Even when greys are extensively fleabitten, some areas of the coat tend to have noticeably fewer spots.
In the previous post, the grey horses had a common type of fleabite distribution: a concentration around the eye. As the image above shows, however, not all fleabitten greys have dense markings around the eyes. In fact, while it is a little unusual, some are like this horse and have very little flecking on the face.
However, this horse does display an aspect of spot distribution in fleabitten greys that is common. That is the tendency for the ventral area – the chestnut, belly, and insides of the legs — to be less densely spotted. This horse shows this in a particularly dramatic fashion. His undersides and even the lower part of his hindquarters are almost entirely white-grey, making it look like the fleabites were splattered over his topline.
Viewed from the front, the spotting pattern is like a cape that wraps around the neck and shoulders but stops short of the underside of the neck and chest. The absence of spotting on the front of the face is also common, especially with this type of distribution.
This type of distribution, where fleabites are sparser in the ventral areas, is often more subtle. However, it is common even in greys that are densely fleabitten.
Like many aspects of horse color, the More-On-Top-Less-On-Bottom distribution of fleabites is a common tendency rather than an absolute rule. Like the one below, the patterns on some fleabitten greys don’t seem to follow any particular logic. The areas with dense spotting and those without appear pretty random. Notice how his topline is mostly clear except for the cluster of large spots on his loin. Likewise, the base of his neck and the jugular groove are spot-free, but the side of his neck is densely spotted. If an artist painted this spotting pattern, it would look like they tired of adding the details and stopped before the work was completed!
There is another typical distribution pattern for fleabiting, which will be the topic of the next post. It is one of my favorites, and it will also lead us into more observations about this color variation.