Horse Terminology

Equestrian - horse person

Farrier - blacksmith, horse shoer

Hand - 4 inches - measures height of horse

Points of a horse (parts of a horse)

Poll - top of head

Crest - top of neck

Whithers - backbone above shoulders

Loins or Coupling - area of back after rib cage and before hip

Croup - rump

Stifle - back leg joint near belly

Gaskin - muscle between stifle and hock

Hock - back leg joint

Cannon - lower leg back and front

Fetlock - lower leg joint back and front

Pastern - lower leg ankle bone back and front

Coronet band - top of hoof at hairline

Forearm - upper front leg

Knee - front leg joint

Ergot - a small nonfunctional protuberance at back of fetlock hidden in hair

Chestnut - a small nonfunctional protuberance on the inside of all legs

Feather - long fetlock hair

Glass eye, wall eye - blue eye

Parts of the hoof

Wall, toe, sole, heel

Bulbs - fleshy protuberances at heel of hoof

White line - between hoof wall and sole at bottom of hoof

Bars - extension of hoof wall turns and lays against frog under hoof

Frog - rubbery triangular pad with groove on bottom of hoof

Parts of a bridle

Head stall, includes brow band, throat latch

Reins - lines that go from bit to rider's hands

Cavesson - nose band

Snaffle bit - non leverage bit usually with rings on either side of hinged or solid mouthpiece

Curb bit - bit that has shanks to apply leverage to top of head, mouth, chin

Chin strap - attaches to curb bit

Bosal - rigid noseband used to control horse

Mechanical Hackamore - noseband and chin strap attached to long shanks for leverage, no bit

English hackamore - less severe - no bit, shorter shanks and padded noseband


Martingale - strap attached to cinch under horse and noseband to keep horses head from flinging up and knocking rider's teeth out during difficult maneuvers

Running martingale - 2 straps attached to girth under horse and rings that slide on reins to hold horse's head down usually used when jumping

Breastplate - strap around chest of horse attached to saddle

Parts of a Western saddle

Horn - hand hold, rope tie

Pommel - front of saddle

Seat - where you sit

Cantle - back of saddle

Skirt - rests on back of horse

Gullet - center groove under saddle holds saddle off backbone

Fender - holds stirrups

Stirrup - foot rests

Tree - rigid structure inside saddle to clamp saddle on either side of withers and rest on back with groove down center to hold saddle above backbone made of wood or strong plastic

Cinch - wide soft belt that goes under belly and holds Western saddle on

Latigo - leather strap from saddle that ties or buckles to ring on ends of cinch

Parts of an English saddle

Same as Western saddle except:

Stirrup leather - straps hold stirrups

Flap - under knees

Billets - buckle saddle to girth

Girth - wide soft belt that goes under belly and buckles English saddle on

Colors of a horse

Chestnut - various shades of reddish-brown

Bay - brown with black points - mane, tail, legs, muzzle

Black - all black

White - white hairs, pink skin

Gray - gray or white hairs, black skin

Dun - light brown, dorsal stripe, darker brown points

Buckskin - same as dun except no dorsal stripe

Palomino - gold body, white mane and tail

Cremello - light colored palomino

Perlino - light colored buckskin

Roan - white hairs in any color coat

Grullo - grey dun

Leopard Appalousa - white with small dark spots all over

Appalousa - dark with white rump with dark spots, many variations

Pinto - Tobiano - white legs, large dark and white areas

Overo - dark legs, large jagged white areas, white face

Tovero - Tobiano and overo markings

Gaits of a horse

Walk - four beat gait - each foot hits the ground separately

Trot - two beat bouncy gait - diagonal legs hit ground at same time

Jog - a slow trot in Western riding

Canter - three beat gait

Left lead canter - right hind, left hind and right front together, then all the weight on the left front leg, then all feet are off the ground - used when circling to the left

Right lead canter - left hind, right hind and left front together, then all the weight on the right front leg, then all feet are off the ground - used when circling to the right

Lope - Western slow canter

Flying lead change - horse shifts gracefully from one lead to the other when changing directions

Counter canter - cantering on the wrong lead deliberately for training

Gallop - fast four beat gait - one back foot, other back foot, diagonal front foot, other front foot, then all four feet are off the ground

Transition - change of gait

Pace - two beat gait - legs on same side hit ground together

Horse training terms

Longeing - having horse on long line run around trainer

Long-reining - walking behind horse with long reins attached to headstall

Surcingle - belt that goes around barrel of horse for training etc.

Near side - left side of horse

Far side - right side of horse

Direct rein - horse turns in direction of pull on one rein

Neck rein - horse turns away from touch of rein on neck

Dressage - a form of horse training

Green-broke - just barely trained

Posting - rise to miss every other bounce of the horse when trotting

Collection - riding horse under control with shortened stride

Cold-backed - bucks with saddle until warmed up

Bolt - sudden uncontrolled burst of speed

Cast - when a lying down horse can't get up

Health problems of a horse

Laminitis - hoof trauma

Colic - stomach ache

Abscess - pocket of pus

Anaphylactic shock - severe allergic reaction

Botfly - Fly lays tiny eggs on end of hairs

Splints - lower leg problem

Curb - hock problem

Parrot mouth - upper teeth further forward than lower teeth

Coggins test - test for equine infectious anemia - required when transporting horse across state lines

Horse family

Sire - father horse

Dam - mother horse

Foal - baby horse

Colt - young male horse

Filly - young female horse

Weanling - young horse separated from mother's milk

Yearling - one year old

Mare - adult female horse

Stallion - adult male horse

Gelding - castrated male horse

Types of horses

Cob - small horse strong enough to carry adult rider

Easy keeper - gets fat easy

Grade horse - unregistered horse

Pony - 14.2 hands high or shorter