Photo Do's

Required Photos

The four required pictures needed for registration are:          
 1 - a full left side,          
 2 - a full right side,          
 3 - a full front and           
 4 - a full rear shot.  
Additional photos may be sent, and may be requested, for further clarification.

Photos should always be taken outside with good lighting, out from under trees that cast shadows over the horse, and during the middle of the day when the morning or evening shadows are not long and the color is truer.  Keep in mind, however, that light colored horses, such as palominos and champagnes, can "wash out" if the sun is too bright, making it nearly impossible to determine where blankets end and the base color begins, or to see spots, face, and leg markings.  It's best to pick a bright but overcast day for these horses.


Two of the required photos are the left side and the right side.  No body parts should be cut off.  You should have all of the horse in the photos; from the tips of its ears to its hooves, and from nose to tail.  We can crop a photo with a bit too much area surrounding the horse.  The horse should be standing on a flat surface with  no grass to hide any part of its hooves or legs, and the horse should be clean, so there is no mud hiding any leg markings, or the lack of leg markings.  

Also, the horse should be standing so all four legs can be seen in both shots.  This allows markings on the insides of the legs to show.  There may be a partial half pastern, or heel, on the inside of a leg.  This could possibly be the one single identifying mark on the horse to prove this is the same horse if it roans with age; hence, the importance of being able to see and accurately describe every detail.   

Below are photos of horses standing properly to see the insides of their legs.  

The other two required photos are a full front and full rear shot.  The horse's head may be up or down in the rear shot; the most important thing needed is the back of the leg markings, or lack thereof.  Again, no body parts should cut off.  The forelock should not cover the face so face markings can be easily seen.

Again, if possible have the horse standing so all four legs show in both of these photos so that any small or odd shaped leg markings, or the lack of leg markings, can be plainly seen.

Below are photos of horses standing properly to see the fronts and backs of all four legs.   

Close-up photos can be extremely helpful, especially for very small leg markings, such as a partial coronet or partial heel, a lower lip snip, a scar, or a brand.  Please note on the photo which leg is being shown when only one foot is showing in a photo, or it's hard to determine which foot it is.  

​These photos will not be put on the certificates, but will be kept on file.  These photos could mean the difference in being able to identify a horse or not, if it were to become necessary.  

Below are closeup photos showing a brand, leg marking, and lower lip snips.

Horses displayed with lower lip snips are RSecret Joe Medallion F3-2723, RSecret Pretty Dancer F4-2727, RSecretGold DunEagle F4-2724.  Horse showing brand is Hawk A Lena #2171.  Horse showing properly labeled leg marking is a Quarter Horse.

The Ever-Changing Appaloosa

There is no other breed of horse that changes over the years the way many Appaloosas do.   Many of them roan out (varnish roaning), making them look like a completely different horse than they did when they were young and/or when they were registered.  This is one of the reasons it's so extremely important to get good photos for ICAA to have on file, and very detailed descriptions on their Certificates of Registration.

Things happen....  Papers get lost or destroyed and duplicates are needed.  A horse that was born solid may color out, and you want to advance it.  You may need to be able to prove to a potential buyer that the horse you're selling is the same horse pictured on the back of its papers.  There are numerous reasons why you, or someone who owns the horse you registered years ago, may need to prove that it is the same horse.  

​The only way to do that with many Appaloosas is to pull out the old pictures and visually match leg and/or face markings, if the face markings are even still visible.  If the horse has a lot of spots it's not usually a problem, although even those can "migrate" somewhat.   A buyer may need to go more by the written description on the papers than the photos on the back.  To give duplicate papers, or to advance a horse that has colored out, the new photos that are sent in have to be matched to the original photos uses for registration.  

Many horses are born with just some white flakes over their hips.  Some are born solid.  With age, and the affect of varnish roaning, these coat patterns can change dramatically.  Sometimes these horses have spots, but you can't see them until they varnish/roan around those spots.  A snowcap or blanket may varnish/roan out to the point you can't see where the blanket begins and ends.  While getting good face shots to show face markings is very important, if the horse varnishes  out enough over the years, there is a good chance you won't be able to determine if there ever was a face marking.  

Not every Appaloosa varnishes out, while some varnish out to the point of looking nearly white when they get older.  And there are many variations in between.  If a horse was born with something as minute as a partial half pastern on one leg, this could be the only way to identify it later in life.   

The photos below are of two horses, each showing them from when they were young, and again when they were older.  Both of these horses had stars that cannot be seen now.  While the one does have a blanket with spots (although you can no longer tell where the blanket begins and ends), the other was a snowcap, so there are no spots to idenify her.   

Photo Dont's

Palomino's, Champagne's, and Light Colored Horses

Photos of light colored horses should always be taken outdoors on an overcast day.  Otherwise, the sun will glare off of their light colored coat, making it hard or impossible to determine coat patterns, face markings, and leg markings.  

Below is a nearly perfect photo of a palomino Appaloosa foal, showing the differences in this photo and the other photo of an older palomino Appaloosa that was taken in bright sun.  The foal photo was taken on a bright but overcast day, so the sun was not glaring off of the light color; you can plainly see his markings and coat pattern.  In the photo of the older palomino Appaloosa, taken in bright sunlight, you can’t see whether or not this horse has a coat pattern or face marking.  If he weren't standing in his own shadow, you wouldn't even be able to determine if he had leg markings.  

Undesireable Photos

These photos below are all undesireble registration photos for various reasons, stated in captions below  thephotos.  Photos like these make accruate descriptions nearly impossible.