The Colors of the Wind (Part Two)

Well, folks, hopefully you’ve had some time to read and process post one, if not, here’s the link. I personally find it easier to understand color first before looking at the other markings, but there’s no one right way to read these posts. The only purpose of numbering them is to tell them from one another. I’m hoping to do a lot more showing than telling in this post, so hopefully it’s shorter than the first one. I will go into more detail about primitive markings, then roans, then white markings.

Dun Factor

For this section, I will use some of the more primitive looking horses in the Pryors as examples.

Black points: Since other colors have black points, I thought this would be a good place to start. Horses with black points have black legs, black rims around their ears, and a black manes and tails.

As a coyote dun (seal bay + dun facotoring) Jackson's an extreme example of black points.

As a coyote dun (seal bay + dun facotoring) Jackson’s an extreme example of black points.

Dorsal stripe: all horses exhibiting dun factoring have a thick, black dorsal stripe. A true dorsal stripe goes from the horses’ withers to their tail.

One of the most primitive mares in the Dryhead, Sacajawea has a thick dorsal stripe.

One of the most primitive mares in the Dryhead, Sacajawea has a thick dorsal stripe.

Zebra stripes: Most horses with dun factoring have stripes on their legs to a certain degree. Depending on the weather, or time of year, the stripes may appear very thin, while on other horses they might appear very thick.

Although Maia is dun roan, her zebra stripes are still clearly visible.

Although Maia is dun roan, her zebra stripes are still clearly visible.

Two-toning/frosting: although not a requirement for dun factored horses, most have at least a little frosting on their tails. In a very subtle way, frosting means blond highlights along the top or edges of mane and tails. Two-toning takes that idea to the extreme. Often, a horse with two-toning will have blond highlights throughout its mane.

Here's Kemmerer the Hunk to help show two toning. Even from the "wrong side" the blond highlithts in his mane are still visible.

Here’s Kemmerer the Hunk to help show two toning. Even from the “wrong side” the blond highlights in his mane are still visible.

Shoulder and neck bars: Not all horses with dun factoring have shoulder or neck bars. A bit like zebra stripes, they can look a bit like extensions of the mane. Since not all horses have them, they are a great way to tell similarly marked horses apart.

Another primative mare in the Dryhead, Kitalpha has some of the thicker shoulder bars in the Pryors.

Another primitive mare in the Dryhead, Kitalpha has some of the thicker shoulder bars in the Pryors.

Roan

Like duns, roans are a pattern not a color. However, for the purposes of IDing horses in the field, it is a lot easier to specify horses into what color their base coat is, rather than just calling them a red or blue roan. This is where showing vs. telling comes in. Since any color can be roan, I will only include a few examples so people have an idea of how white hairs mixed with body hairs on roans look. That way, as people get more familiar with what to look for, they will be able to see the specific color of the horse.

As the only sooty buckkin roan, Morning Dove is easy to ID.

As the only sooty buckskin roan, Morning Dove is easy to ID.

La Brava is an example of a bay roan.

La Brava is an example of a bay roan.

Although Cloud looks pale palomino, he is really light palomino roan.

Although Cloud looks pale Palomino, he is really light Palomino roan.

As an apricot dun roan, Jemez is another uniquely colored horse.

As an apricot dun roan, Jemez is another uniquely colored horse.

White Markings

The last way I ID horses is looking at their white markings. Since socks can be obscured by tall grass, or a small star can be covered by a horses’ forelock, they are often the last thing I look for when IDing a horse. However, they can often be the only way to tell similarly colored horses apart. White markings can come in different combinations, so I won’t give examples of all of them, but I will at least try to define each one.

Blaze: A blaze is a white stripe that goes from the horses’ forehead to the tip of its nose.

Fiero has a distinct blaze.

Fiero has a distinct blaze.

Star: A star is a white marking on a horses’ forehead. It can range from being small (known as a dot star, or smudge) or bigger enough to be seen around the forelock.

Strawberry has a star and snip.

Strawberry has a star and snip.

Stripe: A stripe is a very thin strip of white that is in between a horses’ forehead and muzzle. It is often where the middle of a blaze is, but very subtle.

Hawk (left), has 2 small stripes.

Hawk (left), has 2 small stripes.

Snip: A snip is white on the tip of a horses’ muzzle. Since it can also look pink, it is more frequently known as a pink snip.

Nye has a dot star and snip.

Nye has a dot star and snip.

Leg markings: Since leg markings can be covered up by tall grass, they are often the last things I look for. Leg markings can also be very subtle: anything from a small ring above the hoof to a high stocking can be considered. If using leg markings to ID a horse, keeping track of which legs and how high the marking is on each leg is a must.

Mariah has high stockings, but as I have already mentioned, leg markings can be subtle.

Mariah has high stockings, but as I have already mentioned, leg markings can be subtle.

Well, folks, just like my last post, if you’ve made it this far great job! I know that I said this would be the last post in the series, but the next (and last one, I swear) will be about tying all this information together. As I mentioned, there’s no wrong our right way to ID horses, but I thought it might be helpful for some if I go through the steps I take in IDing mustangs.

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