Equine Terminology



ACTION: The way a horse moves
AIDS: Signals given to the horse with hands, voice, legs and weight
APPALOOSA: A breed of horse and color of horse.
APPY: Short for Appaloosa
ARAB: Short for Arabian
ARABIAN: A breed of horse
ARRAPPALOOSA: Cross between Appaloosa and Arabian
AT GRASS: A horse that is pastured year round and one source of nutrition is grass.


BALK: When a horse refuses to move or do what the rider wants
BARREL: The horse’s midsection
BARREL RACE: A rodeo event where the horse is raced around 3 barrels and is timed.
BAY: A chestnut or sorrel horse with black legs and tail Brown body with black legs and tail.
BIT: The metal part of the bridle that goes in the horse’s mouth
BLAZE: A wide white marking that goes down face.
BLUE ROAN: A black horse with white hairs speckled
BOX TO: To lead a horse up the ramp and into a horse box or trailer.
BREAK: The act of training or gentling a horse
BREED: A particular type of horse
BREAST COLLAR: A leather piece of tack that goes a cross the horse’s chest, helping to keep the saddle in place, or just to be decorative.
BRIDLE: The piece of tack that goes on the horse’s head and is used help control the horse.
BROKEN-IN: A horse that can be ridden and handled
BRONCO: A horse that works in the rodeo, bucking off cowboys.
BROOD MARE: A female horse kept for breeding
BUCK: When a horse kicks hind legs into the air with front legs on ground, usually out of joy.


CANTER: The three-beat gait that is faster than trot but slower than gallop
CANTLE: Back part of the saddle seat.
CHAFF: Finely chopped hay used to add bulk to the feed.
CHESTNUT: A color type where the horse has reddish brown body, mane and tail.
CINCH: The strap that goes around the horse’s midsection to hold the saddle on
COLT: A male horse under 4 years old
CONCUSSION: Continuous banging of the horse’s feet on hard ground.
CONDITION: A horse’s overall health and fitness
CONFORMATION: The way a horse’s body is put together
CORONET BAND: Where the hoof meets the hair on the leg.
CREST: Along the top of the horse’s neck where the mane grows
CRIBBING: When a horse grabs on something, usually its fence or stall, and swallow air. It is a bad habit that is hard to correct.Cribbing is mentally addictive and learned from other horses that crib.
CROP: A short riding whip
CRUPPER: a piece of leather under tail to keep the saddle from sliding forward
CUTTING HORSE: A horse trained to ‘cut’ one calf out of a herd and keep it separate


DAM: A mother horse
DAPPLE: Circular markings found most often on grays.
DEWORMER: Used to kill worms in horses
DOCK: The part of the tail that is bone.
DORSAL STRIPE: A black stripe down the back of the horse
DRAFT: A large, slow type of workhorse used for pulling loads. Examples are Shires and Belgians.
DRESSAGE: A style of riding where horse and rider perform movements with time and precision.
DUN: A yellowish coat color with a dorsal stripe down back


ENGLISH: A style of riding
EQUINE: A horse, or having to do with horses
EQUESTRIAN: Someone that rides or interacts with horses
EQUUS CABALLUS: The scientific name for the horse
EVENTING: A competition involving three disciplines of dressage, cross-country, and show jumping.


FARRIER: A horseshoer
FETLOCK: The joint between the knee and hoof
FEATHER: The tuft of hair on the horse’s fetlock
FENDER: The area above the stirrup on Western saddles
FILLY: A female horse under 4 years old
FLY SPRAY: Insecticide or herbicide used to kill or repel flies
FLYING LEAD CHANGE: When a cantering horse changes leads without breaking gait. FOAL: A baby horse.
FROG The V-shaped part of the horse’s foot which acts as a shock absorber.


GAITS: The different ways that horses travel. The main gaits are walk, trot, canter, gallop.
GAITED HORSE: A horse that is either born or trained to do gaits other than the four regular ones. Some gaited horses do these naturally, others need chains, weights, and other devices to produce them, such as ‘big lick’ walkers.
GASKIN: The muscle above the hock in the horse’s hind leg
GALLOP: The fastest of the equine gaits.
GELDING: A neutered male horse (also act of neutering a horse)
GIRTH: Another name for the cinch, usually used by English riders.
GROOM: The act of cleaning a horse
GYMKHANA: An event or show that consists of games on horseback. Arena race, egg-in-spoon race, musical chairs, and barrel racing are some examples.


HACKAMORE: A bitless bridle that works on the horses nose and chin.
HAND: A unit of 10 cm (4 in) used to measure the height of a horse. Horse height is measured at highest point of withers.
HAY NET: A loosely woven rope bag made to hold hay.
HOOF PICK: A metal implement used to remove mud and stones from horse’s hooves.
HORN: A part of the saddle


IRONS: Stirrup irons are attached to the saddle and designed to support the rider’s feet. English stirrups.


JOG: A slow trot
JOHDPURS: stretched English pants
JOCKEY: A person that rides racehorses


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LIGHT HORSE: A type of horse used for riding and driving, not for pulling loads.
LEAD ROPE: A rope used to lead and tie horses
LEADING REIN: Inside rein.
LOPE: A slow, western-style canter
LOUNGE: Exercising a horse on the end of a lounge line


MARE: A female horse over 4 years old
MANURE: What you muck out of the stall (horse poop!)
MUCKING OUT: Cleaning stalls.


NAVICULAR BONE: A small bone in the hoof, just behind the coffin bone.
NAVICULAR DISEASE: A disease that disintegrates the navicular bone
NEARSIDE: The left-hand side of a horse.


OFFSIDE: The right-hand side of a horse.


PAINT: A breed of horse that usually has pinto coloration. Some solids do occur.
PALOMINO: A coat color of tan body and white mane and tail
PINTO: A coat pattern with large blotches of white and black or another color over body. Any breed may be a pinto.
PLEASURE RIDING: Riding for pleasure, not showing.
POLL: The highest point of the horse, located in between ears.
PONY: Horse under 14.2 hands.


QUARTER HORSE: A breed of horse


RACING: An event where horses run to see which is the fastest
REINING: A Western event
ROPING: A Western event where a calf is roped.
ROUND PEN: A circular pen used to exercise or train horses.


SADDLE: A piece of tack used to ride horses
SADDLEBRED: A breed of horse
SETTING A TAIL: Cutting muscles in the tail then bandaging it up in an unnatural position for a ‘showy’ look. Done in Tennessee Walkers.
SHOWING: Competing for money, ribbons, or points with horses.
STALLION: A male horse over 4 years of age that has not been gilded.
STUD: A male horse used for breeding


TACK: Equipment used to ride and train horses
TENNESSEE WALKER: A breed of horse
THOROUGHBRED: A breed of horse
TRANSITION: A change in gait.
TURN OUT: To put a horse out to pasture.


No entries for ‘u’


VICE: Any bad habit a horse may have.


WARM BLOOD: A breed of horse
WELSH PONY: A breed of pony
WORMS: Parasites that can injure or kill horses.


XENOPHON: A Greek man know as ‘The Father of Classical Equitation’ (430-ca 335 B.C.). He wrote the first fully preserved manual on the care of the riding horse- “The Art of Horsemanship”.


YEARLING: A horse that is 1 year old.


ZEBRA MARKS: stripes on the legs, withers, neck or rump of some primitive breeds; may occur on gruels.

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