Last Updated on March 8, 2022 by Allison Price
People are often described as beautiful because of their imperfections. It would be boring if everyone had perfectly symmetrical features. I think I feel the same way about horses, if you look around. A strong, hip, balanced topline, elegant neck and throatlatch are all things I love as much as any other guy. A bonus is color, and a person with a keen eye, strong legs, and strong arms always wins my heart. A baby-doll’s head is also desirable. However, I love horses with ears that are slightly curved, markings that go a little wild, or noses that have a bump in their middle, secretly.
It’s true. I look a lot like a Roman-nosed horse.Although some horsemen consider a Roman nose undesirable, it does not affect a horse’s speed, athleticism or personality.
Photo by Kelli Neubert
If there is a bump or rise between the horse’s forehead and his nostrils, it’s called a Roman nose. It’s basically a convex profile, which is the opposite of a smooth, straight head. It can be subtle or very prominent. Some breeds like draft horses, Lusitanos and Andalusians have a tendency for their noses to be Romanesque.
The Roman-nosed horse is less popular in cowboy culture than his more refined counterparts. Songs, poems, and stories tell of a horse with a rough head that has the tendency to be strong, ranchy, powerful, and perhaps even a bit broncy. This is probably due to the genetics of horses with this trait. It’s a common trait that Mustangs have, and they are some of the most tough horses I’ve ever seen. This is just my personal speculation.
Some people prefer a Roman-nosed horse to their partner, while others may ignore it. It’s understandable. The breeds with a very bowed-out face are not easy to approach and it isn’t a marketable trait. Some breeds consider a round nose a defect. It doesn’t impact his speed, his ability to travel, his personality, or his work ethic.
A horse with a little bump between his nostrils and his eyes is to me a distinguished, noble, and interesting horse. If he has big, fluid eyes that flank the bump on either side of his nose, I don’t mind it. A horse with a beautiful face isn’t going to be turned down by a good-moving horse just because he doesn’t have perfect features. A horse with a Roman nose is something I think of as strong and hardy. His character is impressive and I’d like to believe that he has a lot of intelligence and personality.
Yes, it can be extreme. A horse with a Roman nose, big ears, and a small build is one I won’t take on. If a mare or gelding is able to hit all the right buttons, and has a slightly convex profile he can hop in my trailer and come home any day.
While we’re on the subject, load up the ones with big ears.