Slang for the drug acepromazine or acetyl promazine (trade names Atravet or Acezine), which is a sedative commonly used on horses during veterinary treatment, but also illegal in the show ring.
The way a horse elevates its legs, knees, hocks, and feet. Also includes how the horse uses its shoulder, humerus, elbow, and stifle; most often used to describe motion at the trot, but sometimes applied to the canter or gallop. High action is a breed characteristic of Saddlebreds and other breeds used in Saddle seat or certain harness disciplines.
An older horse. Originally referred to a horse with a "smooth mouth," generally eight years old or older, but modern use varies. Term may refer to an animal seven years old or older, eight or older, nine or older, or ten or older. In horse racing and in some horse shows, an aged horse is one over 4 years. In some contexts, an aged horse is older than 16 to 20 years of age.
The process of estimating a horse's age by inspecting its teeth.
Movements in haute ecolé or "high school" classical dressage, where the horse leaves the ground with two or four feet in response to the rider's commands. Made famous by the Lipizzan horses at the Spanish Riding School, the airs include the levade, capriole, croupade, courbette, and ballotade. Sometimes called "school jumps".
An individual who exhibits horses but is not paid money or other compensation. The opposite of a professional.
A general term for a range of four beat intermediate speed horse gaits that are approximately the speed of a trot or pace but far smoother to ride. Various terms for lateral ambling gaits, based on style, speed or rhythm of gait and breed of horse, include the slow gait, single foot, running walk, stepping pace, sobreandando, paso corto, paso llano, rack, tölt, and paso largo. The term usually refers to lateral gaits, but may be applied to all four beat intermediate speed gaits, including the diagonal four-beat gait referred to be terms such as fox trot, pasitrote, and trocha.
The stepping pace. A specific intermediate speed horse gait, a slowed down pace. It is a four beat lateral gait, where the legs on one side of the horse move one immediately following the other, then the legs on the other side. It is a very smooth gait, and is natural to some breeds.
See also gaited horse
Incorrect term for the fetlock joint. The hock most closely corresponds to the human ankle.
One of the oldest breeds of horse, noted for small size, dished face, erect carriage, high intelligence and lively disposition, from the Arabian Peninsula. Many other breeds contain Arabian bloodlines.
The practice of breeding a mare through human assisted means, with no contact between the stallion and mare. It is done for many reasons, including to protect the two animals, to allow a mare to be bred to a stallion a long distance away, or to allow a stallion to be bred to a larger number of mares than would be possible via natural cover. (See "natural cover," below)
Australian stock saddle
see stock saddle
average earnings index (AEI)
The AEI measures the earning power of a Thoroughbred sire's progeny by comparing the average earnings of his runners with all other runners of the same age that raced in the same country during a given year.
balk, balking (US, UK) or baulking (UK)
When a horse refuses to move. Multiple causes, including disobedience, fright, and pain or injury. See also napping and "jib"
A leather strap with punched holes, permanently attached in sets of two or three on each side of the tree of a saddle, used to hold and adjust the girth that holds on most types of saddle. See also latigo.
An object, usually a metal bar, placed into the mouth of a horse, held on by a bridle and used with reins to direct and guide the animal. Occasionally made of other materials, including rubber. May be solid or jointed and may have rollers or other attachments added, usually in the center.
Bold-face type used in advertisements and sales catalogues to distinguish horses that have won or placed in an approved stake race. Winners receive upper case black type; second and third placed finishers have lower case black type.
A sound made by a horse by sharply exhaling through flared nostrils. The blowing sound is not as long or loud as a snort, and may be produced with the head lowered. Most of a sound energy is below 3 kHz and most are audible within 30 metres. Horses may blow when curious, meeting another horse, shying or working. The term is also used when a working horse allowed to pause and catch its breath, or "let him (or her) blow."
"Good" or "poor" bone: technical terminology referencing the size and density of bone of the lower leg, which helps determine the weight carrying ability of a horse.
The characteristics of the lower leg as a whole, including the cannon bone as well as associated tendons and ligaments. "Flat" bone describes a positive feature where the tendons of the leg stand well away from the cannon bone, "tied-in" bone describes the negative characteristic of the tendon placed too close to the bone.
A parasitic fly that lays its eggs on the legs, muzzle, and jaw of horses. The eggs are licked off by the horse and once ingested, hatch into maggots, called bots, which infest the animal by attaching to the stomach lining. The eggs may be scraped off with a bot knife or similar tool.
Marking a horse (or other animal) by burning the skin with a hot iron, or alternatively with a frozen implement (freeze branding). The skin may be balded, or the hair may grow back in a depigmented color.
A wide strap around the rear of a horse, to hold a saddle in position or to allow a harnessed horse to pull back on the shafts or pole of a vehicle to slow it.
The breeder of a foal is the owner of its dam at the time of foaling. The person designated as the breeder may not have had anything to do with planning the mating of the mare or be located where foaling occurs.
Headgear placed around the head of a horse that holds the bit in place in a horse's mouth, including reins, used to direct and guide the animal. Sometimes used to refer to the entire piece of equipment, including headstall, bit and reins. Headstalls that do not have a bit are called either a bitless bridle or a hackamore.
Originally an unbroken feral horse, now primarily a word for the horses used in rodeo bronc riding events, where the horse tries to buck off a rider. May describe any undisciplined horse, especially one that bucks. See also outlaw.
A behavior where the horse lowers its head and rapidly kicks its hind feet into the air. At liberty, seen as an expression of excess energy or high spirit, under saddle is generally considered a disobedience, except in sports such as the rodeo sports of Saddle bronc and bareback riding, where the horse is deliberately encouraged to attempt to dislodge its rider.
A horse trailer style that is pulled by a hitch attached to the frame of the towing vehicle near the bumper. Contrast with gooseneck below.
Common term for Phenylbutazone, a non-steroid anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) used to control pain and swelling in horses. Some racing commissions and showing authorities restrict its use prior to competition in order to reduce the risk of injury to horses. It is banned in most endurance riding competition.
Describes the relationship of a horse to its sire, in the context of its pedigree. A foal is by its sire and out of its dam.
The third metacarpal or metatarsal bone of the lower leg. Sometimes called the shin bone, but actually analogous to the bones in the human palm or foot. In equines, is a very large bone and provides the major support of the body weight of the horse. The term cannon may also encompass the soft tissues as well as the second and fourth metacarpal or metatarsal bones, called splint bones which may form ossified bridges of bone, called splints which often form after trauma to the area.
See also dogger
A horse of poor quality, referencing animals destined for slaughter.
A three-beat horse gait, with both front and rear legs on one side landing further forward than those on the other side – see lead below. In Western riding, the canter is known as a lope. The order in which the feet hit the ground varies depending on which legs are leading, but the gait begins with the outside hind, followed by the simultaneous landing of the outside front and inside hind, finished by the inside front. There is a moment during a canter when all four hooves of the horse are off the ground, known as the moment of suspension. A similar gait is the gallop (see below) which is performed at a higher speed, when the second beat is broken into two footfalls, making it a four-beat gait.
A two-wheeled vehicle pulled by one or more horses (or other animals).
(Informal, US) A small, light four-wheeled vehicle, usually with bicycle-style tires, used primarily for show ring fine harness competition, and upper levels of pleasure driving.
Casting (UK), throwing (US): forcing a horse (or other large animal) to lie down, allowing safe veterinary or other treatment. Usually done by an arrangement of ropes or straps.
Cast, the state of an animal laying down that is unable to get up. May be due to illness or injury. Also occurs when a horse in a box stall (loose box) rolls over against a wall, trapping its legs against the wall.
A stocky, rather small horse, or a large pony. Often a general description, but also applied to certain breeds such as the Welsh Cob.
A bridle size designed for horses with small or short heads. Usually keeps a long browband and throatlatch to accommodate the wide forehead and jowls of cobs and other horses with somewhat wedge-shaped heads, such as the Arabian or the Morgan.
A horse who arches his back and may buck slightly when first mounted.
Any of a group of equine types including draught horses and many ponies, characterized by a steady temperament, strength and stamina, but no great turn of speed. Refers to temperament, not literally to body temperature. See also hot-blood and warmblood.
A young male horse that has not been gelded (neutered). For Thoroughbreds, a colt is under four years of age, in most other breeds and contexts, a colt is under three years of age. Sometimes used incorrectly to refer to any young horse.
A driving competition that goes up to the international level. Individual events are offered for single horses and teams, and competition incorporates three distinct elements: Dressage, Cross-country Marathon, and Obstacle Cone Driving.
A form of the canter where the horse is deliberately asked to canter on a curve with the outside leg leading, which is opposite of usual. Also known as galop faux, false canter, or counter lead. It is used to help build muscle and suppleness in a horse. See also lead.
The sunken area below the lumbar vertebrae or the horse's back, behind the last rib and in front of the point of the hip. Ideally is to be as short as possible. The term is sometimes expanded to include where the lumbar region attaches to the sacrum.
Mating in horses: a stallion is said to cover a mare. See also "natural cover" and "artificial insemination."
A stable vice where the horse grabs the edge of an object such as a stable door with its incisor teeth and arches its neck. More severe cases also suck air in simultaneously, and this is termed 'windsucking'.
The topline and immediate underlying musculature of the hindquarters. Runs from the tail to the loin, and from the point of the hip to the point of the buttock.
A mild form of bucking, a stiff-legged hop with a rounded back. Does not involve kicking up the back legs. See also pigroot.
crownpiece (US), headpiece (UK)
The portion of a headstall that goes behind the horse's ears.
C/S/F or c,s,f (AU)
Abbreviation for catch, shoe and float (transport), used in horse for sale advertisements to describe a horse with good ground manners. Usually expressed as good (or easy) to C/F/S.
Curb bit: A type of bit that has bit shanks. It applies leverage pressure to a horse's mouth when the reins are tightened. The degree of leverage depends on the length of the shank and the positioning of the bit mouthpiece on the shanks. Is used in conjunction with a curb chain or curb strap so that when the reins are tightened, pressure is also applied to the chin groove and the headstall applies pressure on the poll of the animal. generally characterized by a solid bit mouthpiece of varying designs, but may have a jointed mouthpiece, sometimes mistakenly called a "snaffle". (Compare to snaffle bit, below)
Curb (horse): Several possible types of lameness for which clinical signs include a swelling on the back of the lower leg. Any of a collection of soft tissue injuries of the distal plantar hock region.
A horse that moves with long but low movement. Considered highly desirable in hunter-type horses.
The sire of the dam of a horse, analogous to the maternal grandfather in humans. Often known as the broodmare sire or maternal grandsire.
At a trot, the set of legs that move forward at the same are the "diagonal" pair.
When a rider posts while riding at the trot, they can rise either matching when the left or the right foreleg and opposite hind leg hits the ground. If they sit when the left foreleg strikes, they are on the left diagonal, if they sit when the right foreleg strikes, it is the right diagonal. When riding clockwise, the rider is to post the left diagonal, when riding counter-clockwise the rider is to post the right diagonal. In other words, when riding a circle, the rider sits when the outside front and inside hind legs are on the ground.
3. In dressage tests, a line crossing the center of the competition ring running from one end corner to the opposite end corner. The diagonal is also used in some driving competition as the route for competitors to safely change direction in a ring or arena when there are a large number of entries.
In racing, refers to female horses. Named for the distaff, a spindle used in weaving and traditionally associated with women. In pedigree charts, refers to the entire dam's side of the pedigree.
The muscular portion of a horse's tail, where the hair is rooted. Sometimes refers only to the upper portion of this area, where the tail attaches to the hindquarters.
Docking: to cut a horse's tail at the dock, seen most often on carriage horses to keep the tails from becoming caught in the harness. Traditionally referred to the practice of cutting the muscle and bone, though in modern use, sometimes refers only to the cutting of tail hair.
An animal to be used for pet meat, or a buyer of cattle or horses to be used for this purpose.
Equus ferus caballus, the subspecies of the Wild Horse (Equus ferus) that has gone through the process of domestication.
To use a medication that is illegal or used in an illegal manner in order to improve a horse's performance in either racing or showing, or, by an opponent, to harm an animal and cause it to perform poorly.
Generic term encompassing many breeds of large, muscular, heavy horses developed primarily as farm or harness horses, used for plowing fields, pulling wagons, logging and similar heavy pulling work.
A classical form of horse training, involving the gradual training of the horse in stages.
An Olympic level equine sport based on classical principles of horsemanship, involving taking tests designed to gauge the training level of horses in classical dressage. Lower levels of dressage competition are organized by national equestrian organizations, but the higher levels, including the Olympics, are governed by the Federation Equestre Internationale.
A New Forest term for the gathering of semi-feral ponies for marking, veterinary treatment or sale. See also muster, and roundup.
Guiding and controlling one or more horses from behind, such as from a horse-drawn vehicle, behind a plow or other implement, when pulling logs, boats or other loads, or when long-reining (q.v.). Guidance is by long reins and voice, often using traditional commands characteristic of particular areas or cultures.
The style of riding ubiquitous in the British Isles and other parts of northern Europe, and widely practised in other parts of the world, especially for disciplines such as dressage, show-jumping, cross-country etc. Characterised by use of a relatively flat saddle; the bridle usually has a cavesson-style noseband, with reins carried in both hands and generally used with steady contact with the horse's mouth.
A horse and rider jumping at an eventing competition
An individual familiar with horses and horse handling. It can also refer to someone riding a horse. The feminine form is Equestrienne.
The genus including the horse, donkey, zebra and all other surviving members of the family Equidae.
A small callosity on the back of the fetlocks of equines, often concealed by feathering (hair). Thought to be a vestigial remnant of the pad of the toe. See also chestnut.
A fungus of the genus Claviceps growing parasitically on the seed-heads of grasses, and so sometimes occurring in fodder eaten by horses. Contains large amounts of alkaloids, including ergotamine. These can cause ergotism, a serious condition affecting the nervous and circulatory systems, sometimes leading to permanent injury or death.
A strap in horse harness passing from the collar, through the horse's legs to the belly band, to hold the collar in position. Unlike a true martingale does not attach to the reins or head. See also martingale.
The direct line of female descent, also known as the distaff line or tail female. Thoroughbred families are numbered according to their taproot mares.See tail-female.
Long hair on the fetlocks of horses. Most horses have some feather, at least in their winter coats, but in some types (especially certain heavy draft breeds) it may cover the feet and even extend up the rear of the legs. The feather is centered on the ergot (q.v.) on the rear of the fetlock.
Free-roaming horses that live in wild conditions, but are descended from domesticated ancestors – often erroneously called "wild" horses. The best-known examples are the American Mustang and the Australian Brumby, but there are many other populations worldwide. See also semi-feral horse (to which the term "feral" is often misapplied).
The joint above the pastern. Anatomically, the metacarpophalangeal (front) and metatarsophalangeal (rear) joints of the horse, formed by the junction of the third metacarpal (forelimb) or metatarsal (hindlimb) bones (also known as the cannon bones) and the proximal phalanx distad (the pastern bone). Anatomically equivalent to the basal joint of a human finger or toe.
A young female horse. Normally a horse under four years of age, but can also be used of a horse under three years of age. Any female horse that has had a foal is referred to as a mare, regardless of her age.
The side of a horse
To rasp down sharp points that may form on horse teeth. Usually performed by a veterinarian or Equine dentistry specialist.
A large loose box providing space and privacy for a mare about to foal. Minimum size is usually 14 feet (4.3 m) square. Often provided with a small window or peep-hole (or in modern times a closed-circuit camera or webcam) for the owner or groom to watch the progress of the foaling.
The most severe form of laminitis, an inflammatory condition affecting the laminae of the hoof. The third phalanx, or coffin bone rotates, often becoming deformed, and in severe cases, may puncture the bottom surface of the hoof. Severe cases may require euthanasia of the affected animal. A leading cause of death among domesticated horses, especially in breeds which are easy keepers (good doers).
A team of four horses with all their reins joined into one pair of reins, allowing one driver to control all of them. Also six-in-hand etc.
A tough, rubbery, triangular part of the underside of a horse hoof that acts as a shock absorber for the horse's foot and also assists in blood circulation of the lower leg.
See out of.
full board (US), full livery (UK)
When a horse is kept at a stable other than that owned by the horse's owner, when the owner pays for complete care of the horse. Usually includes all feed, the rent of the stall and pasture, and cleaning of the stall. Often includes access to a riding arena and in some places may even include daily turnout or exercise. Contrast with part-board, below.
Animals with the same sire and the same dam.
A unit of measurement in flat horse racing. Equals one-eighth of a mile or 220 yards (200 m).
A stakes race for two-year-olds where the owners nominate the horse before birth and then pay additional fees as the horse grows up to continue the ability to enter the horse in the race.
A horse show competition for horses of a specified age, where the owners nominate the horse either before birth or as a young foal and then pay additional fees as the horse grows up to continue the eligibility to enter the horse in the class at the proper time. Futurities exist for many different horse breeds and equestrian disciplines.
The fastest natural horse gait. Like the canter, there is a moment during a gallop when all four hooves of the horse are off the ground, known as the moment of suspension. At racing speeds, the gallop differs from the canter in that it becomes an irregular four beat gait, rather than a three-beat gait: the second beat of the canter, where diagonal front and hind legs strike the ground simultaneously, is broken into two beats in very quick succession in the gallop. Used in the wild to escape predators, the gallop is the gait of the classic race horse.
Horse type: Australian show horses standing over 14 hands and not exceeding 15 hands.
The way a horse moves its legs is a gait. They are divided into natural gaits, which are those performed by most horses, and those that are either trained by humans or that are specific to a few breeds. The natural gaits are walk, trot, canter/lope, and gallop. Other gaits include the pace and ambling gaits such as the rack and single-foot.
Wide, flat strap made of leather, canvas, cord, or similar synthetic materials, used in conjunction with billets at each end to secure most types of English and Australian saddles to a horse's back. See also cinch.
glass eye, wall eye
A blue eye on a horse. There is no difference in vision between a blue-eyed horse and a horse with the more common brown eye.
See easy keeper.
A type of horse trailer that attaches to a gooseneck hitch, a ball placed in the bed of a pickup truck above the axle, rather than a hitch at the rear of the vehicle. The hitch connects to the underside of a long extension, or "gooseneck," that extends from the front of the trailer. Compare to "bumper pull," above.
A horse that has only a small amount of recognizable breeding, or none at all. Generally an unregistered and unregisterable animal. Not to be confused with crossbred, above.
A type of crossbred horse whose sire and dam are from different breeds.
(UK) A horse whose sire or dam is Thoroughbred, but the other parent is not. Such a horse is not eligible for registration in the General Stud Book, but can be registered in the Half-Bred stud book.
Two horses with the same dam. Two horses with the same sire are simply said to be by the same sire.
A measurement of the height of a horse. Originally taken from the size of a grown man's hand but now standardized to 4 inches. The measurement is usually taken from the ground to the withers. If expressed with a period and number after it, the number represents additional inches, so 15.3 hands ("fifteen-three") would be 15 times four inches, plus three inches – that is, 63 inches (160 cm). Abbreviated "hh" for "hands high" or simply "h".
A controlled gallop, with a speed between that of a canter and a full gallop. Derives from the fact that the gallop is under control of the rider's hand. Often used to show a horse's ground-covering stride in horse show competition.
A floored space above a barn or stable where hay is stored, often being fed through hatches in the floor directly into hay-racks in the animal enclosures below. The hayloft door is a high-level hatch (usually in a gable wall), through which hay could be loaded directly from a wagon.
head-collar (Australasia and UK)
A device placed on the head of an equine for the primary purpose of leading or tying the animal; See also halter and headstall.
A horse which is reluctant to have its head touched or handled, making it difficult to groom and tack up.
headstall, head stall
The portion of a bridle that consists of the straps that go over the horse's head and under the throat, excluding the noseband, used to hold the bit in place.
An alternate name for a head collar (UK).
A rider who uses too much rein pressure is said to have "heavy" hands.
In racing, a track that is between muddy and good, in other words one that is drying out.
A sterile hybrid that is the offspring of a male horse and a female donkey. Generally considered less desirable than a mule, though has a similar appearance and characteristics. Bred less often than mules because the offspring are smaller than mules and female donkeys are less fertile with stallions than mares are with male donkeys. Also occasionally known as bardot or jennet.
The object attached to a vehicle to allow a trailer to be attached and pulled.
To fasten a harnessed horse to a carriage or other horse-drawn vehicle. (BI: Put to).
To tie or tether a horse to a stationary object such as a post to keep it from wandering.
hitch and hop
A carriage driving term when one horse of a pair momentarily breaks its trotting stride to realign its gait to trot in synchronisation with the other horse creating a harmonised pair, in a ‘hitch and hop’ movement.
A strap or other device placed around the pastern of the leg to prevent a horse (or other livestock animal) from wandering far, usually by linking two or more legs together. A "half-hobble" attaches to only one foot, with the other end usually attached to a rope called a picket line.
The tarsal joint of the equine hind leg, located midway between the horse's body and the ground. Anatomically corresponds to the ankle and heel of the human, but in horses is located much farther from the ground.
Prehistoric cave painting of a horse from the Lascaux caves
A body covering made for horses that covers the animal's body from chest to rump, usually kept on the horse by buckles at the chest by buckles and by adjustable straps passing under the belly and sometimes around the hind legs. Heavier weight blankets assist in keeping the animal warm in cold weather, lighter weight designs are used in warm weather to deter insects and to keep the sun from bleaching out the horse's coat. Blankets may also have hoods or neck coverings added for additional protection of the animal.Compare to Saddle blanket, Numnah.
The meat of equines, eaten in many cultures, but taboo in others.
A document required in European Union countries for every equine animal, including a detailed description of the animal and a record of whether it is intended for human consumption. May be linked to a microchip implant.
A unit of power, originally used to compare the power of mechanical devices to that of a draft horse. Roughly equivalent to the normal sustained power output of one horse – however the maximum power of a horse is much more than one horsepower. A metric horsepower equals approximately 735.5 watts, and an imperial horsepower (or imperial horsepower) equals approximately 745.7 watts.
The sport of racing horses, a major industry in many parts of the world. Racehorses are usually Thoroughbreds (or Arabs) ridden at the gallop, but other breeds are also raced, and horses or ponies may also be raced at the trot or pace, when they are usually in harness (see harness racing).
A curved bar attached to the underside of the wall of the hoof, to prevent wear and provide grip. Usually made of steel and nailed to the hoof, but may be of aluminum or other materials, and may be glued on. Usually used on all four hooves, but sometimes only on the front, or not used at all (see barefoot).
An informal term in UK land use planning, referring to land used intensively for keeping recreational horses, often with many small paddocks and numerous field shelters.
Show hunter (US), hunter (US) or working hunter (US and UK): A type of horse and horse show competition judged on its movement, manners, and way of going, particularly over fences. A hunter should be graceful and keep a long frame on the flat and while jumping fences.
Field hunter (US), hunter (US, UKI): a horse used for fox hunting. Subdivided by weight: heavy hunter, light hunter etc.
A slow trot that is moderately collected, usually ridden without posting. Most often seen in western riding.
Applied to horses, may refer to a horse jumping over an obstacle, or may refer to action where the horse simply leaps into the air, such as bucking, crowhopping, or pronking. Less often, applied to certain airs above the ground.
An obstacle, particularly one used in competition.
A horse that jumps, particularly in competition.
Show jumping or stadium jumping, a competition that goes as high as the Olympic level, where the horse is judged on the number of obstacles it clears on the course in a given round and the speed at which it completes the course. When a course is not timed, or in the event of a tie, the height of obstacles is raised in each successive round, most notably in puissance competition, until there is a winner.
Inflammation of the sensitive laminae of the hoof. Possibly linked to metabolic disturbances, often associated with obesity or ingestion of excess starches or sugars. Causes lameness and severe pain. Treatable if caught early, but in its most severe form, known as "Founder," may require euthanasia of the affected animal.
Soft, flexible strap made of leather, attached to a heavy ring on a saddle tree, used to attach a cinch to a western saddle. Modern latigo usually has holes punched for a cinch buckle. On older saddles the latigo had no holes and the cinch was secured to the saddle with the latigo tied in a latigo hitch or girth hitch, a variation of the cow hitch. See also billets.
A horse on the right lead
Lead (leg): the leading legs of the horse at the canter and gallop. The front and hind legs on one side of the horse appear to land in front of the other set of front and hind legs when the horse travels. On a curve, a horse is generally asked to lead with the inside legs, though there are exceptions to the general rule, such as the counter canter. See also lead change.
Lead (tack): a lead rope, lead shank or leading rein. A flat line or rope attached to a halter and used to lead the animal when the handler is on the ground.
The act of a horse changing from one lead to the other. When performed at a canter or gallop, it is a "flying change". When the horse is dropped to a slower gait and then asked to canter again but on the opposite lead, it is a "simple change". Performing a flying change with every stride is an advanced dressage movement known as a one-tempi change, tempi changes, or informally, "onesies".
Any of the horses in a team which are ahead of the shafts or pole. Can only pull the vehicle, not slow it. See also wheeler.
live foal guarantee
A guarantee that a bred mare will have a living foal from a breeding to a stallion. Usually offered by the stallion's owner and allows the mare to be rebred if for some reason the resulting foal is stillborn or is not living.
A type of adjustable curb bit used for horses in harness, allowing the horses in a team to be driven with the same rein tension.
An establishment providing livery (UK) or boarding (US) for horse-owners – care, stabling or pasture, depending on type.
loose-box (UK), box stall (US)
An enclosed area within a stable where a horse may be left untethered (loose). Minimum size is usually 10 or 12 feet (3.0 or 3.7 m) square up to about 14 feet (4.3 m) square. Contrast with tie stall, a smaller enclosure where the animal is kept tied or tethered. See also stall.
To work or train a horse at the end of a long rope or flat line (typically about 30 feet (9.1 m) in length), teaching it to obey voice commands and exhibit good ground manners, and to exercise it when not ridden (for reasons of youth, age, infirmity, trainer desire, etc.).
long-reining, long-lining, line driving
Driving a horse while walking behind or to the side of it, controlling the animal by use of very long reins. Used for training, both for riding and driving. For a riding horse, the stirrups are often used as makeshift terrets to keep the reins from trailing on the ground.
A form of the canter seen in western-style riding; a three beat gait, performed at a relatively slow speed.
The hybrid offspring of a male donkey and a horse mare. Almost always sterile. The hybrid with the reverse parentage (and somewhat different appearance and characteristics) is a hinny. Mules are noted for their sure-footedness.
The assembling or roundup of livestock. See also drift, roundup.
When a horse is disobedient and refuses to go forwards, sometimes also bucking or kicking. A horse which does this habitually is said to be nappy. See balk, jib.
natural cover, live cover
The process of breeding horses through natural biological means without use of artificial insemination or other assisted reproductive technology. The only method of breeding allowed for the Thoroughbred horse breed.
The left side of a horse. The traditional side on which all activities around a horse are done or start to be done.
A sound made by a horse. Generally a loud noise, described as a squeal followed by a nicker. Often is heard when a horse is looking for another horse or a person, sometimes used to call out to unseen animals.
A soft noise made by horses, the horse makes a vibrating sound with its mouth closed using the vocal cords. Often used as a greeting to humans or other animals, the softest version used by a mare communicating to her foal. Louder versions may be heard when a stallion is communicating with a mare.
night horse (AU)
A quiet horse with good night vision that is used to patrol cattle at night, when droving.
A saddle pad used beneath the saddle to protect the horse's back, often shaped to fit the saddle rather than being rectangular. May be fairly thin, or well padded (in which case often made of sheepskin) `
A horse who is flexed at the poll, moving forward well, holding the bit without fuss, and is responsive to the rider.
on the bridle
Of a horse in a race, when it is being kept at a steady speed on a tight rein to avoid tiring it early in the race. When sprinting for the finish, the horse will usually be allowed to run off the bridle, with the reins quite loose.
on the buckle
In English riding, holding the reins very loose, literally only holding the reins by the buckle that joins the reins together.
Describes the relationship of a horse to its dam, in the context of its pedigree. A foal is by its sire and out of or from its dam.
A horse that is vicious or cannot be handled by humans.
A two-beat, lateral gait where the front and hind legs on the same side move forward at the same time. Difficult to ride, but the fastest of the intermediate gaits, particularly seen in harness racing and the "flying pace" of the Icelandic horse.
In horse racing, may refer to the speed of the leaders of a given race, i.e. "setting the pace," "off the pace."
The speed of a horse or, as a verb, to regulate the speed of a horse, particularly over distance.
A category of horse show classes where horses are exhibited in harness or under saddle and judging is based on how they perform the tasks asked of them. May also refer to equitation classes, where the skill of the rider is judged. Contrast to a halter class which is judged solely on the horse's conformation. Compare Halter," "in hand"
The practise of buying young horses with the specific intention of reselling them for a profit. In the UK, typically refers to buying Thoroughbred weanlings and yearlings.
In horse racing, a placed horse is one that finishes second in a race (NAm), or in the first three places (AU/NZ/UK), A place bet is a bet that a horse will place. In the (UK/Ir) place bets may be pay up to fourth place if there are 16 or more runners in a race.
In horse shows, any award ranking, particularly one other than first "place", usually second through fifth or sixth place.
Collective term in horse anatomy for the external parts of a horse, such as crest, withers, shoulder, cannon, etc.
Resting a foreleg; indicating soreness in that leg or foot.
A single rigid bar extending from the front of a vehicle, being held between a pair of horses (or other draft animals). Allows the animals to steer and slow the vehicle. See also shafts.
Poling, the practice (usually illegal on horse show grounds) of deliberately hitting the legs of a show jumper while it is in the air over a fence, said to make it fold up its legs and jump higher.
In common use, a member of the species Equus ferus caballus of a horse breed that typically matures shorter than 14.2 hands (58 inches, 147 cm). Individual animals of breeds that typically mature over this height may still be called "horses" even if under the cutoff height. In some parts of the world, the cutoff is at 14 hands instead of 14.2.
Biologically, may be used to define small horses that retain a pony phenotype of relatively short height heavy coat, thick mane and tail, proportionally short legs, and heavy build regardless of actual mature height.
For competition purposes, depending on organizational rules and local tradition, may also be used for an adult horse of any breed of 14.2, 14.1, or 14 hands or less at the time of competition. The International Federation for Equestrian Sports, which uses metric measurement, defines the official cutoff point at 148 centimetres (58.27 in) (just over 14.2 h) without shoes and 149 centimetres (58.66 in) (just over 14.2½ h) with shoes.
To rise up out of the saddle and then gently sit back down in rhythm with the horse's motion while it is trotting. Posting the trot is generally more comfortable for both rider and horse. See also Diagonal.
Prix St. Georges
The first of the international competitive dressage levels in FEI competition. It is followed by Intermediare I, Intermediare II and Grand Prix. Levels below Prix St. Georges, though common in local and national-level competition, are not recognized by the FEI. The terms used for these lower levels and number of levels available vary from nation to nation.
An animal with documented parentage recognized by a breed registry as being descended in all lines from recognized foundation bloodstock and free of admixture of breeding from lines outside those of the breed in question. Not to be confused with Thoroughbred, which is a specific breed of horse with very strict standards for purebred status.
Prize money in a competition, horse show class, or race.
A popular stock horse breed, especially in North America, noted for ability to work with cattle and compete in related competitive events requiring both short bursts of intense speed and agility. Also raced at distances of a quarter mile or less, from whence the name originates.
When a horse rises up on its hind legs. If performed while being handled by humans, is usually considered a severe, dangerous disobedience. Occasionally, horses are trained to rear on command for uses such as film or circus work. Rearing may occur while an animal is loose, being ridden, or while being handled by a human from the ground.
Documentation provided by a breed registry that verifies the breeding and ownership of an animal. Usually includes a pedigree chart and an outline illustration indicating horse markings. Some organizations may include a photograph of the animal.
A male horse with one or more undescended testicles (a cryptorchid), or one which is incompletely castrated (deliberately or accidentally). If both testicles are not descended, the horse may appear to be a gelding, but will still behave like a stallion.See alsostallion, gelding.
ring sour (US)
A horse that exhibits competition burnout through undesired behavioral problems, including a disinterest in work, reluctance to move forward, pinned back ears, a twisting or wringing tail, or overall disobedience in the ring.
A device placed on the back of a horse or other equine, where the rider sits, designed to support and stabilize a rider. Comes in two main varieties, a stock saddle (western or Australian designs), and flatter types, known as English in the United States, which are used for jumping, dressage and racing.
A part of a horse harness placed on the back, forming an attachment point for several other harness parts, taking the weight of the shafts or pole.
Often a wool or synthetic blanket, but informally may also refer to felt, fleece, or other padding that is placed between the horse and a saddle to protect the horse's back. Some types of English saddles are designed so that they do not mandate use of a blanket to protect the horse, but use of one helps keep the underside of the saddle clean and may prevent saddle sores on the horse.
Domesticated horses or ponies allowed to roam freely, but owned by individuals and rounded up from time to time. Examples include New Forest, Dartmoor and Exmoor ponies in their native locations, stock horses on many ranches in the American west, and some modern Iberian horses in Spain and Portugal. Herds often consist only of mares (with or without suckling foals), but stallions may be turned out in the mating season, with weanlings (especially colts) removed for sale in the autumn. The term may also refer to "bachelor herds" of young colts or geldings that are not old enough to be placed under saddle, or retired geldings too old to ride. See feral horse.
A pair of rigid bars extending from the front of a horse-draw vehicle, attached to the sides of the horse (or other draft animal). Allows the animal to steer the vehicle, to slow it, and in the case of a two-wheeled vehicle, to hold it level. Used for a single animal, for the rearmost of several animals in tandem, or sometimes to act as poles between three horses abreast (a troika). See pole.
In US horse racing, the horse that comes in third in a given race. Also a bet that a horse will finish third or better.
A horse show, a competitive event or series of events where horses are judged in a wide variety of ways depending on breed, discipline and part of the world.
A course of jumps of which a horse has to jump round, found in three-day events and horse shows all around the world
A stallion who is regularly transported between the Northern and Southern hemispheres in order to cover mares during both breeding seasons.
When a horse jumps in fright, usually at a sudden movement or an unfamiliar object.
A form of riding where a (normally female) rider sits with both legs to the near side of the horse, rather than with legs astride.
A saddle designed for the above style of riding
silhouette, outline diagram
A standard set of diagrams of an individual horse showing its identifying features, including markings and the locations of all its hair whorls. May form part of a horse passport, or of registration/pedigree papers, or both.
A type of bit that applies direct pressure to the horse's mouth, i.e. a bit without leverage. Generally considered the mildest type of pressure, though severity can vary depending on the type of bit mouthpiece used. The most common style of snaffle bit has a jointed mouthpiece, but the term refers to a direct pressure bit with any type of mouthpiece, solid or jointed. Term sometimes is incorrectly used to refer to a curb bit with a jointed mouthpiece. (Compare to curb bit)
A loud harsh sound emitted when a horse holds his head high and forces the breath violently through the nostrils with the mouth shut. The snort lasts about one second and is most commonly heard in horses when they are startled.
Technical terminology used to describe a healthy horse.
A horse that is grumpy and unhappy when being ridden. Usually happens through too much work.
Ossification of the second and fourth metacarpal or metatarsal bones, which often form after trauma to the area. Often an unsoundness when newly injured, may ossify into blemishes with no effect on soundness, depending on location.
Splint bones, the second and fourth metacarpal or metatarsal bones, thought to be vestiges of the toes possessed by prehistoric equines.
General term for a type of horse bred or trained for use in the international and Olympic equestrian disciplines of eventing, dressage, jumping. In some cases may also include hunters and horses used in combined driving.
Any of a number of repetitive or nervous behaviors seen most often in horses kept in confinement. Usually attributed to boredom and insufficient exercise, though temperament may also play a role. Stable vices include cribbing, weaving, wood chewing, wall-kicking and similar behaviors.
A mature, uncastrated male horse, usually four years old and older, although sometimes refers to a horse three years of age or older. Other terms include entire, stud, stud horse, full, full horse, stone horse, stock horse, or bull.
star mare, cluster mare
A Thoroughbred brood mare that has produced two or more winners of three or four of the eight most important and valuable races, within six generations.
Paired small light frames or rings for receiving the foot of a rider, attached to the saddle by a strap, called a stirrup leather. Used to aid in mounting and as a support while riding. In UK usage and for English riding in some US regions, the term "stirrup" includes both the metal frame, or iron, and the stirrup leather, the strap used to suspend the iron from the saddle. In western riding, the term "stirrup" refers only to the frame, which on a western saddle is often made of wood covered with leather. See also iron.
Any horse used for various competitions that are based and judged on cattle handling or agility skills such as reining, cutting, campdrafting or similar events.
Several designs of a heavier style of saddle with a deep, secure seat, usually with flared pommels and a high cantle. Designed to help keep the rider seated when a horse makes rapid turns or stops, such as when working livestock.
The distance from the imprint of a forefoot until the same foot hits the ground again.
The race horses being trained by an individual horse trainer. Sometimes used to refer to any group of horses trained or used by a single entity for a particular purpose, such as a string of polo ponies, a "show string" of horse show entries, or a pack string.
A lightweight, two-wheeled cart for one person pulled by a single horse (or sometimes a pair). In earlier times used as a fast, showy form of transport, but now usually limited to harness racing, when it is often made extremely lightly, with bicycle-style wheels.
Surcingle (NAm, UK/Ir), roller (UK/Ir, Au/NZ). A piece of training equipment which goes around the barrel of the horse. Usually padded at the top, and buckles around the horse. Often has rings placed at various locations for attachment of reins, a crupper and/or an overcheck. Specialized designs also used in equestrian vaulting.
A long unpadded strap that passes around the barrel of a horse. One design is placed over a saddle and is fastened with a buckle, used on racing, polo and Australian stock saddles. Other designs are used to hold on certain styles of horse blankets.
Several animals pulling a vehicle. Arranged in various configurations, most commonly as a pair (two side by side), in tandem (two or more in single file), a four (two pairs) or a six. More rarely other arrangements such as three or more abreast, a troika (three abreast with shafts between), a "pickax" (three abreast with a pair of wheelers behind) or a "unicorn" (a single animal in front of a pair of wheelers).
Doctor of veterinary medicine, an individual who is trained to provide medical care to horses and other animals. Specialists who work with horses are known as equine veterinarians. Professional acronyms: DVM, VMD, MRCVS.
A habit making the horse difficult to work or keep, such as biting, kicking or bucking. Includes (but is not limited to) stable vices.
A Przewalski's horse, the only truly wild horse in existence today. All other free-roaming horses are feral animals.
A descriptive word for many middle-weight sport horse types and breeds, most originally developed in Europe by the crossbreeding of draft or heavy harness horses on light horse breeds such as Thoroughbreds or Arabians. "Warm" refers to its origin as a cross of a cold-blood, and a hot-blood – it does not relate to body temperature.
A foal that has been weaned from its mother, but is less than one year old.
A habit, considered a stable vice, developed by some horses kept for long periods in a stable, in which the horse repetitively sways side to side, shifting weight and moving its head and neck back and forth.See also Boxwalking.
A style of riding characterized by use of a western saddle and a bridle without a noseband. Riders generally have a fairly long stirrup, sit rather than post the trot (hence a slower trot, called a "jog" is generally desired in the western horse) and, on a finished western horse, reins are usually carried one-handed by the non-dominant (usually left) hand and, with minimal or no contact with the horse's mouth. The finished animal is usually ridden in a curb bit and turned by use of the neck reining technique. Inexperienced or "green" animals are usually ridden two-handed in either a snaffle bit or a bosal-style hackamore.
One of the pair of horses closest to a horse-drawn vehicle (next to the wheels). The only horses in a team able to slow the vehicle, by pulling back on the pole. Also the rearmost of a team in tandem. See leader.
whinny or whinney
A circular arrangement of hairs, usually on a horse's neck. Their location is one means of horse identification.
Horses that have no domesticated ancestors. Currently the only wild horse in the world is the Przewalski's horse. The only other true wild horse to survive into historical times was the tarpan. All other free-roaming horses today are feral horses, descended from domesticated ancestors. The Domestic Horse, Equus ferus caballus, is a subspecies of the Wild Horse.
In horse racing, the horse that comes in first in a given race. Also a bet that a horse will come in first.
Ancient Greek cavalry officer, historian and political philosopher who wrote a manual, On Horsemanship (Ἱππαρχικὸς ἢ περὶ ἱππικῆς) describing humane methods for the training of horses, circa 350 BC. Sometimes called the "father of classical horsemanship".
^Hart-Poe, Rhonda. "Staccato Beat! Gaits of the Paso Fino." Gaited Horse, web page accessed August 2, 2007 at "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-02-08. Retrieved 2009-11-03.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
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^Price, et al. Lyons Press Horseman's Dictionary p. 241
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A bit converter, also known as a pelham rounding, is used on pelham bits to change them from two-rein bits to one-rein bits. It is a leather strap that attaches from the snaffle ring to the curb ring, onto which the rein is then attached to the loop made between the two rings. A bit converter is very helpful when riding the cross-country phase of eventing, so that a rider using a pelham does not have to keep track of two reins— especially helpful when riding drop fences, which require the rider to slip the reins and then gather them back up on landing. It is also commonly used by children, who may have not yet become skilled enough to handle two reins with ease. However, the bit converter diminishes the rider's ability to apply the curb and snaffle functions of the pelham independently and discriminately, and thus is usually considered unsuitable for other types of riding; it is illegal in hunt seat equitation, for example.
A bit converter is also known in some places as 'roundings' or 'pelham roundings'.
Equidae (sometimes known as the horse family) is the taxonomic family of horses and related animals, including the extant horses, donkeys, and zebras, and many other species known only from fossils. All extant species are in the genus Equus. Equidae belongs to the order Perissodactyla, which includes the extant tapirs and rhinoceros, and several extinct families.
The term equid refers to any member of this family, including any equine.
A feedbag, feed bag, feeding bag, nosebag, or morral, is a bag, filled with fodder, and attached to the head of a horse, enabling it to eat. The main advantages are that only a small amount of the feed is wasted, and it prevents one animal consuming the ration of another.It can be made of leather, reeds, but more commonly is a thick fabric or light canvas. Some modern designs are made of cordura or other durable nylon, with a solid bottom and mesh sides for ventilation.
To access the portion of the feed near the bottom of the bag, the horse needs to be able to touch its head to the ground, allowing it to push its nose into the end of the bag.
In popular US culture, the feedbag is used in the expression "strap on the old feedbag", meaning to "dine". It suggests that the diner will pay little attention to etiquette, and will dine heartily. The term is also found in numerous restaurant names.
The Garrano, from Gaelic gearran, a pony of the Iberian horse family, is an endangered breed of horse from northern Portugal, mainly used as a pack horse, for riding, and for light farm work. An ancient breed, the Garrano has remained largely unchanged for thousands of years but is in decline due to predation and loss of interest in breeding for agricultural use.
It has many similarities with the Galician horse and the Dartmoor pony.
A horse harness is a type of horse tack that allows a horse or other equine to be driven and to pull various horse-drawn vehicles such as a carriage, wagon or sleigh. Harnesses may also be used to hitch animals to other loads such as a plow or canal boat.
There are two main categories of horse harness: the "breaststrap" or "breastcollar" design, and the collar and hames design. For light work, such as horse show competition where light carts are used, a harness needs only a breastcollar. It can only be used for lighter hauling, since it places the weight of the load on the sternum of the horse and the nearby windpipe. This is not the heaviest skeletal area; also heavy loads can constrict the windpipe and reduce a horse's air supply.
By contrast, the collar and harness places the weight of the load onto the horse's shoulders, and without any restriction on the air supply. For heavy hauling, the harness must include a horse collar to allow the animal to use its full weight and strength.
Harness components designed for other animals (such as the yoke used with oxen) are not suitable for horses and will not allow the horse to work efficiently.
Putting harness on a horse is called harnessing or harnessing up. Attaching the harness to the load is called putting to (British Isles) or hitching (North America). The order of putting on harness components varies by discipline, but when a horse collar is used, it is usually put on first.
A shadow roll is a piece of equipment, usually made of sheepskin or a synthetic material, that is attached to the noseband of a horse's bridle. Like blinkers, it partially restricts the horse's vision, and helps him to concentrate on what is in front of him, rather than objects on the ground (such as shadows).
Shadow rolls are most commonly used in horse racing, both on the flat and harness racing, as some horses will try to jump shadows on the ground, behavior that will slow them down. They are also occasionally, albeit rarely, seen in eventing. The shadow roll is also seen in show jumping competitions, especially for horses who have a tendency to raise their heads too high and evade the bit. The shadow roll is intended to correct this by forcing the horse to lower his head in order to see the jump; when the horse's head is raised the roll blocks his vision.
Skid boots are used to protect a horse's hind legs during exercise and competition, protecting the fetlocks, pasterns, and other parts of the lower leg from injury that may occur from a sliding stop. Taller varieties may also provide protection if one leg or hoof strikes the opposite leg. They are commonly seen on horses in western riding sports such as cutting, reining and other events where quick stops and fast turns on the hindquarters may be required.
Skid boots are usually made of synthetic materials such as Neoprene or traditional materials such as leather. They usually attach by a wide velcro fastening which is pulled around the leg. Some boots may have buckles, especially older designs. They are made in a wide variety of colors and of varying styles.
A stable is a building in which livestock, especially horses, are kept. It most commonly means a building that is divided into separate stalls for individual animals. There are many different types of stables in use today; the American-style barn, for instance, is a large barn with a door at each end and individual stalls inside or free-standing stables with top and bottom-opening doors. The term "stable" is also used to describe a group of animals kept by one owner, regardless of housing or location.
The exterior design of a stable can vary widely, based on climate, building materials, historical period and cultural styles of architecture. A wide range of building materials can be used, including masonry (bricks or stone), wood and steel. Stables also range widely in size, from a small building housing one or two animals to facilities at agricultural shows or race tracks that can house hundreds of animals.
A tapadero, sometimes referred to as a "hooded stirrup," is leather cover over the front of a stirrup on a saddle that closes each stirrup from the front. A tapadero prevents the rider's boot from slipping through and also prevents brush encountered while working cattle on the open range from poking through the stirrup, injuring or impeding the horse or rider. Some designs can also provide protection in cold weather. They are also frequently used with young riders, as many parents and riding instructors feel they are a safety precaution. Most commonly seen today on a western saddle, particularly certain types of children's saddles and parade horse saddles, the tapadero is not common in modern times and is not allowed in most show competition other than Parade Horse competition and children's leadline.
The Tawleed horse breed was developed in the Khartoum region of Sudan. This breed was formed by breeding native horses with an exotic breed. Tawleed horses are used as riding horses and they are known for their resistance to heat and drought. There are no pedigrees or bloodlines currently available for this breed.
In transport, a trace is one of two, or more, straps, ropes or chains by which a carriage or wagon, or the like, is drawn by a harness horse or other draft animal. The once popular idiom: "kick over the traces" is derived from a frisky or frightened animal kicking one or both feet outside a trace. Unable to understand the entanglement, the animal may become wildly confused and out of control, possibly even breaking away. Hence, to "kick over the traces", when referring to a person, means to become wild and uncontrollable, or to abandon constraint.
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