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Dictionary of Horse Terms

Select letter above to jump to section

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.

The way a horse moves at various gaits.
A horse over 9 years old.
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.

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.
A horse that doesn't spook.
Breeding stock
A mare or stallion that meets the eligibility requirements to be registered as a distinct breed.
A person who breeds purebred horses for a living, or maybe as a hobby.
The entire headpiece, the headstall, bit, chin strap, and reins, is called the bridle.
A female horse that is used strictly for breeding.
When a horse jumps upward and arches his back.
C                                              (back to top)

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

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.
The overall structure of the horse. What is acceptable conformation depends on what you plan to do with the horse.
When a horse chews on wood on a regular basis (i.e wood stall or fence).
D                                              (back to top)

The mother of the horse.

Round, colored markings on a horse's coat.
Doctor of Veterinary Medicine
E                                              (back to top)

Easy keeper
A horse that easily keeps his weight.

F                                              (back to top)

This is a blacksmith who does horse shoeing.

A female horse under 4 years old.
One tenth of a bale of hay.
A baby horse or pony still at its mother's side.
G                                              (back to top)

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

A castrated male horse.
Lead rope and lunge-line training.
Gut sounds
The noises that can be heard from a horse's stomach.
Rodeo events made up of games such as pole bending and barrel racing.
H                                              (back to top)

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.
A British term for a halter.
I                                              (back to top)

In season
When a mare is in heat.

J                                              (back to top)

An off spring of a Stud and a Jennie.

Western discipline term for a slow trot.
L                                              (back to top)

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

M                                              (back to top)

A female horse over 4 years old.

A leather device used to control the position of a horse's head.
The offspring of a male donkey and a female horse.
P                                              (back to top)

A large enclosure to hold a horse.

Breeds of small horses, under 14.2 hands tall.
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)

The horizontal bars that make up a jump.

A horse with a bad temper.
S                                              (back to top)

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

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

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.
The basic structure of a saddle, which is then covered with leather.
A two-beat gait.
A person who brings their own horse to riding lessons.
When a horse is let out of its stall into a pasture or arena or corral.
U                                              (back to top)

A horse with health problems or lameness.

V                                              (back to top)

Veterinary Medical Doctor.

W                                              (back to top)

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

Y                                              (back to top)

A horse just approaching or just turning one years old.

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