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Moronacity Horse Journal » Colors, Popular

Face Markings on a Horse

By Diane Ursu
Face markings on a horse:  snip, star, stripe, blaze, and bald face.  Adapted from an image by Sara Sanders.This bay horse has a star and a bit of a mealy-mouth, which is the lighter coloring on the muzzle.  Photo:  CMSporthorsesEach horse is unique in how he is marked. The head is no exception. Knowing how to describe head markings is necessary for filling out paper work, such as that for the Coggins test or an application to register the horse. Sometimes, the head markings are the only identifying characteristics between two horses.

A horse may have one type of head marking, or a combination of several. The following are general markings.

Snip – a small patch of white hairs on the muzzle, between the nostrils.
Star – a small patch of white hairs in the center of the forehead.
Stripe – a white stripe of hairs reaching from the forehead to the muzzle.
Blaze – a wide, white stripe reaching from the forehead to the lips.
Bald face – white covering most of the face, usually extending to the cheeks.

These facial markings are often combined so that a horse may have a star, stripe, and snip, or simply a star and stripe.

Normally, a horse’s eye is deep brown with a black pupil. No white touches the eye. Some horses have white touching or surrounding the eyes. This often produces an eye that is partly or fully blue. The may then be referred to as Blue-eyed, China-eyed, Cotton-eyed, or Glass-eyed. This is fairly common in horses with a lot of white in their coat, such as pintos. Wall-eyed may also refer to an eye that is surrounded by the white from the face, but may also be used to describe an eye that is defective.

Mealy-mouthed horses have faded coloring around their mouths. This is more common in bay and brown horses.

While there are some more complex patterns that may appear on a horse’s face, these markings are basic. Anyone who knows these basic patterns will be able to adequately describe the face markings on almost any horse.


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