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Each horses markings are wholly unique but most of them fall under several broad categories.

Each category has a definition, which is more of a guideline than a hard and fast rule. Every horse will have specific markings that identify them.

This is a general idea of what that marking is on your horses face.

Bald Face

A bald face doesn’t mean an absence of hair as you might envision. It simply means the white marking on their face extends to the eyes or past.

This is generally found in paints and pintos, (and often there is at least one blue eye involved), however almost any color horse can exhibit large facial markings.

big bald face


I love bald faces

Apron Face

White extends along the jaw to the throat latch, generally covers the whole muzzle.

Kewpie's Razzle Dazzle - Before Clipping

Son giving Barney some Mississippi grass.

Medicine Hat

Usually displayed on a Tobiano pinto, this is a backward marking. The horse is mainly white and the dark marking is around the ears.

Also called the moroccan pattern.
Kenny more of front-on view showing medicine hat...

medicine hat

the good


Probably the most common face marking the blaze is found on horses of every breed and color. It is a broad white stripe down the middle of a horses face, generally starting at the forehead and running all the way to the nose, or mouth.

Face Value

Cow Face

chardonnay face

her sweet face

white blaze face


The snip is a small white marking between a horses nostrils, it can be any shape and ranges in size from a small dot to a larger blotch.

This marking is often seen in conjunction with other facial markings such as the star or a faint.

Weiner's Face!

Rosalynn's Beautiful Face

Brown Horse with Snip

all tacked up*


Perhaps the favorite face marking, stars are found in all shapes and sizes on the foreheads of horses everywhere.

I’ve seen all kinds of new (some fancy) names for good old star markings, but I prefer to keep it simple. If it is between the eyes and more than just a spot of white, it is a star.

FL-Just Mi Fancy 1997 by CR-Flash Lightning x Ms Mighty Elegant

2 11 06 best face shot ever!! soo gorgeous

Brandy (face)

Eclipse da star

snip, gal, chessy, sweetheart, and star

blossom valley morning star4

Close up of Zip's face

sept 25 2004

Strip / Stripe / Race

This marking can be broken down into three categories, but again in the name of simplicity, a stripe is not as wide as a blaze and runs down the center of the face.


Showmanship & Grooming 8/23/03

Brown Horse with Stripe

Rei, the face-off!



A faint is just a smaller version of a star. The line between them is vague, however I like to think of a star as a big white blotch and a faint as a little white spot.

Sometimes they are even hidden under unruly forelocks.

Gorgeous Mare Face


What a beautiful face and mane

breeze oct 03 face thoroughbred mare

Interrupted Stripe / Blaze

Now we are getting into sub-categories which I try to avoid, however this is a valid category simply because there is so many horses out there with odd bits of white on their face.

Plus it is an excuse for me to show pictures of cool horse face markings.

Essentially an interrupted stripe or blaze is one that doesn’t finish, or that has a break in it somewhere.

Another face shot

cali front face

Pretty Face



Irregular or Crooked

Another sub-category, but another good one because it is so broad. If your horses face markings are a strange shape, irregular or crooked, then they fall under this category.

Fella's unusual face marking


Lightning Strike

Vince Face


Common combinations

There are tons and tons of combinations of the above markings, some more common than others.

Here are a few you will see frequently.

Star and Stripe

Such a cute face

Star and Snip

Mindy face

Champs Snip & Star

Shadow face close

Faint and Snip

Cookie Face

Be sure to learn about your horses leg markings.

While you are at it, learn about your horses color too

Black horses
Chestnut horses
Grey horses
Bay horses
Cream horse colors
Dun horse colors
Silver horse colors
Champagne horse colors
Paint and Pinto horses
Appaloosa horses
Roan horses
Unexplained colors and patterns

More from The Equinest

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