses to the blog is a lot of fun, because it often results in readers sending in images of their own horses, or horses they have encountered. Just recently, someone sent a horse that is truly strange – and it takes a lot for me to call something strange! I am going to use the leg spotting as a jumping-off point to talk a little about cat-tracks, and then move on to my strange example. So stay tuned for some cool stuff!

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2 Responses to Belton pattern on the feet

  1. Rebecca Turner August 15, 2012 at 12:55 pm #

    there is a little bay quarter horse next door that has spots around his hooves just like the last photo. But he is solid bay with, Im not sure if all 4 feet are white or 3 of them, but the ones that are white are not very tall socks (shorter than the horse in the first photo) but they all have lots of spots around the hooves and the hooves are dark. He also has little to no white on his face. Id have to ck but I think he only has a tiny star. I don’t think I can get any photos though. The place is a pig rescue ( yes! lol a pig rescue and they have about 100 or so pigs of all sizes and kinds along with a llama, 2 odd kind of sheep and a handful of dogs that have all been rescued) anyways they moved him and so its hard to get up there to get any photos of him. I think she was afraid he was going to get lamanitus from being on all the grass so he is in a smaller pen area now or Id be able to take some pics right over the fence. If they let him out this winter or fall I’ll get some for you though. I always wondered why he had the weird spots around his hooves. Tha also ahd a pony there that had a weird badger marking on his face and I think was a bay silver. Now I wish Id have gotten some pics of him. He was really pretty. Not the short fat type pony but he was very refined about 12 hands. She does seem to pick up the odd ball critters there. lol
    Oh, all the first letter on the left side of you post is cut off, all the way down… just thought you might want to know..

  2. Lauren Islip August 21, 2012 at 12:08 am #

    Are the hoof/coronet markings also known as ermine markings? Or is there a difference?