Horse With Feathers: Exhaustive Facts and Information


Horse With Feathers: Exhaustive Facts and Information

Undoubtedly horses are versatile animals. And there are a lot of things you can study and explore about horses. There can be a never-ending list of fascinating facts about these animals.

Horses, domestic or feral, often fascinate us with thick and flowy feathers. Horses that have an abundance of ground-touching hair around their hooves are called feathered horses. Although uncommon, these horses are real and look absolutely stunning. Also, these feathers serve certain purposes and are not only there for show.

So, let’s explore some interesting facts and information about horses that grow feathers and what purposes do feathered legs serve. 

Image Credit: Belgian Draft Horse with feathered hooves from Pixabay

Do some horses have feathers?

Horses have some of the most stunning features we can find in any animal. And while we can find horses with long hair on the back of their lower feet, feathered horses are rare to be seen.

Some horses, and even ponies, do have feathers around their hooves. Horses with feathers come in all sizes and shapes and tend to belong to certain specific breeds. Among others, draft breeds mostly grow dense feathers around their hooves to cover their feet in the cold atmosphere.

That being said, horse feathers must not be confused with fetlocks, which are long hair, at the back of the leg, above the hooves. Also, it is to be remembered that feathers are found around the hooves and in heavier horse breeds.

Why do some horses have feathering?

Horses with feathers look amazing. It looks as if they are wearing a cape or socks made from thick shredded wool. But these feathers have more than just face value.

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Some horses have feathers around their hooves for their specific genetic makeup. The feathers help protect their feet from sharp edges, and brambles as they move through rocky paths. Also, horsehair is waterproof and they help to regulate their body temperature by trapping air, especially in a cold, rainy, and snowy climate.

That being said, most horse breeds with feathers come from the rocky and cold regions of the globe. These horses are cold-blooded breeds with a calm and sensible demeanor. 

What horses have feathered hooves?

Horses come with luxurious mane and long and thick tails. But not many horses grow feathers around their hooves. Only a few specific horse breeds are born with attached feathers. 

Mostly the horses that belong to the cold climate and rough terrains, tend to have feathers around their hooves. The feathered hooves provide them an extra layer of warmth and protection against cold and rough edges where they walk or run. 

Are horses born with feathers?

Feathers are much like other body hair but we do not get to see them in every horse we come across. Specific genetic factors cause horses of certain breeds to grow ground-length think hair around their hooves.

Horse breeds that carry genes for feathers are born with feathers. With age, the feathers around their hooves gain length. That being said, feathers are recessive genes and highly depend on proper breeding to develop. If the hair around the hooves does not naturally grow over 1- 2 inches, then the horse does not have feathers.

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Horse breeds with feathers

Whenever we talk about feathered horses the images of Friesians and Clydesdale come to our mind. However, many of us don’t know that there are other breeds as well who possess long and thick feathered hooves.

Breeds that have long thick hair manes and fluffy coats are the ones in which feathers could be seen, in most cases. Some popular horses with feathered hooves are:

  1. Shire
  2. Friesian
  3. Gypsy
  4. Clydesdale
  5. Dales Pony
  6. Fell Ponies
  7. Icelandic horses 
  8. Swedish Northern horses
  9. Percheron (less feathering) 

Most breeds that come with feathered hooves are draft breeds. Another interesting fact about these horses is that the genes that make them possible to grow thick feathers react to their bone density. So, in a way, horses with think denser structures mostly have thick feathers around their lower legs. 

White horse with feathers

White horses are born white. Although white-colored horses are not rare but true white with dominant White (W) genes is truly uncommon. They look majestic and royal indeed.

The genes that cause the growth of feathers among horses are not color-based or biased. We can find some popular (as well as lesser-known) white horse breeds with feathers. Some of them are:

  • American Cream draft (less feathering) 
  • Icelandic horses
  • Palomino Gypsy horses 

Black horse with feathers

Black horses are mesmerizing and alluring. Black horses with luscious and thick mane and tails are worth looking at. But what about those with feathered hooves?

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True black horses are rare and if they grow feathered hooves, they look absolutely majestic. Some of the most common black horses possessing feathers around their lower legs are-

  • Friesians
  • Percherons
  • Clydesdale
  • Icelandic horses
  • Shire
  • Fell Ponies

Black draft horse with feathers

Image Credit: Trotting Belgian draft horse by Vkarel (CC BY-SA 2.5)

Draft horses are known for having a strong built and they are known to be the largest horse breeds. Feathers among these horses are common. However, not all draft horses boast thick feathers.

Let us see some of the common black draft horses that boast beautiful feathered legs.

  • Friesians
  • The Northern Swedish horses
  • The Dutch Drafts
  • Fell Ponies
  • Belgian draft horses
  • Murakoz (light feathering) 

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