A rich brown, soft silver or warm chestnut are all beautiful colors of Thoroughbred horses. These colors are part of their markings that help to identify the animal. Markings are defined as certain colors and characteristics that appear on a horse including the overall color of the horse such as black, brown (bay) and chestnut in the dark color category and gray, roan or sometimes white in the lighter color category.
Markings also include those on the legs and head that are white with some rare exceptions. These are generally more unique and distinctive. Head markings include a star, stripe or combination of both as well as a blaze. A star is a small to large block of color on the forehead. A strip is a long line of color down below the forehead. A blaze is a wider band of color from the forehead down to the nostrils and muzzle. Leg markings consist of a stocking, sock or pastern. The markings cover the leg or legs at different heights.
Lastly, there are a few other specific markings used for identification. Cowlicks or “whirls” in the haircoat can be used as a unique identifying feature. These are seen most often on the horse’s face and/or neck. "Night-eyes" or "chestnuts" are small horny growths on the inside of each leg with a distinct pattern for each horse. These are also used as an identification aid and they can be quite valuable in reviewing a horse’s photos submitted to the Jockey Club registry. Both markings have been compared to a fingerprint in humans.