Horse Terms Glossary

At times the horse world can be a confusing one! I've made this page to help you out a little. Below are some common terms. If you have anyone questions, feel free to send me an email!

Aids: Signals used by a rider to pass instructions to his mount. Artificial aids include the whip and spurs. Natural aids include hands, legs, voice cues and weight cues.

Bars of Mouth: Fleshy area between front and back teeth on either sides of horses mouth.

Bay: Deep reddish-brown coloured horse. Has black mane/tail and legs.

Cantle: Extreme back of saddle.

Cavaletti: Adjustable low wooden jump used in schooling the horse and rider (mostly for jumping).

Chestnut: A brownish-yellow coat colour. Mane/tail are usually the same colour as the coat. Other term: the little oval of hard, rough skin found mid-way up the inside of all 4 of the horses legs.

Clean-Legged: describes a horse with no feather (see def.)

Cold-Blooded: designating any horse or breed of horse without Arabian or eastern blood in its breeding. In practice, since many so-called cold-blooded breeds have been improved by the use of Arab blood, the distinction is based mainly on physical type: broadly, all heavy draft horses and most european native ponies are classed as cold-blooded.

Collected: Neck arched, hocks (see def.) tucked well underneath horse and lively gait (see def.) During collection, a horse builds up power and it ready to 'release' it when cued by the rider to perform a certain task.

Colt: Male, ungelded (see def.) horse up to 4 years old.

Conformation: the structure and general make-up of a horse.

Coronet: The small area that attaches the hoof (see def.) to the rest of the leg.

Crest: The area between the poll (see def.) and the withers (see def.)

Dorsal Stripe: Coloured stripe (usually black or brown) running down the back of the horse - from the mane, continued into the tail.

Dished: Concave, referring to the profile of a head, such as that of an Arabian.

Dun: Yellow coat with black mane/tail, legs and a dorsal stripe (see def).

Farrier: A person trained professionally to tend to a horses hooves.

Feather: Hair on the back of cannon bones and around the fetlocks.

Fetlock: The lowest joint in a horses leg.

Filly: A female horse up to 4 years of age.

Foal: Horse of any gender, up to 1 year old.

Forehand/Forequarters: the head, neck, shoulders, withers and forelegs of a horse, collectively.

Frog: V-shaped area found on bottom of horses hooves.

Gait: Paces at which a horse moves. Common gaits are: walk, trot, canter and gallop - although there are more in different breeds.

Galls: Sores caused by poorly fitting tack (see def.)

Gelding: Castrated male horse.

Gray: Any colour from pure white to dark gray.

Groom: Person who looks after the horse (also called a stable-hand). Other term: the act of brushing/cleaning a horse.

Hand: Used to determine the height of a horse. 1 hand = 10cm.

Hock: Joint in the center part of the hind legs.

Hocks Well Engaged: A horse with this feature strides well with the hind with a good muscular action and a good bend of the hock joints. The hind legs are well 'under' the horse, not trailing, with the hind feet stepping at least into the print of the forefeet (or 'tracking up').

Hoof: Horses 'feet'.

Horn: Hard, insensitive outer part of hoof.

Irons (english riding term): Metal items attached to saddle by pieces of leather, used to hold riders feet.

Knee-Up/Leg Up: A form of mounting a horse. Requires 2 people: 1 person helps the other onto the horse by taking their knee in the palm of the helpers hands and lifting them off the ground.

Leathers (english riding term): The straps that hold the irons onto the saddle. A rider adjusts these so they are the proper length for their leg.

Mare: A female horse over 4 years of age.

Mount: Getting up onto the horse. You can mount from the ground, a mounting block, or by getting a knee-up (see def.)

Mucking Out: Removal of dirty bedding and replacing it with clean bedding.

Near-Side: Left side of horse. Also the side you mount from.

Palomino: Various shades of gold. A palomino horse has a white mane and tail.

Poll: Area between the horses ears.

Pommel: Extreme front of saddle.

Pony: Small horse measuring 14.2 hands high or less.

Shy: When a horse jumps to the side, being scared by something real or imaginary.

Tack: Term for all saddlery (ie: saddle, reins, bit, etc....)

Throat-Latch: The under-side of where a horses jaw and neck meet.

Un-gelded: An uncastrated horse.

Vice: Any bad habit learned by a horse (ie: head tossing, rearing, etc....)

Wall-Eye: an eye in which the iris, usually a pale translucent blue due to lack of pigment, is ringed with white.

Warm-Blood: designating any horse or breed of horse with Arabian or eastern blood in its breeding. In practice, the distinction is based mainly on physical type: broadly, all light saddle horses and harness horses are classed as Warm-Bloods.

Withers: Point at the bottom of the neck. This is usually characterized by a slightly raised area - just above the shoulders. The saddle lays just behind this. A horses height is measured from the ground to the withers

I hope this helps you!! This glossary will grow as I have more time to add! Believe me - this is only a taste of the horse world! :)

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