How to make simple quarter marks and shark’s teeth on your horse’s rump!


Quarter marks are a great way to have fun with your horse while grooming, and they are a traditional way to show off your horse’s hindquarters at horse shows. Well, for some disciplines. I usually see quarter marks on eventers, although now it seems like more dressage horses and jumpers.


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  • Remember when you were a kid a few years ago, and you couldn’t wait for the chance to just groom and brush and groom and brush and groom and have fun with your horse? Well, I sort of stumbled upon a way to do this now, as an adult. Or “adult”. Whichever.


Supplies needed for quarter marks:


  • A thick and dense and short finishing brush.


  • You can use a cheap, plastic barbershop comb cut to size for most other patterns, like the checkerboard.


  • A clean horse.


  • Water.


  • You can top off quarter marks with a finishing spray for added shine.


  • No clippers needed!





Quarter marks are traditionally a few flashes, which are wide stripes that originate at the spine and come down over the top of the croup.



  • Flashes are typically seen in traditional field hunters. For a hack or riding horse, you will find a checkerboard pattern on the croup. For eventing or dressage horses, flags, checks, and custom patterns are common. Along the flank, you will sometimes find shark’s teeth below the croup design, or they may stand alone.



  • Quarter marks are designed to highlight your horse’s assets (haha) and maybe even detract from a less than stellar neck, for example. Most importantly, they are fun to do!




These are “Shark’s Teeth” on the hindquarter.



So – how do you “make” the quarter marks??



  • The purpose of using water is to make the hair easier to brush against its normal grain, which creates the pattern. You can also make your horse damp with a sponge and water, or use a spray bottle.


  • For the flashes, just swipe your finishing brushes from the spine, downwards towards the ground after you have dampened your horse’s rump. Most horses look fine with two or three evenly spaces swipes.


  • Don’t worry about the “end” of the flash, as you will make one swipe with the brush WITH the hair growth so the ends of the flash are clean and uniform. So – in a nutshell, swipe from spine down, move your brush over, swipe from spine down, move your brush over, then swipe across!



For shark’s teeth – you may need to practice a bit.



  • Start by swiping a stripe from above the stifle to top of the tail.



A short finishing brush makes lovely quarter marks.


  • Your second swipe will be from about the hip to the bottom of the hamstring, this makes a V that is sideways (your first shark tooth.)


  • Now swipe just below your first upwards swipe, following its line. Now swipe in the downwards motion, mimicking your first downward line, to create your second tooth.


  • You are basically swiping a sideways V onto your horse.


  • This was super tricky for me to figure out, but once I got it, it was quite easy. Luckily, if you “mess up”, you only have to brush the hair in the correct direction and start over.


For stencils, lay your stencil on the croup where it can be subtly seen.


  • Too high, only birds can enjoy, too low and you won’t have room for your shark’s teeth! Use your finishing brush to run over the stencil. I find that short strokes work best! If your brushing gets carried away under the stencil, you can touch it up with your finger after the stencil is removed.


For a checkerboard, wet the hair on the croup where the design is going.


  • Then, just comb it! I used a cut-off end of a barber’s comb. Again, you can fix mistakes with your finger, or just brush them out with a finishing brush.


  • Toothbrushes also many handy checkerboard brushes.



Many Grooms will use a touch of hair spray or fly spray to “seal” the design, it’s up to you if you want to do this! Finishing sprays will add massive shine to your horse and emphasize the design.




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