The perfect finishing touch to your horse’s turnout, quarter marks will help you catch the judge’s eye for all the right reasons. They’ll transform the look of your horse and can enhance his conformation, too.
Although they’re usually seen in the show ring, quarter marks are popular in dressage and eventing, too, and range from simple, straightforward lines to detailed designs. If you’re after something intricate you’ll probably need to use a stencil, but achieving eye-catching quarter marks freehand isn’t as tricky as you might think. All you need to do is break the process down into stages and put in a bit of practice to perfect them.
A simple yet effective design to try is vertical lines. These particularly suit horses who have well-muscled quarters. You can create two or three lines depending on the size of your horse.
To create the first stripe, run a damp brush downwards in a straight line from the point of your horse’s croup until you’re level with the point of his hip. Exert firm, even pressure on the brush and keep it moving in a continuous sweep. Make your lines a little longer than you want the overall finished shape to be.
Repeat this process for stripes two and three. Don’t forget to use the same amount of pressure, as this’ll help you achieve stripes that are all the same width.
Create the same design on the other side of your horse’s quarters – you might need to stand on a step to help you match the stripes up. This is important so your horse looks symmetrical from behind.
Once you’ve completed your pattern, sweep your brush along the bottom of the stripes to create a sharp edge. Follow a line that’s roughly level with the point of your horse’s hip. Curving your brush downwards as you reach the end of the line will give you a neat finish.
For more top tips on how to steal the show with quarter marks, pick up the July issue of Horse&Rider, on sale 31 May.