glossary

Russ Thompson Stables

Glossary Terms
Horse Glossary and Vocabulary of Horse Terms you’ll hear at the stables.

A

Action:

Movement of the feet and legs.

Additives (food):

Substance incorporated into a feed to provide specific results.

Age:

The age of the horse computed from the first of January. All Thoroughbreds celebrate their birthday on August 1st.

Aged Horse:

Usually a horse over 8 years of age, but may denote a horse 12 years of age or older.

Aids:

The legs, hands, weight, and voice of the rider used in controlling the horse.

Air Dry:

Refers to a feed that has been allowed to dry in the air. Usually assumed to be 10% moisture and 90% dry matter.

Anhidrosis:

The inability to sweat.

Anterior:

Toward the front or head of the body.

Appointments:

Equipment and clothing used in showing.

Arabian:

Breed of horse, originating in the deserts of the Middle East and having a strong influence on many other breeds, including the Thoroughbred.

Ascarids:

Large roundworms, internal parasite.

Azoturia:

Also called Monday Morning Disease or Rhabdomyolysis. Metabolic problem.

B

Bad-doer:

A horse with a poor appetite, a condition that may be due to nervousness or other causes.

Balk:

Refuse to move.

Barefoot:

Unshod.

Barren:

A mare having problems becoming fertilized. Also known as “Open”. The problems of getting pregnant increase with the age of the horse. However, if barren mares are managed correctly (see us), even mares in their early and middle 20s can become pregnant and carry foals to term.

Bars:

May refer to the area in the mouth immediately in front of molars. Also describes an area of the hoof.

Base Narrow:

Standing with front or rear feet close together, yet standing with legs vertical

Base Wide:

Standing with front or rear feet wide apart, yet with legs vertical.

Bat:

A jockey’s whip.

Bell Boots:

Rubber protective boots fitting over the coronet band and down the hoof.

Bleeder (Exercised-induced Pulmonary Hemorrhage):

Horse bleeding from the lungs during strenuous exercise.

Blemishes:

Abnormalities that do not affect the serviceability of the horse, e.g. wire cuts, brands.

Blister:

An irritant applied as a treatment for unsoundness.

Bloom:

“Shine” or radiance in the hair coat.

Body Condition Score (BCS):

Rating system used to describe the amount of body condition, e.g. fat, a horse has. The numbering system is from 1, very thin, to 9, very fat.

Bosal:

Braided rawhide or rope noseband of a bosal hackamore.

Brand:

A mark used as means of identification. May be applied with a hot iron or freeze branded with a cold iron.

Break:

To teach a young horse to obey commands, accept directions and control.

Breeding:

Regulation of progeny through intensive selection of the parents.

Bridoon:

Correct name for the little snaffle bit in the full bridle.

Broke:

Trained for a specific function.

Broodmare:

Mare kept for breeding or reproductive purpose.

Bronco:

An animal that has never been broken to saddle or harness use.

Barrel Racing:

A timed event in Western Riding where horse and rider complete a cloverleaf pattern around three barrels.

Bloodstock:

Thoroughbred horses bred for racing.

Buck:

When a horse jumps upward and arches his back.

Bucking:

Springing with a quick leap, arched back, and head down. Also know as “crow hopping” or “frog walking”.

Buck-kneed:

Standing with the knees too far forward.

C

Calf-kneed:

Standing with the knees too far back. Opposite of buck-kneed.

Calk:

Grips on the heels and the outside of the front shoes of horses, designed to give the horse better footing.

Canter:

A slow, restrained, three-beat gait in which the two diagonal legs are paired.

Capped Hock:

Enlargement at the point of the hock; usually caused by bruising.

Carrying Capacity:

The number of animals that a given area can support in meeting their forage needs for one full year.

Cast:

Refers to a horse falling or lying down close to a wall or fence so that it cannot get up without assistance.

Cavesson:

Head stall with a nose-band used for exercising and training horses.

Chestnut:

Horny growth on the inside of the horse’s legs, above the knees and below the hocks. Also a reddish color of horse. Chestnut: 1) 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. 2) 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. No two horses have been found to have the same chestnuts and so they may be used for identification. Also called “night eyes.”

Cinch:

Girth of a western saddle.

Climbing:

When a horse lifts its front legs abnormally high as it gallops, causing it to run inefficiently.

Clydesdale:

Breed of heavy horse originating in Scotland and used for heavy draft work.

Coarse:

Lacking in quality usually refers to the overall lack of refinement in the horse.

Coldblood:

The name used to describe the heavy European breeds of horse descended from the prehistoric Forest Horse.

Coggins Test:

A test for diagnosing Equine Infectious Anemia.

Cold-backed:

Generally describes a horse that takes a little while to settle down when first saddled.

Colic:

Severe abdominal pain. May be life threatening.

Collected:

Term describing the way a horse moves.

Colostrum:

Milk secreted by the mare just prior to foaling and early in lactation. High in antibodies.

Colt:

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

Contracted Feet:

Condition characterized by a narrowing at the heel of the foot.

Cool out:

Having a horse quietly moving after heavy exercise.

Cow Hocks (Cow-hocked):

Standing with the joints of the hocks bent inward and the toes pointed outward as seen from the rear of the horse.

Creep Feed:

Feed fed to the nursing foal.

Crest:

Top part of the neck.

Cribber (wind-sucker):

A horse that has a vice of biting or setting the teeth against a solid object and sucking-in or swallowing air.

Crop:

A riding whip with a short straight stock and a loop.

Crossbred:

Offspring of a sire and dam of different breeds.

Cryptorchid:

Stallion with one or both testicles retained in the abdomen.

Curb:

1) A bit mouthpiece, designed to bring pressure on the bars of the mouth.
2) Enlargement at the rear of the hind leg and below the hock.

Curry:

Grooming with a curry comb, dandy brush, or body brush.

D

Dam:

Female parent of a horse.

Dental Star:

Marking on the incisor (front) teeth of horses used to estimate their age.

Diagonal:

Refers to one forefoot moving in unison with the opposite hindfoot at the trot.

Dishing:

Term applied to a horse’s movement at the trot. The foot swings outward.

Distemper (Strangles):

Contagious disease caused by the bacteria Streptococcus equi.

Dorsal Stripe:

Colored stripe (usually black or brown) running down the back of the horse from the mane, continued into the tail.

Dressage:

Equestrian sport emphasizing the working together of the horse and rider.

E

Encephalomyelitis (Sleeping Sickness):

Viral disease affecting horses, transmitted by mosquitoes.

Equine Infectious Anemia (EIA):

An infectious viral disease.

Equitation:

The art of riding horseback.

Equus:

Latin word for “horse”. Genus of the modern horse family.

Ergot:

The horny growth on the back of the fetlock (ankle) joint.

Estrus:

Period of time when a mare will accept a stallion for breeding.

F

Farrier:

A person who puts on horseshoes (Horseshoer). Also called a “plater” or blacksmith. A person trained professionally to tend to a horses hooves.

Far Side:

The right side of a horse.

Feather:

The long hairs growing at the back of the cannon, fetlock, or pastern.

Fetlock:

Connection between the cannon and pastern bones.

Feral:

Wild; untamed horse.

Filly:

A female horse up to 4 years of age.

Fistulous Withers:

Inflamed condition in the area of the withers.

Flaxen:

A light colored mane or tail.

Flea-bitten:

Describes a white horse covered with small brown or colored marks.

Floating:

Filing the sharp edges off a horse’s teeth.

Foal:

Young unweaned horse of either sex. Horse of any gender, up to 1 year old.

Foaling:

Giving birth.

Forage:

Vegetable matter fed to horses, e.g. hay, pasture, etc.

Forehand:

The front of the horse, including the head, neck, shoulders and forelegs.

Forelock:

The mane between the ears, which hangs forward over the forehead.

G

Gait:

A particular way of going characterized by specific rhythmic movement of the feet and legs, walk trot, run or gallop. Paces at which a horse moves. Common gaits are: walk, trot, canter and gallop – although there are more in different breeds.

Geld:

To castrate a male horse.

Gelding:

A male horse that was castrated before reaching full sexual maturity, usually 2 yrs. old.

Get:

Progeny or offspring.

Girth:

Strap or webbing that holds the saddle in place. (1) The circumference of the body measured from behind the withers around the barrel. (2) Means by which an English saddle is secured to the horse, which attaches to the saddle on one side, running under the barrel just behind the legs to the other side. Called a cinch in Western Riding.

Grade:

An animal with unknown ancestry.

Grain:

Harvested cereals or other edible seed, including oats, barley, corn, milo, etc.

GRAS:

Generally Recognized As Safe.

Green Broke:

Term applied to a horse that has been ridden very few times.

Groom:

Person who looks after the horse (also called a stable-hand).
Also, the act of brushing/cleaning a horse.

Gymkhana:

Program of games on horseback.

H

Hair Color:

There are five basic coat colors, bay, black, brown, chestnut, and white.

Hand:

Unit of measure for height, equal to four (4) inches. Used to determine the height of a horse. 1 hand = 10cm.

Hard Keeper:

A horse that is difficult to keep weight on or maintain his body condition, often referred to as a Bad Doer at the Race Track.

Hay Belly:

Having a distended barrel due to eating large quantities of forage.

Heaves:

Difficulty in forcing air from the lungs.

Height:

Measurement of the distance from the withers to the ground measured in hands.

Hobbles:

Straps which encircle the pasterns of the front legs.

Homebred:

A horse bred by its owner.

Horn:

Hard, insensitive outer part of hoof.

Hung Up:

A rider that is still attached to the animal after dismounting In foal: Pregnant mare.

I

Irons:

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

L

Lameness:

Defect that can be detected when the affected foot is favored.

Laminitis (Founder):

Inflammation of the sensitive laminae under the horny wall of the hoof

Lead:

The leading foot of a horse during movement.

Lead Shank:

Rope or other material used to lead 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.

Length:

A measurement approximating the length of a horse, used to denote distance between horses in a race Secretariat won the Belmont by 31 lengths.

Lock:

Slang for a “sure” winner.

Lope:

Western adaptation of very slow canter.

M

Mane:

Long hair on the top of the neck.

Mare:

A female horse over 4 years of age.

Milk Teeth:

The teeth a horse has up to the age of about five.

Mouthing:

Determining the approximate age of a horse by examining the teeth.

Mucking Out:

Removal of dirty bedding and replacing it with clean bedding.

Mule:

Offspring of a male donkey and a female horse.

Mutton-withered:

Having low rounded withers.

Mustang:

A feral horse. A wild horse of the American West. Mixed blood horse.

N

Near Side:

The left side of the horse.

Neck Rein:

To guide the horse with pressure from the rein on the side of the neck.

O

Off Side:

The right side of the horse.

Overreach:

Hitting the forefoot with the hind foot.

Overreaching:

Where the toe of the hind foot catches and injures the back of the pastern or heel of the front foot. Occurs when the horse is galloping or jumping.

Overshot Jaw (Parrot Mouth):

Protruding upper jaw over the lower jaw.

Over the dashboard:

When a rider is thrown over the front-end of an animal. Pace: Fast two-beat gait in which the front and hind feet on the same side move in unison, lateral gait.

P

Pacesetter:

The horse that is running in front (on the lead).

Paddling:

Throwing the front feet outward when moving.

Paddock:

The area at the race track where the horses are saddled and viewed prior to a race. A fenced off field on a farm. Small enclosure in which horses are turned out for grazing.

Palomino:

A golden colored horse with a light or white colored mane and tail.

Parrot mouth:

A horse with an extreme overbite.

Piebald:

Refers to a black and white coat color combination.

Pigeon-Toed:

Toes point inward with the heels pointing outward.

Pig-eyed:

Having a small eye.

Pinto:

A paint or spotted horse. Hairs are not combined as with roans, but instead keep separate with their own colors.

Poll:

Area between the horse’s ears.

Pony:

Small horse measuring 14.2 hands high or less.

Pommel:

Extreme front of saddle.

Popped Knee:

General term describing an inflammation of the knee.

Posting:

The rising and sitting of the rider with the rhythm of the trot.

Produce (Progeny):

Offspring.

Proximate Analysis:

Procedure for determining the following in a feed; moisture, crude protein, crude fat, crude fiber, ash, and non-fiber carbohydrate.

Q

Quarter Crack:

Vertical split in the hoof wall.

Quarter Horse:

Breed of horse, originating in the United States and popular for ranch work, racing and riding in all equestrian disciplines.

R

Racehorse:

Horse bred for racing. Can be Thoroughbred, Quarter Horse, Arabian, Standard bred.

Ration:

Feed supplied or available to an animal.

Right Lead:

Right front foot and left rear foot on the canter.

Ringbone:

Bony growth on the pastern.

Rogue:

Ill-tempered horse—horse with a bad temper.

Run (Gallop):

Fast four (4) beat gait where each foot strike the ground separately.

S

Saddle:

A Thoroughbred racing saddle is the lightest saddle used, weighing less than two pounds.

Schooling:

Training sessions.

Sickle-hocked:

Hinds legs set too far forward as viewed from the side.

Side-bones:

Ossified lateral cartilage of the coffin bone.

Skewbald:

A coat color other than black combined with white.

Smooth-mouth:

Indicates a horse usually over 12 years of age.

Snaffle Bit:

Mouthpiece jointed in the center.

Sound:

A horse free from unsoundness. Free from lameness or injury.

Splints:

Abnormal body growths usually found on the inside of the front cannon bones.

Spurs:

Small metal devices worn on the rider’s boot to help enforce the leg aids. Come in a range of severity, from very mild blunt spurs to severe roweled models.

Stifle:

The counterpart to the knee in man.

Stirrups:

A place to keep your feet when riding for support in the western saddle.

Stud:

1) Farm where animals are kept for breeding.
2) Common name for a stallion.

Stud:

1) Male horse used for breeding.
2) A breeding farm.

Suckling:

A foal in its first year of life, while it is still nursing.

Swaybacked:

A noticeable dip in the back.

Sweet Feed:

Combination of grains and usually containing a variable amount of molasses.

T

Tack:

Equipment used in riding or driving a horse.

Tack Room:

Place to store tack.

Temperature:

Normal for a horse is 100.5° F.

The Tennessee Walker or Tennessee Walking Horse:

The breed was originally bred in the Southern United States to carry the owners of plantations around their lands. Their unique four-beat “running walk” is especially comfortable to ride, making the breed a well-suited trail companion. The breed is rarely seen in any of the sport horse disciplines; however, they are good for trail-riding because of their smooth gaits, stamina and easy temperament, and are also seen in Western riding disciplines and in harness.

Thrifty:

Describes a horse that is easy to keep, which maintains good condition of small rations. Also called a “good-doer.”

Trot:

Natural rapid two-beat diagonal gait in which the front foot and opposite hind foot move in unison.

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. See “Muscular Injuries” subsection of “Musculoskeletal System” in veterinary supplement for a more detailed explanation. A mild form of azoturia.

U

Undershot Jaw (Monkey Mouth):

Lower jaw is longer than the upper. A deformity in which the lower jaw projects beyond the upper.Unsoundness:
More serious problem or abnormality that affects the serviceability of the horse.

V

Vice:

Bad habit acquired by the horse.

W

Wall-Eye:

An eye in which the iris, usually a pale translucent blue due to lack of pigment, is ringed with white.

Walleye:

A wall eye is a blue eye. The color of the iris is determined by the hair surrounding it. If these are white chances are high that the eye will be blue. A horse can have one blue eye and one brown eye.

Walk:

Natural, slow four-beat gait.

Warmblood:

In general terms, a half-bred, or part-bred horse, the result of an Arabian or Thoroughbred cross with other breeds. Also one of a number of specific breeds of horse which were developed by crossing hotblood and coldblood horses to produce a more refined, but athletically strong and capable horse, such as the Swedish Warmblood, the Dutch Warmblood etc.

Warm-up:

Routine of gradually preparing a horse for more strenuous exercise.

Weanling:

Weaned foal.

Withers:

Point at the bottom of the neck. This is usually characterized by a slightly raised area – just above the shoulders. The saddle lies just behind this. A horse’s height is measured from the ground to the withers.

Y

Yearling:

A horse in its second calendar year of life, beginning Jan. 1st of the year following its birth in Northern hemisphere and August 1st on southern hemisphere.

Yearling:

Colt or filly between one and two years of age. Any horse between one and two years of age.

Z

Zorse:

Hybrid-cross between a zebra and a horse.

Please provide the required field.

Russ Thompson Stables

1039 Greenwood Ave,

Devore Heights, CA 92407

Phone. 909-226-9671