The Colors of the Wind (Part Three)

For my last (finally) post on colors, I will explain my process of IDing mustangs. I will be using Doc’s band as an example, although it comes with the disclaimer that the only “group” photo I have of them is when they were with Jackson.

Step 1: ID the band. Although members of a band don’t always stay the same, there’s usually at least one distinct horse or color in a group. Once the band is identified, it can be easier to ID the individual horses.

In this case I would have used Jackson, but since Doc is now band stallion, Firestorm is the better option to ID the band.

In this case I would have used Jackson, but since Doc is now band stallion, Firestorm is the better option to ID the band.

Step 2: ID color. Once the band has been identified, I usually try to sort out color. For me, it is the most obvious way to distinguish horses, and if the color in a band is diverse, it can make IDing the horses quick. However, if there are similarly colored horses, then I start looking at the horses’ white markings.

For example, Firestorm is a very distinct sooty chestnut roan, and her silver mane and tail set her apart.

For example, Firestorm is a very distinct sooty chestnut roan, and her silver mane and tail set her apart from others in the band.

Step 3: Unless the horse has high stockings I look for big blazes, stars, or snips first. If I am still having trouble, then try to see the leg markings. Usually that is enough to ID horses, but if I am still having trouble, then I look for a couple more subtle differences.

Jasmine's shade is similar to other blue roans, but she has a distinct star and sock.

Jasmine’s shade is similar to other blue roans, but she has a distinct star and sock.

Step three: Look for differences in build. Although colors and markings can be similar, the build of each horse can be very different. A stocky horse looks different than a horse with a lighter build, for example.

Heritage is sorrel roan like firestorm, but her mane and tail are darker, with her body being redder. Pluss she is stokier than Firestorm.

Heritage is sorrel roan like Firestorm, but her mane and tail are darker, with her body being redder. Plus she is stockier than Firestorm.

Step four: the last thing I look for are scars or other injuries. It might seem crass, but in the wild, it can help make the horses unique. It can also help show how tough the horses are, and illustrate some of their stories.

Doc is a more aggrisive stallion, so he spends a lot of his time snaking his mares. He also tends to have more scars than other stallions, and has a thick, wavey mane and tail.

Doc is a more aggressive stallion, so he spends a lot of his time snaking his mares. He also tends to have more scars than other stallions, and has a thick, wavy mane and tail.

Like I said, this is the list I usually go through when IDing horses, but it usually goes differently depending on the horse I am IDing. Sometimes I go through the entire list and still can’t ID a horse, other times I only need to use one or two steps. The purpose of writing down these steps is less about giving a procedure, but more about giving people one example that helps them figure out their own system.

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1 Comment »

  1. Abbie Said:

    I still think this is one of the prettiest groups of mares on the mountain!! 🙂


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