Horses come in all shapes, sizes and colors! From miniature horse to the huge draft breeds, there is something for everyone! This month we're going to learn a bit more about size and markings, using graphics and text by Daniel Johnson and The Horse Channel.
Horses are measured in a unit called a "hand." One hand equals 4". You measure a horse at the top of it's back - called the withers - not the top of their head! The "hand" unit originated in Ancient Egypt, and was originally equal to the width of a man's hand or the height of a clenched fist. For showing purposes, any horse under 14.2 hands is able to compete in pony divisions, even if it's not a pony breed.
One thing that can be confusing to people new to horses is how we identify horses by their markings... or white parts on their faces and legs.
In this chart, we show each face marking separately, but this doesn't mean they are always seen alone. Many horses have combinations of markings, such as a star and a snip, or a star and a stripe. And then there are horses who have markings that seem to defy being placed in any category--you'll have to make your own judgement on what to call it!
Face markings are identified according to their shape and location on the horse’s face.
Snip: a small white marking on the muzzle, not connected to any other markings.
Stripe: a narrow band of white running up a horse’s face from the nose to between the eyes.
Star: any white marking on the forehead. It could be tiny, it could be large, or it could be an average size, like the one shown.
Blaze: a white marking wider than a stripe and thinner than a bald face, not including the horse’s eyes.
Bald face: the most dramatic face marking, covering most of the face, possibly covering the eyes.
Leg markings are identified by how high they extend up a horse’s leg.
Coronet: a thin band of white above a horse’s hoof.
Pastern: includes the pastern but doesn’t cover the fetlock
Sock (sometimes called an anklet): includes the fetlock joint
Half-stocking (or half-cannon): continues partway up the horse’s cannon bone.
Stocking:covers the entire lower leg and sometimes goes past the knee
This month's online activity is to go through the GSH Horses and see how many markings you can identify. Who has a star? Who has a snip? How many leg markings can you identify.
Also, use your hands to measure as many things as you can to estimate their "hands high". How tall is your Mom or Dad? Your best friend? Your pets? Your refrigerator? Go crazy measuring things ... and then email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know how tall in hands YOU are!
The February Hands-On activity will be Saturday, February 20, 2016 at 2:00 p.m. until 4:00 p.m. Join us at 45623 252nd Ave, Humboldt, SD 57055 for an afternoon of grooming and getting to know the Bug Club horses! Hands-On Memberships are $36 per year and allow you to attend up to 8 Hands-On Sessions a year. If you aren't a Hands-On Member, you can join us for a Hands-On Activity for $5 per child per session.