Barn Life Mysteries

Barn Life Mysteries

When you get rained out/take a break/go on vacation and let it go to nine days since seeing your large majestic horse creature, you are bound to come back to some surprises.

Simon for one, was surprised his mom abandoned him.  I came back to a wild & wooly creature who was caked in sweat and looked at me like, “I’m HOT.  I’m COVERED in flies.  My eyes HURT.  Where have you been woman?!?”

I guess he has gotten used to the finer things in life.


As I looked him over, I reached my first major surprise.  Back before the horse show, he had a little fungus on the back of his hocks.  Nothing unusual, the same kind of stud crud horses get on the back of their front legs.  I curried it off and probably applied some MTG knowing me.  It was only on one hock.

When I inspected the area yesterday, I saw this:


Those white spots are hair.  Healthy, slick hair.  They turned white in less than 9 days.  It’s not bird poop.  It does not wash out.  Has anyone ever seen something like this?  Is my horse turning into an appaloosa?

Current theories are fungus or rubs/irritation from his BoT hock boots… but that seems strange.  He doesn’t wear them for more than a few hours at a time, but it was very hot/humid last time he wore them at the horse show.


The final surprise came the next day when I came to the barn with a new fly mask for my boy since his eyes were getting so irritated.  I was not the only horse mom to give their baby a fly mask, so the horses were having quite the “maskerade party” out there.  Hahaha, I crack myself up.

Did your horse come with any magical white spots or fly mask shenanigans this week?

29 thoughts on “Barn Life Mysteries

  1. Yep, rubs from hock boots. Or does he wear a flysheet? Could be rubs from leg straps. But my money is on the hock boots!

  2. Definitely looks like boot rubs to me… they are fairly parallel is there a seam or a tag on the side of them that could be irritating him?

  3. I bet its the hock boots! Just like any improper fitting equipment (saddle, boots, etc) can cause white hairs.

  4. Whenever Mollie gets a rub/scar the hair grows back bright white. I have to say the first photo cracked me up…. he looks like he’s had a rough few days! Haha.

  5. Definitely rubs from the boots!
    I got my mare a new flymask several weeks ago. It was a tad snug on her nose but nothing bad. Her face was still shedding (so she was itchy) and it was blazing hot out, so the sweat from where it was snug and all of her scratching caused two white spots to appear on her nose. I switched to a different flymask and haven’t had issues since. Luckily, they are small… but they are permanent :/

  6. That fly mask looks super secure, but I’m always afraid that style will rub away the few forelock hairs my horse has (no thick luxurious manes going on here…). Have you had any problems with them?

  7. I’d guess rubs, too. Shy is turning into an appaloosa as well, but it is not from any rubs anywhere. It is in strange spots and not on spots where she ever was injured. Weird.

  8. I know ill-fitting saddles can cause white spots like that on the withers, so maybe it is the boots? I’m not really sure so don’t take my word on it.

  9. Opie (The Old Man) was so irritated by the flies one summer that he rubbed his face on his legs until there were bald spots. Aaaand… the next year, that hair grew in white!
    It typically is the result of some sort of trauma or irritation, and it seems like a result of longer-term stresses than acute injuries. Maybe the crud itched and he went to town scratching them. Who knows?
    You can always black them for shows with black Kiwi boot polish! It’s like the black-leg version of baby powder on white legs! 😉

  10. Miles is abused and gets no fly mask. But he did manage to get himself a nice scrape above the inside of his knee. It’s all superficial, but he didn’t really appreciate the thorough cleaning it got after our lesson!

  11. I would bet that those are actually pressure spots from the hock boots. White hair grows when the follicle itself has been damaged. That usually happens from pressure, not from rubs (which is why you see it so often near the withers from the pressure points of ill-fitting saddles). For example, I had a horse who lived in bell boots. Instead of removing the bells to re-shoe the horse, the farrier just pulled them up above his knees so they’d stay out the way. The problem is that the farrier did not remember to pull them back down when he put the horse away, so they stayed like that for several hours. A few days later the hair fell out, and a few days after that white hair grew in it’s place. Almost 10 years later and it’s still white. Always will be because the follicle itself was damaged from the pressure of the boots. I would bet that either the straps were too tight, too loose (causing them to slide down until they were stopped on a too-tight area), or the strap design itself just isn’t made in an anatomically correct way.

  12. Henry occasionally wears BoT hock boots and sometimes has a fly sheet on (when it’s not too hot) and I know neither of them rub him but he has the SAME rubs! Hock boots are fit right and haven’t slid down and the leg straps don’t reach that low on his fly sheet.

    I am thinking it’s from laying down? Or some fungus? Henry actually had some funky little bump right there and I had my trainer look at it- she said it was nothing.. then it came off and left what you are showing. I’ve been keeping an eye on them and he doesn’t seem bothered by them and it isn’t getting worse.

    1. Just FYI, mine’s pressure sores did the same thing. All the dead skin clumped up, then fell off, then left white hair. I probably would have mistaken it for fungus if it wasn’t so obvious what the cause was. I’ve never had fungus damage all the way down to the follicle that way though, only pressure sores.

      1. Hmm interesting… the thing is he hasn’t had the hock boots on in a while and the leg straps don’t reach that low. Also, there isn’t any hair growing back yet, but it’s also not getting worse.. so weird!

  13. I would say the hair probably grew back white due to a combination of both rubbing and the fungus from sweating under the boots. At least it looks like it cleared up pretty quickly. Love MTG!

  14. We’re battling welts from some sort of super fly that’s biting right now. Additionally, whatever tiny cut Q obtains on the trail from greenbriar or what-have-you is taken from something that is so beyond mild and pathetic to something that looks diseased and infected because the bugs won’t leave it be. They open it up and make it 10x as large. I can’t keep enough SWAT on this horse right now in those areas. The areas improve vastly with the SWAT after a day or two, but those bugs are persistent! Ugh!

  15. Hue has never had his hair grow back in white because of fungus stuff and he has some right now :/

    Unless you’re putting the BOT on too right I can’t see them causing that either :/ boo!

  16. My best bet would be it is just scarring from his fungus. This is actually quite common with fungus and other injuries. When the skin scars, the hair loses its pigment and turns white. Look up fungus scars on horses on google images and you’ll find similar results to your boy:)

  17. My money is on hock boot rubs, too. It could have been brewing for some time – my friend’s horse took 3 weeks to come up with white marks from saddle pressure after our big trek.
    We had fly mask shenanigans this week too, involving every trying out the Bucas zebra fly mask to see if we can see through it. Blog post on the way…

  18. My blood red Oldenburg gets white hair in odd spots about the size of a dime. Definitely not from pressure and the skin underneath is perfectly healthy. This is vitiliago (like Michael Jackson). Google bird catcher spots/trait.

  19. I haven’t seen that particular phenomena before but My gray Arab grows in red hair whenever he gets a cut so in various places on his body he has red stripes or red circles that resemble teeth marks or kicks. I guess he really wanted to celebrate his boo boos, lol.

  20. Every night when I turn my guys out…I creep on them out the window. One will always roll right away and keep rolling until the mask comes off. Then I go out to the field and put it back on…ahhaha usually stays on for most of the night after that.

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