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Horse vocabulary

Alice in the stable with the pony


Horse colours

Some of the most common colours for horses are:

bay:
the body ranges from light reddish-brown to very dark brown. It has a black
mane, tail and lower legs

chestnut:
the body is reddish and its mane and tail are not black but are the same
shade or lighter than the body

gray:
the body is black with white or mixed dark and white hairs

When we're talking about horses we say "a chestnut" or "a bay", rather than
"a bay horse" or "a chestnut horse".

Horse movements

These verbs describe how a horse moves, in order of speed, from slow to
fast

walk:
when a horse moves at about 6 kph, generally with only one foot off the
ground at any one time

trot:
when a horse moves at about 12 kph. Each diagonal pair of hooves (a front
foot and the back foot on the opposite side) hit the ground at the same
moment

canter:
when a horse moves at about 16 kph in a three-beat way, followed by a rest,
followed by three beats again

gallop:
when a horse moves at about 100 kph The gallop is very like the canter,
except that it is much faster and the three beats change to four. All four feet
come off the ground together as the horse moves forward

People who work with horses

a groom:
a person who takes care of and cleans horses

a trainer:
a person who trains and rides a horse and prepares it for races or other
competitions

a rider:
a person who rides a horse

a jockey:
a person who rides horses in races. The races can either be on flat race
tracks or with hurdles and hedges to jump over

a show jumper:
a person who rides horses in competitions where horses have to jump over
fences in an arena

a farrier:
a person who makes horseshoes (metal plates) for horses' feet

Vocabulary

coat
hair, wool or fur covering an animal

groom (verb)
clean a horse (usually by brushing its coat)

smart
clever

told me off
spoke angrily to me because I had done something wrong

mucking out (specialised animal vocabulary)


cleaning out the horse stables

Horse vocabulary

Horse colours

Some of the most common colours for horses are:

bay:
the body ranges from light reddish-brown to very dark brown. It has a black mane, tail and
lower legs

chestnut:
the body is reddish and its mane and tail are not black but are the same shade or lighter than
the body

gray:
the body is black with white or mixed dark and white hairs
When we're talking about horses we say "a chestnut" or "a bay", rather than "a bay horse" or "a
chestnut horse".

Horse movements

These verbs describe how a horse moves, in order of speed, from slow to
fast

walk:
when a horse moves at about 6 kph, generally with only one foot off the
ground at any one time

trot:
when a horse moves at about 12 kph. Each diagonal pair of hooves (a
front foot and the back foot on the opposite side) hit the ground at the
same moment

canter:
when a horse moves at about 16 kph in a three-beat way, followed by a
rest, followed by three beats again

gallop:
when a horse moves at about 100 kph The gallop is very like the canter,
except that it is much faster and the three beats change to four. All four
feet come off the ground together as the horse moves forward

People who work with horses

a groom:
a person who takes care of and cleans horses

a trainer:
a person who trains and rides a horse and prepares it for races or other
competitions

a rider:
a person who rides a horse

a jockey:
a person who rides horses in races. The races can either be on flat race
tracks or with hurdles and hedges to jump over

a show jumper:
a person who rides horses in competitions where horses have to jump
over fences in an arena

a farrier:
a person who makes horseshoes (metal plates) for horses' feet

Vocabulary

coat
hair, wool or fur covering an animal

groom (verb)
clean a horse (usually by brushing its coat)

smart
clever

told me off
spoke angrily to me because I had done something wrong
mucking out (specialised animal vocabulary)
cleaning out the horse stables

Steps

1. 1
Learn the following words:
o Tack. Tack is the gear you use for a horse. Examples are the saddle,
bridle, halter, etc.
o Walk, trot, canter, and gallop. These four words, as you may already
know, are the four natural gaits of a horse. If you're riding Western, it is the walk, jog,
lope, and gallop. The walk is the slowest, and the gallop is the fastest.
Some specific breeds have their own unique gaits, other than the
main four. As an example, Tennessee Walking Horses can do the 'running walk', and
Standard breds can do the 'pace'.
Aids. Signals used by a rider to pass instructions to his mount.
Artificial aids include the whip and spurs. Natural aids include hands, legs, voice cues
and weight cues.
Conformation. The structure and general make-up of a horse

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.
Farrier. A person trained professionally to tend to a horses
hooves.
Frog. V-shaped area found on bottom of horses hooves.

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

Foal. A horse of any gender that's under one year.

Filly. A female foal.

Colt. A male foal.

Yearling. A horse of any gender that's one year old.

Mare. A female horse over 4 years of age.

Gelding. Castrated male horse of any age.

Stallion. An uncastrated male horse that's over 4 years of age.


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

Use them in a conversation. Next time you're around all those horseback riders or
horse owners, you'll know what they're talking about!

A (back to top)

Above the bit


When a horse raises his mouth above the rider's hands to avoid the pressure of the bit.

Action
The way a horse moves at various gaits.

Aged
A horse over 9 years old.

Azoturia
Cramping of a horse's large muscles, also called "tying up".

B (back to top)

Backyard horse
A horse that lives with its owner, not in a proper horse barn or stable.

Bale
A measurement of hay, equal to 10 "flakes".
Barn sour
A horse that doesn't like to leave the barn or stable.

Behind the bit


When a horse places his head down to evade contact with the bit.

Bomb-proof
A horse that doesn't spook.

Breeding stock
A mare or stallion that meets the eligibility requirements to be registered as a distinct breed.

Breeder
A person who breeds purebred horses for a living, or maybe as a hobby.

Bridle
The entire headpiece, the headstall, bit, chin strap, and reins, is called the bridle.

Broodmare
A female horse that is used strictly for breeding.

Buck
When a horse jumps upward and arches his back.

C (back to top)

Canter
Term used in English riding for a three beat gait. This is the same as a lope or slow gallop in
Western discipline riding.

Colt
A male horse under 4 years old that has not been castrated.

Conditioned response
When a horse is trained to a stimulus the same way every time the animal confronts that
stimulus.

Conformation
The overall structure of the horse. What is acceptable conformation depends on what you plan to
do with the horse.

Cribbing
When a horse chews on wood on a regular basis (i.e wood stall or fence).

D (back to top)

Dam
The mother of the horse.

Dapples
Round, colored markings on a horse's coat.

D.V.M.
Doctor of Veterinary Medicine

E (back to top)

Easy keeper
A horse that easily keeps his weight.

F (back to top)

Farrier
This is a blacksmith who does horse shoeing.

Filly
A female horse under 4 years old.

Flake
One tenth of a bale of hay.

Foal
A baby horse or pony still at its mother's side.

G (back to top)

Gallop
The fastest that a horse can run, a three-beat gait.

Gelding
A castrated male horse.

Groundwork
Lead rope and lunge-line training.

Gut sounds
The noises that can be heard from a horse's stomach.

Gymkhana
Rodeo events made up of games such as pole bending and barrel racing.

H (back to top)

Hand
This is the common way to measure horses. One hand is 4 inches, so a horse that is 15 hands is
60 inches tall.

Hard keeper
A horse whose weight is hard to maintain.

Headcollar
A British term for a halter.

I (back to top)

In season
When a mare is in heat.

J (back to top)

Jeanette
An off spring of a Stud and a Jennie.

Jog
Western discipline term for a slow trot.

L (back to top)

Lope
Western term for a three-beat gait, the same as canter.

M (back to top)

Mare
A female horse over 4 years old.

Martingale
A leather device used to control the position of a horse's head.

Mule
The offspring of a male donkey and a female horse.

P (back to top)

Paddock
A large enclosure to hold a horse.

Pony
Breeds of small horses, under 14.2 hands tall.

Purebred
A horse that through generations of unmixed bredding, has and will produce the preferred
physical characteristics of the breed.

Put down
Euthanize, put to sleep.

R (back to top)

Rails
The horizontal bars that make up a jump.

Rogue
A horse with a bad temper.

S (back to top)

Saddle rack
Stand to hold your saddle when it's not on a horse.

Sire
The father of a horse.
Sound
This is the term to describe a healthy horse.

Stallion
A male horse over 4 years old that has not been castrated.

Stud book
This is a listing of breeding horses that is maintained by a registering organization.

T (back to top)

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.

Tie down
A Western term for a martingale, used to control the position of a horses head while riding.

Tree
The basic structure of a saddle, which is then covered with leather.

Trot
A two-beat gait.

Truck-in
A person who brings their own horse to riding lessons.

Turnout
When a horse is let out of its stall into a pasture or arena or corral.

U (back to top)

Unsound
A horse with health problems or lameness.

V (back to top)

V.M.D.
Veterinary Medical Doctor.

W (back to top)

Weanling
A horse under one years old that has been weaned from his mother.

Y (back to top)

Yearling
A horse just approaching or just turning one years old.