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SunriseNorth 01-20-2010 11:52 PM

Freeze Branding?
 
I have a couple of questions, but let me give you a little backstory first:
I am writing a series (you might have seen my other post “Hypothetical Horse Help”, it concerns the same series ;] ). It involves horses (of course!) and the main character, Samantha, rescues a horse (to give you the bare bones of the plot). Said horse (aptly named Tod), has remarkable markings (which will come into play later). The man who owned him prior to the rescue (hereafter referred to as Mr. A) had a traveling show of sorts- various events he would take to rodeos or fairs or other events which involved various animals but his main act was Tod. He would set up a course in an arena or under a big top with various jumps ranging from wee little things to jumps that would fall under the category of holy-crap-hes-going-to-jump-that?. Oxers, liverpools, all sorts of things. Toddy was the star of this little event. He would be turned out into the arena followed by a pack of dogs (terrifying dogs mind you. dogs not trained to be polite around horses. Hungry dogs picked up off the streets, stolen from various places, dogs trained to hunt this poor horse down). Basically, the dogs would chase the horse around, forcing him over these jumps round and round the arena until the poor thing was too exhausted to do anymore. No one was ever seated close enough to see the absolute terror in the horses eyes, or how skinny he really was, or how awful his hooves were, or how much he strained to make it over some of the jumps, or how vicious the dogs really were. People assumed it was just an act and were delighted to see this remarkable looking horse and just happy to “ooh” and “ahh” as he leapt over amazing jumps.
It was called "The Foxhunt" because Toddy had markings greatly resembling that of a fox- a red fox (click here if you would like a visual reference). When Mr. A stumbled upon this young bay colt (which he later stole), he had an idea. Toddy was a gorgeous boy- bright blood bay with extremely dark points (all four legs, his mane, tail, nose, and ears). Now Toddy is that same bright bay, but his stomach and chest are white, the inside of his ears are white, and the tip of his tail is while, making him look exactly like a fox. Now, you and I know that’s hardly possible genetically and Mr. A knew that wasn’t possible, but there are a great many gullible people out there, especially in the horse world. And he was quite keen to take advantage of such a thing. He paraded his great “Fox Stallion” around the country taking advantage of people who wanted markings just like that. His stud fee was outrageous, but people (mostly back yard breeders) managed to scrounge up enough to get this stallion bred to their mares. Of course, Mr. A fled before any of these mares gave birth to foals that looked nothing like the sire.


Onto the questions!
First and foremost- how did Mr. A achieve these markings? The best possible way I can think to achieve this would be a freeze branding method. As I understand it, using a supercold iron the branded area has hair that grows back white. I’ve never seen freezebranding done myself, nor am I that familiar with it. But as I understand it, it’s not as painful as hot iron branding (still...god I shudder to thing of someone using branding to achieve desired markings). Does anyone here have experience with freezebranding? Would it be possible to use a freezebranding iron to achieve these markings? I could see it being quite simple to do the inner ears, but we’re also talking the chest/stomach of a full grown horse- a horse of thoroughbred build who is roughly 16 hands. That’s a lot of area to cover, but with a large enough brand and multiple branding sessions, it would be possible, yes? I've thought of every possible unique genetic anomaly, but it just seems like, plot wise, it would be taking the easy way out to have Tod born with these markings. Just seems like a bit of a Deus Ex Machina that he just happened to stumble upon this perfect horse. It could work...but i think it makes the case more extreme, what with Mr. A manufacturing markings to suit his needs. That brings a whole 'nother ethical dilema into the picture, and I really think it adds to the story.
Also, what would be the implications of this in his future? Once he has been rehabilitated if Sam takes him to the show ring, would he be disqualified from halter rings because of his manufactured markings (despite the fact that the girl who is showing him is not the manufacturer of said markings)?
As for the tip of his black tail being white…I haven’t quite figured that one out. Soak the end of the tail in bleach? Would that be strong enough to die a black tail white? How long would it stay bleached? (I’ve never used bleach on any of my horses, so I really don’t know.)



Thanks,
Ashleigh

AlmagroN 01-21-2010 09:20 AM

um not really plausable if you ask me. brands are typically just a series of letters and numbers, or symbols. and on the neck, not inside the ear. its not really painful. its the same as if you went and got a wart removed by freezing it. same thing. just a little pinch. all our horses are freezebranded now. they used to have the inside of the upper lip tattooed. but this is a better method.

but the tanks that hold the dry ice to do this only have a small opening, so really youre not going to be able to put this big huge brand in it.

iridehorses 01-21-2010 11:07 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by AlmagroN (Post 528056)

but the tanks that hold the dry ice to do this only have a small opening, so really youre not going to be able to put this big huge brand in it.

Dry Ice? I never thought of that. The vet down here uses liquid nitrogen.

As far as using it for large areas, I would think that it is impractical. If done to add to an area that was already white, then I think you could spot the difference in color.

Vidaloco 01-21-2010 11:17 AM

I think its more likely and believable if the horse was a paint, or paint mix.
Either that or Mr. A has a hairdresser friend who comes and does the dye job :lol:
Also if your story is to believed, the arena would have to have very high fences. A horse would run anywhere including up into the stands if it was being chased by dogs.

kevinshorses 01-21-2010 12:34 PM

It would take a long time to do but it could be done.

RiosDad 01-21-2010 02:26 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by iridehorses (Post 528159)
Dry Ice? I never thought of that. The vet down here uses liquid nitrogen.

As far as using it for large areas, I would think that it is impractical. If done to add to an area that was already white, then I think you could spot the difference in color.

]

Liquid nitrogen is cheap and plentiful. You can get a container of it and just use a stryrofoam cooler to hold it.. It will not harm the container and you and use any size brand you want.
But as Kevin already said you can do it if you do it in small steps but alot of them.

Dry ice is also cheap and you can buy it in large blocks from a welding supply house.

AlmagroN 01-21-2010 04:15 PM

hahaa i just noticed i said dry ice.... i meant liquid nitrogen. lol

AlmagroN 01-21-2010 04:17 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by iridehorses (Post 528159)
Dry Ice? I never thought of that. The vet down here uses liquid nitrogen.

As far as using it for large areas, I would think that it is impractical. If done to add to an area that was already white, then I think you could spot the difference in color.

oh and yeah, grey horses that have it are still readable. the hair is a darker color than white, it has a grey tint


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