You have horses; you learn something new every day. A few weeks ago, I noticed a large white mark on Karma’s face. She’s a beautiful solid chestnut colour, so the white spot was quite noticeable. I didn’t think much of it until, literally overnight, many more white spots suddenly appeared on her face and body. I thought maybe she has a skin disease of some sort or maybe it’s a vitamin deficiency.

I hauled in the equine vet and found out that Karma has…..Birdcatcher Spots. What the? Birdcatcher Spots can appear as solid white spots on a horse’s body once it reaches adulthood. Karma is rising seven and horses reach full development at around five years of age. These spots are quite mysterious and appear to occur with chestnut horses. Apparently, these spots are named after a chestnut Thoroughbred stallion with dark spots on his body. As you’ve probably guessed, this horse’s name was Birdcatcher. He was an Irish Thoroughbred who was foaled in 1833. The white markings may increase or they may disappear with age. Karma may even have them for the rest of her life.

It’s taken me a little while to get used to seeing her looking a bit like a leopard. Each day, more spots seem to be appearing, mainly on her body, although new markings appeared yesterday around her ears. I don’t think it means that Karma is a direct descendant of Birdcatcher as it seems a common occurrence in horses; although Birdcatcher Spots can be confused with Chubari spots and and Tetrarch spots.


Beautiful girl, Karma, and her Birdcatcher Spots.