More unusual markings


Readers 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 mutation, or if it was caused by a reaction to something applied to the coat. Because the outline of the markings give the look of a horse smeared with an ointment, quite a few readers thought some kind of reaction to a topical substance must be the cause.

Since that post, the photographer has been in contact with the owner. The horse is named Cherokee, appears to have had the markings at least since he was a yearling, since they are noted on his passport from that age. His name would tend to suggest that his unusual markings were present in some form from quite early. His owner said that his is supposed to be an Irish Draught and Thoroughbred cross, though she mentioned that he does pace so the cross might be with a Standardbred.

But even more intriguing, another reader found a horse with a similar type of marking. This time it is a purebred Arabian mare. Her owner, Sami Alhassoun, kindly gave me permission to share her photos here.


Her name is Duja Alforsan and she is of local Egyptian breeding. Sami says that she was born with a white spot on her shoulder about 2 centimeters across. It grew as she matured, but stabilized at its present size when she was fully grown. She has had six foals, none of which have had this type of marking, nor have they produced it in their offspring.

Duja2 copy

The similarity to the markings on Cherokee is quite striking. It does not sound like either case involved anything applied to the coat, so it seems increasingly likely that this is some kind of somatic mutation. That might explain the unusual, non-organic outline. As I mentioned in the original post, the markings on Cherokee – and now Duja – are reminiscent of the odd white striping that some horses have.


And a hat tip to Maria Hjerppe for coming across Duja and putting me in touch with Sami. One of the best parts about doing this blog is the wide network of people out there looking for unusual horses. I have come to believe that one unusual horse is almost never the only one!


7 Responses to More unusual markings

  1. Judy October 2, 2012 at 12:17 pm #

    With some of these markings my first question is always…is there pink skin underneath (probably because I’ve had my share of Solid Paint babies), or just a big “roany” patch. I’ve seen lots of “roany” patches at the tops of stockings or small ones scattered over barrels and hips, but these remind me of the reverse “bloody shoulders” that you see on some grey horses. All in all…just fun markings

  2. NaConi Hansen October 2, 2012 at 1:16 pm #

    Hi there. I was at a local horse show this summer and met a horse with this exact type of marking. He was a black/bay, not sure of the breed but something stock type. I talked to his owner who told me that he’s had the white mark since birth. She called it an “Indian War Mark.”

  3. Laura Behning October 2, 2012 at 1:57 pm #

    Lesli, have you seen this guy? Scroll down to HangN The Streaker-

    The odd white patch is on his hip/stifle/gaskin, not his shoulder, but he has no other white markings so I don’t think it’s a pinto pattern. Looks similar to these 2 horses.

  4. Jen Hardacre October 2, 2012 at 10:08 pm #

    My Racking Pony is solid black, except for a roan sock on his left hind. Don’t know if that is unusual or not, but it’s fun when people notice and go, “Gee – never seen that before!”

  5. eaequestrian October 4, 2012 at 8:44 am #

    Do you think this is the same kind of thing as seen on Jimmy here?
    He was the pony I learned to ride on and while I don’t have many photos of him the only other white I could see on him was quite traditional – a big wide blaze and socks. Ever since I got into the hobby I’ve wondered what it was!

  6. Stephanie October 6, 2012 at 11:55 pm #

    I was uploading some pictures I took back at the Del Mar Races a year or so back and I found a TB that reminded me of this.

  7. Joy Koritz May 4, 2013 at 3:42 am #

    Hi! I would say this horse may have a bloody shoulder (reverse color because he is dark) or have a somatic mutation. Check out this website!