Leg markings are areas of white hair that extend up from the hoof on an otherwise the dark-colored horse. There is so much variety in leg markings and so many unique combinations that leg markings are an important way to identify individual horses. Horses may have four similar white markings on their legs, or the leg markings can be completely different on each leg. For example, a horse may have no white on one leg, a high stocking on another, a coronet on another and a sock on another. Leg and facial markings are sometimes passed on from one generation of horses to the next. For example, Arabian horses of Crabbet bloodlines often have wide white facial markings along with four white stockings. Horses with particularly flashy and eye-catching white on their legs are said to have 'chrome'.
Lots of chrome can present a grooming challenge. For a show, these flashy markings are sometimes tricky to keep clean and there are many grooming tips to keep them white.
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A coronet is a band of white hairs around the top of the hoof (the coronet band of the hoof) that does not extend up onto the pastern. If the coronet extends around the whole hoof, the hoof itself will likely be white. If there is a break in the white hairs where there is coat color, the hoof may have a dark stripe below it. If the white hairs only cover a small area just above the coronet band of the hoof, usually at the back the marking is called a heel or partial coronet.
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Socks extend above the fetlock but not to the knee. Socks stop about half-way up to the canon bone on either the front or back legs. If the sock is solid white around the hoof, the hoof will most likely be white. If there is a patch of coat color or an ermine just above the hoof, there may be a stripe of dark hoof below.
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Boot or Fetlock
A boot or fetlock is white that extends up to, but only slightly past the fetlock joint. A partial fetlock means that only a portion of the fetlock joint is covered with white hair.Continue to 5 of 6 below.
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Ermines are random black spots that appear on white areas on the horse's body. They can appear on the horse's white leg markings, and if they are against the coronet band of the hoof, there may be a stripe of dark hoof wall on an otherwise white hoof. Ermines can also appear on horse's facial markings.