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Examples of appaloosa facial mottling

June 10, 2021 0 Comments

This post first appeared on September 13, 2011
After posting the images of the mottled skin of the grey, I thought it might be interesting to post some appaloosas to show the range of mottling seen on their faces. Appaloosa mottling is something that tends to develop with age, but it is also something that varies a great deal from one individual appaloosa to the next.

This first picture is of one of my mare’s pasture mates, Freckles. She is a chestnut varnish roan with a blaze and one hind stocking, and is in her early teens. In the four years I have known her, her color has not changed in any significant way. Her unmarked feet are striped and the area under her tail is mottled, but she has almost no facial mottling.

The pink areas around her nostril and lips are from her blaze. The rest shows almost no mottling unless you pull her lips back.

This is my own mare Sprinkles. She’s a suppressed leopard, so she has a pattern as well as the varnish roan gene. Her color has been changing as she roans out, but overall the progress has been quite slow. She is eight years old in this picture.

She did not have much mottling on her mouth when I purchased her at three. She’s been getting more in the last few years, but it is mostly around the edges of her lips. Just how visible it is depends on how she is holding her mouth.

The mottling on the front edge of her muzzle visible in the first picture is actually the edge of her blaze. Like a lot of appaloosas – and greys – the mottling borders the part of her blaze the covers the front of her nose.  That was the first part of her muzzle to show mottling as a young horse.

This fellow is a snow cap blanket that has roaned out. He is most likely homozygous for the varnish roan gene. (Notice his mostly shell-colored hooves, which are typical of homozygous appaloosas.)

Homozygous appaloosas (fewspots and snowcaps) often have more pronounced mottling than heterozygous appaloosas. He certainly has more than either Sprinkles or Freckles.

If you look closely at the enlarged version of this photo, you might be able to make out star on his forehead and the pink mottled skin around it. He also shows the classic dark “V” across the nasal bones that many varnish roans have.

That is the tendency, but there are many heterozygous appaloosas that have extensive facial mottling. I have more examples, but I am going to make a separate post. A lot of readers get the blog by email subscription and with these large images I worry about stuffing someone’s inbox! (Subscribing to the blog is really convenient way to get all the posts, by the way, and can be done by clicking on the box to the right.)

By lkathman

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