Useful Equine Phrases & Vocabulary To Communicate With Horsemen 2021


Every sport has a list of familiar descrip­tive words and terms. Some are technical and others are used in ordinary conversation but have definite meanings. Everyone who owns a horse should learn the correct word to use, so other horsemen will understand what is being said. There is no place for a “what-you-may-call-it.”

Aids. Cues given by legs, hands, and action of the body that signal the horse to work.

Aged. A horse over eight. In shows over four is aged.

Barn Sour. A horse who will not leave the barn or a group of horses.

Bars of the Mouth. The lower jawline. Used to indicate the portion of the jaw between the incisor teeth and molars commonly known as the bit hole.

Baton. A whip. Batons come in various lengths for training.

Breaking a Horse. The days of bronc busting are over, ex­cept in rodeos. A horse is broke to ride, then trained.

Canter. Gallop. Sometimes called a lope, preferably a slow run.

Cold Jaw. A horse who has been misused with a bit and is now hard mouthed so no bit will work.

Colors in Horses. Beginning with the darkest:

  • black, bay, brown with black markings from the knee down, black mane, and tail. May be golden, red-brown, or blood bay.
  • Chestnut, some­times called sorrel. May be golden, red, liver, or dark red, with flaxen or red mane and tail.
  • Gray—all-white horses except a few are born black and turn white with age, hence they are properly known as grays.
  • Roan designates a horse of solid color with a mixture of white hairs in his coat, thus blue roan or red roan.
  • Palomino must be two shades lighter or two shades darker than a newly minted penny. Has pure-white mane and tail without the presence of black hairs.
  • Pinto is Mexican, meaning paint, and refers to a spotted horse.
  • Piebald is a black-and-white spotted horse.
  • Pintos are divided into three categories.
  • The Tobiana is large spotted.
  • An Overo is spotted underneath the barrel, maybe white stockings, blaze, and usually a glass eye.
  • A Morocco is marked with small all-over spots.
  • An Appaloosa is a breed of horse but is noted for its unusual markings. These horses may be solid in color with a blanket of spots on the rump.
  • The Leopard Appaloosa is white with black or red rather ob­long spots all over the body.

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