The fine art of registration

Shoot & Sketch

While the markings of this beautiful 3 year old mare are easily distinguishable, most horses are registered as a fuzzy yearling. The American Shire Horse Association makes every effort to properly register each Shire with distinguishing markings through drawings, written description and photos.

Printable Instructions


How to Photograph

Photo 1 – Full frontal head & legs

Photo 2 – Full left side

Photo 3 – Full right side

Photo 4 – Full rear view

Other photos: under throat, barrel


How to draw

Everything not white on the horse is drawn in black ink. Whorls are indicated by a “x”, use an arrow to point to scars, brands are drawn in black ink, All white markings are drawn in red. Unpigmented areas are colored-in red (around muzzel, hooves, etc).


How to describe

Describe each part of the horse: Head, left foreleg, right foreleg, left hind leg, right hindleg, body markings, and distinct marks. The Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI) Identification of Horses with the narrative and the diagram is a great resource for how to describe equine markings.

Example Photos

Tips for taking registration photos

  • Wash the horse before taking photos, wet hair clearly show the delination of markings.
  • Submit color photos, preferably by email, but mail in photos are acceptableable (photos will not be returned).
  • Stand the horse on a hard surface (prevents obsuration of hoof and pastern).
  • Pull the forelock and tail out of the way to expose full face and rear markings.
  • Show photos can be used, if you can see all four legs separately.

Special Membership Price

Register before June 1st of yearling year


Registration includes DNA verification, registrar fees, full color registration certificate, and addition to the American Shire Horse Association Registry


Go to Digital Horse Registry