Glossary of Terms

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Aged
a horse which is ten years old or more
Aids signals that the rider employs, with his hands,
seat, weight, legs and voice, to tell the horse what to do.
Artificial aids include spurs, whips, draw reins and martingales 
Albino a congenital deficiency of colouring pigment
in the horse’s hair and skin, which results in white hair,
pink skin and blue (sometimes brown) eyes 
Astride when a rider sits on a horse with one leg on
either side of the horse 
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. 
Balance a horse is balanced when its weight, plus the
weight of the rider, are distributed over each leg in a way
that allows the horse to move with maximum ease and efficiency
in all gaits 
Bareback riding without a saddle
Barrel the body of the horse, from behind the forearms
to the loins 
Barrel racing a rodeo sport where horse and rider race between
and around barrels laid out in a triangular pattern 
Base narrow the legs are very close together when viewed
from in front or behind 
Base wide the horse has a wide space between the legs
when viewed from in front or behind 
Bay a body colour varying in shade from light golden
to reddish brown with bright red in between 
Behind the bit when a horse draws his head in toward his chest
to avoid contact with the bit 
Bit a straight or jointed bar of metal or rubber
that fits in the horse’s mouth and is kept in place by a bridle,
which achieves control and steering of the horse 
Black a body colour in which the horse has a black
body without light or brown areas, and with black points 
Black points a horse whose mane, tail and lower legs are
black is said to have black points 
Blemish permanent marks or scars caused by injury appearing
on any part of the horse 
Bolt the action of a horse galloping out of control
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 
Bosomy when viewed from the side the chest appears
abnormally prominent, and from the front appears abnormally
heavy and wide 
Bone a horse’s ‘bone’ is measured just below the
knee 
Bow knees the front legs appear wide just above the knees
when viewed from the front 
Bowed hocks a weakness in which the hocks bow outwards when
viewed from behind 
Boxy feet small, donkey-like feet
Bridle leather or nylon head harness which holds a
bit in place 
Brisket lower part of the chest
Broken knees knees that have been injured by falling and
leaving permanent scarring 
Brood mare a female horse used for breeding foals
Brown a body colour in which the brown horse may be
almost black and has black points, but has light areas at
the muzzle, around the eyes, and on the rear flank 
Brushing an injury to the inside joints on the front
or the hind legs caused by the side of the foot striking the
opposite leg when the horse is in motion 
Buckskin a yellowish or golden body colour with black
points 
Bull-necked short and very thick in the neck
Butty describes a short-legged, short-backed, deep-bodied
horse 
Canter
a horse’s three-time pace
Capped elbows swellings, large or small, on the elbows, often
caused from lying on heels 
Capped hocks swellings, large or small, on the point of the
hock caused by kicking in the stable, or through a shortage
of bedding 
Castration an operation whereby a male horse’s testicles
are removed (also known as gelding or cutting) 
Chestnut a reddish body colour of varying shades, with
the mane and tail usually of the same shade, but sometimes
lighter, and never black 
Chuckwagon a mobile cookhouse drawn by horses, mules or
cattle, used on the range for roundups and trail rides. 
Clean-legged descriptive of quality horses whose legs are
blemish-free 
Clipping shaving a horse’s coat
Close-coupled descriptive of a short-backed, deep-bodied horse
Colic abdominal pain in the horse’s gut due to a variety
of causes, including changes in diet, lack of water, blockages,
and poor quality feed 
Colt an uncastrated (ungelded) male horse up to four
years old 
Condition state of horse’s body and health
Conformation a horse’s make and shape
Contracted heels a defect in which the heels are very narrow,
and the frog may not be in contact with the ground 
Coronary band a band of tissue at the top of the wall of the
hoof 
Cow-hocked the hocks appear close together and the hind
legs point outwards when viewed from behind 
Cresty having a thick, convex neck, as is seen in stallions
Croup top of the hindquarters
Dam
a horse’s mother
Dappled dark spots often seen on grey horses
Deep-bodied a horse that is deep through the girth with
a broad and open chest 
Dentine mineralized tissue that make up a horse’s teeth
Dipped
back
a back that is hollow behind and
in front of the saddle 
Dishing undesirable action where the foot is thrown
outward and forward 
Dock the flesh and bone part of the tail
Docking severing the lower part of the tail
Dorsal stripe a black, brown, red or gold stripe running down
a horse’s coat from the withers, along the spine, to the tail 
Draft (draught) any heavy or light breed of horse used to pull
a vehicle 
Dressage training of a horse to become agile and obedient
to a rider’s directions, and capable of performing intricate
movements 
Dun a body shade of yellow, ranging from light cream
to palomino colour, with a darker dorsal stripe down the back,
and sometimes horizontal dark stripes on the backside of the
leg behind the knee 
Ease
of movement
moves easily without awkwardness or pain
Entire a male horse which has not been castrated; a
stallion 
Equitation art or act of riding on horseback
Ergot a hard growth at the back of the fetlock joint
Ewe neck the crest of the neck is concave rather than
convex 
Feather
long hair on the lower limbs, especially in
the heels, as is most frequently seen in heavy horses 
Feral wild, untamed
Fiddle-headed a horse that has a large, long, plain head
Filly a female horse up to three years old
Flank part of the body behind the ribs
Flaxen blond color
Foal a young horse under one year of age
Forehand the front of a horse, including head, neck,
shoulders and forelegs 
Frog the soft, v-shaped tissue on the underside of
the horse’s foot 
Gait
pattern of leg movements used by a horse in
walk, trot, canter, gallop, pacing and tolt. 
Gelding a castrated male horse
Gestation the term of pregnancy, which in horses lasts
for approximately 355 days (11 months) 
Girth the circumference of the horse’s body behind
the withers 
Gray horse color ranging in shade from dark gray
to white 
Groom to clean a horse; or the person engaged in the
general care of a horse 
Grullo a slate- or mouse coloured horse
Halter
a headcollar for leading a horse, or tying it
to something 
Hand a measurement of 4 inches
Harness equipment used for driving a horse
Hindquarters the area between the rear of the flanks and
root of the tail, stretching down to the top of the gaskin 
Hobbles straps to fasten a horse’s front legs together
at the fetlocks 
Horn the outer surface of the hoof
Impulsion
forward propulsion created by the energetic
use of the hindquarters resulting in the hind legs coming
well under the horse’s body 
Incisors the front biting teeth
Lasso
a long rope with a slipknot loop at the throwing
end used for capturing cattle or horses (also called lariat) 
Light of bone the bone below the knee is small in proportion
to the size of the horse 
Loins part of the back which extends down either side
of the spine and lies immediately behind the saddle 
Lop ears ears that are floppy, placed wide apart and
droop downwards 
Mare
a female horse aged four years and over
Mule offspring of a donkey stallion and a horse mare
Mustang a wild horse
Muzzle includes lips, chin and nostrils
Nap
resistance by a horse, including rearing, bucking,
running away, shying, and failing to obey the rider’s aids 
Near side the left-hand side of the horse, which is the
usual side to mount a horse 
Nutcracker a horse that has the habit of grinding its teeth
Off
side
the right-hand side of the horse
On the bit when a horse takes a light, definite feel on
the reins, without resistance and with a relaxed jaw 
Over at the knee a forward bend or curve of the knee; a conformation
fault 
Oxer a jump comprising two sets of wings and any
combination of poles, angles or spreads 
Pack
horse
a horse used to carry burdens of kit or merchandise
Pace a lateral gait in two-time, in which the hind
leg and the foreleg on the same side move forward together;
or the four different gaits – walk, trop, canter and gallop 
Parrot mouth malformation of the upper jaw whereby the front
teeth overhang the lower ones. 
Pastern part of the horse’s leg between the fetlock
joint and the hoof 
Piebald a pinto
Plaiting front or hind feet cross over when in action:
a bad fault 
Poll the top of the horse’s head, between the ears
Pommel the raised, arched part of the front of a saddle
Pony an equine that does not exceed 14.2 hands high
Puissance a non-timed jumping competition where the fences
are fewer but higher until only one combination of horse and
rider succeed in completing the course 
Rack
the most spectacular movement of the five-gaited
American Saddlebred, where each foot strikes the ground separately
in quick succession 
Rasp also known as floating, it is the smoothing
of sharp edges from horses’ teeth 
Rein back to make a horse step backwards while being ridden
or driven 
Reins straps attached to the bit and held in a rider’s
hands to guide the horse 
Remount a fresh horse used to replace a tired or lame
horse; or to get back on a horse after getting off or falling
off 
Resistance the act of refusing to go forward, stopping,
running back or rearing 
Roman nose describes a horse with a convex face from poll
to muzzle 
Rump the hind part of a horse’s body, the buttocks
Rustler a horse or cattle thief
Saddle
a leather or material seat for a rider on a
horse 
School to train a horse for whatever purpose it may
be required 
Sclera the outermost membrane of the eyeball adjoining
the cornea 
Seat a rider’s posture in the saddle
Service the mating of a mare by a stallion
Side-saddle sitting on a horse with both feet on the near
(left) side of the horse 
Sire biological father of a horse
Sock a white leg marking extending from the coronet
to the middle of the cannon bone area 
Solid a color term denoting only one color with no
other markings 
Sorrel a reddish-brown or light chestnut colour, without
black points 
Sound refers to a horse free of illness, disease,
physical or conformational defect 
Spavin a degenerative bone disease affecting the hock
Splint a bony growth that forms between the splint
bone and cannon bone 
Spur a metal instrument attached to a rider’s boot
heels for decoration or artificial aid 
Stallion an ungelded male horse aged four years or over
Star a white marking on the forehead of a horse’s
face 
Steed a spirited horse used for riding
Stirrup a D-shaped fitting connected to the saddle into
which a rider places his foot 
Straight in the shoulder
a conformational defect where the shoulder lacks
sufficient angulation for comfortable and sound riding or
driving 
Strawberry roan a color term describing a mixture of red hairs
mixed with white 
Surcingle a webbing belt which passes over a racing or
jumping saddle and girth and is used to keep the saddle in
position 
Teaser
a stallion used to determine whether a mare
is receptive before being covered by the stallion of choice 
Toad eye prominent eyes with mealy-coloured upper and
lower lids 
Tolt fast four-beat running walk
Track hoof prints on soft ground
Transition a change of one pace to another
Tree the framework of a saddle
Trot a two-time gait with the horse using diagonal
pairs of legs to propel itself forward 
Vaulting
gymnastics performed on horseback
Walk
a four-time gait that is naturally flat-footed
Warmblood a race of horse developed from the pedigree
bloodlines of various breeds, namely Arabian and Thoroughbred 
Windgall a puffy swelling of a horse’s fetlock joints
Windsucking a habit in which a horse draws in and swallows
air, causing indigestion and unthriftiness 
Withers the highest part of a horse’s back: the area
at the base of the neck between the shoulder blades 
Zebra
stripes
a color pattern of dark-colored stripes, front
to back, from the fetlocks up to the hocks and knees of a
horse

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