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A helpful list of equine-related terms, for all your punny needs.

A

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.

Appaloosa: An American breed characterized by having one or more appaloosa characteristics, such as spots on the coat, mottling, striped hooves, eye whites, etc. Also any type of horse with these characteristics of any breed as a color.

Arabian: A unique horse of Arabic breeding with an unusually arched neck, short back, arched tail, dished face, and fewer bones than that of any other horse breed.

Arena: an outdoor area surrounded by fence, usually in the shape of a square, circle or oval which horses are ridden or exercised.

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

B

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

Barrel: The midsection of the body of a horse.

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

Bridle: The entire piece of tack put on a horse's head. When combined, 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.

Bay: A horse of chestnut coat with black points. Horses of this color may be split into categories: blood bay, golden bay, dun (if applies), etc.

Black: A color of horse, the darkest a horse can get. A horse may have black points (mane, tail, and legs) or be a black roan or a piebald pinto, as well as a solid black. Black horses are very rare, and have NO brown shadings on the body whatsoever. Usually, horses classified as blacks are actually dark bay.

Buckskin: a palomino-colored horse (tan or gold) with black points.

C

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Cannon: The cannon bone lies between the knee and fetlock joint, and is visible from the front of the leg.

Canter: a three-beat gait of the horse where legs on opposite sides and leading strike the ground at the same time. Faster than the trot and slower than the gallop.

Chestnut: A horse of any "brown or red" color with the same color or darker mane and tail (but not black). Dark ones are called Liver Chestnuts or Seal chestnuts, while light ones can be Golden Chestnuts, Red Chestnuts, sorrels, and more.

Colt: A young male horse under the age of 4 years that has been weaned.

Conformation: The shape of a horse's body. A horse with good conformation is stronger and more likely to stay sound than one with weak conformation.

Corral: A place to keep large numbers or low numbers of stock, like a big arena outdoors but usually not used for riding in, only holding stock.

Coronet: The coronet is the band around the top of the hoof from which the hoof wall grows.

Creamello: A very light palomino color.

Crest: Moderately lean in mares but inclined to be more full in stallions. Curved topline of the neck.

Croup: The croup (rump) lies between the loin and the tail. When one is looking from the side or back, it is the highest point of the hindquarters.

Cribbing When a young equine focuses on jaw strength by chewing wood.

D

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Dam: The mother of the horse.

Dapples: Colored markings on a horse's coat.

Dappled Grey: An early stage of fleabitten, where the body appears grey with white speckles throughout it.

Dressage: The guiding of a horse through a series of complex maneuvers by slight movements of the rider's hands, legs, and weight.

Dun: Horse of any color with characteristics such as a dorsal stripe, transversal stripe, or striped legs.

E

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Elbow: The elbow is a bony prominence lying against the chest at the beginning of the forearm.

Equestrian: A horseback rider.

Equine: Any type of equidite; horses, ponies, donkeys, mules, zebras.

Equitation: how an equestrian performs.

F

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Farrier: This is a blacksmith who does horse shoeing.

Flake: One tenth of a bale of hay.

Feral: These horses are not wild as they did not naturally live in the area that they do now, so are not wild, but are no longer tame, either. This includes such horses as Mustangs and Brumbies.

Fleabitten: The horse's coat has roaned out from either a dappled grey, black, chestnut, bay, or blue roan. All that is left is tiny speckles across the fur. The horse will eventually turn completely white. This is an advanced stage of roaning, but is NOT considered roan. Types of fleabitten are fleabitten grey and fleabitten red roan.

Fetlock:The fetlock is the joint between the cannon bone and the pastern.

Filly: A young female horse who has not yet had a foal, is under 4 years of age, and has been weaned..

Flank: The flank is the area below the loin, between the last rib and the massive muscles of the thigh.

Foal: A young horse of either sex between the ages of birth and weaning

Foxtrot: where a horse trots with his forelegs and walks with his back, a very smooth gait that is rare in most breeds aside from the Rocky Mountain Pony and the MO Fox Trotter. Also known as a single foot.

Frog: The soft part on the bottom of a horse's foot, similar to the sole of a shoe.

Furlong: 1/8th of a mile. This is used as a distance on a track.

G

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

Gaskin: The gaskin is the region between the stifle and the hock.

Girth: The widest part of a horses body.

Groundwork: Lead rope and lunge-line training.

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

Gait: The different speeds a horse can travel. Every horse has 4 natural "gaits", the (1) walk, (2) trot, (3) canter, and (4) gallop.

Gelding: A castrated male horse.

Grey: Most "white" horses are actually grey. Any horse may become grey due to age or roaning.

Gymkhana: Western gaming, such as barrel racing or pole bending.

H

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Hand: Measures how tall a horse is (one hand = four inches).

Headcollar: A British term for a halter.

Hindquarters: The back part of a horse including the rear legs and flank.

Hinny: A cross between a donkey Jenny and a stallion.

Hock: The hock is the joint between the gaskin and the cannon bone, in the rear leg. The bony protuberance at the back of the hock is called the point of hock.

Hoof: The hoof refers to the horny wall and the sole of the foot. The foot includes the horny structure and the pedal and navacular bones, as well as other connective tissue.

Horse: a stallion, or uncastrated adult male horse over 4 years of age.

I

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Irons: English stirrups.

J

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Jack: A male donkey.

Jenny: A female donkey.

Jeanette: An off spring of a Stud and a Jenny.

Jockey: The rider of a racehorse.

Jog: Western discipline term for a slow trot.

John: A male mule.

K

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L

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Lame: A "lame horse" has an injury that interferes with his performance and/or health.

Length: Approx. 8-9 feet, or the length of a stretched out horse at a gallop.

Loin: The loin or coupling is the short area joining the back to the powerful muscular croup

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

Lunge Line: A very long rein (about 20-40 feet) used to lunge a horse.

Lunging: A way of exercising a horse, using a lunge line that is attached to the horse's halter. The horse moves in circles around the trainer, who stands in the middle holding the lunge line.

M

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Mane: the region of long coarse hair at the dorsal border of the neck and terminating at the poll in the forelock. Present in the horse and other Equidae.

Mare: an adult female horse over the ages of 4 years or after she has had her first foal.

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

Medicine Hat: a spot of color on the ears of a pinto horse. This does not extend down the face or neck at all. A horse with a spot of color on an otherwise white head that goes down to the throatlatch but doesn't extend down the face or extend beyond the top of the neck is called a War Bonnet.

Molly: A female mule.

Mule: A cross between a female horse (mare) and a male donkey (jack).

Mustang: Any breed of feral American horse. Mustang is often referred to as a breed.

Muzzle The nose end of an equine's head.

N

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Neigh: A characteristic high-pitched sound uttered by a horse.

O

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Overo: A pinto of any color with no white crossing his or her back.

P

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Pace: A gait found in many horses that don't trot, where legs on the same side of the body move together.

Paddock: A turnout place for horses outside, like a tiny corral but only used for one or two horses at a time.

Palomino: A horse the color of a "new gold coin" with white points. White legs are not necessary, but usually wanted. Palominos are a color, not a breed. Palominos can only be born by breeding two palominos, and even then, only 1/2 of the foals will turn out palominos. Many breeds do not allow palominos to be registered, such as Arabians and thoroughbreds, and are therefore classified as chestnuts.

Pastern: The pastern extends from the fetlock to the top of the hoof.

Perlino: A white-colored horse with cream or palomino shadings.

Piebald: A pinto of grey and white or black and white coloring.

Pintabian: A breed of horse over 99% arabian with tobiano pinto markings.

Pinto: A horse with large splashes of any color and white. Hairs are not combined as with roans, but instead keep separate with their own colors.

Points: This word is used when describing the color of a horse. The "points" of a horse are his mane, tail, lower legs and the tips of his ears.

Pony: Breeds of small horses, under 14.2 hands tall.

Poll: The poll is the bony prominence lying between the ears. Except for the ears, it is the highest point on the horses body when it is standing with its head up.

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

Q

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Quarter Horse: The world's most popular and versatile breed. This breed was originally bred as a range horse, then for running races at short distances, such as a quarter of a mile.

Quarter Pole: The colored pole one quarter of the way from the finish line for a race. This is where Quarter Horses start their races.


R

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Race: A competition for horses, where the winning horse is the fastest for that race and crosses the finish line first.

Race Horse: any type of racing breed, usually thoroughbreds, appaloosas, quarter horses, standardbreds, or Arabians.

Rack: The fastest show gait of a five-gaited horse, a high-stepping pace-type motion.

Rails: The horizontal bars that make up a jump.

Roan: A horse may be blue roan, black roan, or red roan. A roan usually has darker colored points and face or black points with a mixture of hairs of, for example, red and white (red roan).

Rogue: A horse with a bad temper.

S

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Sabino: A splashy pinto pattern, with a white belly. Sabinos are also overos.

Saddle: a piece of riding equipment put over the horses' back as a type of brace and seat for the rider.

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

Singlefoot: a fox trot.

Sire: The father of a horse.

Skewbald: A pinto horse of any color but grey and white or black and white.

Sorrel: A horse of a chestnut coat color with a flaxen or white mane and tail. This can be split into categories, such as copper-sorrel, chocolate sorrel, palomino, etc.

Sound: A "sound horse" does not have any injuries that interfere with his performance and/or health.

Stall: An indoor box where a horse is kept at times during the day.

Stallion: An adult male horse over 4 years of age.

Stifle: The stifle is the joint at the end of the thigh corresponding to the human knee.

Stud: A stallion used for breeding.

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

Surcingle: A girth used for race horses that goes all the way over the saddle. May also be used bareback for training or vaulting.

T

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Tack: All equipment used on a horse (bridle, saddle, halter, etc.)

Tail: Long hair growing out of a ponies rump

Thoroughbred: Any descendant of three specific Arabian stallions of the 1600's. They are usually used for middle-distance races, shorter than endurance but longer than 1/2 of a mile. Also, these horses must trace their parentage back to at least one of three thoroughbred stallions: Herod, Matchem, or Eclipse.

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.

Tobiano: A pinto of any color with some white crossing its back and a solid colored head (markings are permissible).

Tovero: A pinto of any color with overo-style markings, and perhaps a bit of white crossing either the loins over the back and/or the lower neck. Otherwise usually a solid color with a white face and markings. Mostly colored.

Turnout: The act of turning a horse loose in a pasture, paddock or corral.

U

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V

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Vice: A bad habit that is learned by a horse, usually by watching other horses, or by inventing due to boredom. Common vices are wood chewing, wind sucking (cribbing), pacing, pawing and rocking.

W

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War Bonnet: A horse with a spot of color on an otherwise white head that goes down to the throatlatch but doesn't extend down the face or extend beyond the top of the neck.

Weanling: A young horse of either sex that no longer needs it's mother's milk, and lives on grasses.

Warmblood: Almost any sport horse type is a warmblood. A warmblood is a horse used for riding but not racing. A warmblood can also be a European crossbred.

White: An albino horse.

Whinny: A gentle, high-pitched neigh.

Withers: A part of the horse which is located between the horse's neck and back. A horse's height is measured from the tallest point of its withers.

X

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Y

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Yearling: a horse who is between 1 and 2 years old.

Z

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References

http://www.tinyhoovesrescue.org/horse_terminology.htm

http://www.horses-and-horse-information.com/horsedictionary.shtml

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