Unusual white markings


I know I promised the “really strange” horse, but I think I will just have to call this Mystery Horse Week because I have a few more odd horses to share before I get to the one I intended. My friend Caroline Jones sent these images from a Napoleonic re-enactment. The horse has odd streaks of white hairs on both sides of his body. It looks almost as if someone smeared white ointment on random parts of his body!


In some ways the white areas remind me of some of the white striped horses, like the part-Arabian DA Remote Control. The marks on this horse are broader – more like smears than stripes – and less opaque, and they are present on both sides. To date most of horses with a pattern like the one linked have had stripes only, or at least primarily, on one side of the body.


This particular shot shows the varying density of the white hairs a little better. (And the Napoleonic costuming is cool, too.)

If this is not environmental (ie., if it was not caused by something smeared on the horse), and I had to guess, I would suspect that this is another type of somatic mutation, much like the white striping is thought to be. I do believe I have seen at least one other horse with this kind of marking, but I cannot remember where. Certainly if any of the readers has a lead on more horses that look like this, please pass it along. If there is one thing this blog has taught me, it is that if there is one horse with some odd type of pattern, there are probably similar ones somewhere. And that’s what I’ll post for tomorrow’s Mystery Colored Horse. Earlier this year a very odd Saddlebred surfaced, and appeared in this post. Others like her have since surfaced, but just recently someone shared photos of a horse with a documented background, including foal pictures. That should give me enough time to finish assembling the images for the really unusual horse.

Edited: I substituted the word “mystery” for “strange”. While I love anything strange, I realized that the kind folks who sent in pictures of their horses might prefer them to be called something other than “strange”!


10 Responses to Unusual white markings

  1. Christine Sutcliffe August 20, 2012 at 8:09 pm #

    This is the perfect time to introduce you to Jimmy – the first pony I learned to ride on. He’s been dead a number of years ago now and I have very few photos but I’d always wondered what this strange marking of his was…


    To all intents and purposes he appeared to be a bog standard liver chestnut, but that stifle spot’s been bugging me for years!

  2. Threnody August 20, 2012 at 9:52 pm #

    From what I’ve seen of him he appears to be a case of caustic materials put on the horse causing the follicles to be damaged and the hair grow in white. It looks like he had a fly repellant or treatment put on that did this. Even the shape of the white appears like slathered grease or gel. It’s probably a similar thing like what happened to Our Kerri, the TB with the white girth area caused by a caustic material (in this case bleach), creating a white mark. Also similar to horses with white marks caused by fungal scars, only these are accidentally made by humans. My two cents. 🙂

    • Nicole Jory August 21, 2012 at 3:30 am #

      I was going to say the same thing.. looks like some sort of scarring.. sometimes when people treat for fungus it can cause odd scarring too..but that’s usually more like large spots, not streaks like this one…

    • The Equine Tapestry August 21, 2012 at 6:45 am #

      I wondered the same thing, since it looks so much like something smeared on the sides. Perhaps if Caroline (the photographer) is reading this, she can add anything else she knows. I am also going to clarify that post, since it looks like I am saying two different things. I don’t know if it is somatic or environmental, so I want to make that more clear.

      • Threnody August 22, 2012 at 3:18 am #

        I vote for environmental. Looks too human placed.

  3. Lauren August 22, 2012 at 8:13 pm #

    I know next to nothing about genetics, and just recently stumbled upon this blog- I’m loving it! Could I ask a bit of a newbie question?

    I love wandering around craigslist looking at the local horses, and I came upon this horse: http://sandiego.craigslist.org/esd/grd/3207718956.html
    I’m guessing there’s something else mixed in there besides tobiano, especially looking at the amount of white, especially on her face, the blue eyes (though I understand that this isn’t a reliable indication) and even some of the markings of her siblings on her sire’s page: http://www.kevinhoodshowhorses.com/gallery/Default.aspx?aid=14

    In looking at a horse like this, for just the average person who has little to no knowledge of advanced genetics, would this be the type of horse to test for splash and other pattern genes?

  4. Christine Sutcliffe August 23, 2012 at 3:50 pm #

    Here’s another oddity for you – first record of a brindle? It doesn’t look much like a zebra to me…


    • peg4x4 August 24, 2012 at 4:34 pm #

      It’s wearing shoes! No Zebra wears shoes..
      I saw a picture of the above horse somewhere (same horse,different rider) marks are just the same..


  1. More unusual markings « The Equine Tapestry - October 2, 2012

    […] probably remember this horse from a post made back in August. At the time there was some discussion about whether or not this might be the result of a somatic […]

  2. More unusual markings « The Equine Tapestry - October 2, 2012

    […] probably remember this horse from a post made back in August. At the time there was some discussion about whether or not this might be the result of a somatic […]