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.
I’m Allison, born and raised in San Diego California, the earliest memory I have with horses was at my grandfather’s farm. I used to sit at the stable as a kid and hang out with my Papa while he was training the horses. When I was invited to watch a horse riding competition, I got so fascinated with riding!