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Identifying my grey horse's markings

From: Shawna

Dear Jessica, I hope you won't think this is too unimportant to answer. It's very important to me! I am trying to work out just exactly how I can identify my grey filly's markings just in case. I live in southern Mississippi and you probably heard about our little hurricane problem last year. I got a kit to help me identify my horse, but there's a section with front and sides and back outlines of a horse and I'm supposed to draw in my filly's markings. She's only three but she's already very grey going white very fast, and I've only owned her for about two months. I don't have any baby pictures of her because she was already almost a year old when I bought her and her previous owners didn't take any photos. It looks like she has a thin blaze or maybe a star and strip, it's hard to tell which. And she has white on three of her legs, I know that because her hooves are pink instead of black. But her legs are so light already that I can't see how high the white goes or if it has an even or uneven outline at the top. I thought I could just say she was GREY and that would be enough, but I can sure understand how it would be good to have a more precise way to ID her.

Thank you! Shawna

Hi Shawna! You're right, it can be difficult to sketch a grey horse's markings accurately. This question does have an easy answer, though. All you'll need is your filly (clean), a water hose, and a friend with a camera. Just choose a nice warm day and soak your nice clean filly with the hose - don't just make her damp, but SOAK her to the skin. Then have your friend take photos from the front and the back and both sides, with extra photos of your filly's legs and head. Ask your friend to take his or her time making them photos as sharp as possible, and to take a LOT of photos, because if you just get ONE shot of anything, Sod's Law says that either the foot or the upper part of the leg won't appear in the shot, or the shot won't come out at all, or it will come out clearly but prove to be a photo of the camera operator's thumb. It will be easier for you to draw the markings accurately from the photos, and also you'll HAVE the photos as a record.

In any case, here's the reason for soaking your filly to the skin before bringing out the camera: When her coat is wet, the pink skin under her white markings will become very visible, and the white markings will be SO white that they will almost glow in the dark. Over the rest of her body, where her grey coat has black skin underneath instead of pink skin, her wet hair-coat will seem to be a different shade of grey: darker and more blue-grey instead of bright glowing white. This usually shows up quite well in good light, and even better on film.

You are wise to think about ways to identify your horse - I think that lesson was brought home to us all by last year's hurricanes. Good luck with your photo session, and I hope that you won't be bothered by any hurricanes this year.


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