Er no, probably not what you think!
We bought Nadia 11 years ago as an aged (we didn't know exactly how old she was at the time) full blooded Arabian without papers. One day soon after, I was grooming her and I found this mark under her mane. I did some research and I found out that it was a freeze brand. Nowadays, they insert microchips, but, in the 80's, freeze branding was very popular among Arabians. I've read of several instances where stolen or lost horses have been recovered using this identification method.
This is some information about freeze branding from Wikipedia:
In contrast to traditional hot-iron branding, freeze branding uses a branding iron that has been chilled with a coolant such as dry ice or liquid nitrogen. Rather than burning a scar into the animal, a freeze brand damages the pigment-producing hair cells, causing the animal's hair to grow white where the brand has been applied. To apply a freeze brand, the hair coat of the animal is shaved so that the bare skin is exposed, then the frozen iron is applied to the bare area for a period of time that varies with both the species of animal and the color of its hair coat: Shorter times are used on dark-colored animals, simply causing the hair follicles to lose all color and regrow as white hairs. Longer times are needed on animals with white hair coats, as the brand is applied long enough to permanently stop the hair from growing in the branded area and only skin remains.
Freeze brands cause less damage to the animal's hide than hot iron brands, are less painful, and can be more visible. Horses are frequently freeze-branded. At this time, hogs cannot be successfully freeze branded as their hair pigment cells are better protected. Also, freeze branding is slower, more expensive, less predictable (more care is required in application to assure desired results), and in some places does not constitute a legal brand on cattle. When an animal grows a long hair coat, the freeze brand is still visible, but its details are not always clear. Thus, is it sometimes necessary to shave or closely trim the hair so that a sharper image of a freeze brand can be viewed.
A horse (or any animal) that is going to have a freeze brand applied will need to have the hair shaved off of the branding site. Hair is an excellent insulator and needs to be removed so that the extreme cold of the freeze branding iron can be applied directly to the skin. Then the freeze branding iron, made of metal such as brass or copper that retains a cold temperature, is submerged into the coolant. Immediately before the freeze branding iron is ready to be applied the animal's skin is rubbed, squirted, or sprayed with a generous amount of 99% alcohol, then the freeze branding iron is removed from the coolant and held onto the skin with firm pressure for several seconds. The exact amount of time will vary according to the kind of animal, the thickness of its skin, the type of metal the branding iron is made of, the type of coolant being used, and other factors.
Immediately after the freeze branding iron is removed from the skin an indented outline of the brand will be visible. Within seconds, however, the outline will disappear and within several minutes after that the brand outline will reappear as swollen, puffy skin. Once the swelling subsides, for a short time, the brand will be difficult or impossible to see, but in a few days, the branded skin will begin to flake, and within three to four weeks, the brand will begin to take on its permanent appearance.
I even figured out how to decipher it, thanks to the AHA (Arabian Horse Association). It's her registration number, in code. I found out her real name is Nari Asbah. If you say it fast, it kind of sounds like Nadia! Her date of birth is April 28, 1983, and she has had one foal, SV First Edition. I also found out that I'd met her father once...
It was 30 years ago and I was considering breeding my half Arabian mare, Shahreen. I visited an Arabian farm and Rogue Ama was one of their stallions. It turns out that he was Nadia's sire. He was known for his extremely gentle personality, just like my sweet old gal, Nadia.
For the record, I never did breed Shahreen. Around breeding time, she was hurt by a runaway horse and cart as she stood tied to a hitching post. She got a hernia in her side from the accident. After she recovered, I never pursued the breeding. That's one of the reasons why I so desperately wanted to follow through with Annie's breeding in spite of all the problems we faced.
Freezing your ...- song: Sweet Thing, Reprise, artist: David Bowie, album: Diamond Dogs