Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Medicine Hat Markings and War Bonnet Markings in Pinto/Paint Horses

On Assateague Island, the Chincoteague ponies on the Virginia end of the island have produced ten foals since Pony Penning at the end of July.  Lately, we had three foals born - Thetis and Wild Thing  had a minimally marked chestnut pinto colt on 30 October; Jessica's Sea Star Sandy and Maverick had a bay filly on 31 October, and on 4 November Cody 2 Socks and Wild things had a foal (sex as yet unknown) that is a bay pinto.  From the first few photos taken, people thought it was marked almost exactly like Thetis' colt - but the new foal is not marked like the colt.
   Thetis and Wild Thing produced a rare "Medicine Hat" colt - a Medicine Hat is "an uncommon pattern where the poll and ears are dark, surrounded completely by white; a true 'medicine hat' pinto or paint usually has a predominantly white body, sometimes with dark coloration by the flanks, chest, and/or above the eyes." They usually have one or two blue eyes - this boy has two blue eyes.  If the color of the ears is broken on the poll - just having ears of color, it has no specific name for the coloration, though some people claim it's a Medicine Hat.  Here's a look at Thetis and Wild Thing's medicine hat colt (photos were taken and are copyrighted by DSC Photography of Greenbackville, Virginia):

Note that he has a small chest shield, a spot on his right flank, a strip of color in his tail, and the small spot on his back behind his shoulder and withers on the left side.  In the Old West he would have been considered a powerful medicine horse in raids and fighting, protecting his rider/owner from wounds, and would have been highly protected at home, as he would be a superior prize to steal.

  Cody 2 Socks and Wild Thing's foal has a War Bonnet marking - it has more color on it's body, and the color over it's ears and poll wraps down onto the side of the face and cheek without a break.  War Bonnets are also rare, and were also looked upon as a good war, or raiding, horse, but they are not the same as a Medicine Hat.  If the color over the ears and poll runs down onto the neck, or onto the face, it is a War Bonnet.  Here are photos taken of Cody 2 Socks' foal (they were taken by Captain Dan Wilson of Captain Dan's Around the Island Tours):

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