top of page

Friday inspirations

the head and neck of a pintaloosa mare. She is a black varnish roan with a tobiano pattern. She has a very pronounced "V" mark on her nose and partial blue eyes.
This pintaloosa mare could almost pass for a fleabitten grey tobiano if it weren't for the mottling on her muzzle and the large varnish mark on her nasal bone.

I have always had one unbreakable rule for the blog: no photos without permission. Unless the copyright period has passed or the owner has made the image available through an open source, I ask for permission. I have been fortunate over the years that most people are incredibly generous with their pictures, both for the blog and the books I have written. They make it possible to talk about a more comprehensive range of topics than if I were limited to my own photos. I have even had talented photographers like Kimberley Smith and Christine Sutcliffe open their portfolios to me, which has been a tremendous gift!


Respecting intellectual property is the right thing to do, but it has limited what I can share on the blog. My personal collection of reference images is vast, but I don’t always have the time (or even the information) to track down the necessary permissions. With that in mind, I am going to try something new. Each Friday—or at least I am hoping for each Friday—I will post links to interesting horses I have run across in my research.


I’ll give a warning now that these will be eclectic groupings. They probably won’t relate to whatever topics I am writing about at the time. Expect randomness. Some horses might have rare genes or be otherwise interesting from a scientific point of view. Some might be good examples of variations or good references for details. It might just be something that struck my fancy. My goal will be to share horses that inspire me with readers, whether that inspiration takes the form of artistic activities or scientific curiosity–or both!


I will start each of these weekly with a feature image that meets copyright requirements. These will be noteworthy horses that don’t quite merit a full-length blog post, like the pintaloosa mare above. Then, I will list six horses that I want to share. Clicking on the title will take you to the most representative image I have of the horse. I’ll explain what is interesting about them and include links to any additional information that I have available, such as pedigrees, videos, and database entries. I am going to give preference to images posted on long-established websites. However, rare and unusual horses sometimes appear in less stable venues, like auction sites or sales ads. Therefore, Friday Inspiration posts may have a more limited shelf-life than is normal for the blog.


So come along with me, and let’s look at cool horses. It’s my favorite way to pass the time!

The unusual honeycomb marking across this mare’s shoulder is known as a Bider Mark. They are found in Mongolian Horses and some breeds related to them. The markings are roughly symmetrical, so you could expect to see a similar marking on her other side. Most of these marks are not this extensive, but the Transbaikal breed seems particularly prone to dramatic Bider Marks.   

Quite a few of the Transbaikal horses have tightly curled winter coats. This stallion is a black leopard that turned grey over time. (Here is a photo of him at age 4, when his spots were still visible)

Rudraksh (Khudabaksh – Kajal)

Although the full pangaré pattern is common in rustic ponies and heavy horses, it is pretty uncommon in hot-blooded riding horses. One exception seems to be the Marwari of India. This young colt is a great example. Here is another picture of him. (Although foals often look more mealy than they will as adults, this colt is old enough, and the contrast is strong enough that I would not expect any significant change in his color.)

Arkan-Goran Goral  (Pac – Alaska / Luzak)

Although this stallion is very dark, you can still see large transverse stripes extending from his dorsal stripe down most of his barrel. (Because duns in this breed are often quite dark, it can be challenging to determine whether a particular horse has Dun (D) or non-dun1 (nd1). More photos are here: 1 2 3 4 5.

Most of the linked photos come from the portfolio site of Polish equine photographer Paulina Peckiel. I recommend checking out her other albums; she has many great images!

Ohana Lady Lannister (Odysseus Melody – Ohana Highest Hope)

Reversed dapples are more often seen on roans than on greys, so this mare is an interesting variation. Quite a few Connemaras grey out in unusual patterns, and the breed is noted for individuals who start greying very late in life. That will be the topic of a future post!

(The site linked, Sukuposti, is a database from Finland. It is one of the best sites for including multiple photos of the horses, often with dates so you can determine the age at the time they were taken.)

Gynger Rogers (Stevie Rey Von – Flo N Blue Boon)

Roans are mcuh more variable than many people realize and they change seasonally. However, this mare—or at least as she appears in her photo—is one of the most unusual expressions I have seen.


bottom of page