Three young horses galloping in a row

Before Buying Buying Care Tack Use Woodswell Farm logo - a water well under a tree

Off the Hoof Horsemanship

Glossary


A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z

A
A Good Length Of Rein
A neck that is nicely in proportion to the body, and not too short; also well set on a good shoulder
A.I.
Artificial Insemination. the mechanical introduction of semen into the mare's reproductive system
Abscess
A hole formed by dying tissue that is often filled with pus. A localized collection of pus surrounded by inflamed tissue
Above the bit
When a horse raises his mouth above the rider's hands to avoid the pressure of the bit
Abrasion
Scrape on the horse's skin
Acre
Unit of measurement of land area; 4,840 square yards or 43,560 square feet
Action
A horse's manner of moving
Action
Term used to describe the way a horse moves
Active Immunization
A vaccination
Acupressure
Utilizing stimulation on acupuncture points to treat an animal
Acupuncture
A centuries-old means of treating an animal or human through the use of needles to stimulate or realign the body's electrical fields
Age
The age of the horse, computed from January first on the year the horse was born
Aged
A mature horse of different years of age, depending on who you ask. There are different definitions of this word
Aging
Estimating the age of a horse by its teeth
Aids
Signals from the rider to the horse with his hands, seat, weight, legs and voice, to tell the horse what to do. Natural aids are the mind, voice, hands, legs, and weight. Examples of artificial aids (which are extensions, reinforcements, or substitutions of the natural aids) are whips, spurs, nosebands, draw reins and martingales
Airs Above The Ground
Exercises of the High School of classical equitation which result in either both forelegs, or forelegs and hind legs, leaving the ground
Airs
Movements, usually used in formal dressage
Akhal-Teke
An ancient breed of horse originating in the Turkmenistan area, north of Iran and east of the Caspian Sea
Albino
A term used to indicate lack of pigment. True albino horses have pink skin, white hair coat and pink eyes
Alfalfa (medicago sativa)
A leguminous plant used primarily for hay, usually high in protein and calcium
Alpha Horse
The dominant horse in the herd that has first access to anything which is scarce in the environment, and can threaten any other horse in the herd
Amateur
Rider over eighteen who does not get paid for riding. An individual who rides or exhibits a horse in competition, who does not derive profit from such activities and does not do so as a profession
Amateur-Owner
Class open to horses whose owner or member of owner's immediate family is the rider
Amble
A smooth, fast lateral gait; a less vigorous version of the pace. Both hind leg and foreleg on one side move forward at the same time, then both legs on the other side, and so on
Amino acid
The main component of protein that the horse breaks proteins down to for absorption
Andalusian
An elegant breed of horse originating in the Iberian Peninsula,known in Portugal as the Lusitano
Angular limb deformity
A limb that is not conformationaly correct because of developmental problems in the angles of the joints
Anhydrosis
Inability to sweat in response to work output or increases in body temperature. Also known as a "non-sweater." Most are athletic horses though frequently the condition appears in pasteured horses not being ridden. Most commonly occurs when both the temperature and humidity are high. Horses raised in temperate regions and then transported to hot climates are most prone to develop the condition but even acclimated horses can be at risk. Clinical signs include inability to sweat, increased respiratory rate, elevated body temperature and decreased exercise tolerance. The condition can be reversed if the horse is moved to a more temperate climate
Anterior
Toward the front
Anterior enteritis
Acute inflammation of the small intestine producing signs of abdominal distress, such as colic and diarrhea
Anthelmintics
The name given to the various deworming medications used to control equine internal parasites
Antigen
Substance, often in protein form, that the body's immune system will react to by producing antibodies
Antiseptic
A chemical that inhibits the growth of microorganisms without killing them
Antitoxin
A substance that acts against specific toxins. it produced by the body and carried in the bloodstream
Appaloosa
An American breed characterized by having one or more Appaloosa characteristics, such as spots on the coat, mottling, striped hooves, eye whites, etc. Also any type of horse with these characteristics of any breed as a color
Appendix
A horse that is registered in the Appendix of the American Quarter Horse Registry. Quarter Horse/Thoroughbred cross
Appointments
The type of tack for the horse and attire for the rider or handler that is considered standard for that type of horse or breed
Arabian
An ancient and graceful breed of horse, originating in the deserts of the Middle East and having a strong influence on many other breeds, including the Thoroughbred
Arena
Where a horse is worked. It is much like a paddock only quite a bit larger and instead of turning the horses loose, this is where riders practice their equitation
Arthritis
Inflammation of the joints
artificial breeding
Includes artificial insemination or embryo transfer (transplants)
Artificial Aids
Object by which the rider gets the horse to respond, such a with spurs or a whip
Ascaris (plural ascarids)
Large white intestinal parasite; in the horse the common ascaris is Paracaris equorum
Ass
The correct term for the donkey, burrow, or jack stock
Astride
When a rider sits on a horse with one leg on either side of the horse
Asymmetrical gait
Gait in which the limb movements on one side are not exactly repeated on the other side. Example - Canter, Gallop
At Grass
A horse that has been turned out in a pasture or field
Ataxia
Loss or failure of muscular coordination
Atrophy
To waste away, usually used in describing muscles
Attire
The rider's clothes
Aural Flat Warts
Skin warts that are found on the ears of horses greater than a year of age; caused by a papillomavirus
Aversion Conditioning
When a horse learns avoidance of unpleasant situations, such as an encounter with an electric fence
Azoturia
A condition in which the horse experiences prolonged muscle contractions during exercise. Exercise-induced myositis. Also known as tying-up and Monday Morning sickness, because the condition often appears in fit horses following a period of rest
Azteca Horse
The Azteca Horse is a relatively new breed of horse, developed in Mexico by crossing Andalusians, Criollos and Quarter Horses

Return to Top of Page
B
B.V.M.S.
Bachelor of Veterinary Medicine & Surgery
B.V.Sc.
Bachelor of Veterinary Science
Back at the knee
A fault in the forelegs in which the lower limb below the knee, when viewed from the side, tends to be concave
Also known as calf-knee and buck-knee. Undesirable because the limb would be of little use in absorbing concussion
Back
A two-beat diagonal gait in reverse
Back Breeding
The practice of breeding back to a certain stallion to preserve a particular desirable trait
Backed
The process of starting a young horse; mounting and riding away for the first time
Backing
A two-beat gait in which the diagonal pairs of legs move together and the horse moves backwards; a reverse trot
Backstretch
The straight-away portion of a race course on the opposite side from the stands and the finish line
Backyard horse
A horse that lives with its owner, not in a proper horse barn or stable
Bacterin
A vaccine that provides protection against bacterial infection
Bad doer or bad keeper
A horse with a poor appetite, a condition that may be due to nervousness or other causes
Balance
A state of equilibrium when talking about movement; desirable proportions in regard to conformation; distribution of weight between horse and rider
Bald
White or light color on a horse's head from poll to nose, including around the eyes
Bale
A measurement of hay, equal to 10 "flakes"
Balk
When a horse refuses to move or do what the rider wants
Balky
Stubborn
Bandage
Bandages used on horse's legs are three to six inches wide and are made of a variety of materials. In a race, they are used for support or protection against injury. "Rundown bandages" are used during a race and usually have a pad under the fetlock to avoid injury due to abrasion when the fetlocks sink toward the ground during weight-bearing. A horse may also wear "standing bandages," thick cotton wraps used during shipping and while in the stall to prevent swelling and/or injury
Bandy-Legged
Where the hocks turn outward. Also known as bow-hocks, opposite of cow-hocks
Banged Tail
A tail that has been trimmed level at the bottom, seen in dressage horses and hunters, but not in Arabians and western pleasure horses
Bank
A solid ramp or wall of earth that is used as a drop jump in cross country courses
Bar shoe
A horseshoe closed at the back to help support the frog and heel of the hoof. It is often worn by horses with quarter cracks or bruised feet
Bar
Area of gums between the front teeth and the molars which has no teeth and takes the bit. Also, continuation of the wall of the foot that turns inward at the heel
Bareback
Riding without a saddle
Unshod
Barley
A small grain similar to rye or wheat
Barn sour
Herd-bound; a bad habit that may result in a horse bolting back to the barn or to his herdmates
Barrel Racing
a timed event in Western Riding where horse and rider complete a cloverleaf pattern around three barrels as fast as possible
Barrel
The body of the horse between the shoulders and the hips
Barren
Used to describe a filly or mare that was bred and did not conceive during the last breeding season
Barrier
A starting device used in steeplechasing consisting of an elastic band stretched across the racetrack which springs back when released. Also known as a "tape."
Bars of Mouth
Fleshy area between front and back teeth on either sides of horses mouth , where the bit rests
Bars
Part of the saddle's tree that runs along each side and parallel to the horse's spine
Bascule
The desirable arc the horse's body makes as it goes over a jump
Base wide
The horse has a wide space between the legs when viewed from in front or behind
Base narrow
The legs are very close together when viewed from in front or behind
Base
The rider's seat and distributed weight
Bastard strangles
Strangles that result in abscesses in internal glands
Bat
A rider's whip
Bay
A color of horse. Black mane and tail, black lower legs, and reddish brown over the rest of the body
Bean
Common term for urethral diverticular concretion
Bearing in (or out)
Deviating from a straight course. May be due to weariness, infirmity, inexperience or the rider overusing the whip or reins to make a horse alter its course
Beat
A single step in a gait, involving one leg or two. For example, the walk is a 4-beat gait, with each beat stepped off by a single leg, one at a time. The trot is a 2-beat gait, stepped off by two legs landing at the same time
Bedding
Wood shavings, shredded newspaper, straw, sand or other materials used to line the floor of a stall
Behind the bit
When a horse draws his head in toward his chest to avoid contact with the bit
Bell boots
Bell-shaped rubber covering that fits over the horse's foot and hoof to protect from injury
Bib
A device fastened under a horse's lower jaw to prevent it from chewing or licking itself, while still allowing it to eat and drink
Big Licked
Slang term used to refer to a horse that has more than the average stride and or animation when performing its gaits
Bight
Traditionally a loop in a rope. With closed veins, such as with an English bridle, bight refers to the ends of the reins. Even though Western reins are often split, their ends are also referred to as the bight
Billet Straps
Straps by which the girth is attached to the saddle
Bit
The metal part of a bridle that goes in the horse's mouth
Bit
A device placed in the mouth of the horse as a means of control attached to the bridle and the reins or lines. Example - curb, snaffle, port
Bit-Guard
A rubber or leather ring that lies between the horse's cheek and the snaffle bit ring to prevent skin pinching or rubbing
Bite
A collective term for horses' teeth
Biting
A bad habit common to young horses, stallions, and spoiled horses. It can result from hand-fed treats, petting, or improper training
Black
A body color that is true black over the entire body, but may have white leg and face markings
Blanch
Temporarily squeeze the blood out of capillaries
Blanket
A fabric cover for a horse's body, usually made of wool or heavy material (see also rug & sheet); a marking of lighter color over the rump of a dark horse; a term describing color pattern on an Appaloosa
Blaze
A broad, white strip on a horse's face
Blazer Horse
a breed of horse developed in 1959 by Neil Hinck in Idaho, known for their easy maintenance and versatility
Bleeder
A horse that bleeds from the lungs when small capillaries that surround the lungs' air sacs (alveoli) rupture
Blemish
A fault in conformation that does not affect performance or way of going
Blind Spot
The portion of the visual field behind the line of sight that cannot be seen without changing eye and head position
Blind Staggers
Common name for leukoencephalomalacia. Degenerative brain disorder, apparently caused by a toxin produced by the mold Fusarium moniliforme; also called cornstalk disease, moldy corn poisoning, forage disease
Blinkers
Flaps on the bridle to keep the horse from looking anywhere but straight ahead
Blister
Counter-irritant causing acute inflammation used to increase blood supply, blood flow and to promote healing in the leg
Blistering
The application of a caustic agent, or blister, to the leg. is was formerly and occasionally still is used in the treatment of a number of conditions, such as spavin, ringbone and bowed tendon. Thought to encourage internal healing in some cases
Blood Typing
A laboratory procedure by which the red blood cells in a blood sample are identified as belonging to one of several blood groups
Blood Horse
A horse of Thoroughbred and/or Arabian blood
Bloodlines
The family lineage. The ancestry of an animal
Bloodstock agent
A person who advises and/or represents a buyer or seller of Thoroughbreds at a public auction or a private sale. A bloodstock agent usually works on commission, often five percent of the purchase price, and can also prepare a horse for sale
Bloodstock
Thoroughbred horses that are bred for racing
Bloodworm
Usually refers to strongyles
Blow-out
A short, timed workout, usually a day or two before a race, designed to sharpen a horse's speed. Usually three-eighths or one-half of a mile in distance
Blow up
When a horse suddenly loses its temper
Blue roan
A body color that has a uniform mixture of black and white hairs all over the body
Blue Feet
Horn that is dense, blue-black in color
Board
To pay for facilities and care for a horse
Boarding Stable
An equestrian facility where horse owners may keep their horse for a monthly fee
Bobble
A bad step
Body
The back, chest, and flank that form the part of the horse the rider sits on
Bog Spavin
A soft, synovial swelling seen on the inside of the hock that does not usually cause lameness, unlike regular spavin
Boil
A deep-seated bacterial infection of a hair follicle, producing a painful skin nodule containing pus; also called a furuncle
Bolting
Eating very rapidly , gulping feed without proper chewing; running away with rider
Bomb-proof
A horse that doesn't spook
Bone graft
Utilizing bone taken from one part of the body to promote formation of bone in another region
Bone spavin
Bony deposit on the inside and lower part of the hock which may cause the horse to drag the hind toes, or become lame
Bone
The measurement around the leg, just below the knee or hock. This measurement determines the horse's ability to carry weight, therefore a light-boned will be limited in weight carrying capacity
Bony Orbit
The eyeball sockets of the horse that protect the eyeball
Booster
A repeat immunization to restore or increase the amount of immunity in the horse's blood
Boots
Protective covering for the horse's hoofs and legs
Borium
A hard metal spot welded to the bottom of a horseshoe to help keep a horse from slipping
Bosal
Rawhide noseband used in Western training and showing that works on the principles of balance, weight, and pressure. A hackamore type bridle that the nose piece is knotted under the chin
Bot block
A rough, porous synthetic black "stone" whose uniformly abrasive surface will remove bot eggs from the horse's hair. The block can be "sharpened" by drawing it across a hard edge
Bot fly
Gasterophilus; Parasitic fly that looks like a bee and lays eggs in a horse's hair. Flying parasite which deposits tiny white eggs on the horses legs and belly. If ingested, the larvae migrate through the tongue and/or esophagus and attach themselves to the stomach wall
Bottom line
A horse's breeding on the female side. The lower half of an extended pedigree diagram
Bottom
Stamina in a horse
Bow knees
The front legs appear wide just above the knees when viewed from the front
Bowed hocks
A conformational fault in which the hocks on the hind legs are turned too far outwards. See also "Cow Hocks"
Bowed tendon
Inflammation or damage to a tendon usually caused by overstretching due to improper conditioning, overwork, or an accident
Box
Box stall, a four-sided stall to confine a horse
Boxed (in)
To be trapped between, behind or inside of other horses
Boxy Hooves
Narrow, upright hooves with a small frog and closed heel
Brace (or bracer)
Rubdown liniment used on a horse after a race or workout
Branding
An identification mark burned into a horse's coat. The brand indicates to which ranch a horse belongs in case it is stolen. Other ways a horse can be "branded" or marked is with dry ice (freeze burning), tattooing their lip or marking the horse's hooves
Break (a horse)
To train a young horse to wear a bridle and saddle, carry a rider and respond to a rider's commands
Breakdown Injury
The rupture of the suspensory apparatus, i.e., loss of one or more supporting structures of the fetlock
Breaking In
Initial training of a horse
Breast collar
A horse collar that fits over the horse's chest instead of around its neck. A leather strap which passes around the front of the horse above his forelegs., and is attached to the cinch rings of a western saddle. Another strap passes over the horses neck just ahead of the withers. decorative yet functional in preventing the saddle from slipping back
Breather
Easing off on a horse for a short distance in a race to permit it to conserve or renew its strength
Breechen
The part of the harness that fits over the horse's rump and holds the load back or permits the horse to back it up; also called "britchen"
Breed
A particular type of horse
Breed character
The quality of conforming to the description of a particular breed
Breed association
The organization that registers the birth and pedigree of a particular breed of livestock
Breeder
A person who breeds purebred horses for a living, or maybe as a hobby
Breeding stock
A mare or stallion that meets the eligibility requirements to be registered as a distinct breed
Breeding
Act of copulation between a stallion and a mare
Breeding shed
The building in which breeding takes place
Breeding class
Conformation class
breeze (breezing)
Working a horse at a moderate speed, less effort than handily
Bridle
The entire headpiece, the headstall, bit, chin strap, and reins, is called the bridle; To maintain contact with the reins so the horse moves "in a frame" and "on the bit"
Bridle path
The 4" to 6" area between the forelock and the mane that is usually clipped
Bridoon
A snaffle bit used in conjunction with a curb bit in a double bridle
Brilliance
Flash or dazzle, as related to the horse's performance
Brindle dun
A dun body color with darker streaks
Brios
Spirit, used in reference to Spanish style horses. (Paso Fino)
Broad and Deep
A well-structured chest that is solid and wide, but not too wide. Traditionally, if a bowler hat could be placed between the two front legs directly under the chest, it was an indication of a good size of chest
Broke
Trained and reliable
Broke To Ride
A horse that has been accustomed to the tack and the rider and has begun initial training
Broken Winded
A term used to describe horses having an abnormal breathing pattern due to Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). Also known as heaves
Bronc
A bucking horse, usually used in the rodeos of the American West
Broodmare
A mare used for breeding purposes
Browband
The topmost horizontal leather strap of the bridle which fits under the forelock
Brown
A color of horse, with a mixture of black and brown hairs on the body and black points
Brush/to brush/brushing
A faulty action where the horse strikes into the fetlock and lower leg region with the shoe of the opposite foot
Brushing Boots
An item of horse equipment used to protect the horse's legs from injury due to brushing
Buck
When the horse leaps into the air with its back arched and lands on stiff forelegs
Bucked shins
Inflammation of the covering of the bone (periosteum) of the front surface of the cannon bone to which young horses are particularly susceptible. This is primarily a condition of the front legs
Buckskin
A horse's body color that is tan, yellow, or gold with black mane, tail, and lower legs
Buckstitching
The decorative wide, white stitching used on western saddles and bridles
Buggy trot
Slang used when referring to the gait of a horse that is long trotting or square trotting
Bulbs (of the heel)
The two areas on either side of the back of the foot, similar to the heel of the hand
Bulk
Indigestible fiber found in feed
Bull pen
A training corral, also called a "round" pen, in which horses are often exercised
Bump
To pull and release the reins for a brief contact with the horse's mouth
Burn(ed)
See run down. Commonly used in the term for burned heels
Burner
A rawhide section on a rope, covering the eye of the hondo to protect the rope from wear
Burro
Spanish for common donkey
Bursa
A sac containing synovial fluid (a natural lubricant). The purpose is to pad or cushion and thus facilitate motion between soft tissue and bone. Most commonly occurring where tendons pass over bones
Bursitis
Inflammation in a bursa that results in swelling due to accumulation of synovial fluid. Capped elbow is inflammation of the bursa over the point of elbow (olecranon process of the ulna). "Capped hock" is inflammation of the bursa over the point of the hock (tuber calcis)
Bute
Phynalbutazone, a drug which reduces pain
Buttress Foot
An advanced form of degenerative arthritis, caused by new bone growth in the region of the extensor process of the coffin bone
Buttress
The thickened angle at the heel of a horse's hoof wall
Buy-back
A horse put through a public auction that did not reach a minimum (reserve) price set by the consignor and so was retained. The consignor must pay a fee to the auction company based on a percentage of the reserve, to cover the auction company's marketing, advertising and other costs (also called passsing in the horse)

Return to Top of Page
C
Cadence
The rhythmic clarity of a gait
Calcium-phosphorus ratio
The amount of calcium compared to the amount of phosphorus in the diet. A ratio of somewhere between 1:1 or 2:1 is conductive to proper bone development
Calk
A pointed projection on a horseshoe to prevent slipping; to injure with the calk on a shoe
Calked shoes
Shoes having projections downward from the toe or heel to provide better traction
Canker
A chronic overgrowth of the horn-producing tissues of the foot, occurring most commonly in horses housed under unsanitary conditions
Cannon bone
The third metacarpal (front leg) or metatarsal (rear leg), also referred to as the shin bone. The largest bone between the knee on the front leg, or hock on the rear leg, and the fetlock
Canter
The English term for a three-beat gait with right and left leads. The canter has the same foot fall pattern as the lope, which is the Western term
Cantharidin
A toxin in blister beetles responsible for blister beetle poisoning in horses
Cantle
The back of the seat of the saddle. The part of the saddle which projects upwards toward the rear
Capillary Test
Press the gum with your thumb which temporarily restricts the flow of blood to that area. When you remove your thumb, the blood should immediately flow back into the capillaries; if it takes longer than normal, it is a sign of ill health
Capped Elbows/capped hocks
When a swelling occurs in either area as a result of direct blow, or chaffing
Capping
If the rear foot of a horse sets down squarely on the track of the same side front foot as it is set down, the horse is said to be capping
Capriole
One of the Airs Above the Ground moves in which the horse leaps with all four legs and strikes out with the hind legs in mid-leap
Carotene
A substance that is converted to vitamin A in the animals body that is found in green and yellow feeds
Carriage Horse
An elegant horse used for carriage-driving; usually with Thoroughbred blood in its ancestry
Cart Horse
A large, heavy horse used for pulling carts
Caslick
The surgical technique in which the vulvar lips of the mare are cut and sutured so that they grow together making the vulvar opening smaller
Cast
When a horse rolls and gets stuck up against a wall or a fence because it's unable to get its legs under it because it's too close to the wall
Castration
Removal of the testicles of the male animal
Catheter-tip dose syringe
A large hypodermic syringe with a blunt nozzle tip
caudal
Toward the tail
Cavaletti
Adjustable low wooden jump used in schooling the horse and rider (mostly for jumping)
Cavalletti
Ground rail suspended between two wooden Xs designed to provide three different heights for working horses. A very small jump
Cavesson
Leather noseband (customarily used with the English snaffle bridle) which encourages the horse to keep its mouth closed; a longeing cavesson is a leather or nylon headstall with a weighted noseband that has metal rings for various attachments of the longe line. Part of the bridle that goes over the nose and under the horse's jaw
Cecum (caecum)
The blind gut; in the horse it is huge compared to other animals, holding five to ten gallons of ingesta. Large, sock-shaped pouch between the small and large intestines of a horse. Important in the digestion of cellulose
Cervix
The narrow neck or mouth of the uterus
Change of leg or lead
Change of the leading legs at the canter or lope
Change of diagonal
When the rider changes the diagonal to which he is posting
Check rein
A strap that fastens to the bit to keep the horse's head up
Check ligaments
System of ligaments that, when locked in position, allow the horse to sleep standing up
Check(ed)
When a rider slows a horse
Chestnut
A horse color which may vary from a red-yellow to golden-yellow. The mane, tail and legs are usually variations of coat color, except where white markings are present
Horny, irregular growths found on the inside of the legs. On the forelegs, they are just above the knees. On the hind legs, they are just below the hocks. The shape of each horse's chestnuts is individual, so can be used for identification like fingerprints
Cheyenne roll
A style of cantle where the edge bends downward to form a rim or lip
Chin Groove
The groove above the lower lip in which the curb chain of a curb bit lies
Chip
Occurs when a horse puts in a short, additional stride in front of a fence
Chiropractic
The use of bone alignment to treat specific or general health problems
Choking down
See dorsal displacement of the soft palate
Chrome
Flashy white markings on the horse
Chronic osselet
Permanent build-up of synovial fluid in a joint, characterized by inflammation and thickening of the joint capsule over the damaged area. Usually attended by changes in the bone and cartilage. See arthritis
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
Commonly known as "COPD," a hyperallergenic response of the respiratory system that involves damage to the lung tissue, similar in many ways to human asthma. Affected horses may cough, develop a nasal discharge and have a reduced exercise tolerance. Respiratory rate is increased and lung elasticity is diminished
Chronic
A continually recurring condition or habit
Chute
In cattle events, a fenced lane that contains a single cow behind a gate
Cinch
The strap that goes around the horse's midsection to hold the saddle in place
Cinch strap
The strap of leather on the near side that is looped through the cinch to hold the saddle in place
Clean-legged
A horse that does not have any feathering on the lower part of the leg
Cleveland Bay
A breed of horse originating in England as a carriage horse. Increasingly popular for crossing with Thoroughbreds to produce versatile sport horses used in a number of equine sports
Click
Breeding term for a situation in which certain blood lines, if crossed, produce exceptional offspring
Climbing
When a horse lifts its front legs abnormally high as it gallops, causing it to run inefficiently
Clinches
The folded-over ends of horseshoe nails on the outside of a shod horse's hooves
Closed knees
A condition when the cartilaginous growth plate above the knee (distal radial physis) has turned to bone. Indicates completion of long bone growth and is one sign of maturity
Clover
A legume used for hay and pasture
Club Foot
In horses, a flexural deformity of the coffin joint resulting in a raised heel
this is not to be confused with the club foot deformity of humans
Clydesdale
A breed of heavy horse originating in Scotland and often used for heavy draft work
Coach Horse
A heavier type of horse than a carriage horse, used for pulling coaches
Coarse
A horse lacking refinement, breeding, and quality. A coarse feed has a high fiber content
Cob
A small, strong horse descended from draft horses. About 15 hands high
Cobby type
A horse that has conformation similar to a cob - stocky, sturdy and strong, with short legs and rounded barrel
Coffin joint
The joint within the hoof of the horse between its short pastern bone (second phalanx) and the coffin bone (third phalanx) also including the navicular bone
Coffin Bone
The distal phalanx or toe of the forelimb, incorporated within the hoof; also, the small bone within the hoof. In severe cases of laminitis, this bone can detach and rotate, causing extreme lameness
Coggins test
A laboratory blood test used to detect previous exposure to equine infectious anemia or swamp fever, developed by Dr. Leroy Coggins
Coggins certificate
A veterinarian's document that certifies the horse free of the disease, equine infectious anemia
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. Refers to horses having ancestors that trace to heavy war horses and draft breeds. Characteristics might include more substance of bone, thick skin, heavy hair coat, shaggy fetlocks, and blood that makes it suitable for slow, hard work
Colic
(n.) Spasmodic pain in the horse, usually caused by spasm of the intestine
(v.) The reaction of a horse to abdominal pain, kicking, rolling, sweating
Collar
Part of the harness worn by heavy horses for pulling
Collect
To coordinate the horse's moving forward with impulsion while shortening the frame for slow motion
Collected
Neck arched, hocks tucked well underneath horse and lively gait During collection, a horse builds up power and it ready to 'release' it when cued by the rider to perform a certain task
Collection
Gathered together; a state of organized movement; a degree of equilibrium in which the horse's energized response to the aids is characterized by elevated head and neck, rounded back, "dropped croup," engaged hindquarters, and flexed abdominals. The horse remains on the bit, is light and mobile, and is ready to respond to the requests of the trainer. Shortened and raised strides in any gait (walk, trot, gait, canter). The speed is slower because the stride is shortened, the joints of the fore and hind legs are more active, the head and neck are raised, with the head approaching the vertical position
Color
Description or class in which body coat color and pattern, not conformation is a deciding factor (e.g., Palomino, Dun Factor, etc.)
Colt
A young, uncasterated male horse between the ages of birth and 4 years
Combination
Series of two or more fences within 39 feet 4 inches of each other that must be taken as a pair, an in-and-out
Combined Training
An equestrian competition held over one or three days and including the disciplines of dressage, cross country and show jumping; combined training is also known as Eventing
Common
An ordinary, plain-looking horse
Complete ration
A usually pelleted ration, containing all the necessary nutrients except water
Concentrates
Feed low in fiber and with Total Digestible Nutrients of close to 75%
Conchas
The decorative round leather, metal, or silver discs through which pass the saddle strings
Concussion
The jarring caused to the foot and lower leg by the impact of the horse's foot hitting the ground. Concussion is greater on harder ground
Condition
The shape of the horse is in, its state of health, how much work it is doing, and how much food it is eating. Good condition describes a fit and healthy horse with good muscle development. Poor condition describes a horse that is run down, underweight, and with little muscle development. 'Good but soft condition' describes a healthy horse that is not fully fit and lacks muscle development
Conditioned response
When a horse is trained to a stimulus the same way every time the animal confronts that stimulus
Conditioning
The art and science of preparing a horse mentally and physically for a particular use such as pleasure riding, competitive trail riding, or showing
Cone
A red or orange vinyl traffic cone, used as a marker
Conformation
Physical makeup and bodily proportions of a horse; how a horse is put together
Conformation
The structure and general make-up of a horse
Conformation
The build of an animal. Structure, form, and symmetrical arrangement of the parts of a horse. The physical structure of a horse, which is compared to a standard of perfection or an ideal
Conformation hunter
A class judged 40 percent on conformation and 60 percent on performance
Conformation
The physical structure of a horse, which is compared to a standard of perfection or an ideal
Congenital
An abnormal condition that an animal possesses at birth
Conjunctiva
The white membrane that lines the eyelid of the horse
Conjunctivitis
Inflammation of the conjunctiva of the eyes
Connections
Persons identified with a horse, such as owner, trainer, rider and stable employees
Consignor
The person who consigns a horse for sale or puts it up for auction
Contact
The horse's stretching forward into the bit and accepting the rein as a means of communication with the rider
Contracted heels
Heels are pulled close together due to the frog shriveling. caused by lack of use or disease
Cooling Out
Restoring a horse to normal temperature, usually by walking, after it has become overheated from exercise
corn
An irritation on the sole of the foot, toward the heel. As in a human, the result of pressure from the shoe
Corona
A fancy western saddle pad featuring a border of alternating colored thick fabric
Coronary Band
Where the hoof joins the leg; where the hoof wall is produced; source of growth and nutrition for the hoof wall and bars. Also referred to as coronet
Coronet
Coronary band. All growth occurs here. Soft tissue is turned into the hardened horn of the hoof wall
Corral
A place to keep large numbers or low numbers of stock, like a big arena outdoors but usually not used for riding in, only holding stock
Cough
To expel air from the lungs in a spasmodic manner. Can be a result of inflammation or irritation to the upper airways (pharynx, larynx or trachea) or may involve the lower airways of the lungs (deep cough)
Counter-canter
when the rider deliberately asks the horse to canter on the lead opposite the direction of movement. For example, in a circle to the right, requesting a countercanter would result in a canter left lead
Course
A prescribed route that the horse and exhibitor must take, usually in hunter and jumper classes
Cover
A single breeding of a stallion to a mare
Cow trot
Term used to refer to method of moving the back end of a horse when trotting. A cow trotting horse is stiff in the rear joints, and uses the hips for most of the forward movement. A cow trotting horse will swing its tail side to side and its feet out in an arc as it moves them forward. A cow trotting horse will not break over in the hocks, but will swing them side to side in a stiff motion. A cow trotting horse may also be either long trotting or square trotting
Cow hocks
A conformational fault in which the hocks on the hind legs are turned inward towards each other
Cow Sense
A horse with cow sense has a particular aptitude for working cows, and appears to anticipate the cow's next move
Cowboy
Someone who makes his living through working on a ranch with cows
Cracked hoof
A vertical split of the hoof wall. Cracks may extend upwards from the bearing surface of the wall or downwards from the coronary band, as the result of a defect in the band. Varying in degrees of severity, cracks can result from injuries or concussion
Cradle
A device put on a horse's neck so it can't reach to bite or lick its sides or legs
Cranial
Toward the head
Creamello
a very light palomino color
Creep feeder
Area mares can't enter, but foals can, where foals can feed free choice
Crest
The area between the poll and the withers
Cribber
A horse that clings to objects with its teeth and sucks air into its stomach. Also known as a "wind sucker."
Cribbing
A vice whereby a horse anchors its teeth onto an object, arches its neck, pulls backward, and swallows air. It can cause the horse to lose weight, suffer tooth damage, and other physical disturbances. This behavior is learned and can range from occasional to obsessive
Cricket
A copper attachment to a bit's port which will spin in the horse's mouth as he moves his tongue. By having such a thing to play with the horses mouth will stay moist and it helps pacify the horse
Crop
A group of horses born in the same year An average crop of three-year-olds
A small riding whip
Cross-tie
A means of tying a horse in which a chain or rope from each side of an aisle is attached to the side rings of the horse's halter
Cross firing
A horse is cross firing when the inside rear foot hits first, and the inside front foot hits last when the horse is in the canter or lope
Crossbred
Offspring of a sire and dam of different breeds
Croup
The highest part of the rump
Crude Protein
Calculated amount of protein in the feed based on the amount of nitrogen in the feed
Crupper
Strap attached to the back of a saddle and encircling the root of a horse's tail to keep the saddle from slipping forward. Also used in a biting rig or harness
Cryptorchidism
The retention of one or both testicles in the abdominal cavity
Cue
A single signal, often made up of several aids, from the rider or handler that tells a horse what to do. Often used in performing tricks
Culture
Cultivation of living cells in prepared media - the technique used to determine if an infection is present
Cup
Refers to the irregular occlusal surface of the tooth (the surfaces that meet when a horse closes its mouth) and is used as a visual method of determining age in a horse
Trophy awarded to winning horse owners
Curb strap
The leather strap on the bit passing under the horse's chin
Curb
Thickening of the ligament on the back of the hind leg. May or may not result in lameness
Curb
A type of leverage bit with shanks and generally a hump in the middle called the port
Curb chain
The chain attached to the bit passing under the horse's chin
Curb bit
A single-bar mouthpiece that is attached at each end to upright bars (as compared to rings on a snaffle bit). These bits give more control but are not as gentle on a horse's mouth as a snaffle bit. They are usually used in Polo and Western riding disciplines
Cured Hay
Hay that has been dried to allow safe storage, without molding
Curry comb
A metal, plastic, or rubber device with many small teeth, usually in circles, for cleaning hard-packed filth off a horse

Return to Top of Page
D
D.M.S.O.
Dimethyl sulfoxide, a solvent which is an organic chemical that readily passes through the skin. Anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and analgesic
D.V.M.
Doctor of Veterinary Medicine
Daisy Clipper
This describes a horse with a ground-hugging action (the way it moves)
Dally
To wind the rope end around the saddle horn
Dam
The mother of the horse
Dam's sire (broodmare sire)
The sire of a broodmare. Used in reference to the maternal grandsire of a foal
Dandy
A medium-hard brush for grooming to remove loose hair and dirt
Dappled Grey
An early stage of fleabitten, where the body appears grey with white speckles throughout it
Dappled
A coat coloring where a pattern of darker hair overlays lighter coat, often in seemingly circular or semi-circular fashion
Dark bay or brown
A horse color that ranges from brown with areas of tan on the shoulders, head and flanks, to a dark brown, with tan areas seen only in the flanks and/or muzzle. The mane, tail and lower portions of the legs are always black unless white markings are present
Deep flexor tendon
Present in all four legs, but injuries most commonly affect the front legs. Located on the back (posterior) of the front leg between the knee and the foot and between the hock and the foot on the rear leg. The function is to flex the digit (pastern) and knee (carpus) and to extend the elbow on the front leg and extend the hock on the rear leg. Functions in tandem with the superficial flexor tendon
Deep Going
Describes the ground the horse is on when the footing is wet and heavy and the hooves of the horse sink into the ground
Degenerative joint disease (DJD)
Any joint problem that has progressive degeneration of joint cartilage and the underlying (subchondral) bone. Occurs most frequently in the joints below the radius in the foreleg and femur in the hind leg. Some of the more common causes include repeated trauma, conformation faults, blood disease, traumatic joint injury, subchondral bone defects (OCD lesions) and excessive intra-articular corticosteroid injections. Also known as osteoarthritis
Depth of Girth
The measurement taken from the wither to the elbow; a good depth of girth is a desirable conformational feature indicating plenty of room for the expansion of the lungs
Dermatitis
Inflammation of the dermal layer (outer layer) of the skin
Desert Horse
Term used to describe a horse bred and raised in the desert, or horses that are descended from such horses. Examples include the Arabian and the Akhal-Teke
Desmitis
Inflammation of a ligament. Often a result of tearing of any number of ligament fibrils
Deworming
The use of drugs (anthelmintics) to kill internal parasites, often performed by oral paste or by passing a nasogastric tube into the horse's stomach
Diagonals
When the horse trots the way its legs move is called the diagonals. The left diagonal is when the left fore and right hind leg move, and the right is when the right fore and left hind leg move. Posting is done on the diagonals
Digestible energy
The amount of energy a horse is able to digest from a feedstuff
Digestible protein
The amount of protein in a feed that can be used by the animal
Digital cushion
The area beneath the coffin bone in the back of the foot that separates it from the frog. The digital cushion serves as a shock absorber for the foot
Digital
The part of the limb below the ankle (fetlock) joint. Includes the long and short pastern bones and the coffin bone
Dipped Back
a hollow space between the withers and the croup, often occurring in old age
Dish-faced
Concave profile of the face, typical in Arabians
Dishing
a type of faulty front action where the front legs from the knee down move in and out in an outward circular motion
Disposition
The temperament of an animal
Distal
Away from a reference point. Usually refers to the limbs The injury was distal (below) to the hock
Distemper
An old name for strangles in the horse, sometimes used to denote any infectious respiratory disease
Disunited
Cantering or loping on different leads front and hind
Diverticulum
Blind pouch (a pocket or closed branch)
Dock
The flesh and bone portion of the tail
Docking
The surgical removal of the tail, which is now illegal in most countries
Dog Walk
Slang term that is used to describe a walk that is so slow that there is movement front to rear when sitting on the horse. This gait is used to get the horse to work on the fundamentals of the rhythms and build reach on both ends or break up a pace
Donkey
English word meaning "a little dun animal"
Doped
When a horse is given an illegal drug to affect the outcome of a competition
Dorsal Stripe
Found usually in dun-colored animals, with 'primitive' connections, this is a continuous strip of black, brown, or dun hair, running from the neck to the tail; most commonly seen on a dun coat coloring, a dark stripe running from the withers along the spine to the tip of the tail. Occasionally seen in conjunction with wither stripes, which are another dark line extending out from the withers on either side, down towards the shoulders
Double tree
Device that connects two single whiffletrees
Double
To bend the horse sharply
Double Bridle
A standard English bridle with two bits, the extra bit giving the rider more control over the horse
Draft horse
A horse of one of the breeds of "heavy horses" developed for farm or freight work, such as Percheron, Belgian, and Clydesdale. Draft horses weigh 1,500 to 2,200 pounds and can be as tall as 17 hands
Draft
Refers to a horse drawing any type of vehicle, but is mostly associated with heavy breeds
Drag
To hang back. Also, at the end of a column of riders, to "ride drag" or be a "drag rider."
Draw Rein
A rein that attaches to the girth on one end, passes through the rings of the bit and back to the rider's hands. This method is used to increase control and give a better head position, but the draw rein is difficult to use correctly and is very easy to misuse and end up hurting the horse
Drench
Liquid administered through mouth
Dressage
French for "training" or "schooling." The systematic art of training a horse to perform prescribed movements in a balanced, supple, obedient, and willing manner
Driving
Description of a horse or pony used to pull a wagon or cart
Drop the shoulder
To shift weight on the forehand and lean too much to the inside during a turn
Dropped noseband
Piece of tack worn lower than a caves-son and used in conjunction with a snaffle bridle. Worn over and below the bit, it enhances sensitivity to the snaffle by positioning it on the bars and encouraging salivation
Dun
A yellow or gold body and leg color, often with a black or brown mane and tail, and usually with a dorsal stripe and stripes on the legs and withers

Return to Top of Page
E
E.E.E.
Eastern Equine Encephalomyelitis, viral disease of horses affecting the brain
E.I.A.
Equine Infectious Anemia, known as swamp fever. Equine infectious anemia is a disease which is caused by a virus. It can be spread by 3 principle means. Through blood sucking flies or insects. In-utero or Colostral infection, or careless use of needles or other equipment in contact with open wounds
E.V.A.
Equine viral arteritis
Easy keeper
A horse that easily keeps his weight
Easyboot
A brand name for a vinyl boot that encloses the horse's hoof
Egg Bar Shoe
A horseshoe that connects all the way around. Gives lift to the fetlock and provides support for the heel
Elbow
Joint between the humerus and the radius and ulna, located on the foreleg between the shoulder joint (scaputahumeral) and the knee (carpal joint)
Electrolytes
Minerals necessary for many body functions
Elk Lip
An over hanging and somewhat floppy upper lip
Endoscope
An instrument using fiberoptics to view the inside of body cavities
Engage
To shift weight to the hindquarters, to work off the hindquarters and stride forward with the hind legs
Engagement
Use of the horse's back and hindquarters to create energy and impulsion to forward movement. An engaged horse has a rounded top line, dropped croup, flexed abdominals, and elevated head and neck
English
Referring to riding with English tack and attire
Entire
A stallion; a horse which has not been castrated
Eohippus
Small (14 inch), earliest (prehistoric) ancestor of the modern day horse
Equestrian
Of or pertaining to horseman or horsemanship; a rider
Equestrienne
Female rider or performer
Equide
Family of animals comprising the horse family, included zebras, ponies, asses and horses
Equine viral arteritis
A viral disease of the horse, usually mild but often causing abortion in the mare
Equine
The family of Equidae, horses, asses, and zebras
Equine influenza
A viral disease affecting the respiratory tract of the horse
Equine encephalomyelitis
A viral disease causing inflammation of the brain and spinal cord
Equitation
The art of riding
Equus
The Latin word for horse
ER
Equine Rescue, usually some sort of organization to help equines, sometimes an individual or doing
Ergot
A horny growth behind the fetlock joint
estrus (heat)
Associated with ovulation; a mare usually is receptive to breeding during estrus. Referred to as "horsing."
EVA (equine viral arteritis)
A highly contagious disease that is characterized by swelling in the legs of all horses and swelling in the scrotum of stallions. Can cause abortion in mares and can be shed in the semen of stallions for years after infection
Evasion
Avoidance of an aid; for example, a horse that overflexes or gets "behind the bit" to keep from accepting contact with the bit
Eventing
A competition held over a period of one or three days and including cross-country jumping, stadium jumping, and dressage
Ewe-necked
A conformational defect; a neck that has over-developed muscle on the underside and a dipped outline on the top side
Extension
When the horse lengthens its frame and stride
Extensor
Muscle responsible for opening the angle of a joint
Extravagant Action
High knee and hock action seen mainly in the Hackney ponies and Saddlebred breeds

Return to Top of Page
F
F.E.I.
Federation Equestre Internationale or International Equestrian Federation, the organization governing international competitions
Face
The horse's head. Also, to turn toward a cow
Fall
For a horse, shoulder and hindquarter on the same side touch the ground; for a rider, separation between the rider and horse necessitating remounting
Far side
The horse's right side
Farrier
A person trained professionally to tend to a horses hooves
Farriery
The practice of shoeing horses
Fault
Knocking down a pole or part of a jump during show jumping competition
Scoring unit to keep track of knockdowns, refusals, or other offenses
Weak points of a horse's conformation or character
Favor
To limp slightly
Feathers
The long hairs of the fetlock that cover the hooves of some draft horses. Clydesdales have the thickest and most beautiful feathers
Feed bag
A sack usually of canvas and leather held on the horse's nose by a strap behind its ears allowing it to eat grain without a manger or other container
Fender
Part of the Western saddle that protects a rider's leg from the rigging. The wide leather strap, on the western saddle, between the saddle seat and the stirrup on which the riders leg rests
Feral
An animal that was once domesticated, but has since been released/escaped into the wild and has established itself living successfully in a wild state
Fermented feed
Fodder preserved by storing in piles or air-tight structures causing it to ferment and heat; also any feed that has become damp accidentally, causing it to ferment
Fetlock (joint)
Joint located between the cannon bone and the long pastern bone, also referred to as the "ankle" ; A tuft of hair that grows behind the horse's "ankle"
Fiador
Knotted rope throatlatch, used in conjunction with a basal, browband headstall, and horsehair reins. The knots of the fiador are the hackamore, the fiador, and the sheet bend
Fiber optic endoscope
See endoscope
Fiberoptic
Bundles of glass fibers that transmit light and permit one to see around corners
Field
The horses in a race or competition
Figure eight noseband
Noseband popular with eventers; straps cross in an 'X' on the bridge of the horse's nose for better leverage and control
Filly
Female horse 4 years and under that has never produced a foal
Flag
To hold the tail high
Flak jacket
Similar to a jackets worn by quarterbacks, the rider's flak jacket protects the ribs, kidneys and back
Flake
One tenth of a bale of hay
Flank
In roping, to hold a calf by its flank and leg and place it on its side
The area of a horse's barrel between the rib cage and the hindquarters
Flash noseband
Cross between a cavesson and a figure-eight noseband
Flat
Class without jumping
Flat foot walk
A true flat foot walk is a four-beat gait in which each foot is picked up and set down in an even cadence. The rear end movement should be smooth and close to the ground without any snap or pop. Each stride should reach forward and slide in as it is set down, over striding the track of the front foot. The head shake is in time with the rear feet and should be smooth. The tail should set still and flow
Flatten out
A very tired horse that slows considerably, dropping its head on a straight line with its body. Some horses, however, like to run with their heads lowered
Flaxen
A golden mane or tail on a darker-bodied horse
Flea-bitten
A horse with a grey coat coloring what has a quantity of dark hairs distributed throughout it, giving it a freckled appearance
Fleabitten
A horse is fleabitten his or her coat has roaned out from either a dappled grey, black, chestnut, bay, or blue roan and all that is left is tiny speckles across the fur. The horse will eventually turn completely white. This is an advanced stage of roaning, but is NOT considered roan. Types of fleabitten are fleabitten grey and fleabitten red roan
Flehmen
A reaction to odd smells or tastes; horse curls upper lip upward
Flex
To bend the horse to the inside. Also, to give in the poll and yield to rein contact
Flexion
Characteristic of a supple and collected horse, there are two types of flexion
1. vertical or longitudinal, which is often mistakenly associated with "headset," when in reality it is an engagement of the entire body
abdomen, hindquarters, back, neck, and head 2. lateral, which is side-to-side arcing or bending characteristic of circular work
Flexor
Muscle responsible for closing the angle of a joint
Flexor tendons
Tendons located at the rear of a limb
Float
(v.) To file a horse's teeth to remove sharp points
(n.) a filelike instrument used to float teeth
Floating
The process of filing off sharp edges of a horse's teeth
Fly back
A bad habit in which a horse will suddenly pull back, often resulting in a broken halter or tie
Flying lead change
Change from one lead to another without changing gait
Foal colic
Abdominal pain in a mare, following foaling. due to the rapid contracting of the uterus
Foal
(n.) A young horse of either sex between the ages of birth and weaning
(v.) the act of foaling, when a mare delivers her young
Follicle
Fluid-filled blister like sack on ovary which contains the ovum (egg)
Forage
Any type of roughage or to graze
Forearm
the top part of the horse's front legs, above the knee
Forehand
the horse's body from the withers forward, including the forelegs, shoulders, neck, and head
Forelegs
The front two legs
Forelock
the lock of hair which falls down the horse's forehead or face from between the ears
Forging
An interference in the gait of the horse in which the hind foot strikes the underside of the forefoot on the same side
Fork
Part of the swells of a saddle that makes up the gullet
Founder
Another word for laminitis, a serious disease affecting a horse's hooves and often caused by a horse's eating too much grain or green pasture
Four-beat lope
An incorrect lope, where the horse strikes the ground in a broken rhythm
Four-square
a horse that is solidly built and appears to have a 'leg at each corner'
Fox Trot
The fox trot is a broken diagonal gait with a distinctive rhythm that is created by a horse moving its front foot a split second before its opposite rear foot. The fox trot is a smooth gait because the horse is in contact with the ground at all times. A horse that is foxtrotting correctly will never have more than two feet off the ground at any given time. On both the front and back ends the horse will sit one foot down as it picks the other foot up and for a moment both feet will be touching the ground
fracture
A break in a bone
Free walk
Walk on a loose rein to allow the horse to stretch its neck and lower its head
Frog
Wedge-shaped pad in the sole of the hoof which acts as a shock absorber for the hoof. It contacts the ground first at each step and aides in pumping blood
Frugal
A horse which survives well on minimum food rations
Full-brother, Full-sister
Horses that share the same sire and dam
Futurity
A show class or event for young horses that requires entering long (often years) before the actual event

Return to Top of Page
G
Gait ('Paces' in England)
The different ways a horse can move. The standard natural gaits are: walk, trot, canter and gallop. There are also bred or trained additional gaits: pacing, ambling, running walk---describe precise and different ways in which a horse moves its legs
Gaited horse
An animated horse such as the American Saddlebred, Morgan, or Tennessee Walking Horse with flashy gaits
Gallop
4 beat asymmetrical gait
Galls
Sores and/or swelling
Galvayne's groove
V-shaped groove that appears at the gum line of the corner incisor at age of 10
Gas colic
Colic caused by excessive amounts of gas in the stomach and/or intestines
Gaskin
The heavy muscular area between the hock and the stifle
Gastric ulcers
Ulceration of a horse's stomach. Often causes symptoms of abdominal distress (colic) and general unthriftiness
Geld
To castrate a male horse
Gelding
A castrated (neutered) male horse
Gestation
The period of time between conception and giving birth. Pregnancy, in a horse from 330 to 345 days
Get
Progeny of sire
Girth
The strap or cinch that goes around the horse's belly to keep the saddle on it's back; Circumference of the horse measured from behind the withers
Go-round
A preliminary or elimination round (or heat) in a class with a large number of entries. Some events have two or three go-rounds, and scores are averaged
Good Doer
A horse that thrives on a minimum amount of food
Grab a quarter
Injury to the back of the hoof or foot caused by a horse stepping on itself (usually affects the front foot). Being stepped on from behind in the same manner, usually affects the back foot. A very common injury during racing. Generally, the injury is minor
Grade
An unregistered horse
Grand Prix
Top caliber classes in dressage and show jumping, often offering large cash prizes
Granddam
See second dam
Grandsire
The grandfather of a horse; father ("sire") of the horse's dam or sire
Granuloma
An excessive amount of non-healing tissue in a wound
Gravel
Infection of the hoof resulting from a crack in the white line (the border between the insensitive and sensitive laminae). An abscess usually forms in the sensitive structures and eventually breaks at the coronet as the result of the infection
Gray
A color of horse that ranges from white to dark gray. Includes dapple. All grays have black skin
Green or green-broke
An inexperienced horse or rider, relatively speaking. In hunter classes, the horse can be any age and is rated according to awards won in past performances
Groom
Person who looks after the horse (also called a stable-hand)
The act of brushing/cleaning a horse
Grooming
Maintenance of a horse's coat, including clipping, brushing, washing, trimming mane and tail, and any preparation of the coat for showing such as braiding mane and tail
The process by which horses bond and clean each other, by mutual chewing up and down the neck, withers, and back
Ground tie
To stand in one place, with reins dropped on the ground
Ground training
When the trainer works the horse from the ground, rather than being mounted. Includes in-hand work, barn manners, longeing, and ground driving
Growth plates
Located at the end of long bones where they grow in length. See physis
Grullo
A type of dun with a smoky or mouse-colored body, and usually having a black mane, tail, lower legs, and dorsal stripe
Gullet
Area under the fork, swells, or pommel of the saddle
Gut sounds
The noises that can be heard from a horse's stomach
Gymkhana
A program of competitive games on horseback, usually timed events

Return to Top of Page
H
Hack Class
A flat class
Hack
A light weight riding horse or "to go for a hack" means to go for an undemanding ride, a walk or slow canter
Hackamore
A device to guide a horse without a bit, in effect a bitless bridle. A bridle featuring a nosepiece, instead of a bit to control the horse. Americanization of jaquima, which is Spanish for the composite of a bosal, fiador, headstall, and mecate
Half-brother, Half-sister
Horses out of the same dam but by different sires
Half hitch
A knot, also called a "hooey."
Half-Pass
Variation of travers, executed on the diagonal instead of along the wall. The horse should be nearly parallel to the long sides of the arena, with the forehand slightly in advance of the haunches
Half-bred
the progeny of two different breeds of horse, for example: a Thoroughbred crossed with an Irish horse would be a half-bred
Halter
Like a bridle, but lacking a bit. Used in handling horses around the stable and when they are not being ridden
Halter pulling
A bad habit in which a horse pulls violently backward on the halter rope when tied
Halter class
Conformation class
Hame strap
A short strap which connects the right and left hames together on top and bottom
Hame
Metal or wooden curved piece to fit the collar on a draft harness
Hand ride
Urging a horse with the hands and not using the whip
Hand
Four inches. A horse's height is measured in hands and inches from the top of the shoulder (withers) to the ground, e.g., 15.2 hands is 15 hands, 2 inches
Hand Ride
Urging the horse with the hands and the reins; not using the whip
Hand breeding
Breeding a mare to a stallion under controlled conditions
Hand-twitch
Using your hand to hold the horse's nose (as a twitch)
Handy
Prompt and athletic in response to the rider
Hard keeper
An animal that requires more than the usual amount of food to stay in good condition
Hard trot
Slang term referring to all of the mutations of the fox trot or another gait that result in a rough ride for the rider i.e., long trot, cow trot, and square trot
Harem
A band of a few mares that a stallion presides over in the wild
Harness Horse
A horse used for driving in harness rather than under saddle
Harness
Equipment used to control a draft horse
Haunches
Hindquarters
Haylage
Silage made from hay or grass, often referred to as "grass silage"
Head shy
Description of a horse who shies away from having his head touched
Headcollar
A British term for a halter
Header
In team roping, this rider ropes the steer's horns
Headstalls
Another name for bridles
Heart girth
The measurement taken around the horse's barrel just behind the front legs
Heat
The time in the mare's breeding cycle when she is "hot" or receptive to the stallion
Heating
Temperature rises as hay or fodder ferments, dries, or cures
Heaves
Damage to the lungs, resulting in labored breathing
Heavy Horse
A horse of big, muscular build, often tall, very strong, and best suited to heavy transportation, forestry, or agricultural work
Heel crack
A crack on the heel of the hoof. Also called a "sand crack."
Heeler
In team roping, this rider ropes the steer's heels
Height
horses are measured from the ground to the top of the withers in 'hands.' One hand is four inches. The average horse is 15 to 16 hands. 17 hands is very tall and only unusual specimens reach 18 hands. Some horses, especially in the West, are smaller. Ponies are usually less than 14 hands, two inches, though the words 'horse' and 'pony' can be used in variable ways in different contexts
Helmet
A lightweight fiberglass cap worn by riders to prevent head injuries
Hematoma
A blood-filled area resulting from injury
Herd-bound
When a horse is too dependent on being with other horses and doesn't want to be separated from them
High lope
A gallop
High-set tail
a horse with a tail starting high on the hindquarters; they tend to often carry the tail high and this can often be quite eye-catching
High School/Haute Ecole
Advanced dressage movements; the art of classical equitation
Hindquarters
the area of the body from the flank backward to the start of the tail
Hinny
Offspring of a male horse and a female donkey
Hobbles
Rope, cloth, or leather loops that fasten the forelegs together
Hock
Joint in the hind leg joining the cannon bone and the gaskin; the equivalent to the human ankle
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')
Hogback
Three-rail jump with the center element the highest
Hogged
Referring to the mane, when it has been removed by clipping or shaving
Hogtie
To tie three legs with a narrow rope
Hollow back
A back which is unduly dipped
Homebred
A horse bred by its owner
Homestretch
The straight-away portion of a race course on the same side as the viewing stands and the finish line
Hondo
The eye on the end of a rope that forms the loop. Also called "honda."
Honest
A quality in a horse which makes him dependable and predictable
Hood
A (usually) nylon covering which goes over a horse's head to which blinkers or earmuffs are attached
Hooey
A half-hitch knot
Hoof
The foot of the horse. Consists of several parts that play an integral role in supporting the weight of the horse
Hoof packing
Material, usually claylike, to be applied to the bottom of the horse's hoof
Hoof dressing
A preparation designed to be applied to the hoof either for conditioning or for appearance
Hoof pick
A metal or strong plastic tool with a pointed end for picking debris out of the underside of hooves
Horn
Hard, insensitive outer part of hoof
Horn
The highest part of the pommel, of the western saddle, around which the rider can dally a rope
Horse
A stallion, or uncastrated adult male horse over 4 years of age; An equine usually over 14.2 hands in height
Horsemanship
Knowledge and experience of horses
Exhibition of a rider's skill, usually referring to the Western style of riding
Horsing
Behavior of a mare in heat (in season). See estrus
Hot walker
Person or machine who walks horses to cool them out after workout or races
Hot horse
A horse sweaty, warm, and puffing from a recent workout; also a slang term for a horse who may be hard to handle or temperamental
Hot-blooded
Refers to horses having ancestors that trace to Thoroughbreds or Arabians. Characteristics might include fineness of bone, thin skin, fine hair coat, absence of long fetlock hairs, and blood that makes it well-suited for speed and distance work
Hot Blood
hot bloods are horses of desert or steppe ancestry, that evolved in hot, dry climates. Normally taken as being the pure Thoroughbred or Arabian breeds
Humane twitch
A clamp-type twitch
Hunter
A type of horse, not a breed, which is suitable for field hunting or show hunting
Hurdle
Commonly used in England and Ireland, it is lighter and lower than a steeplechase fence
Hyaluronic acid
A normal component of joint fluid. Also can be a man-made intra-articular medication used to relieve joint inflammation

Return to Top of Page
I
Icing
A physical therapy procedure, properly known as "cryotherapy"
When a horse is stood in a tub of ice or ice packs are applied to the legs to reduce inflammation and/or swelling
IM
Abbreviation for intra-muscular; an injection given in a muscle
impaction
A type of colic caused by a blockage of the intestines by ingested materials (constipation)
Impaction
Blockage of the digestive tract with food material (usually in the large intestine)
Impulsion
The energy and thrust forward characterized by a forward reaching rather than a backward pushing motion
In the money
A horse that finishes first, second or third
In hand
Running under moderate control, at less than top speed
In the bridle
See on the bit
In season
When a mare is in heat
In the hole
Third in line to enter the pen; after "on deck."
In-hand class
A class in which the horse is led by the exhibitor
In-and-Out
Combination fence
In foal
When a mare is pregnant
In Hand
An animal being led as opposed to driven or ridden
In heat/in season
A mare who is in her oestrus cycle; it is at this time that she is likely to be receptive to a stallion
Inferior check ligament
A direct continuation of the posterior (back) ligaments of the knee (carpus), located below the knee. Function is in support of the deep flexor tendon
Insensitive laminae
The layer just under the wall of the hoof; similar to the human fingernail. It is an integral structure that helps to attach the hoof wall to the underlying coffin bone
Inside
In a pen or riding ring, the side of the horse toward the center
Interdental space
The space on the horse's jawbone between the incisors and pre-molars where there are no teeth, making room for the bit
Intestinal flora
The normal bacteria found in the intestine
Intramuscular (IM)
In the muscle
Intravenous
In the vein
Intussusception
Telescoping of the intestine
Inversion
A dangerous condition where a horse's respiration rate is higher than its pulse rate
Irish rail
Movable rail
Irons
Stirrups on an English saddle
isolation barn
A facility used to separate sick horses from healthy ones
IV
Abbreviation for intravenous; an injection given in the vein

Return to Top of Page
J
Jack
A male donkey
Jenny
A female donkey
Jerk
To pull or yank a rope or rein
Jibbah
the shield-shaped bulge on the forehead of the Arabian horse
Jockey
A person who rides racehorses
Jog
A slow trot, mostly in Western disciplines
Jog cart
Two-wheeled cart used to exercise Standardbred horses, heavier than a race sulky
John
A male mule
Joint capsule
The structure that comprises the boundary to the joint space
Jump-Off
In the event of a tie, a course may be altered and the two tied horses asked to jump again
Jumper
Steeplechase or hurdle horse
Horse judged on jumping performance based only on faults and time. Touch faults are sometimes also used
Junior
Rider under eighteen years of age as of January 1. Horse four years of age and under
Juvenile
Two-year-old horse

Return to Top of Page
K
Keepers
Fixed loops, used to keep the ends of the straps of a bridle (or saddle) in place
Kicking boots
Felt boots placed on the back feet of a mare before she is covered by a stallion. They protect the stallion, should she kick him
Kicking boards
Wooden boards placed around the inside wall of the stable up to a height of four feet. They can also be used around the inside walls of both indoor and outdoor schools, and in this case they are often much lower
Kiss
A smacking noise made with the lips, to cue the horse to move forward also known as "clucking."
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
Knee boot
Leather or plastic device used to protect knees from bruising each other as horse jogs or races
Knee
The carpal joint, between the radius and the cannon of the foreleg
Knock-kneed
Where the knees appear to bow in toward each other
Koumiss
A drink made from fermented mare's milk
Kur
Musical freestyle in dressage

Return to Top of Page
L
Laceration
Cut
Lactic acid
Organic acid normally present in muscle tissue, produced by anaerobic muscle metabolism as a by-product of exercise. An increase in lactic acid causes muscle fatigue, inflammation and pain
Lame
A condition in which a horse does not carry weight equally on all four legs, due to disease or injury
Lameness
Unevenness in the horses stride when moving
Laminae
Membrane lining the hoof, some of which contain the blood vessels that feed the hoof, that attaches the hoof to the bones
Laminitis
Founder, inflammation of the sensitive laminae, or plates of vascular tissue, of the wall of the horse's hoof
Larvae
Insects or parasites that have hatched from eggs but are not yet mature. For example, maggots
Lateral
A sideways movement. Also, lateral aids, such as outside rein and outside leg
In anatomy, away from the midline as opposed to toward the midline
Lateral Movements
Work in which the horse moves with the forehand and haunches on different tracks. Shoulder-in, haunches-in (travers), haunches-out (renvers), and half-passes are the lateral movements
Lathered (up)
Sweat that foams up usually along neck and flanks, often before a race. Too much sweat is considered a bad sign before the start of a race, may indicate a nervous horse. Also see washed out
Latigo
Cinch strap on a Western saddle
Lead
A specific footfall pattern at the canter or lope in which the inside legs of the circle reach farther forward than the outside legs. When working to the right on the right lead, the horse's right foreleg and right hind leg reach farther forward than the left legs. If a horse is loping in a circle to the right on the left lead, he is said to be on the wrong lead or is counter-cantering
Lead pony
Horse used by a rider to lead another horse
Lead shank
A webbing or leather strap with short length of chain and a snap, used to lead a horse
Lead rope
A rope usually having a snap on one end, used to lead or tie a horse
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
Leg up
To help a jockey mount a horse
Leg Yielding
Exercises designed to teach the horse to move away from leg pressure
Legging up
Conditioning a horse's muscle tone by gradually increasing his work
Legume
A class of plants that manufacture their own nitrogen while growing; alfalfa and clover are the most common
Length
Approx. 8-9 feet, or the length of a stretched out horse at a gallop
Let down
Stopping training, usually done gradually; when milk begins to flow from the mare
Ligament
A band of fibrous tissue connecting bones, which serve to support and strengthen joints and to limit the range of motion. There are also ligaments that support certain organs
Light-boned
When the measurement of bone below the knee is too small in comparison to the size of the horse, which is a conformational fault
Limited
Type of class with entry restrictions for the horse and/ or the rider, related to prior winnings at specified shows. May be based on number of blue ribbons (usually six) or monetary earnings
Line
The strap leading from the bit to the driver's hands in a driving harness
Liniment
A liquid applied externally to increase circulation to a part of the body
Listed race
A stakes race just below a group race or graded race in quality
Liver chestnut
(n. and adj.)A very dark red chestnut color, with mane, tail, and legs the same color as the body or flaxen
Loaded shoulder
When a horse has excessive muscle development over the shoulder, which can restrict movement
Lock
Slang for a "sure" winner
Loins
The lower part of the back, behind the saddle and in front of the quarters; the kidney area just behind the saddle
Long trot
An extended jog or trot. Or in the gaited equine, a slang used to refer to the gait of a horse that is being pushed or over ridden in the fox trot. A horse that is long trotting will have some fly time on the front end, but may not have fly time on the back end. A long trotting horse will have at least three feet off the ground part of the time, and will not give as smooth a ride as a horse that is foxtrotting correctly
Longe
To work a horse in a circle usually on a 30-foot line around you at various gaits
Loose rein
A slack rein
Lope
A three-beat gait: (1) an initiating hind leg; (2) a diagonal pair including the leading hind leg and the diagonal foreleg; and (3) the leading foreleg. Also, to canter slowly
Low-set tail
A tail that sits low on the quarters, which can often be indicative of weak and sloping quarters
Lunge
Horse rearing and plunging
Lymph node
Gland in the body that filters the lymph
Lymph
A usually clear fluid similar to blood serum; it may be free in the tissues of the body, in lymph vessels, or part of the blood

Return to Top of Page
M
Magnetic therapy
Physical therapy technique using magnetic fields. The low-energy electrical field created by the magnetic field causes dilation of the blood vessels (vasodilation) and tissue stimulation. Magnetic therapy may be used on soft tissue to treat such injuries as tendinitis or bony (skeletal) injuries such as bucked shins
Maiden mare
Mare that has never been bred
Maiden
Division open to a rider (or horse) who has not won a blue ribbon at specified shows
Mane
Long hair growing along the crest of the horse's neck
Manners
The degree of training of a horse in his interactions with humans and other horses. The energetic yet cooperative attitude of a horse
Manty
A piece of canvas that encases the load tied on a pack animal
Mare
An adult female horse over the ages of 4 years or after she has had her first foal
Mark
To earn a score
Marker
In reining and horsemanship, a location for the pattern
Markings
White on the face or legs of a horse
Martingale
A leather device used to control the position of a horse's head
Martingale
Standing- A strap which attaches to the girth and runs between the front legs and up to the noseband. It puts pressure on the horse's nose when he gets his head up too high. A small strap runs around the horse's neck to keep the martingale strap in place. To test the adjustment, you should be able to push the martingale strap up until it touches the horse's throat
Martingale
Running- A strap that attaches to the girth, runs up between the front legs and splits into two straps with a ring at the end. The reins are run through the martingale rings. The martingale pulls down on the reins and the bit when the horse raises his head
Mash
Soft, moist mixture, hot or cold, of grain and other feed that is easily digested by horses
Massage
Rubbing of various parts of the anatomy to stimulate healing
Maturities
Those types of events for aged horses (five and older)
Mealy
used to describe pale colored muzzles
Mecate
Braided horsehair reins; knotted to a bosal
Medal Class
AHSA equitation competition. National champions are chosen annually at Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, in hunter seat, saddle seat, and stock seat and a dressage class for juniors
Medial
Pertaining to the middle in anatomy, nearer the medial plane (the horizontal plane that bisects the center)
Medicine Hat
A spot of color on the ears of a pinto horse. This does not extend down the face or neck at all. A horse with a spot of color on an otherwise white head that goes down to the throatlatch but doesn't extend down the face or extend beyond the top of the neck is called a War Bonnet
Medium Gait
Between collected and extended
Metacarpal (fracture)
Usually refers to a fracture of the cannon bone, located between the knee and the fetlock joint in the front leg. Also may refer to a fracture of the splint bone
Mitbah
The angle at which the Arabian horse's head meets the neck; it forms a particular arch that allows for a very free movement of the head
Molly
A female mule
Monorchid
A male horse of any age that has only one testicle in his scrotum-the other testicle was either removed or is undescended. See cryptorchid; ridgling
Moon blindness
Periodic opthalmia, or uveitis (inflammation of internal eye that comes and goes)
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
Mucking a stall
Cleaning out the manure and soiled bedding in a stall
Mule
Offspring of male donkey and female horse
Musculoskeletal system
Consisting of the bones, muscles, ligaments, tendons and joints of the head, vertebral column and limbs, together with the associated muscles, tendons, ligaments and joints
Mustang
A wild horse found on the western plains of North America
Muzzle
Nose and lips of a horse
A guard placed over a horse's mouth to prevent it from biting or eating

Return to Top of Page
N
Nap/nappy
a horse that refuses to proceed in the direction asked. It is obstinate and willful, and will often rear or spin around to avoid going forward. This type of behavior is commonly demonstrated when a horse is asked to leave a group of horses behind, or when it is leaving its stable or yard
Nasogastric tube
A long tube that is capable of reaching from the nose to the stomach
Navicular bone
A small, flat bone within the confines of the hoof that helps-along with the short pastern bone and the coffin bone-to make up the coffin joint
Navicular disease
A degenerative disease that affects the navicular bone (small bone in the back of the foot), navicular bursa and deep flexor tendon. Generally considered a disease of the front feet. Both front feet are often affected, but one will usually be more noticeable than the other
Near side
Left side of a horse. Side on which a horse is mounted
Near Side
Left side of a horse. The side on which a rider mounts a horse
Neck yoke
Wooden device that holds end of pole up and is attached to hames with chain or strap on a draft harness
Neck Rein
A method of guiding the horse by placing the rein against its neck, moving the horse in the opposite direction. Both reins are held in one hand
Neoprene
A synthetic rubber or closed cell foam
Nerving
See neurectomy
Neurectomy
A surgical procedure in which the nerve supply to the navicular area is removed. The toe and remainder of the foot have feeling. Also referred to as "posterior digital neurectomy" or "heel nerve." Also known as "nerving."
Nick
A cross of two different bloodlines that consistently produces superior offspring
Nicked
the practice of cutting and rejoining the muscles under the tail to produce an exaggeratedly high tail carriage
Night eyes
See chestnuts
Nod
Lowering of head. To win by a nod, a horse extends its head with its nose touching the finish line ahead of a close competitor
Non-sweater
See anhydrosis
Nonpro
An amateur or nonprofessional by specific definition from each association such as NRHA, NCHA, and AHSA
Nose
Smallest advantage a horse can win by. Called a short head in Britain
Nose band
A leather strap that goes over the bridge of a horse's nose to help secure the bridle. A "figure eight" nose band goes over the bridge of the nose and under the rings of the bit to help keep the horse's mouth closed. This keeps the tongue from sliding up over the bit and is used on horses that do not like having a tongue tie used
Nose clamp
Humane twitch
Novice
A horse that has won its first race over fences
Novice
In general, an inexperienced horseman
A division for horse (or rider) who has not yet won three first-place ribbons at specified shows
Numnah
a protective pad worn underneath the saddle
Nuts
Concentrated horse feed packed into small cylindrical pieces. (This is British; in the US, they call these pellets.)

Return to Top of Page
O
Off Side
Right side of a horse
Off billet
The strap (or straps) on the off side that buckle one end of the girth in place
Oiled (oiling)
Administration of mineral oil via nasogastric tube to relieve gas or pass blockage. Preventative procedure commonly used in long van rides to prevent impaction with subsequent colics. See colic
On the muscle
Denotes a fit horse
On deck
Next to go in the pen
On the Bit
When a horse carries his head near vertically, with his mouth slightly below the rider's hand, he is said to be 'on the bit'
Open fracture
See compound fracture
Open knee
A condition of young horses in which the physis of the knee has not closed; an immature knee. Often used to describe the status of the physis immediately above the knee and is an indicator of long bone growth in two-year-olds
Open joint
Joint opened by a penetrating wound
Open
Competition available for professionals, nonpros, amateurs, and youth. Anyone can enter
Not pregnant
Oriental Horse
A horse originating from Central or West Asia
Osteoarthritis
A permanent form of arthritis with progressive loss of the articular cartilage in a joint. See degenerative joint disease
Outside
In a pen, the side of the horse toward the fence
Over-reaching
Toe of hind shoe striking the forefoot or foreleg
Over at the knee
A conformational fault in which the foreleg is bowed forward at the knee
Over-stride
If the rear foot of a horse passes the track of the same side front foot as it is set down, the distance between the front of the front track and the rear of the rear track is the amount of over-stride
Overcheck
A strap that holds the bit in place
Overgirth
An elastic band that goes completely around a horse, over the saddle, to keep the saddle from slipping
Overo
A Paint or Pinto coat pattern of spots that are irregular, scattered, or splashy. The horse usually has a large white facial marking as well
Overreach
An injury which occurs when the horse strikes into the heel area of the front foot with the toe of its hind foot
An interference in the gait of the horse in which the hind foot steps on the heel of the forefoot on the same side
Oxer
A single fence composed of two or three parts to produce a spread, or width, effect. A square oxer has even rails. A step or ascending oxer has a lower front rail

Return to Top of Page
P
Pace
The pace is a two-beat lateral gait in which a horse moves both right feet and then moves both left feet. In a pace the front and rear foot are picked up and then set down simultaneously making only one beat. A pacing horse will move its head side to side to counter the motion of its feet
Pace-walk
The pace-walk is a lateral four-beat gait in which the horse will pick up both the front and rear foot simultaneously, then moves the rear foot faster than the front foot and sets the rear foot down before the front foot. This allows the pace-walker to have an up and down head shake, and have a four-beat cadence. The pace-walk is much closer to a flat foot walk than a pace, having both a head shake and a four beat cadence
Pacer
A horse who instead of trotting moves both legs on the same side at the same time in unison
Paces
The four universal movements of a horse. They are the walk, trot, canter and gallop
pacesetter
The horse that is running in front (on the lead)
Pacing
When the horse moves its legs in lateral pairs at the trot; i.e. off fore, off hind together, followed by nearside pair
Continuous stall or pen walking. Often an unhappy horse's reaction to confinement
Pack
A horse or pony used to transport goods on its back, usually in a pack saddle, which is designed for this purpose
Pacy
Slang term that is used to refer to a horse that is moving in a fashion that is between the gait desired at the time and a pace. Most common when referring to a horse that is walking with a rhythm that is more lateral than a correct flat foot walk
Paddle
See toe-in
Paddock
A turnout place for horses outside, like a tiny corral but only used for one or two horses at a time
Paint
A breed of horse with large blocks of white and black or white and brown
Coat pattern on any breed of horse that is similar to that on a Paint Horse
Counter-irritant used to increase blood supply, blood flow and to promote healing in the leg. A mild form of blistering
Palomino
A horse the color of a "new gold coin" with white points. White legs are not necissary, but usually wanted. Palominos are a color, not a breed. Palominos can only be born by breeding two palominos, and even then, only 1/2 of the foals will turn out palominos. Many breeds do not allow palominos to be registered, such as arabians and thoroughbreds, and are therefore classified as chestnuts
Panic snap
A safety snap often used in horse trailers and cross-ties. The design allows the snap to be released even if there is great pressure on it
Papers
Written record of family ancestors, usually meaning those documents issued by a breed association
Parade horse
A horse trained to carry ornamented tack in parades
Parasite, Internal
A living multicelled organism inside another animal, usually intestinal worms; external
Tn organism that lives on the outside, most usually the louse or tick
Park horse
A horse with a brilliant performance, style, presence, finish, balance and cadence and usually animated gaits
Parrot mouth
An unsoundness of the teeth characterized by an extreme overbite
Part colored/coloured
Either a skewbald or a piebald horse
Paso Fino
Slowest 4 beat gait of the Paso Fino (A Latin American bred horse)
Paso Corto
Medium speed 4 beat gait of the Paso Fino
Paso Largo
Fastest 4 beat gait of the Paso Fino
Passage
Very collected, elevated, and cadenced trot characterized by a pronounced engagement of the hindquarters, more exaggerated flexion of the knees and hocks, and a graceful elasticity of movement
Pastern
The area between the hoof and fetlock joint on all four legs
Pasture breeding
When a stallion is pastured with mares and breeding takes place as in the wild
Pattern
A prescribed order of maneuvers in a particular class such as reining or trail
Pawing
A bad habit usually caused by nervousness and/or improper ground training; can also be a sign of colic
Pecking order
Social rank of each horse in a group; one horse is the boss and the others find their place
Pedal bone
See coffin bone
Pedigree
Written record of a horse's ancestors, usually up to four generations
Pelham bit
A bit that include a chain that goes under the chin. Two sets of reins are used with this bit
Pen
The show ring or an outdoor living space that is at least 24 feet long and 24 feet wide. Also to corral cattle, as in team penning
Performance horse
A horse especially accomplished in showing, jumping, and dressage
Performance
Exhibition of gaits or other required routines
Periodic opthalmia
See moon blindness
Periople
External covering of the hoof wall
Periostitis
Inflammation of the tissue (periosteum) that overlies bone. Periostitis of the cannon bone is referred to as "bucked shins," while periostitis of the splint bone is called a "splint." May be heard in the expression Popped a splint
Perlino
A white-colored horse with cream or palomino shadings
Phenylbutazone
See bute
Photo finish
A result so close it is necessary to use the finish-line camera to determine the order of finish
Piaffe(
Highly collected and cadenced trot in place
Picket line
Rope tie rail
Piebald
A pinto of grey and white or black and white coloring
Pigeon-toed
A conformational fault in which the hooves are turned in towards each other
Piggin string
A short, narrow rope used to hogtie a calf or steer
Pinched back
A horse forced back due to racing in close quarters
Pintabian
A breed of horse over 99% arabian with tobiano pinto markings
Pinto
a horse with large splashes of any color and white. Hairs are not combined as with roans, but instead keep seperate with their own colors
Pinworms
Oxyuris equi; parasites
Pirouette
Circle executed on two tracks with the radius equal to the length of the horse, with the forehand moving around the haunches and maintaining the exact rhythm and sequence of footfalls of the gait being used
Pitch
To loosen the reins abruptly and completely, or to toss a rope
Pivot
Crisp, prompt turn on the hindquarters
Place bet
Wager on a horse to finish first or second
Plantar
Pertaining to the sole of the foot or back of the hind limb from the hock down
Plate(s)
A prize for a winner. Usually less valuable than a cup
Generic term for lightweight (usually) aluminum horseshoes used during a race
Pleasure
Rail class designed to showcase smooth movers
Plenty of Horse
A horse that has a generous measurement of the circumference of the bone below the knee; this is generally taken to be eight inches or more in the horse
Pocket
A comfortable, secure place in the saddle. In timed events, the area where you collect the horse and start your turn around a barrel or pole
Points
A horse's legs, mane, and tail
Points
Mane, tail, and lower legs. Sometimes includes the nuzzle
Pole barn
A barn built on poles set in the earth
Poll
Area between the horses ears
Pommel
The foremost section of a saddle that fits over the withers. In a Western saddle, this is the "horn" which the rider can rest his hands on
Pommel
The wide uplifted front of the saddle (forming the fork in the western saddle)
Pony
Technically, a horse under 14.2 hands, but for practical purposes, individuals of one of the classic pony breeds such as Shetland, Welsh, Connemara, Pony of the Americas (P.O.A.), etc
Any horse or pony that leads the parade of the field from paddock to starting gate
Also, a horse or pony which accompanies a starter to the starting gate
Also can be used as a verb He was ponied to the gate. Also known as a "lead pony."
Popped a splint
See periostitis
Post
To rise from the saddle in rhythm with the horse's trot
Posterior
Situated behind or toward the rear
Potomac fever
Disease caused by a rickettsia (Ehrlichia equi), with acute projectile diarrhea, laminitis, and usually death - its means of spread from animal to animal has not been determined
Pre-potent
A stallion that passes on more than the usual number of traits
Premolars
The teeth that are located in front of the molars
Presence
Personality, charisma. A proud carriage and alert attitude that causes the individual to stand out in the crowd
Primitive Feature
A horse which exhibits characteristics associated with the primitive horse breeds such as the Tarpan and the Przewalski
Professional
The definition varies among associations but most term professional the following activities of a person over eighteen being paid for riding, driving, or showing at halter; for training or boarding; for instructing; for conducting seminars or clinics; in some situations for being employed as a groom or farrier; for use of name or photo in connection with advertisement; for accepting prize money in classes
Prop
When a horse suddenly stops moving by digging its front feet into the ground
In timed events, a pole or barrel
Proud flesh
Protrusion of tissue from wound that will not heal
Proximal
Toward the body, i.e., the proximal cannon region is the upper portion of the cannon bone
Public trainer
One whose services are not exclusively engaged by a single stable and who accepts horses from a number of owners
Pull up
To stop or slow a horse during or after a race or workout
Pulling the Mane
The process by which the mane is thinned and shortened by removing hairs from the underside of the mane. Tails can also be 'pulled', the hairs are removed from the side and underneath of the top section of the tail to improve the appearance
Pulse
Heart rate. Normal adult resting heart rate varies among horses but is usually 40 beats per minute
Pupae
The stage of development between the bot egg and the bot fly
Purebred
A horse that through generations of unmixed bredding, has and will produce the preferred physical characteristics of the breed
Purse
The total monetary amount distributed after a race to the owners of the entrants who have finished in the (usually) top four or five positions. Some racing jurisdictions may pay purse money through other places
Put down
Euthanize, put to sleep

Return to Top of Page
Q
Quality
Overall degree of merit
flat bone and clean joints, refined features and fine skin and hair coat
Quarantine
A process used to isolate foreign horses for a short period of time to ensure they are not carrying any diseases. May be at a racetrack, airport or specially designated facility. Horses must be cleared by a federal veterinarian before being released from quarantine
Any facility used to keep infected horses away from the general equine population
Quarter
Usually refers to the portion of the wall of the hoof such as inside rear quarter, inside front quarter, outside rear quarter, etc
Quarter crack
A crack between the toe and heel, usually extending into the coronary band
Quarter Horse
The world's most popular and versatile breed. This breed was originally bred as a range horse, then for running races at short distances, such as a quarter of a mile
Quarter Pole
The colored pole one quarter of the way from the finish line for a race. This is where Quarter Horses start their races
Quidding
Spitting out pieces of partially chewed hay
Quirt
A riding whip with a short handle and a rawhide lash
Quittor
Infection of the lateral cartilage of the hoof
Return to Top of Page
R
Rabies
Usually fatal virus disease of warm-blooded animals causing paralysis, convulsions, and inability to swallow; usually spread by bites from infected animals
Race Horse
Any type of racing breed, usually thoroughbreds, appaloosas, quarter horses, standardbreds, or arabians
Race
A competition for horses, where the winning horse is the fastest for that race and crosses the finish line first
Race sulky
Light two-wheeled vehicle used in Standardbred racing
Rack
A single-footed, extremely rapid and smooth four-beat gait unique to the American Saddlebred and the National Show Horse
Rack
Racking in the world today includes both the slow rack, and the fast rack. The gaits used are the rack and the stepping pace. In both the rear of the horse provides the most of the forward motion and support while the front end does little pulling. Both have an even four beat cadence without any head shake. In the slow rack the feet are picked up one foot at a time with the front end moving up and down with little forward extension. The fast rack or stepping pace is performed by picking up the feet like a pace, but holding the front foot up for an extra half step. The front feet are picked up and held in the up position for a split second then lowered as the other front foot is picked up meeting at a point near knee high. This means the front end is not supported at all some of the time. However, the horse gives a very smooth ride because the rear foot is up under the horse far enough to support its center of gravity at that moment. A horse doing a fast rack will seem low in the rear because of the extra reach under the horse
Rail
The fenceline, as in a "rail" class. Also, Western term for a flat class
Rails
The horizontal bars that make up a jump
Ratcatcher
The riding shirt worn under the hunt coat or jacket
Rating
Means of classifying the size of a show, sometimes done beforehand according to prizes offered, and sometimes after according to number of entries
Rearing
A vice in which the horse stands on his hind legs with both forelegs in the air, usually to unsettle a rider or rid himself of irritating tack
Reata
A braided leather rope; coiled and fastened to a Western saddle
Recoil Test
On a healthy horse, if you pinch the skin of the neck and then release it, the skin should recoil, or go back to the way it was, immediately. If the skin takes longer than normal to recoil, it is an indication that the horse is not well and can in some cases indicate dehydration
Red roan
A mixture of red and white hairs all over a horse's body, with red, black, or flaxen mane and tail. Also called strawberry roan
Refinement
Quality appearance, indicating good breeding
Refuse
When a horse will not break from the gate in a race, or jump a fence in an event
Registered
A horse of purebred parents that have numbered certificates with a particular breed organization
Rein-back
To back up; a two-beat diagonal gait in reverse
Rein
The long strap that passes from the bit to the riders hands, by which the rider maintains control of the horse
Reining
A Western style of riding demonstrating tremendous agility in turning, stopping, lead changing and more
Renvers
Haunches-out. The opposite movement to travers, with the tail instead of the head to the wall
Reserve
A minimum price, set by the consignor, for a horse in a public auction The horse did not reach its reserve
Respiration
Normal adult respiration rate varies among horses but is usually twelve to fifteen breaths per minute. One breath consists of an inhalation and an exhalation
Respiratory system
Organ system responsible for gas exchange from nostrils to lungs
Rhino
Short for rhinopneumonitis
Rhinopneumonitis
Herpes, a viral disease of horse causing respiratory problems ("snots") in young and abortion in pregnant mares
Ride short
Using short stirrups
Ridgling ("rig")
A term describing either a cryptorchid or monorchid. Also spelled "ridgeling."
Riding Horse
A horse used for riding; a saddle horse
Rig
A horse with undescended testicle(s), capable of mating and reproducing. Often sold as geldings, when they can prove dangerous in inexperienced hands
Rigging
On a saddle, straps that connect the cinch and the saddle tree
Ring sour
A poor attitude in a horse who does not enjoy working in an arena and looks for ways to leave the arena or quit working
Ring bone
Arthritis of coffin joint and/or pastern joint causing excessive bone growth
Roached
A mane or tail that has been clipped to the skin
Roadster
Now a term used only in showing classes, a roadster was a stylish, cob-type of horse able to trot fast for long periods
Roan
A color of horse that has white hairs mixed with black (blue roan), bay (red roan),or chestnut (strawberry roan)
Roaring
A breathing disorder
Rogue
A horse with a bad temper
Rolling
Horse lying down and rolling over, may be normal or result of pain; possible sign of colic
Romal
A leather quirt, attached to braided leather or rawhide reins, or "closed" reins
Roman Nose
A convex profile to the head, often associated with the heavier breeds
Rompun
Brand of xylazine, an analgesic sedative mixture used as a painkiller, pre-anesthetic, etc
Rope
A running noose. To catch a cow with the noose
Rowel
A small wheel with points, attached to the shank of a spur
Rug
Horse blanket, most times describing winter blankets
Ruled off
See suspend
Ruminant
Animal with four-chambered stomach (cow, sheep, goat, deer)
Run-out bit
A special type of bit to prevent a horse from bearing out (or in)
Run down
Abrasions of the heel
Run
A long, narrow fenced-in area usually attached to a stall
Rundown bandages
See bandages
Runners
Leather loops which slide up and down and are used to keep the straps of a bridle in place
Running Walk
4 beat gait characteristic of Tennessee Walking Horse
Running Horse
The early English horses used for racing, which influenced the development of the Thoroughbred

Return to Top of Page
S
Sabino
A splashy pinto pattern, with a white belly. Sabinos are also overos
Saddle cloth
A cotton cloth which goes under the saddle to absorb sweat
Saddle
A piece of tack used to keep the rider in place on the horse's back
Saddle rack
Stand to hold your saddle when it's not on a horse
Saddle Horse
A horse used 'under saddle'; a riding horse
Saddle Pad
Pad placed under saddle to prevent rubbing
Sand crack
See heel crack
Sand colic
A digestive disorder that occurs when a horse eats sand or dirt with his feed
Savage
When a horse bites another horse or a person
School/arena/menage
the enclosed area used for training and riding. These may be indoor, with a roof and walls, or outdoor, where they are surrounded by a fence with no roof
School (verb)
The procedure of riding and training the horse for a specific purpose
Schooled in the paddock
In steeplechasing, more particularly to teach a horse to jump
Schooling
Preparing for a steeplechase race by having the horse practice jumping over obstacles as part of its training
Schooling show
Warm-up or practice show early in the season
Schoolmaster
A seasoned, experienced horse
Sclera
The area of the eye that encircles the cornea, the colored or pigmented portion
Scopey/Scopy
Refers to a horse's action which has 'scope' or long, free strides
Score
In roping, to break quickly to overtake the cow
Scotch
In reining, to anticipate a stop by slowing the gallop
Scratch
To be taken out of a race or competition before it starts. Trainers usually scratch horses due to adverse track conditions or a horse's adverse health. A veterinarian can scratch a horse at any time
Seat
The part of the saddle where the rider sits, or the way a rider sits in a saddle
Second dam
Grandmother of a horse. Also known as a "granddam."
Senior
A horse at least five years old
A rider at least 50 years old
Sensitive laminae
The area of the hoof that contains nerves and vessels
Septicemia
Acute generalized infection from virus or bacteria ("blood poisoning")
Serpentine
Series of half circles and straight lines crossing from one side of the centerline to the other, requiring a change of direction each time the horse passes over it
Serum
The watery portion of the blood that sometimes oozes through the skin
Set
A group of horses being exercised together
Set, Settle
To group a bunch of cattle into a quiet, compact herd. In cutting or team penning, a group of competitors that use the same group of cattle
Set-Up
Putting a horse in the proper stance for the judge to evaluate him in a halter or conformation class
Shadow roll
A (usually sheepskin) roll that is secured over the bridge of a horse's nose to keep it from seeing shadows on the track and shying away from or jumping them
Shafts
A pair of poles that fit on either side of a horse in a single harness
Shank
Lead rope or "stud" chain. Also the arm extending from the mouthpiece of a curb bit to where the reins attach. Pressure on these reins exerts leverage
Sharp teeth
Molars that have sharp points that injure tongue or cheek
Shedding blade
Metal blade with short teeth to scrape out loose hair
shedrow
Stable area. A row of barns
Sheet cotton
Cotton pressed into thin sheets, used under leg wraps
Sheet
Cover (blanket) for horse made of light canvas or cotton. Useful for putting on after bathing
shoe boil
See capped elbow
Shoer
Horse shoer, farrier
short
A horse in need of more work or racing to reach winning form
Shoulder-In
Horse is slightly bent around the inside leg of the rider, and his inside legs pass and cross in front of the outside legs
Showing
Competing for money, ribbons, or points with horses
Showmanship
An in-hand class that is judged on the exhibitor's ability to show his horse
shut off
Unable to improve position due to being surrounded by other horses
Shy
When a horse jumps to the side, being scared by something real or imaginary
Shying
A horse spooking or becoming startled by a movement or object. It may or may not include a sudden jump sideways, or bolting
Sickle-hocked
A conformational fault, describing a horse with weak hocks and with the cannon bone angled too steeply forward
Side step
The maneuver in which a horse moves sideways a step at a time
Side pass, Full pass
moving the horse sideways, with no forward movement, crossing one leg over another. Often used in trail classes
Sidebone
Inflammation followed by an ossification of the lateral cartilages of the foot
Silage
Fodder of higher moisture content than hay stored in airtight structure
Simple (fracture)
A fracture along a single line which does not penetrate the skin
Simple Lead Change
Change from one lead to another with a walk, trot, or halt in between
Single tree
Single whiffletree
Singlefoot
A fox trot
Sire
Father of a horse
Skep
A plastic or rubber container similar to a basket which is used for collecting droppings from the stable
Skewbald
A horse that is white and one other color, usually brown
Skirt
The square or round leather flaps under the saddle seat of the western saddle
Slab-sided
A horse that has a 'flat' ribcage
Slack
Loose rope or reins, or to loosen. In rodeo, the morning or afternoon performance
Sleeping sickness
Encephalomyelitis
Slow Gait
Slow 4 beat gait performed by the American Saddlebred. Very tiring gait for the horse and somewhat rough to ride
Smegma
Accumulation of fatty secretions, dead skin cells, and dirt found in the male's sheath
Snaffle, Snaffle bit
Bit with a solid or jointed mouthpiece that has no shanks and works on principles of direct pressure only
Snatch
To jerk the reins sharply
Snip
Small patch of white hairs on the nose or lips of a horse
Snots
Rhinopneumenitis in foals when thick mucous runs from nose
Sock
White extending up to the fetlock
Sole
The bottom layer of the hoof
solid horse
Contender
Sored
Having physical evidence of inhumane training practices
Sorrel
A reddish or copper-red body with mane and tail the same color as the body
Sound
Having no defect, visible or unseen, that affects serviceability; the state of being able to perform without hindrance
Spasmodic colic
Acute intermittent colic as digestive tract spasms (usually involves small intestine)
spavin
See bog and bone spavin
Spavin
An unsoundness of the hock which can involve soft tissues (bog spavin) or bone (bone spavin or jack spavin)
Spayed mare
A neutered female horse
Speedy cut
Injury to the inside of the knee or hock caused by a strike from another foot
Spiral (fracture)
Fracture that spirals around bone
Spit the bit
A term referring to a tired horse that begins to run less aggressively, backing off on the "pull" a rider normally feels on the reins from an eager horse. Also used as a generic term for an exhausted horse
Splay-footed
A conformational fault in which the hooves are turned away from each other
Splint
Either of the two small bones that lie along the sides of the cannon bone
The condition where calcification occurs on the splint bone causing a bump. This can result from response to a fracture or other irritation to the splint bone. A common injury is a "popped splint," see periostitis
Splint boots
Protective covering worn around the cannons of the front legs to prevent injury
Spooky
An easily startled horse
Sport horse
A purebred or crossbred horse suitable for dressage, jumping, eventing, or endurance
Spread
Type of fence that requires jumping the width from front to rear
Sprint
A short race, less than a mile
Stake out
Tie an animal on a long rope or chain to a stake driven in the ground
Stall walker
Horse that moves about its stall constantly and frets rather than rests
Stall
A place where a horse is kept during the night and when not outdoors during the day
Stallion season
The right to breed one mare to a particular stallion during one breeding season
Stallion share
A lifetime breeding right to a stallion; one mare per season per share
Stallion syndicate
A financial investment group owning shares in a stallion
Stallion
An uncastrated male horse older than four years of age
Stance Phase
When at least one foot is in contact with the ground
Standardbred
An American breed of horse developed for harness racing
Standing bandage
A bandage held up by wraps down to the hoof
Standing
When a stallion is at a breeding farm to breed mares brought to him
Star
Any white marking above or between the eyes
Stayer
A horse that can race long distances
Steadied
A horse being taken in hand by its rider, usually because of being in close quarters
Steeplechase
A horse race over obstacles like fences and walls
Step up
A horse moving up in class to meet better competition
Step
A beat
Steward
A show official who assists the judge in or out of the show pen
Stick
A rider's whip
Sticker
See calk
Stifle
The equivalent of the human knee, it is the joint between the femur and tibia, and has a knee cap (patella) attached to the front
Stirrup
The leather covered (in the western saddle) or metal (in the English saddle) part of the saddle used to support the riders feet
Stock horse
A Western-style horse of the Quarter Horse type
Stockings
Solid white markings extending from the top of the hoof to the knee or hock
Stomach tube
Tube passed usually through the nose into the stomach
Straight bit
A simple bar bit with no breaks, joints, or projections
Straight stall
Stall with two walls and manger where horse is tied
Strain
The action of a mare when trying to expel the foal, holding her breath and contracting her abdominal muscles
Strangles
Bacterial respiratory disease caused by Streptococcus equii causing swollen abscessed glands
Strawberry roan
A mixture of red and white hairs all over a horse's body, with red, black, or flaxen mane and tail. Also called red roan
Stress (fracture)
A fracture produced by the stress created by a repetitive loading cycle on the bone, commonly found in athletic training. Usually seen in the front of the cannon bone as a severe form of bucked shins. Also seen in the tibia and causes a hard-to-diagnose hind limb lameness
Stride
Manner of going. Also, distance covered between successive imprints of the same hoof
Stride
The distance traveled in a particular gait, measured from the spot where one hoof hits the ground to where it next lands. Ten to twelve feet is the normal length of stride at a canter, for example
Strike
When horse reaches up, out, and down with front foot
Striking
A bad habit of reaching out with a front foot so as to hit the handler, equipment, or another horse. A problem calling for professional help
String out
To move without engaging the hindquarters, so hind end looks "strung out" from the forehand
Stripe
White streak down face
Strongyle
"blood worm"
Stud book
This is a listing of breeding horses that is maintained by a registering organization
Stud
A stallion that is kept for breeding purposes
Stud, Stud farm
Farm where mares are bred
Stud fee
The charge for breeding to a stallion
Subcutaneous
Under the skin
Substance
Strength and density of bone, muscle, and tendons or an indication of large body size
Suckling
A foal in its first year of life, while it is still nursing
Suckling
A foal that is still with its mother; it has not been weaned; usually it is under four months of age
Suitability
Appropriateness for a particular purpose and/or a type or size of rider
Sulk
When a horse refuses to extend itself
Sulky
Two-wheeled cart
Sull
To move slowly, to resist moving forward
Sullen
Sulky, resentful, or withdrawn
Surcingle
The strap that encircles the heart girth. A belt or girth of leather or nylon webbing that is passed around the horse at the girth line and firmly fastened down
Suspension Phase
When no hooves are on the ground
Suspensory ligament
Originates at the back of the knee (front leg) and the back of the top part of the cannon bone (hind leg), attaching to the sesamoid bones. The lower portion of the ligament attaches the lower part of the sesamoid bones to the pastern bones. Its function is to support the fetlock. The lower ligaments that attaches the sesamoid bone to the pastern bones are the distal sesamoidean ligaments
Sutured
Caslick operation having been performed
Swamp fever
Equine infectious anemia
Sway-backed or dipped back
When the back dips excessively in the middle; this is most often seen in older horses and ponies
Sweat scraper
Metal blade to scrape sweat and water off horse's coat
Sweat
A mild liniment put on under a waterproof wrapping to "draw" swelling and infection
Sweet feed
Feed containing molasses
Swells
Exterior projection of the fork of a Western saddle
Swing Phase
when the hoof is lifted and brought forward
swipe
A groom
Symmetrical gait
Gait in which limb movements on one side are repeated on the opposite side half a stride later. Example - trot, pace

Return to Top of Page
T
Tack
Horse tack is all the gear that comes with owning a horse. The bridle, saddle, bit, girths, cinches, saddle pads, lead ropes, halters, whips, stirrup irons and stirrup leathers, horse boots, and most other horse things are tack
Tail wrap
Material to wrap tail during breeding or examination and foaling
Tail rubbing
A habit that may originate from anal or skin itch or a dirty sheath or udder. Even when the cause is removed, the habit often persists
Tail rope
Rope attached to horse's tail by a half hitch, then tied forward to neck or harness
Taken up
A horse pulled up sharply by its rider because of being in close quarters
Tapadero
A leather hood fixed to the front of the stirrup. A covering over the stirrups in a western saddle to prevent the riders foot from slipping through and to give a decorative effect
Tattoo
A permanent, indelible mark on the inside of the upper lip used to identify the horse
TDN
Total Digestible Nutrients. Indicates the usable amounts of various nutrients found in feed
Teeth
A horse will eventually have 40 teeth
Temperament
Disposition
Temperature
Normal adult temperature varies among horses, but will usually range in degrees from 99.5 F to 100.5 F
Tendons
Tough, fibrous cords, slightly elastic, that attach muscle to bone and give support to joints
Tetanus
Bacterial disease caused by Ciostridium tetani
Texas gate
Gate of barbed wire
The Jockey Club
An organization dedicated to the improvement of Thoroughbred breeding and racing. The Jockey Club serves as North America's Thoroughbred registry, responsible for the maintenance of "The American Stud Book," a register of all Thoroughbreds foaled in the United States, Puerto Rico and Canada; and of all Thoroughbreds imported into those countries from jurisdictions that have a registry recognized by The Jockey Club and the International Stud Book Committee
Thermography
Diagnostic technique utilizing instrumentation that measures temperature differences. Records the surface temperature of a horse. Unusually hot or cold areas may be indicative of some underlying pathology (deviation from the normal)
Thin Soles
The surface area of the underneath of the foot which is in some breeds such as the Thoroughbred, 'thin', being susceptible to bruising very easily
Third phalanx
See coffin bone
Third eyelid
Nictitating membrane, pink membrane in inner corner of eye that can extend across eyeball
Thorough Pin
Swelling in the web of the hock that may be an unsoundness or a blemish
Thoroughbred
The breed of horse registered with the Jockey Club. Not meant to be used as a synonym for purebred. All individuals can trace ancestry back to one of five Arabian stallions
Thoroughpin
Swelling of the synovial sheath of the deep flexor tendon above the hock
Throat-Latch
The under-side of where a horses jaw and neck meet
Throat-latch
The part of the bridle passing under the horse's head holding the bridle on over the horse's poll
Thrombus
Clot in, or blocking, a blood vessel
Thrush
A foul-smelling disease of the hoof which causes decomposition of the frog and other hoof structures. It is often associated with unsanitary conditions, but a more likely predisposing cause is lack of exercise and neglected foot care
Tied-in Below The Knee
A conformational fault which describes a horse that has a smaller measurement of bone below the knee than above the fetlock
Tiedown
A strap that connects to the noseband and the cinch or breastcollar; a control device to limit the height of the horse's head. Western version of the standing martingale. A strap from the girth to the noseband or bosal to keep the horse from tossing his head
Timber topper
Jumper or steeplechase horse. More properly horses jumping over timber fences
Timothy
Grass hay, Phleum pratense
Tobiano
a pinto of any color with some white crossing its back and a solid colored head (markings are permittable)
Toe crack
A crack near the front of the hoof
Toe-in
A conformation flaw in which the front of the foot faces in and looks pigeon-toed, often causing the leg to swing outward during locomotion ("paddling")
Toe-out
A conformation flaw in which the front of the foot faces out, often causing the leg to swing inward during locomotion ("winging")
top line
A horse's breeding on its sire's side
The visual line presented by the horse's back
Top side
The sire's side of the pedigree
Topline
The proportion and curvature of the outline of a horse's neck, back, and croup; a line from poll to tail-head
Torsion
A twist in the intestine
Torsion
Intestine twisted off; torsion of uterus in mare in which uterus is twisted shut at neck
Tovero
A pinto of any color with overo-style markings, and perhaps a bit of white crossing either the loins over the back and/or the lower neck. Otherwise usually a solid color with a white face and markings. Mostly colored
Toxemia
A poisoning sometimes due the absorption of bacterial products (endotoxins) formed at a local source of infection
Trace
Heavy strap that attaches the harness to the vehicle or load being pulled
Track
A path. Also to follow
Tractable
A quality in a horse's disposition that makes him cooperative and trainable
Trail off
Used to describe a fit horse losing its competitive edge
Trailer
Vehicle towed to move horses; long extension on heel of horseshoe
Trainer
Person who specializes in training horses
Transition
Upward or downward change between gaits, speed, direction, or maneuvers
Trappy
Course with sharp turns
Travel
The path of the flight of each limb during movement
Travers
Haunches-in. The horse is slightly bent around the inside leg of the rider. Its outside legs pass and cross in front of the inside legs. The horse is looking in the direction in which it is moving. Performed along the wall or on the centerline, at an angle of about thirty degrees to the direction in which the horse is moving
Tree
The basic framework of the saddle over which the leather is laid and attached
Triple Crown
Used generically to denote a series of three important races, but is always capitalized when referring to historical races for three-year-olds. In the United States, the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes. In England the 2,000 Guineas, Epsom Derby and St. Leger Stakes. In Canada, the Queen's Plate, Prince of Wales Stakes and Breeders' Stakes
Triple Bar
Ascending staircase jump consisting of three bars that add spread and increase in height
Trot
One of the four gaits of a horse. One foreleg and the opposite hindleg are on the ground as the other foreleg and opposite hindleg are moving forward. This is faster than a walk but slower than a canter or gallop
Truck-in
A person who brings their own horse to riding lessons
Tubing
Inserting a nasogastric tube through a horse's nostril into its stomach for the purpose of providing oral medication
Turgor
Normal state of distention and resiliency of the skin
Turn down(s)
Rear shoe that is turned down --inch to one inch at the ends to provide better traction on an off-track. Illegal in many jurisdictions
Turn on the Haunches (hindquarters)
Maneuver in which the horse's forehand rotates around his hind end
Turn on the Forehand
Maneuver in which the horse's hindquarters rotate around his forehand
Turned Away
The period of rest of some duration, commonly given to the young horse after it has been 'backed'. It can also be used to describe the horse that has been turned out to grass for a holiday. For example hunters are often 'turned away' for the summer to recover from the hard work of the winter hunting months
Turnout
When a horse is let out of its stall into a pasture or arena or corral
Turnout
Overall appearance of a horse (and rider)
Twitch
A means of restraint. A nose twitch is often a wooden handle with a loop of chain, applied to the horse's upper lip
Two point
To rise from the saddle, so you contact the horse with only your thighs, not your seat
Two-track
A lateral movement, where the horse's forefeet and hind feet move on separate tracks. Also called the half-pass
Two hand
To ride with one rein in each hand
Tying up (acute rhabdomyolysis)
A form of muscle cramps that ranges in severity from mild stiffness to a life-threatening disease. A generalized condition of muscle fiber breakdown usually associated with exercise. The cause of the muscle fiber breakdown is uncertain. Signs include sweating, reluctance to move, stiffness and general distress
Type
A horse of particular, recognizable type which is not, however, a formal breed. The word is also used to descibe an animal of a specific breed which is a good example of that breed, i.e., 'showing good type' for the breed

Return to Top of Page
U
Ultrasound
Diagnostic ultrasound A technique which uses ultrasonic waves to image internal structures. Therapeutic ultrasound
a therapy to create heat and stimulate healing
Umbilical cord
Naval cord. Attaches foal to mother, at the navel, through which nutrients and waste pass between the mare's placenta and the foal
Un-gelded
An uncastrated horse
Under wraps
Horse under stout restraint in a race or workout to keep it from pulling away from the competition by too large a margin
Under Saddle
SEE Saddle Horse
Underline
The belly
Unsound
A horse with health problems or lameness
Unsoundness
A fault in conformation that does affect performance or way of going
Unwind
Gradually withdrawing a horse from intensive training
Uveitis
Inflammation of internal eye
/dl>

Return to Top of Page
V
V.E.E.
Venezuelan equine encephalomyelitis
V.M.D.
Veterinary Medical Doctor
Vaccination
Injection, into the body, of killed or attenuated microorganisms to develop resistance of an infectious disease
Van
A large horse trailer with several boxes for holding horses
Vaulting
An equestrian sport involving gymnastic exercises done on the back of a moving horse
VEE (Venezuelan Equine Encephalomyelitis)
A highly contagious disease affecting the central nervous system that can cause illness or death in horses and humans
Ventral
Down; toward the belly
Vertical
Straight or upright fence
Vice
Abnormal behavior in the stable environment that results from confinement or improper management and can affect a horse's usefulness, dependability, and health. Examples are cribbing and weaving
Video endoscope
See endoscope
Virus (es)
Any minute, nonliving infectious disease agents composed primarily of protein and nucleic acid (either RNA or DNA), and characterized by the absence of independent metabolism and an inability to replicate outside susceptible host cells
Vocal folds
The membranes attached to the arytenoid cartilages in the larynx. Vibration produces vocalization
Volte
Circle with a 6-meter diameter (20 feet)

Return to Top of Page
W
W.E.E.
Western equine encephalomyelitis
Walk
A slow, 4-beat gait in which the feet move diagonally -- front left, rear right, front right, rear left
Wall-Eye
An eye in which the iris, usually a pale translucent blue due to lack of pigment, is ringed with white. Vision is not affected by the color of the iris
War Bonnet
A horse with a spot of color on an otherwise white head that goes down to the throatlatch but doesn't extend down the face or extend beyond the top of the neck is called a War Bonnet
War bridle
Restraining rope placed under nose, over gums, and up over poll
Warmblood
A horse type, often also referred to as sport horses. The are the result from crossing heavier draft-horse(cold bloods) breeds with lighter Thoroughbred or Arabian "hot-bloods". In practice, a horse which is a cross between a hotblood breed or type and a coldblood breed or type. More specifically, warmbloods are taken to mean warmblooded horses originating from one of the continental European countries
Wash racks
Area set aside for bathing of animals
Washed out
A horse that becomes so nervous that it sweats profusely. Also known as "washy" or "lathered (up)"
Way of Going
Movement, and the placement of feet during movement
Wean
Remove the foal from a mare so it can no longer nurse
Weanling
A horse under one years old that has been weaned from his mother
Weaving
Rhythmic swaying of weight from one front foot to the other when confined. Can be socially contagious
Well set
Indicates that the conformation is good and the junction between the neck and head is correctly put together
Well let down
Means that the hocks are close to the ground with the first and second thigh being well muscled
Well-sprung ribs
A horse with a nicely rounded ribcage allowing plenty of room for the heart and lungs
Western Banding
A grooming technique using tiny rubber bands to make thirty or forty little pony tails out of the mane
Western
Referring to riding with Western tack and attire
Whiffletree (whippletree)
A device, usually wooden with metal rings or hooks, to which traces are attached; may also be double to hold two single whiffletrees
Whip training
Training horse to respond to touch of whip
White line
When looking at the sole of the foot, the thin area between the insensitive outer hoof wall (insensitive laminae) and the inner sensitive laminae
White
A horse color, extremely rare, in which all the hairs are white. The horse's eyes are brown, not pink, as would be the case for an albino
Wind sucker
Cribber, a horse that holds an object with its teeth and sucks in air
Windsucking
A highly undesirable vice where the horse grips a solid object between its teeth, tenses its neck muscles, and swallows air. In sever cases a horse will learn to do this without fastening on to anything, which can result in ingestion problems
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
Wobbler syndrome
Neurological disease clinically associated with general incoordination and muscle weakness. Can be caused by an injury to the spinal cord in the area of the cervical (neck) vertebrae or is associated with malformation of the cervical vertebrae
Wolf teeth
Small vestigial first pre-molar
Wood chewing
A common vice that damages facilities and can cause abnormal wear of teeth and possible complications from wood splinters
Work
To exercise a horse by galloping a pre-determined distance
Working Gait
In dressage, a gait that is regular and unconstrained, energetic but calm, with even, elastic steps
Worms
Internal parasites

Return to Top of Page
X

Return to Top of Page
Y
Yearling
For show purposes, a horse born the previous calendar year. If a foal were born on December 31, it would be a yearling the next day
Youth
An exhibitor eighteen years of age and under. Additional age divisions are often created to separate children further

Return to Top of Page
Z
Zebra Markings/Stripes
Stripes or bars on the horse's legs
Zebra
A member of the Equus family characterized by its striped coat pattern
Zony
Hybrid cross between a zebra and a pony
Zoonosis
Any disease that can be spread between animals and human beings; examples include plague, rabies, salmonellosis, and ringworm
Zorse
A hybrid cross between a zebra and a horse