Badge (horse)

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Various white badges

In horses, a badge is an invariable and innate identifier. A distinction is made between the fur swirls , white badges and colored badges.

All innate badges are so individual that they are used for identification (like the fingerprint in humans). They are entered in the pedigree papers by the vet . Acquired badges such as brand marks or scars from injuries can also be included.

If a horse does not have any white markings, "no markings" are entered in the identification papers. These animals can then only be identified via fur swirls and non-innate signs.

White badges


Badge on the head

Small white marks on the forehead are called differently depending on the size and shape.

  • No badge : no white badge on the head
  • Flake : only a small, fingernail-sized white spot on the forehead
  • Flower : slightly larger, approximately walnut-sized white spot on the forehead
  • Star : white spot on the forehead that does not yet affect the bridge of the nose
  • Flame : narrow line on the forehead, not going to the bridge of the nose
  • Wedge star : white spot on the forehead that has a short outlet on the bridge of the nose
Württembergerportrait.jpg Horses02.JPG Flakese.jpg Flammchen.jpg
Without badge Line flake Flame
Muso di cavallo (horse head) .jpg Arabheadshotalpha.jpg Dark chestnut mare-Ciara16.jpg
flower star Wedge star in a dark chestnut

Badges that extend from the forehead to the mouth are called blazes .

  • Line : narrow white stripe that runs over the bridge of the nose and possibly the forehead, but does not run all the way from the nose to the eyes, but is shorter.
  • Narrow blaze : white spot on the forehead that merges into a narrow strip that extends over the entire bridge of the nose
  • Wide blaze : like the narrow blaze, but with a wide stripe
  • Lantern : very broad blaze that completely covers the bridge of the nose and almost the entire forehead and ends at the nostrils
Muso di cavallo (Horse Head) 2.jpg HorseWithBlaze.jpg Horse trait breton 5622.jpg Horse with plaited mane.jpg
Narrow blaze blaze Broad blaze Broad blaze or narrow lantern

Narrow blaze, wide blaze and stroke can be continuous and interrupted. All shapes can be symmetrical, but also very irregular.

Horse stub.jpg StarStripeSnip.jpg Horse close.jpg Cheval Barbe - Micado de face dans box (IMG 6601) .jpg
Lantern Broken blaze Irregular broad blaze Irregular blaze
  • Snip : white spot between the horse's nostrils (see picture of badges on the limbs )
  • Milk or flour mouth : completely white markings around the lips and nostrils (there is a Leucistic badge, recognizable by the pink skin and as a badge that can be traced back to the Pangare gene , with black skin underneath)
  • Toad's mouth : spotty white markings around the lips and nostrils

Badges can also appear in combination, for example as a flake together with a snap.

Tinker Mehlmaul.jpg Przewalskifohlen2.jpg StarSnip.jpg HorseWithSnip.jpg Silz cheval2.jpg Mottledskin.JPG
Flourmouth, leucist Flour mouth, not leucist Star and flick Snap Snap Toad mouth

Badges on the limbs

The designation always first indicates the place starting with the side, for example "left front" and then names the badge. The highest point reached by the white badge always counts. If the course is not uniform, one speaks of irregular.

The subdivision takes place according to limb sections (ascending list):

  • Crown
  • Bale
  • Fetter
  • Foot half
  • foot
  • Feet up
  • leg
  • Leg up
Coronet.jpg Horsefeet2.jpg WeißerBallen.jpg Half white fetter.jpg Fessel.jpg
White coronet Crown on the left and no badge on the right White pad Semi-white pastern White pastern
HalbweisserFuß.jpg WeißerFuß2.jpg WeißerFuss.jpg HochweißerFuß.jpg HochweißerFuß2.jpg
front: half white foot / boots on the front leg (back: white foot) White foot / boot on the foreleg White feet / boots on the hind leg Bright white foot / boot on the hind leg Bright white foot / boot on the front leg

Influence of coat color on badges

In the case of white horses, the markings are still easy to see on young animals that are still dark. In the course of life, however, the fur turns white and the markings can only be seen on the skin as pink spots on a black background, while the fur is white everywhere.

If a horse is almost white due to a lightening of the color in the albinism spectrum, i.e. almost no dye (melanin) can be produced, the mechanism that leads to the formation of markings and piebalds is not affected. This means that cremellos or perlinos can also have badges, but these are hardly recognizable because the horses are almost white.

The frequency and size of markings is also related to the underlying color: foxes have markings larger than browns that are heterozygous for the fox gene, and these in turn have larger markings than browns that do not have a fox gene. White horses and black horses rarely have badges.

Perlino badge.jpg Samovar - - Akhal Teke.jpg Dance A Waltz 20060418.jpg Kone2001-1.jpg Portrait-etalon-2-shagya.JPG
Badge at a perlino A perlino. The horse has white pasterns or boots on all four legs and a star on the forehead Badge on a gray horse: The blaze is still clearly visible in the fur of this apple gray horse Here you can just guess where the blaze runs in the fur The shimmering black and pink skin shows where the blaze runs, while the fur is pure white


White badges are often called " albino " because of their whiteness , but actually belong to the leucistic circle of shapes and are created similar to spotted patterns .

In fact, piebald patterns in horses , when minimal, sometimes only express themselves in large markings. In addition to the check genes, there are several other genes that can only produce badges. The range of variation in the badge size depends roughly 2/3 on genetic factors and roughly 1/3 on other factors.

Arabs have on average more pronounced markings on the legs in the back than in the front and more markings on the left than on the right. Both can be influenced by breeding, but the asymmetry between the front and rear leg is stronger than that between the right and left leg.

The gene for the Freiberg's white markings is located at the kit locus.


For some horse breeds , such as the Frisians , badges are not allowed due to the breeding regulations. The markings on the legs can also extend to the hooves , which then results in white hooves.

Wild color badge

Eel line, shoulder cross and zebra crossing

Equus przewalskii-Beijing.jpg Przewalski's tail-turnip 2007-06-08 162.jpg Fjord horse - head.jpg Zebra crossing.jpg Stipe-leg-pattern-on-domestic-horse-IMG 0214.jpg Przewalskifohlen.jpg
There is a dark eel line in the middle of the back The eel line often leads into the tail The shorter-cut hair on the edge of the mane is often even lighter than the basic color of the dun At the pastern joint of this Fallow, somewhat darker zebra stripes can be seen on the inside more distinct stripes This Przewalski foal has a weak shoulder cross at the base of the neck.

There are also badges that are not white, such as an eel line . This is a darker line that runs from the mane to the tail over the spine. If the eel line is very pronounced, it can be crossed over the withers by a second dark stripe. This is called the shoulder cross. Often, in combination with an eel line, there are also zebra crossings. These horizontal stripes are on the forearm between the carpal and elbow joints. Like the eel line, they are darker than the rest of the fur. In summary, these three badges are called wild color badges. They are associated with the color of the dun . Zebra stripes can also occur in wild-type browns . The wild color badge occurs in many domestic horse breeds and in wild horses .

The wild color badges are a remnant of the stripes typical of zebras.

In many species of the horse genus ( Equus ) there are stripes of different strength. In zebras , the entire body is striped. The stripe pattern consists of the eel line, the shoulder cross and other vertical stripes on the neck and torso, horizontal stripes on the legs and vertical stripes on the head. In other species this striation is more or less regressed, but resembles the stripe of the zebra in its course. In the case of the donkey, only the shoulder cross remains from the vertical stripes, but this is often very clearly defined. They also have an eel line. The legs have little or no stripes. Although the shoulder cross is missing in the African donkey, the legs are very clearly striped in black and white.

In domestic and wild horses, the striation occurs only in falcons and is even more regressed there than in all other equidae. Depending on the animal, these residual stripes can be differently pronounced in Fallows. The eel line is almost always visible. Zebra crossings on the legs are the next most common element. Remnants of the shoulder cross and vertical spots on the neck and torso are even rarer. Only in exceptional cases can you still see remains of the zebra's face drawing on the head. However, the existing stripes always correspond to those of the zebra in terms of direction and location.

Zebra 1.jpg African wild Ass.jpg African wild ass-legs.jpg Ane Chanteraines.jpg A zonky.jpg Carly.jpg
Zebras are striped all over their bodies The African donkey only has clearly visible stripes on its legs. Stripes on the leg of the African donkey In house donkeys you often see a clearly pronounced shoulder cross Half zebra half donkey - a few more stripes, gray on the body Half zebra half horse; underlying color: fox - stripes brown in brown all over the body

Dark face mask

Koniks5.JPG NF pony foal head.jpg
Black face mask for a Fallow ( Konik ) Flour mouth in a brown ( New Forest pony )

In Falben sometimes a dark face mask occurs. It is also typical of the tarpan .

Flour mouth

There are two forms of the flour muzzle - a variant, which, like the other white facial markings in horses, is caused by leucism and is associated with pink skin, and a variant that often occurs in pony and horse breeds that are still very close to the wild horse, and caused by a different control of melanin synthesis. The non-leucistic variant can be recognized by the black skin on the nose and by the fact that the horse's stomach and the insides of the legs are lightened at the same time.

More badges

Copper mouth

The mouth is lightened from black or dark brown to brown or light brown. A horse of this color is never genetically black.

Tom kupfermaul.jpg Ben d'or spots.jpg Big Brown bird spot.jpg
Horse with a copper mouth and a star Ben d'or spots on the buttocks Birdcatcher spot

Ben d'or spots

Ben d'or spots (also called bend or spots, Ben dor spots or almond spots, corn spots or fly spots) are small, round, dark spots. They are named after an English thoroughbred named Bend 'or , in whom these points were first described. They're common, especially in foxes and palominos. Inheritance is so far completely unknown.

Birdcatcher spots

These spots are also named after an English thoroughbred - birdcatcher. The spots are small, round, and white, and occur regardless of a check pattern. The inheritance of Birdcatcher spots is unknown, but according to the current state of research it has nothing to do with the previously known types of check. Birdcatcher spots occur relatively often, but mostly undetected.

Chubari spots

Saturday morning4.jpg Bloody Shoulder on a Gray Horse.jpg
Horse with a Chubari spot Bloodmark

As soon as the birdcatcher spots are larger than about 3–4 cm in diameter, they are called Chubari spots. Again, nothing is known about inheritance. The spots got their name from the English thoroughbred Chubari .

Tetrach spots

(also called tetrarch spots) are white spots that are larger than Chubari spots. They are named after Tetrarch (English thoroughbred).


A bloodmark, also called bloody shoulder, is an area of ​​red or brown burl hair in light fur, usually on the shoulder or neck. It occurs in gray horses, especially in Arabian thoroughbreds but also in quarter horses and English thoroughbreds. It arises either from the incomplete mold at the site of the later blood mark or from the gradual accumulation of colored hairs each time a gray horse changes coat.

Reverse bloodmark

A Reverse Bloodmark is the reverse drawing of the Bloodmark, i.e. a light, spiky-haired area in the dark fur.

Reverse Blaze and Medicine Hat

APHA Mare1.jpg Reverse blaze.jpg
Medicine Hat Reverse blaze

When a piebald is white in large areas of its body, it sometimes leaves small, dark areas of fur that look like upside-down markings. A medicine hat (literally translated: medicine hat) is used when only the ears and a small area around them remain dark. Reverse Blaze (literally: upside down blaze) is a dark badge shaped like a blaze or lantern.

See also


  1. a b C. M. Woolf: Common white facial markings in bay and chestnut Arabian horses and their hybrids. In: J Hered. 82 (2), 1991 Mar-Apr, pp. 167-169. PMID 2013690
  2. ^ A b S. Rieder, C. Hagger, G. Obexer-Ruff, T. Leeb, PA Poncet: Genetic analysis of white facial and leg markings in the Swiss Franches-Montagnes Horse Breed. In: J Hered. 99 (2), 2008 Mar-Apr, pp. 130-136. PMID 18296388
  3. ^ CM Woolf: Multifactorial inheritance of common white markings in the Arabian horse. In: J Hered. 81 (4), 1990 Jul-Aug, pp. 250-256. PMID 2273238
  4. CM Woolf: Influence of stochastic events on the phenotypic variation of common white leg markings in the Arabian horse: implications for various genetic disorders in humans. In: J Hered. 86 (2), 1995 Mar-Apr, pp. 129-135. PMID 7751597
  5. a b C. M. Woolf: Directional and anteroposterior asymmetry of common white markings in the legs of the Arabian horse: response to selection. In: Genetica. 1997-1998; 101 (3), pp. 199-208. PMID 9692229
  6. a b c d J. A. Lusis: Striping patterns in domestic horses. In: Genetica. Volume 23, Number 1, pp. 31-62 / December 1943. doi: 10.1007 / BF01763802 .

Web links

Commons : Horse markings  - album with pictures, videos and audio files