5 Common Horse Markings

Most people familiar with horses can look at a herd and tell the difference between a buckskin and cream and a palomino and a bay. It’s not terribly difficult to identify the coat color of a horse. But after spending some time around a large herd, you’ll see that not all buckskins are the same because it’s a rarity for two horses to look exactly alike.

Horse markings are what distinguishes horses from one another and there are many kinds of markings. Horse markings are easy-to-see areas of white on the animals’ coat. Almost every horse has markings and it’s the markings that help people identify individual horses.

If a horse is born with markings, the markings don’t change as the animal grows older. As a horse develops and grows, and when it is shedding its coat in the fall, a marking may seem to be changing in shape and/or size. However, this is just a result of the horse’s coat length changing because the underlying markings always stay the same.

There are several types of horse markings including those found on the face (facial markings) and those found on the legs (leg markings) both of which are white. There are also non-white markings on horses. Here’s an overview of horse markings to give you a better understanding of how to tell horses apart.

The 5 Common Horse Face Markings

1.Star Marking

A star is a white marking located on the forehead between or above the eyes. These markings can be of various sizes and they don’t always look exactly like stars. Stars can be irregularly shaped, round, or in the shape of a heart, a crescent, or a half-moon.

2.Snip Marking

A snip is another white marking that varies in size and shape. This marking is located on the lower part of the nose.

3.Strip Marking

This marking is a strip of white running vertically down the center of a horse’s face. Strips are not always straight nor do they always run the entire length of a horse’s face. A “race” is a term used for a strip that is not straight.

4.Blaze Marking

A blaze is a wide, prominent vertical line that runs down a horse’s face. A blaze can stop partway down the forehead or go all the way to the muzzle.

5.Bald Marking

This horse marking is a white area that’s broader than a blaze and one that takes up the majority of the horse’s face. Most bald-faced horses have blue eyes. This marking is common among paint horses.