HORSE TALK


When dealing with horse people you must be familiar with some common terms. 

To see a chart of horse colors
click here.

A   B   C   D   E   F   G   H   I   J   K   L   M   N   O   P   Q   R   S   T   U   V   X   Y   Z


A

Anemia:
     A shortage of red blood cells. Usually caused by internal bleeding, infection, toxins or a severe dietary deficiency.

B
Bald:

       A very wide white marking on the forehead that may extend out and around the eyes, down to the upper lip and around the muzzle.
Click here for picture.

Bay:
     Horse color; various shades of brown with black mane, tail and lower legs

Bit: 
     The metal part of the bridle that goes in a horse's mouth.  The bit provides communication by making the horse uncomfortable-and the horse yields in order to avoid the irritation, thus complying through nonresistance. 

Black:
     Horse color: true black without any shades of brown; the mane and tail are also black.

Blaze:
     A wide white marking that starts at the forehead and ends just above the muzzle.
Click here for picture.

Bosal:
      The part of a hackamore which goes over the nose and aids in communicating to the horse. The bosal provides communication by making the horse uncomfortable-and the horse yields in order to avoid the irritation, thus complying through nonresistance. 

Breakover Point:
      the "pivot" point at the front edge of the hoof as it leaves the ground.

Bridle:
     Equipment used to communicate to a horse during performance.  The bridle is worn on the head and usually consists of the headstall, bit (unless it is a bitless bridle) and reins.

Brown:
      Horse color: the body, mane and tail are brown. 

Buckskin:
      Horse color: the body is yellow or gold with mane, tail and legs black.


C
Canter:
      A three-beat gait; also known as a lope or gallop.

Chestnut:
      Horse color; depending on the discipline, a chestnut can be dark liver or bright red. 
      Also a term to describe the horny growth on the inside of the legs.

Cinch:
      The part of the saddle which goes around the horse's belly to keep the saddle on.  Also called a "girth".

Coggins Test:
      A laboratory blood test that detects the presence of antibodies against equine infectious anema (EIA).

Cold-blooded:
       A horse or breed that does not contain any Arabian influence; usually heavy draft horses.

Colic:
       The name given to any undiagnosed abdominal pain.  Colic can be caused by any number of things, but most often is the result of a sudden change in feeds…from dry hay to a wetter hay, from hay to pellets, or a change in grains.  Colics are often the result of damage done to the stomach by parasites.

Colt:
      A young male horse.  The term "colt" is sometimes used to describe any young horse - male or female.

Conformation:
      How the horse is put together - the form and structure of all the parts.

Cornea:
      The transparent membrane over the front part of the eyeball.

Coronet: 
      A narrow white band around the area where the hairline meets the hoof (the coronet band). 
Click here for picture.

Cribber:
      A horse that grasps an object with his upper teeth and sucks air.  This is not desirable.

Cross-tying:
      A method of tying a horse.  A rope or light chain extends from either side of the halter to the wall or post on each side of the horse, allowing working space on both sides of the horse.


D
Dam:
      The mother of a horse.

Dorsal stripe:
      A dark stripe down the center of the back.

Dressage:
      A refined method of communicating with the horse while riding.

Dun:
      A color; yellow or gold coat with a dorsal stripe.  There may be zebra stripes on the legs.


E
EEE:
      Eastern Equine Encephalomyelitis - A virus that causes brain and spinal inflammation.  It is transmitted by mosquitoes.  There is a vaccine available to protect horses.

Edema:
     abnormal collection of fluid in the body tissues.

ELISA:
     Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay - a test to detect small amounts of antibody in body fluid and/or tissue.

F
Far side:
       The right side of the horse (off side).  As opposed to the near side.

Filly:
      A young female horse.

Foal:
      A colt or filly under one year of age.

Founder:
      When the coffin bone within the hoof rotates downwards due to laminitis or illness.


G
Gait:
       The manner in which a horse travels.  For example: walk, trot, canter.

Gallop:
       A fast three-beat gait.  Similar to the canter, but faster.

Gelding:
       A male horse that has been castrated. 

Girth:
       The part of the saddle which goes around the horse's belly to keep the saddle on.  Also called a "cinch".

Green broke:
       A horse that has very little training.

Groom:
       To clean the horse.  Also, a name used to describe the person who cleans the horse.

Grullo:
       Horse color: the body hair is mouse colored; each individual hair is mouse colored…not a mix of black and white hairs.  Mane, tail and legs are black.



H
Hackamore:
       Headgear that consists of a headstall, bosal and mecate.  Sometimes used to start young horses before using a bridle.

Half-pastern:
      White marking that starts at the hoof and ends half-way up the pastern before the ankle on front leg and hock on rear leg.
Click here for picture.

Halter:
       Headgear that allows the horse to be handled in-hand.  Also, a class at a horse show where the animal is judged for correct breed conformation. A lead rope must be used in conjunction with the halter when handling the horse.

Hand:
       A unit of measure used when determining the height of a horse from the ground to the withers.  A hand equals four inches.

Headstall:
       Part of the headgear that supports the bit or bosal. 


I
Influenza:
     An acute viral infection involving the respiratory tract (like the "flu" in humans.)  Symptoms are usually fever, heavy discharge from the nose, congestion in the lungs and acting lethargic.

In-hand:
       When handling the horse from the ground, usually with a halter and lead.


J
Jog:
       A two-beat diagonal gait.  Also known as the trot.


L
Laminitis:
        Inflammation of the connecting tissue between the coffin bone and hoof wall.  Laminitis may progress into founder.

Lead rope:
       An 8-10 ft. length of rope that is attached to the halter while handling the horse.

Long yearling:
       A young horse that is one year of age, but approaching its 2nd year - about 18 months of age.

Longe or Lunge:
        A method of exercising or training the horse in hand.  A 20 - 30 foot long line is used to control the horse as it circles the handler in a controlled manner.

Longe or Lunge line:
        A 20 - 30 foot long line which attaches to the headgear and is used when lunging the horse.

Lope:
       A three-beat gait.  Also known as the canter.


M
Mare:
       A female horse of breeding age…usually over three years old.

Mecate:
       A rein and lead rope all in one.  Used with a bosal; the two together make up a hackamore.

Melanoma:
      A tumor of the skin cells.

N
Near-side:
       The left side of the horse.  As opposed to the far side.


O
Off-side:
      The right side of the horse (far side).


P
Palomino:
        Horse color: the body hair is yellow or gold; mane and tail are white or blonde.

Pastern:
       A white marking that covers the entire pastern area…the area between the hoof and the ankle on front leg or hock on rear leg.
Click here for picture.


Q



R
Rhinopneumonitis:
     
A contagious disease caused by the herpesvirus.  Symptoms are usually fever, mild respiratory infection and abortion in mares.

Roan:

       Horse color: there is a uniform mix of white and red (red roan) or white and black (blue roan) colored hairs over the entire body.



S
Sacking out:

        A method of desensitizing also known as flooding.  The horse is repetitively  slapped with a blanket or sack until he submits.

Sarcoid:
       A viral tumor composed mainly of connective tissue that appears on the skin; the most common tumor in horses.

Shy:
      When a horse moves suddenly in response to being startled.

Sire:

       The father of a horse.

Snip:
      A white marking on the muzzle between the nostrils.
Click here for picture.

Sock:
      A white marking which extends around the leg from the coronet band ending half way up the cannon bone (area between the knee and ankle).
Click here for picture.

Sound:
        The horse has no physical problems.

Sorrel:
        Horse color; red with the mane and tail the same color as body or a flaxen (blonde) mane and tail color.

Stallion:
         A male horse that is not castrated.

Star:
       A white marking on the forehead between the eyes, but not extending down the length of the face.
Click here for picture.

Stargazer:
         A horse that travels with his nose out and head in the air.

Stocking:
        A full white marking starting at the coronet band (hoof) and extending up to just below the knee on the front leg or hock on the rear leg.
Click here for picture.

Strangles:
       Also called distemper.  A highly contagious infection of the lymph nodes.

Strip:
      A narrow white marking that starts just below the forehead and stops just above the muzzle. Click here for picture.

Stride:
        The distance from where a foot leaves the ground and where the same foot is placed.

Stud:
        Another term for a stallion.  A male horse that is not castrated.


T
Tack:
        The equipment needed by the horse so he can be handled.

Tetanus:
       A disease caused by clostridium tetani, a bacteria that lives in soil and feces.  Symptoms are usually stiffness of the jaw and neck, difficulty in swallowing, and rigidity of abdominal muscles. It can result in death if not treated.  Vaccinations to prevent it are available.

Trot:
        A two-beat diagonal gait.  Also known as the jog.


U

V
VEE:
       Venezuelan Equine Encephalomyelitis - A virus that causes brain and spinal inflammation.  It is transmitted by mosquitoes.  There is a vaccine available to protect horses.

W
Warm-blood:
        A horse or breed mixed with Arabian or Thoroughbred and draft influence.

Walk:
        A slow four-beat gait.

Weanling:
        A young horse old enough to be away from it's dam, but still under one year of age.

West Nile Virus:
       A virus spread by mosquitoes.  It can show little or no symptoms; or it can cause severe symptoms, such as: swelling of the brain, which leads to limb weakness, muscle twitching, incoordination, behavioral changes, paralysis and fatique.  It can lead to coma and death.  Vacinnations to prevent it are available.

WEE:
       Western Equine Encephalomyelitis - A virus that causes brain and spinal inflammation.  It is transmitted by mosquitoes.  There is a vaccine available to protect horses.


X


Y
Yearling:

       A young horse during the calendar year following the year of it's birth.  One year of age.




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