Above the bit
When a horse raises his mouth above the rider's hands to avoid the pressure of the bit.
An infection in the sensitive hoof tissue that can cause lameness
The way a horse moves at various gaits.
Refers to an older horse, over 15 years old.
Determining a horse's age, usually by looking at their teeth.
What you use to help communicate with a horse. They can be natural (like hands, legs, and voice) or artificial (like crops, spurs and reins).
A type of hay often fed to horses and other livestock.
A farrier's tool used for shaping horseshoes.
Used to describe a horse whose rear end, when viewed from the back is rounded with a low spot in the middle. Their buttocks are higher than their backs and seen in draft breeds.
A light horse color-breed that was bred by Indians near the Palouse Valley. They have spotted coats, usually across the top of their rumps. Referred to as "Appys".
The "father" of all light horse breeds. They developed in the deserts of Arabia.
Cramping of a horse's large muscles, also called "tying up".
A girth located behind the normal girth, used on a western saddle to keep it from tipping up when a horse stops or turn quickly.
A horse that is usually not shown, but enjoyed by his owners as a pet.
When a mare begins to fill with milk for her newborn foal.
When a horse has a large white blaze on his face that extends over the eyes and muzzle.
A measurement of hay, equal to 10 "flakes", tied together with strings called baling twine.
When a horse disobeys the rider's signals to move and instead stops or refuses to move.
Riding a horse without a saddle or other tack on his back.
A horse without shoes. More properly called "unshod".
A horse that doesn't like to leave the barn or stable and balks or otherwise disobeys (rearing) or runs back to the barn. It is learned behavior that can be corrected.
A horse's midsection between the girth and flank
The toothless area in a horse's mouth where the bit sits.
Another name for a small crop used by English riders as an artificial aid.
A color of a horse who has dark brown body hair and a black mane and tail. Often a bay horse has black hair on his lower legs.
The material used on the floor of a horse's stall to soak up urine and make the stall softer to lay down on. Either straw and shavings are most commonly used.
Behind the bit
When a horse places his head down to evade contact with the bit.
The mouthpiece of a bridle to which the reins are attached, enabling the rider to control the horse.
Can refer to the pad that goes underneath the saddle. Also refers to the body covering used on some horses during the winter. Also can refer to the color pattern that lies across the rump of an Appaloosa.
A white mark running down the front of a horse's face. The size of the white area determines whether it is a blaze, a stripe (slightly smaller) or a bald face (larger).
A piece of equipment that is put on the sides of the horse's eyes to prevent him from seeing behind him. Used most often in driving and racing.
A horse coat color. The hairs are primarily white, but with some gray mixed in, giving the horse a bluish tint.
A horse that doesn't spook and good for kids.
Rubber footwear around the fetlock of the horse extending over the hoof designed to protect the hoof and heel areas from injury when riding.
Small yellow eggs that are laid by Gadflies primarily on horses' legs. They need to be removed with a bot knife to prevent them from entering the horses' digestive system after hatching.
This refers to a horses' mothers (maternal) breeding line on a pedigree. It is called the "bottom side" because when a pedigree is drawn out, the father's lineage is listed on the top part of the page while the mother's is beneath.
The act of training a horse to be ridden.
A specific strain of horses that share certain characteristics. There are over 100 breeds of horses.
A mare or stallion that meets the eligibility requirements to be registered as a distinct breed.
A person who breeds purebred horses for a living, or maybe as a hobby.
The entire headpiece, the headstall, bit, chin strap, and reins, is called the bridle. They vary a great deal in style, shape and design.
Broke or broke in
A horse that has been trained to be ridden.
A female horse that is used strictly for breeding.
When a horse jumps upward and arches his back.
A golden, tan color horse.
A horse moving with rhythmic impulsion.
A conformational fault where the horse's front legs look somewhat concave from the side angle.
Formally known as the Large Metacarpal, it is the large leg bone located under the knee and connects to the pastern bone.
Term used in English riding for a three beat gait. This is the same as a lope in Western discipline riding.
When a horse on the ground is unable to get his feet underneath him to stand back up. Most often occurs if he rolls too close to a wall or fence. This is a very serious situation.
Wooden logs (fence posts, often) placed on the ground a certain, measured distance, over which you ride your horse. It is a training method to teach a horse balance, with even rhythmic strides.
A piece of an English bridle that buckles around the horses nose designed to encourage the horse to keep his mouth closed.
A reddish brown coat color with the same color mane and tail. Some refer to a chestnut as a sorrel.
The part of the Western saddle that attaches directly behind the horses' from legs to hold the saddle in place. A cinch is called the girth among English riders.
A type of horse known for a stout build.
More properly called Phalanx, the coffin bone is an interior bone to the hoof. If it rotates out of its normal position, the horse will "founder", or, become lame.
A blood test performed to determine is a horse has Equine Infectious Anemia. Most states require a current "coggins" in order to travel through their state.
This refers to a horse having an intestinal pain. The pain could come from a range of causes, from intestinal twists to gas.
A male horse under 4 years old that has not been castrated. The term is often misused to describe any young horse. But, young females are called fillies.
When a horse is trained to a stimulus the same way every time the animal confronts that stimulus.
The overall structure of the horse. What is acceptable conformation depends on what you plan to do with the horse.
A conformational defect of the hind legs. When looking at a horse from behind, the hocks are closer together than the fetlocks which appear to turn outward.
The top part of the horses' neck from which the mane grows.
When a horse chews on wood on a regular basis (i.e wood stall or fence). This can result in a dangerous health condition.
A small whip held in one hand while riding to encourage the horse forward.
The area along the horses' rump to his tail.
Made of rubber or plastic, the curry is used in a circular motion to loosen dirt from the horses' coat.
A heavy horse breed developed in Scotland for draft work. Think of the Budweiser commercials.
The mother of the horse.
A stiff brush used to remove dirt from a horses' coat. Some call this a rice-roots brush.
Round, colored markings on a horse's coat.
When a rider is posting at the trot, he is said to be on the right diagonal if he rises and sits out of the saddle when the horses' right front leg rises and falls. Similarly, on the left diagonal.
A concave facial profile most often found in Arabian horses.
To get off a horse purposefully. Without purpose it is simply a fall!
The bone part of a horses' tail at the top, coming from his rump.
A dark stripe that runs down the horse's back that is seen in Duns
An English bridle that utilizes two bites: a snaffle and a curb. Each has a set of reins, so the rider has four reins in his hands.
Heavy, large boned horses that were bred to do farm work. They include Clydesdales, Belgians, Shires, and others.
An event where the competitors perform individually to show mastery of certain maneuvers. It is an Olympic event.
A coal color which is a yellowish-gold, like a Buckskin, but usually with a dorsal stripe down the back.
Doctor of Veterinary Medicine
A horse that easily keeps in good weight without requiring extra supplements or additional feedings.
An event in which riders and horses compete over a long distance to test their physical condition, respiratory recovery rate and stamina. Arabians dominate this event.
A person who rides horses. Normally refers to someone who competes in some manner with horses.
Another name for horse! It is also used to refer to horse related things like equine diseases, etc.
Equine Infectious Anemia (EIA)
Also called Swamp Fever, an often fatal disease caused by a virus that infects horses. It can be carried and transmitted by mosquitos.
The art of riding horses and horsemanship. In horse shows, the rider is being judged rather than the horse. Their command of the horse and their elegance in the saddle are evaluated.
The hard, horny growth under the fetlock hair on the back side of the fetlock.
A conformational defect in which the underline of the horse's neck looks slightly bulging out, instead of arching up. It has a "U' shape appearance.
This is a blacksmith who does horse shoeing.
The long hair that grows on a horse's fetlocks. The draft horses are best known for this characteristic. In most other breeds, that hair is trimmed close to the skin. But, horses with "feathers" keep the hair as a breed trait.
The joint and outside area where the pastern and cannon bone meet, just above the hoof.
A female horse under 4 years old.
One tenth of a bale of hay.
That area around the horse's midsection where his hind legs meet his body.
A form of an English cavesson used to keep a horse from opening his mouth when bridled.
The process of filing down sharp teeth so the horse can eat easier, usually required more with older horses. When a horse has a "fussy" mouth when bridled, sometimes he needs his teeth floated.
A baby horse or pony still at its mother's side of either sex.
The lock of mane that grows between his ears and falls down the front of his face.
A horse forges when his rear hoof strikes the front hoof during a gait.
The infection of the soft laminae of the interior part of the hoof. It is very painful, to the point that a horse may not be able to put weight on his hoof. There are many causes including stress, hard ground, drinking too much water while overheated, eating rich pasture grass.
The triangular shaped, spongy pad on the horse's hoof which serves as a shock absorber.
The different flight patterns of the motion of the legs while traveling. There are primarily four natural gaits. The walk, trot, canter (lope) and gallop.
Horses that perform additional gaits which are naturally occurring or trained. Tennessee Walking horses, Saddlebreds and Paso Finos are examples of gaited breeds.
The fastest that a horse can run, a four-beat gait in which there is a period of suspention when all four hoofs are off the ground.
The muscle located in the hind leg, just above the hock on the front of the leg. Quarter Horses are known for well developed gaskins due to their sprinting work.
A castrated male horse.
The offspring (children) of a stallion. Some horse shows have "Get of Sire" classes wherein full or half siblings of a certain stallion compete against other get.
An unregistered horse whose pedigree cannot be documented. A "mutt" in horse terms.
A horse color which is self explanatory. Their skin is black and they are often born another color and "gray out" during their first two years.
A green horse is one that is not yet trained to be ridden.
A green broke horse is one that has been ridden, but only a few times, and not fully trained.
A horse who will stand without walking off without being physically tied to anything. The rider can dismount, leave the area, and the horse will remain still.
This involved leading, tying, turning, grooming, bathing, clipping, loading in a trailer, standing still, and doing so while respecting your space. Good manners!
Lead rope, lunge-line and long line training taught before you actually saddle and get on a horse for the first time. Utilized thereafter for additional training and exercise.
The noises that can be heard from a horse's stomach. Often important in determining whether a horse is colicing.
Rodeo events made up of timed games such as pole bending and barrel racing.
In the context of horses, habit refers to a rider's outfit at a horse show. It can also refer to learned horse behavior, good and bad.
Most often used to describe certain light riding horses. Not a breed, but a style of horse.
A bridle without a bit. The rider gains control over a horse by the nose piece instead. There are several types.
A dressage movement where the horse moves on two tracks, both forward and sideways at the same time.
A piece of tack buckled on the horses' head so he can be lead, tied and basically controlled while on the ground. When riding, you will move to a bridle instead.
This is the common way to measure horses. One hand is 4 inches, so a horse that is 15 hands is 60 inches tall.
One who leads a horse, often used in the context of showing in hand, or at halter.
A horse whose weight is hard to maintain and who you must feed additional grain and hay.
The tack and equipment put on a horse enabling him to pull a cart or carriage.
A large net, usually made of nylon, to put a flake of hay in for horses to eat while not in their normal environment, like a horse show. They are potentially dangerous if tied too low, because a horse could paw and get tangled in the netting.
A British term for a halter.
The head carriage of a horse while competing. It refers to both the height and angle of the head while in motion. Typically, Western horses have lower headsets while English horses are higher.
A horse with "heart" is one who tries really hard to please his rider and will withstand pain to do so.
The part of the horse that includes the hips, croup, buttocks, dock of the tail, and upper rear legs.
Used to restrain a horses legs to prevent them from being free to roam off or to kick. Overnight trail riders use them a lot to keep their horses nearby.
The joint in the rear leg located below the stifle but above the fetlock. More formally known as the Tarsus joint.
The entire foot of the horse below the hairline. It includes not only the hard exterior wall, but the interior bones that are so vital to a horse's health. Hooves, plural.
The are of working with horses and riding.
Made of metal and nailed to the bottom of the hoof for protection from cracks or injuries. There are many kinds of shoes with many different purposes.
A mechanical device that turns in a circle, has extended arms to which a horse is tied, that walks the horse without the handler doing so. Great for cooling down a hot horse.
A type of horse well suited for hunting through the woods and jumping natural obstacles in the process. This is not a breed of horse, rather it is a style of horse.
The word used to describe the forward movement of a horse.
A mare who is pregnant.
When you are controlling the horse while you are on the ground, rather than riding.
Inside (rein or leg)
The "inside" rein or leg is the one closest to the center of the circle you are riding in. Likewise, the "outside" rein or leg refers to the one closest to the outside perimeter.
The metal part of the stirrup on an English saddle in which you rest your foot while riding.
English riding pants. Styles vary.
Western discipline term for a slow trot, which is a two beat gait with diagonal legs hitting the ground simultaneously.
A cart that has two wheels used to exercise horses and to show in pleasure classes.
An equestrian competition in which the horse must jump over objects in a certain time.
The loops on an English saddle to keep the billets in place.
The leather padded area in the front flap of an English saddle that cushions the riders knee and helps to keep the riders knee from slipping forward when jumping.
A horse who is in sufficient pain to prevent him from walking without a limp or moving stiffly. The cause of the lameness can be varied.
The soft part of the horse's hoof.
An inflammation of the laminae of the hoof. This must be treated or a horse may founder.
A term used to describe the use of your aids (hand, leg, crop, weight) on one side of the horse at one time.
When a horse moves with right front and right hind legs together or left front and left hind legs together. The pace is such a gait.
When cantering a horse can be on either the right or left lead, depending on which hind leg commenced the motion. If the rear RIGHT leg began the canter, the left rear and right front would hit the ground together, leaving he LEFT front as the third and final beat. Thus the horse would be on the left lead.
A dressage movement in which the horse shows a half-rearing on the front, folding the front legs up and holding the position briefly.
The request made by the ringmaster of a horseshow for the riders to lineup in the center of the ring for the judge to make his/her final placings.
The fibrous tissues that connect bones to a joint. They are often stressed with working horses and may need special attention.
As opposed to heavy horses (draft horses), light horses are the average riding horse and includes many different breeds.
A horse with a light mouth requires very little contact with the reins because he is sensitive and responsive to the bit.
A breed of Spanish horses famous for their performances at the Spanish Riding School in Vienna, Austria.
The leather strap on an English curb bit designed to prevent a horse from using his lip to play with the curb.
Lipping the bit
When your horse plays with the curb shank using his bottom lip to "grab" it!
A coat color which is a dark brown shade accompanied by the same (or sometimes lighter) mane and tail.
The area on the horse's back just beyond the saddle area. It is a soft, somewhat weaker area of the back.
A three beat gait, faster than a trot. English riders call the same gait a "canter". It begins with one hind leg, then two diagonal legs striking the ground together, ending with the front leg. Whichever leg ends the stride is the "lead".
Exercising (and training) a horse using a long lunge line attached to the halter, while the handler stands in the center and moves the horse around in a circle at the end of the line.
A long rope allowing a horse to extend away from the handler at least 15 feet to exercise around the handler.
This can mean a mare who has never been bred to have a foal. It can also mean a show horse who has never won a first place award.
The long hair growing from the horse's neck. Most breeds leave the hair free, while some shave it off and others braid it!
A female horse over 4 years old.
A leather piece of tack attached at the girth with two pieces coming up both sides of the neck through which the reins are drawn. The rings give the rider leverage to prevent the horse from throwing his head.
A horse whose withers are rounded, somewhat fatty, which prevents the saddle from staying in place properly.
The nostrils, mouth, lips and chin area of a horse's face.
The tiny bone located in the hoof that can cause serious damage.
When the Navicular Bone is affected, it can cause Navicular Disease, a degenerative disease not easily curable.
We call the left side of the horse the "near side". The right side is called the "off side". Perhaps it's just because most of us are right handed, but the origin goes to how easy it was to draw your spear in combat.
When riding Western, one hand is used to hold both reins coming from the bit. When you want to turn, say right, you place the rein against the left side of the horse's neck. He learns to move away from the pressure he feels on his neck, thus neck reining.
The noseband is that part of a bridle that fits around the horse's face and buckles under the jaw bars which encourages the horse from opening his mouth.
A person who is new to showing. Formally, Novice classes in horse shows are for those who have won less than a certain number of ribbons.
The right side of the horse is called the "off" side, while the left side is the "near" side.
A popular feed for horses which are fed whole, rolled or crimped.
Refers to the rider who is next up in an event to perform individually.
On The Bit
Used to describe a horse who is accepting the bit in his mouth and is responsive to it. He is not "behind" the bit (trying to avoid contact by bringing his mouth in closer to his chest). Often his head profile will be nearly vertical.
Refers to a horse show class in which everyone is eligible to compete, at any age, any gender, any level of competence.
A mare who is not pregnant.
Used to describe a horse whose hind hoof strikes the sole of the front hoof. This can cause bruising and is a result of conformational default.
Two jumps that are placed close to each other designed to be jumped in one leap.
A lateral gain in which the two right legs (front and rear) move forward and backward together and then the two left legs (front and rear) move together. This is a natural gait for some breeds of horse and they are referred to as Pacers.
This could refer to a saddle pad used between the horse's back and the saddle; or, a leather pad placed between the hoof and the shoe designed to protect the sole.
A small area of fenced land, often used for turn out time for horses that are kept in stalls.
A color breed of horse, usually black and white or brown and white.
Another color breed of horse who is a light yellow, tan or golden hair color with a light flaxen or even white mane and tail.
A very undesirable, inherited trait when a horse's lower jaw is shorter than the upper one.
A breed of horse that originated in Spain and known for its smooth gait.
A dressage movement in which the horse performs an exaggerated, collected, rhythmic trot.
The part of the horse's leg located below the fetlock joint and directly above the hoof line.
The ancestry of a horse illustrated on a form which includes their ancestors' names, registration numbers, dates born, color and sometimes show or race records.
A winged horse in Greek Mythology.
A type of English bit that is a combination of a snaffle and a curb but is only one mouthpiece. It may have one or two reins. Most often used with hunters.
The last three bones on the horse's leg which include the first phalanx (long pastern), the second phalanx (short pastern) and the third phalanx (coffin bone).
A high school dressage movement. It is a collected trot in place.
A horse with an unusually small, inset eye. Not considered an attractive trait.
A conformational default in which the front hooves point inward toward each other.
When a horse is trying to threaten another, he will "pin" his ears back and they will lay almost flat against the top of his neck.
A color breed of horse known for white patches of hair.
A light shoe, most often used on racehorses.
A horse who has a sore foot will often rest his foot forward, avoiding putting weight on the foot and this is called pointing.
The points of a horse include his mane, tail and lower legs. They are often a different color than his body.
A competition in which the horse and rider run down the center of the arena, turn around, and weave in between six equally spaced poles (down and back) and then race to the out gate. It is a timed event with the goal being not to knock over poles.
The top of a horse's skull located just between his ears.
An inflammation of the poll caused by bumping the poll area regularly.
The rounded part on the front of the saddle.
Breeds of small horses, under 14.2 hands tall.
The raised middle area of a curb bit that relieves the horse's tongue. Some ports, however, can be severe if the raised area is so high that it can reach the top of the inside of his mouth.
A rider posts to a trot by sitting and rising in the saddle in rhythm with the two beat gate.
Sometimes a horse's mane is, literally, "pulled" to thin the hair. This is most commonly done with show horses whose manes are braided for competition.
A horse that through generations of unmixed breeding, has and will produce the preferred physical characteristics of the breed. Breed registrations keep records to prove this purity.
To euthanize a horse who is very sick or injured in such a way that no recovery is expected. Also said to "put to sleep".
A crack in a horse's hoof that runs from the coronet band (where the leg hair meets the hoof wall) down toward the ground. A good farrier will need to attend to this.
A breed of horse that was started here in America, bred to do ranch work. They get their name from the quarter-mile race because they are sprinters, fastest in short distances than other breeds.
If a horse is "quicked", his hoof has been accidentally cut too short or a shoe nail is driven into the sensitive part of the hoof. He may be lame until it grows out, much like our fingernail beds feel when our fingernail is broken off too low.
Quick Release Knot
The best way to tie your horse so that if he gets in trouble, you can pull the end and release him from what he's tied to. (See our video on how to do this.)
The horizontal bars that make up a jump.
Horses that stay outside in the weather often get "rain rot" when the hair falls out on his back area. It is a skin condition resulting from the combination of wet hair and lack of proper grooming.
That part of the bridle that runs from the bit to your hands.
The end of Western reins, carried in the free hand.
A small enclosed area best used to break horses.
A horse with a bad temper and difficult to train.
A piece of tack used to aid in control of your horse. It prevents the horse from getting his head too high, avoiding the bit and becoming out of control. (See our video on this.)
Running Up Stirrup Leathers
With English saddles, the push the stirrup irons up the back stirrup leather, then put the remaining folded leather back behind the iron to hold it up on the saddle. This prevents the stirrup irons from swinging and hitting you or the horse when tacking up.
Tack used to sit on a horse's back to aid in staying astride. There are many types of saddles. The most common are Huntseat saddles (used for jumping) Saddleseat saddles (flat English saddles) and Stockseat saddles (Western saddles with a horn in front).
A stand to hold your saddle when it's not on a horse.
This term describes one of the three main forms of riding. These English saddles are flat and the horses are most often ridden in double bridles. Saddlebreds, Morgans, Arabians, National Show Horses are compete in this category.
The position a rider takes in the saddle. If a rider has a good "seat", he sits properly, effectively and securely on the horse. It can also refer to the style of riding, Huntseat, Saddleseat, or Stockseat.
The shank of a bit is that part of a curb bit that runs from the corner of the horse's mouth to the rein attachment. The longer the shank, the more leverage a rider has because the curb chain is engaged more.
The most commonly used bit among horsemen. Although there are many variations, the snaffle bit creates direct contact with the horse' mouth and the rider's hands. They join in the center so that they fold somewhat in the horse's mouth when pressure is exerted.
A curved metal blade with serrated teeth for pulling off loose hair. The serrated edge of a shedding blade can be used after the rubber curry comb to remove loose hair.
A light blanket often used on show horses to maintain their coats.
The father of a horse.
This is the term to describe a healthy horse. It most often refers to his physical health ad more specifically his legs and hooves. It can, however, refer to a "sound minded" horse who is easy to train.
These are metal, somewhat pointed artificial aids that are put on the riders boots to strengthen the rider's cues. When used to excess they can be abusive. But, used properly they can enhance a horse's training.
A male horse over 4 years old that has not been castrated.
A quilted fabric placed around a horse's lower leg and held in place with a bandage, often used to reduce swelling or protect a horse when being hauled in a trailer.
This is the generic term used to describe Western riding. It includes most any discipline that makes use of a Western saddle.
This is a listing of breeding horses that is maintained by a registering organization.
A piece of tack used to simulate the use of a bit and bridle by a rider. It is placed around the horse's much like a saddle girth. The bridle reins are run through metal rings located on the surcingle that then run to the handler (who is one the ground). Horse's are taught to be more supple and flexible using a sircingle.
Horse tack is all the gear that comes with owning a horse. The bridle, saddle, bit, girths, cinches, saddle pads, lead ropes, halters, whips, stirrup irons and stirrup leathers, horse boots, and most other horse things are tack.
Often show horses' tails will be wrapped so as to prevent the breaking of the hairs by the contact with the ground. This is a tail wrap.
A mild Pelham bit with shorter shanks, used on Western horses.
A Western term for a martingale, used to control the position of a horses head while riding.
The basic structure of a saddle, where you sit, which is then covered with leather.
A two-beat gait in which the diagonal legs strike the ground simultaneously.
A person who brings their own horse to riding lessons or a one day horse show.
When a horse is let out of its stall into a pasture or arena or corral.
To twitch a horse means to use pressure (usually on his upper lip) to make him stand still. You can do this by hand or you can use a "twitch", which is a large chain attached to a wooden handle. Once twisted around his upper lip, endorphins are released that actually calm him.
A horse with health problems or lameness.
Veterinary Medical Doctor.
A horse under one year old that has been weaned from his mother.
An artificial aid used to train the horse. They vary in length and can be long like lounge whips or short like bats.
A horse just approaching or just turning one year old.