Thumbprints and Toads

We have a toad friend of the wash racks:wpid-20140904_193028.jpgI hope he eats all the fire ants!

When I first started riding, I noticed an indention in the shoulder of the trainer’s horse. The trainer’s mom, a true horsewoman I still have a great deal of respect for, explained it to me as Muhammad’s thumbprint, a not unusual marking, especially on Arabs and TBs. Eli’s got a pretty big one.

wpid-20140904_195323.jpg wpid-20140904_195316.jpgSign of good luck? Perhaps. I have read more recently that it could be caused by some genetic weirdness, or even tiny little foal embryo hooves, depending on how the foal is situated in the womb. Googling “Muhammad’s thumbprint” yields a few versions of the stories behind it, and that for a brief period in Puritan England it was considered a mark of bad luck rather than good. The stories behind it get lumped in with the stories behind bloody shouldered horse markings, and whorls. Another marking this makes me think of are the Bend Or spots, or grease spots–the random black marks some horses have. My palomino had a few, and Eli has a mark that looks like one on his right haunch. He also has a Franken-stitch scar on his neck, from what I assume was an old injury.

Before the advent of micro-chipping, all these different markings might have been more significant for identification, especially for horses without brands or lip tattoos. Do your horses have any unique markings with stories behind them?

24 thoughts on “Thumbprints and Toads

  1. apparently autobahn (literally) ripped off his RF outside heel bulb in his previous life. the scar is quite the identifier. also, on that shoulder he has a large (at least large in comparison to his flea bites) open black circle. i think it looks like a smooch!
    i’ve always heard the thumbprints called “prophet’s marks”–same thing, different words i guess!


    1. Yeah, it must be the same thing. Maybe different parts of the country have slightly different variations of the name. And ouch! about Autobahn’s heel. Horses do have a way of getting into crazy trouble!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I think I remember reading something about the thumbprint in The King of The Wind which was about the Godolphin Arabian. A good read if you’re looking for a fun book.

    Perhaps the toad is a prince waiting for an equestrian girl to kiss him, hehehe. 😛


  3. I remember the thumbprint from King of the Wind too. And the discussion of hands as a unit of measurement. 😉 Henry doesn’t have anything of note really, just a smattering of random white hairs on the right side of his jaw and upper part of his neck. Almost like a pathetic little patch of wanna-be roaning.


    1. You could call it roan frosting, maybe? I remember the Godolphin Arabian was a cart horse for part of the book. Definitely need to read it again, the more I think about it.


  4. one of my barns had a toad friend too – he’d be there every morning when we’d set the feed…

    isabel doesn’t have any physical marks or scars – but has random white roaning (particularly under her mane) and tiny ‘bird catcher’ spots. she might also have a dilution in her coat color gene bc her front legs shift from chestnut to a very light gold.


  5. My mare has two scars on her right shoulder where we assume some baby racehorses munched on her while she ponied them. I barely notice them anymore, but they would definitely help to identify her!


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