Markings, Colors and Breeds
Note: It’s good to separate this into three separate lessons.
Please Print out Template 1 & Template 2 (below) for each student
MARKINGS – The word markings is used to describe white shapes on a horse’s face or legs.
Face – There are 5 basic face markings and then also face markings that are made up of a combination of markings
- Star – variable size white spot on forehead.
- Snip – Variable size white spot on nose
- Blaze – wide white marking that runs the length of face.
- Strip – a narrow white marking running variable lengths down face.
- Bald Face – white covers entire face including eye.
- Chin spot – a variable size white spot on front of lower lip
It is common to have two or three face markings together such as a star and a snip or a star, strip, and snip.
Legs – Most leg markings are basically named whatever part of the leg they cover except for sock and stocking and even that is pretty self-explanatory.
- Half heel – white covers only one side or the other of a heel.
- Heel – white covers the heel and does not come around front of leg.
- Coronet – white goes all around the coronet (right above hoof).
- Half Pastern – white goes from hoof halfway up the pastern.
- Pastern (this can also be called an Ankle) – white covers from hoof to top of pastern.
- Sock – white goes partway up the cannon.
- Stocking – white goes up to between right under the knee and right over the knee.
- Leg- white goes up the entire leg.
After reading and discussing what markings are, here are three activities to reinforce the lesson.
1. Marking Identification
Write and print out a list of the markings found on 10 horses in your barn. Leave a space for the horses name to be written in.
- A blaze and a right hind stocking. ________________________
- A Star and a snip. _______________________________________
- A Chin spot, a right hind pastern and a left front sock.___________________________________
- Bald Face, Three stockings._________________________________
- Etc., etc.
Send kids into the barn to identify the horses by their markings.
2. Markings BINGO
- Print out a template for a blank bingo card or draw and copy a page with 5 large squares across and 6 squares going down. Write out BINGO in top set of squares.
- Have kids cut 25 pictures out of magazines or catalogs that depict any of the markings they’ve learned about. It is ok for them to repeat markings. Equine Chronicle is a great magazine for this and a letter written pre-season to them asking for old or extra magazines may prove worthwhile. The pictures need to fit into the squares of the Bingo card. Glue picture in each square
- Once they’ve made their card, draw slips of paper out of a bowl and play bingo. Leave drawn slips in a pile so you can check their cards once they yell “Bingo”.
3. Create Horse Knowledge Page
- Print out the two templates attached and have kids draw markings and color page. Enter into Horse Knowledge Notebooks.
Here is a very basic list and description of colors. Among horsemen there can be some disagreement on some of these descriptions, but what we’ve listed here is agreed on by multiple resources.
- Bay – varying shades of brown body with black points. (mane, tail and usually legs)
- Chestnut – Body, mane and tail varying shades of brown with reddish undertones.
- Liver Chestnut – Very deep dark red varying almost to mahogany with either same color mane or flaxen mane.
- Sorrel – Body is varying shades of brown with more of a yellow undertone. Mane is either same color or flaxen (blond).
- Black – True black over entire body, mane and tail and especially around muzzle.
- Seal Brown – This color is often mistaken for black. It is a dark color that may range from very darkest brown to black but the horse will have a brown muzzle and sometimes brown in the flanks, around eyes and between hind legs.
- Blue Roan – White hairs mixed uniformly with black hairs over entire body. Legs and head may be darker.
- Red Roan – White hairs mixed uniformly with brown hairs over entire body. Legs and head may be darker.
- Buckskin – Varying shades of tan to deep gold with black mane and tail and usually legs. Buckskins do not have a dorsal stripe.
- Dun – Varying shades of tan to gold body with either black or brownish mane with dorsal stripe and usually zebra stripes on legs and sometimes over withers.
- Gray – The four variations of gray are Steel (dark), Light, Dapple and Flea-bitten. During his lifetime a gray horse may change from the darker to so light it is almost white but his muzzle, inside his ears and between his hind legs is still black.
- White or Albino – Completely white with pink skin around muzzle, eyes and between hind legs. Often has blue eyes.
- Palomino – Variations of yellow from pale to deep gold with a white mane and tail.
- Grullo – Smoky grayish brown sometimes described as mouse colored with same color or black mane and tail.
- Piebald or Skewbald – Sometimes referred to as pintos and Paints (Paint is now more referred to as a registered Paint). Piebald is black and white made up of large patches and skewbald is brown and white made up of large patches. Within the Paint patterns there are variations called Tobiano, Tovero and Overo.
For activities involving colors, it is possible to repeat the markings activities except with colors or try these 3 new activities.
1. Make a Color Graph of the horses in your barn.
Have kids walk through the barn with a list of colors. Decide what color each horse in the barn is.
On left side of a graph paper page list numbers 1-20 starting at bottom of page with 1. On bottom of graph paper list colors. Using markers in the appropriate colors will help to show the concept.
Print out the following worksheet, and send kids into the barn to list each horse under it’s appropriate color. Add to their notebooks after they make a color graph of your barn.
2. Color Concentration Card Game –
Again, you will need your stack of old magazines and catalogs. Give each child 4 index cards and assign them a color. It is their job to find 4 pictures of horses that color that will fit on the index card. (Hint – it is ok to cut pictures so maybe the whole horse doesn’t fit on the card, but it is still easily recognizable as that color.)Write the color somewhere on the same side of the card as the picture.
Once everyone hands them in, write numbers 1- (whatever number of cards you end up with) on the other side of card. Lay them out in a grid fashion on a table picture side down.
One player turns over two cards. If they match colors, he gets that pair and another turn, otherwise turns them back over, and next player goes. Players must try and remember what they saw so they can find cards that match what they turn over. Player with most cards at end of game wins.
3. Design a Horse –
Give each child a line drawing of a horse. (There are a number of coloring books that have great pictures to use.) You can also use double this assignmentwith the Craft Project – The Paper Herd.
Have six bowls marked as:
- Face Marking
- Right front leg
- Left front leg
- Right hind leg
- Left hind leg
In each bowl have slips of paper with color and marking listed on it. Have as many slips in each bowl as you have kids. Obviously, there will be repeats. Each child draws one slip from each bowl and colors or paints their horse according to what slips they drew. Glue slips to picture.
The number of breeds is seemingly endless, so we have listed a manageable number. Obviously, you can add or subtract from these as you see fit.
- American Saddlebred
- Quarter Horse
- Paso Fino
- Tennessee Walker
- Warmblood* – you may choose to teach specific breeds of.
- Shetland pony
- Pony of the America
- Welsh pony
- Draft horse*- another option to teach specific breeds of.
- Grade horse – explain definition.
Once you’ve gone over the list of breeds, it is helpful to talk about horse type and use as well.
These terms explained help to give a clear picture of why there are so many breeds.
Race – Endurance –
Sport- Pleasure –
Show – Stock –
Hunter- Driving –
This may be a good activity to pair or team kids up for. As much as we ban cell phones and tablets during camp, this may be a time access to the internet is allowed. Assign or let each team pick a breed. Ask them to find out the following about their breed.
- Physical Description of the Breed
- Primary and additional use of the Breed
- Origin of the Breed
- Location and name of Registry for that Breed
- Example of one famous horse in that breed.
Once they have found these facts, ask them to teach the rest of you about their breed with a 5 minute Oral Presentation.
Put slips of paper with each breed that gets reported on in a container. When all presentations have been given, have teams come up and draw out a slip. Using the information they just learned, have them act out scenes that would represent the breed they drew.
It is important to explain that the breeds you talked about are not all the breeds there are. Give an overnight challenge to go home and using any resource they can find, see who can come in with the longest list of breeds.
Have each child have their list and a pen. First child starts to read his list. Every time he reads a breed that other children have on their list they cross that breed off. If second child still has breeds not read by first child he reads his, until everyone who still has uncalled breeds has read from their list. A point is given for any breed you have on your list that no one else had on theirs. Most points wins!
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