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Home First Posted Feb 8, 2007
Dec 30, 2012

Dictionary of Horse Terms Including Some Racing Terms

by Debora Johnson

This will be an on going list. Any suggestions that you may have, please e-mail me and I will add them to the list. (For A More Complete List of Racing Terms)

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

    A

  • Above the Bit - When a horse raises his mouth above the rider's hands to avoid pressure on the bit.
  • Action - How a horse moves. (Way of going)
  • Acupressure - Utilizing stimulation on acupuncture points to treat an animal.
  • Acutely infected/acute - Any animal in the active stages of infection. In the horse world this excludes a stallion who is harboring and shedding.
  • Adequan - Brand name for polysulfated glycosaminoglycan, used in the treatment of certain arthritic conditions.
  • Advanced Horse - A high standard of training has been reached by the horse.
  • Aerobic metabolism -Oxygen is necessary to break down fuel stores in the horse. Initially, there are limited amounts of oxygen reserves in the body that are present in myoglobin and hemoglobin. These molecules carry oxygen to the muscle and other tissues .The end products of aerobic metabolism are carbon dioxide, water, and heat.
  • Agee or ajee - Command to a horse to move to one side.
  • Aids - The rider uses his hands, legs, seat, and voice to communicate with the horse.
  • Ajax - UK slang term for 'Betting Tax'
  • Alfalfa hay - "One of the best hays fed to horses. Several characteristics of alfalfa make it an excellent hay for horses. It is highly palatable. Most horses will readily consume alfalfa hay. However, because of its high palatability, intake must be restricted to keep horses from overeating and becoming colicky. It is high in energy. Alfalfa hay has 120 percent more energy per unit in weight than oat hay. Therefore, it takes less hay to meet a horse's nutrient needs when feeding alfalfa hay. However, the high-energy content may lead to overfeeding and to a fat horse. It is high in protein. Alfalfa hay is high in good-quality protein. Crude protein values can be as high as 18 to 19 percent. People once thought that feeding alfalfa hay to horses caused kidney damage because of increased urination and ammonia production. We now understand, however, that excess protein in alfalfa is converted into energy compounds, and the nitrogen produced in this conversion must be eliminated as ammonia. It is a good source of vitamins and minerals. If cured correctly, vitamin C content will be high. The calcium:phosphorus ratio is about 6:1 and must be considered when feeding young, growing horses. There are generally five to eight cuttings from an alfalfa field each year when irrigated, four to five when not irrigated. The first cutting will have more weeds and grass; the second cutting is usually clean with small stems. The third cutting is good hay, and the fourth and fifth cuttings begin to have more stems and fewer leaves. As more stems are present, the quality of the hay decreases and palatability declines." (eXtension)
  • Alleles - Alternate forms of genes. Because genes occur in pairs in body cells, one gene of a pair may have one effect and another genes of that same pair (allele) may have a different effect on the same trait.
  • Also Eligible - Horse officially entered in a race, but not permitted to start unless field is reduced by scratch(es).
  • Aluminum Shoes - Often used on the front feet of reining and western pleasure horses. The idea is to allow the horse to keep the feet closer to the ground and have a freer, longer stride. Aluminum is also popular on the front feet of jumping horses to improve fold and decrease fatigue. Aluminum wears out quicker than steel. It also produces less fatigue on a horse, since aluminum weighs one third that of steel for the same size or section of shoe.
  • Anaerobic Metabolism - Not dependent on oxygen to break down fuel stores, and it provides a rapid means of producing a limited supply of energy. In the absence of oxygen, only carbohydrates may be metabolized for ATP production. The end products of anaerobic metabolism are lactate and heat.
  • Anemia - This is a blood condition where the number of red blood cells or the amount of hemoglobin or both are found to be below the normal limits.
  • Angle of incidence - The angle formed where the upper and lower incisor teeth meet. This angle is approximately 160 degrees to 180 degrees in young horses and becomes less than 90 degrees in older horses. As the horse ages, incisors appear to slant forward and outward.

  • Angular Limb Deformity - A limb that is not conformationlly correct because of developmental problems in the angles of the joints.
  • Anhydrosis - Inability to sweat in response to work output or increases in body temperature. Also known as a "non-sweater." Most are athletic horses though frequently the condition appears in pastured horses not being ridden. Most commonly occurs when both the temperature and humidity are high. Horses raised in temperate regions and then transported to hot climates are most prone to develop the condition but even acclimated horses can be at risk. Clinical signs include inability to sweat, increased respiratory rate, elevated body temperature and decreased exercise tolerance. The condition can be reversed if the horse is moved to a more temperate climate.

  • Anterior - Toward the front.
  • Anterior Enteritis - Acute inflammation of the small intestine producing signs of abdominal distress, such as colic and diarrhea.
  • Apical (Fracture) - Fractures of the first phalanx are not uncommon in racehorses. They may be small "chip" fractures along the dorsal margin of the proximal joint surface, longitudinal fractures (split pastern), or comminuted.
  • Anthelmintic - Dewormer. Various types of chemicals called anthelmintics, or antiparasitics, have been developed to eliminate parasites. Antiparasitics are separated into six major classes;the more common classes are vermictins/milbimycins, benzimidazoles, and pyrimides. These anthelmintics are available in different physical forms (paste, feed additives, gel, drench) and are sold under several trade names. Antiparasitics are effective by all routes given, provided an appropriate dose is administered based on the horse's weight and the entire dose gets into the horse.
  • Arthroscope - A tiny tube of lenses used for viewing areas inside a joint. Usually attached to a small video camera.
  • Arthritis - Inflammation of a joint. An increase in the amount of synovial fluid in the joint is a result of this inflammation. Accumulation of synovial fluid in the fetlock joint is called a "wind puff" or "wind gall." In young horses, a swelling in the fetlock joint, particularly on the front of the joint where the cannon and long pastern bones meet, is called a "green osselet." This swelling is a result of inflammation and reactive changes of the front edges of these two bones and adjacent cartilage. If the green osselet does not heal, a "chronic osselet" might develop with a permanent build-up of synovial fluid in the joint and inflammation and thickening of the joint capsule over the damaged area with secondary bone changes following the initial inflammation.
  • Arthroscopic Surgery - Utilizing an arthroscope to perform surgery, eliminating the need to open the joint with a large incision in order to view the damaged area.
  • Articular Cartilage - Cartilage that covers the ends of bones where they meet in a joint.
  • Artificial Breeding - Includes artificial insemination or embryo transfer (transplants). Not approved by The Jockey Club. Thoroughbreds must be bred by stud.
  • Arytenoid Cartilages - Triangular cartilages in the upper part of the entrance to the larynx. Movements of the arytenoid cartilages control the diameter of the laryngeal opening.
  • Ascarids - Parascaris equorum, the horse roundworm, is a very large (females may be up to 15 inches long), yellowish white parasite that may pass out in the feces of foals and young horses. Typically, adult horses develop an immunity to this parasite; therefore, roundworms primarily infect young horses less than 2 years of age.
  • Ataxia - Inability to walk, stand or maintain balance. Usually neurological. Horse often does not know where its legs are.
  • Atrophy - To waste away, usually used in describing muscles.
  • Attacking - A deliberate attack on a human. In racing terms to challenge the leading horse during a race, in an attempt to take the lead. An attack can sap the horse's energy, or even that of the leader, and may leave both of those horses with little in reserve for the finish.
  • Avener or Avenor - Was the chief officer of the stables of a king, and the officer in charge of obtaining positions for horses belonging to the king. The Latin version of the word was avenarius, from the Latin avena, meaning "oats" or "straw". The avenar was under the watch of the Master of the Horse, and in his duties administered the oaths of office to all other stable officials. He was also in charge of stable expense accounts and payroll.

    An avenary, related to an avener, was the largest department in the household of the king. There was generally a staff of 100 to 200 valets and grooms which, under the watch of the avenar, tended to the horses of the king, his household, officials and attendants, as well as the horses of royal visitors.

  • Azorturia (set fast, Monday morning disease, tying up) - Azorturia and "tying up" syndrome are two metabolic disorders. They are a condition where the muscles of the horse become hard, tense and painful. Axorturia is also called "Monday morning disease" and technically known as "paralytic myoglobinuria." Often the horse will sweat profusely. Sometimes he will be unable to move as in "tying up." Extreme pain can also cause the horse to colic and die. Sometimes the horse's urine will look dark brown or red. This is due to the release of myoglobin (red pigment of muscle tissue) when the muscle tissue fibers break down. It is thought that a lack of selenium and vitamin E can be a cause as well as a genetic predisposition. Horses who have this metabolic disorder should not be given grain. Call the vet immediately.

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B

  • Backed - Mounting a green horse for the first time.
  • Backstretch - The straightaway on the far side of the racetrack. Also refers to the stable area.
  • Balance - The distribution of weight between the horse and the rider. A horse must learn to balance himself first, and then compensate when a rider is added.
  • Bale - A measurement of hay, equal to ten flakes.
  • Bar - Area of the gums between teeth and molars which has no teeth. This area is where the bit rests. This space allows the horse to "take" the bit.
  • Bard - A piece of armor or ornament for a horse's neck, breast or flank. Horse Adornment
  • Barn Sour - A horse or pony that does not like to leave the barn.
  • Barrel racing - A Western competition.
  • Barren - A broodmare who has had at least one foal, but is not pregnant.
  • Base Narrow - A horse that is base narrow stands closer at the hooves or ground than at the origin of the legs at the chest. This is typical of heavy-muscled horses. The base narrow horse will travel with its hooves close in front and will land on the outside (lateral side) of the hoof wall. Due to extra weight placed on the outside of the hoof, horses develop conditions such as ringbone, sidebone, and heel bruising. Horses with this conformational fault can be toed-in or toed-out.
  • Base Wide - Base wide conformation positions the horse's hooves wider at the ground than the origin of its legs at the chest. This condition is seen in many narrow chested horses and is usually accompanied by hooves that toe out. This condition causes more weight to be distributed on the inside of the horse's hoof, predisposing the horse to ringbone and sidebone. Horses that are base wide travel wide simply because their conformation forces them to do so.
  • Bastard strangles - An infection that enters the blood stream. The internal organs can be affected. Also, abscesses can form internally and externally. This is not as common as strangles.
  • Beans - A term often applied to describe the debris, dirt, and body excretions that lodge in the penis void holes and sometimes interfere with the horse's urination. Keeping the horse's sheath clean takes care of this problem.
  • Bedding - Material placed in the horse's stall to make it comfortable when he lays down, to encourage to urinate (stale), to provide a soft place for his feet, and to act as insulation.
  • Behind the Bit - When a horse places his head down to evade bit contact.
  • Bench Knee - A structural fault of the horse's front legs. Bench, or offset, knees are characteristics of a horse with cannon bones set too far to the outside of the knee. This conformational fault increases the possibility for horses to develop splints.
  • Bermudagrass hay - "Used mostly in the southern United States. Common bermudagrass does not grow tall enough for hay production, but coastal bermudagrass can be used. The same stand of grass can be cut four or five times a year. It is as nutritious as timothy hay, and its value can be increased by growing it with a legume." (eXtension)
  • Binocular Vision - The use of two eyes which results in better depth perception. The horse has a more concentrated field of vision. The horse's binocular vision spans about 60-70°.
  • Bishoping - The act of using silver nitrate to artificially create cups. This practice cannot reverse the signs of age shown in enamel rings, the shape of the holes in the smooth tabled incisors to make new cups which were then blackened with wearing surface or the angle of the incisors from the side.
  • Blanket Finish - One which finds several horses finishing very close together at the wire.
  • Blaze - A broad white mark down the face which extends over the bones of the nose.
  • Blemish - A fault in conformation that does not affect performance. Sometimes this will be referred to as "jewelry."
  • Blind Spot - An area where the horse cannot see. A horse's blindspots are directly in front (closer than 4 feet) and directly behind their body. Its important to touch and talk to your horse when walking around these areas so that the horse understands where you are.
  • Body Condition Score - A score from 1-9 based on the horse's body condition, with 1 being poor and 9 being extremely fat. When body condition scoring, one must look at the amount of fat in 6 areas: along the neck, along the withers, the crease down the back, tailhead, ribs and behind the shoulder.
  • Bog spavin - A soft swelling to the front of the hock and on the inside.
  • Bone - Used to refer to whether a horse has generous bone. This is determined by checking the circumference of bone below the horse's knee. If slight of bone the horse may be referred to as being "short of bone." If generous, the terms might be "good bone" or "plenty of bone."
  • Bolting - Gulping down food without chewing it.
  • Bomb Proof - A horse that does not spook.
  • Bosal Hackamores - Used in training young horses in the stock seat discipline. Bosals are used to a lesser extent with older horses. There are several variations to the basic bosal, such as a side pull hackamore that places the rein attachment to the side of the horse's face which relieves chin pressure and increasing lateral pull.
  • Bot flies - Start their life cycle by being laid on the horse's legs, chest, etc. They are little yellow dots. They hatch and the horse often licks them. They enter the horse and burrow in. They continue their life cycle and are passed out to start all over again. Disgusting!
  • Bowlegged - The entire knee in an outward deviation as viewed from the front. This condition causes increased tension on the outside of the leg due to the unequal distribution of concussion and force when the hoof strikes the ground.
  • Bowed tendons - Long weak pasterns, long toes, overexertion, fatigue, improper shoeing, muddy footing, and weak tendons may be the cause of bowed tendons. It may be caused by severe strain, wear and tear on the deep flexor and/or the superficial flexor tendon or a combination of all of these. The tendon sheath separates from the tendon so that there is a hemorrhage inside the tendon sheath. There may also be some tearing of the tendon fibers. Bowed tendons are usually seen in the front legs. However they can also happen in the hind legs. These horses usually re injure if worked hard.
  • Boxed In - Racing along the pylons and cannot improve his/her position in a race because of the presence of other horses in front, behind and beside. Also referred to as "Locked In."

  • Break - When a horse breaks from its gait into a run or gallop. Denoted on the program with an X.
  • Breakaway Stirrup - Designed for an easier release of the foot should you fall from the saddle. One type of breakaway stirrup uses a heavy rubber band instead of a solid metal bar on the outside of the stirrup iron. Breakaway stirrups are an option for beginners and young riders.
  • Breaking Out - After having cooled off after exercise a horse may break out in a sweat again.
  • Breastplate - An attachment to the saddle that stops the saddle from slipping.
  • Breed - A group of horses with a common origin and possessing certain distinguishable characteristics that are transmitted to the offspring, such that the offspring possess the parents' characteristics. These characteristics make the breed different from other breeds. This is called breed character, or the quality of conforming to the description of a particular breed.
  • Breeder - A person who breeds horses for a living.
  • Breeding Season - The usual breeding season runs from February 15th to July 15th.
  • Bridoon - A double bridled bit.
  • Bringing Up A Horse - Stabling a horse after it has been fielded. (Lived outside)
  • Broken knees - Injury to the surface of the knees, tissues,ligaments, or joint capsule. This usually is caused by the horse stumbling or falling.
  • Broodmare - A female horse used for breeding.
  • Bruised wounds - Wounds caused by kicks, blows, falls, or forging (over reaching).
  • Brushing - Striking the coronet band or fetlock joint with the opposite foot. This is the result of faulty action.
  • Buck - When a horse kicks out.
  • Bucked shins - A very painful inflammation of the periosteum (bone covering) along the greater part of the front cannon bone. This is caused by concussion, and constant pressure or trauma to the periosteum. The horse usually recovers after 1-2 months. If he remains lame, there may be fractures to the front cannon bone. These are referred to as saucer fractures.
  • Bursal Enlargements - Soft, visible swellings.

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C

  • Cadence - Describes a horse's way of going (how the horse moves). Refers to a rhythm and forward impulsion.
  • Calk - At the back of the shoe there is a raised metal area. This usually provides better traction.
  • Cannon - Bone located between the knee and fetlock.
  • Canter - Three beated gait similar to a lope. Lope is the Western term used for an English canter. One pair of feet strike the ground simultaneously and the other two feet land independently. The canter/lope will either be on what is referred to as a right or left lead. If the horse is on the right lead then the hoof pattern is left hind, right hind and left front simultaneously, then right front. The opposite foot pattern represents the left lead as follows: right hind, left hind and right front simultaneously, left front. In general, horses are to be on the right lead when circling to the right and the left lead when circling to the left.
  • Cantle - The back of the saddle.
  • Caparison - An ornamental covering for a horse.
  • Capillary Refill Time - The time it takes for the area to turn from white back to pink is the capillary refill time. Normal refill time is about 2 seconds. If capillary refill time is longer than 2 seconds you should note the color of the mucous membrane and contact your veterinarian. You test by pressing your finger firmly on the gum above the front incisors and remove it quickly.
  • Capped elbow - Soft swelling under the skin on the point of the horse's elbow.
  • Capped knee - Soft swelling where the tendon passes over the front of the knee.
  • Card - Another term for a program of racing. For example, someone might say there are ten races on tonight's "card," meaning there will be ten races contested that night.
  • Carousel - A group of riders going to music.
  • Caslicks - An operation to partially suture together the lips of the vulva. Caslicks are used to prevent problems in mares that have abnormal vulva conformation. Mares that have a Caslicks must have the lips of the vulva opened at least 30 days prior to foaling.
  • Cast - In a stall, or out in the field, if a horse lies down and is unable to get up due to getting stuck in a corner or getting his feet caught under something it is referred to as being cast. Also you will hear the term cast being used to refer to the loss of a shoe.
  • Cat-Hammed/Frog's Thighs - The horse has poor development in the hindquarters, especially the quadriceps and thighs.
  • Catch Driver - A driver who does not train his/her horses and is hired by other trainers and owners to drive their horses.
  • Caudal--That part of the horse's structure above the knees and hocks located closer to the tail (cauda). Example: The horse's back is caudal to his neck.
  • Cavesson - The part of the bridle that can be removed that the horse's nose goes into. (A noseband) Also a tough head collar used in lunging.
  • Center Line - When in an area it is the area between A and C.
  • Cereal Grains - Corn, oats, barley, etc. Grains are the harvested seed portions of cereal crops that serve as a high nutrient store. Cereal grains can be fed to horses as the whole grain or processed by cracking, rolling, crimping, steam flaking, or extruding. Grains are very palatable, dense, and usually low in fiber if processed correctly.
  • Changing the Rein - A term used for reversing direction when you are longeing your horse.
  • Chart - A comprehensive account of a race showing the positions of all horses at various stages of the race.
  • Chestnut - Refers to both the reddish brown color of a horse and the horny growth inside and above each knee. This is said to be a vestige of a toe from the prehistoric times.
  • Chiggers (redbugs) - Chiggers can infest horses and cause dermatitis. They can be controlled by applying a detergent wash that contains an insecticide. Call your vet.
  • Cinch - A western style girth. May be made of many different materials, including leather, string or neoprene.
  • Circles - In reining the horse must perform large, fast circles at a near-gallop and smaller, slow circles at a lope. They should be perfectly round, with the rider dictating the pace of the horse. There should be an easily seen change of speed as the rider transitions from the large, fast to the small, slow circles. Most circles incorporate changes of direction that require a flying change of lead.
  • Circling or Weaving - Weaving is the shifting of the horse's body from side to side. Circling and head bobbing are self-descriptive. All of these and other habitual movements may simply be annoying or may become so persistent that they actually result in a tired and listless animal.
  • Clean cut - A wound caused by a sharp instrument.
  • Clench - In shoeing a horse it is the part of the nail that is left and turned down to hold on the shoe.
  • Clinch Cutter - Consists of two parts, the blade and the point. The blade, preferably an inch wide, is used to cut or to raise clinches. It is placed under the clinch and struck with the driving hammer. The point is used to punch nails and broken stubs out of the hoof. It can be used to raise the head of a nail from the creases of a shoe sufficiently to enable the pull offs to grasp the nail head for removal. The pointed end can also double as a hoof pick.
  • Clinchers - Clinching tongs are used to draw down the clinches. They were designed for use on horses bothered by hammer and block clinching. Clinchers are of three general types: saddle horse clinchers, gooseneck clinchers and draft horse clinchers. Saddle horse clinchers are designed for use on No. 5 nails and up. The goosenecks are designed for use on smaller nails driven in racing plates and pony shoes. Draft horse clinchers are heavier and have the teeth farther apart than those used for riding horses.
  • Clover Hays - "Similar to alfalfa hays because they are legumes. Clover hay is usually mixed with grass hays. There are five kinds of clover hay: red, common white, crimson, alsike, and landino. White and landino clovers are usually grown for pasture. The other three contain 14 to 16 percent crude protein. Red clover causes "slobbers" in horses. Slobbers is excessive salivation that does not hurt the horse." (eXtension)
  • Codominance - In gene action results in an intermediate state between the two parents. An example of codominance is blood type. Each blood type is different and known and thus indicates the genotype.
  • Coggins - Equine Infectious Anemia (EIA) is a non treatable disease that is highly contagious. The Coggins Test is given every year to horses to insure that they are not positive for EIA. If a horse tests positive, they must be isolated for life or"put down." (euthanasia). It is illegal for a horse to cross state lines without an up-to-date Coggins. All shows and other competitive gatherings require proof of recent Coggins.
  • Colic - A horse with a stomach ache, abdominal pain, or intestinal blockage. One of the major causes of death in horses.
  • Cold Hosing - The use of cold water to reduce inflammation.
  • Collection - Bringing the horse together in his gaits so that he is balanced in his way of going. This is done with gaited horses as well as at the walk, trot and canter.
  • Colors - The special colorful jacket worn by drivers in a race. Unlike Thoroughbred jockeys, drivers register their own colors and wear them every time they race.
  • Colostrum - The first milk produced by the mare. The colostrum contaings important antibodies and acts as a laxative for the foal. These antibodies can be absorbed by the foal's intestinal tract for up to 36 hours after birth, but absorptive ability begins decreasing drastically at 12 hours after birth.
  • Colt - Ungelded male horse under three years of age.
  • Combined Immunodeficiency (CID) - CID is an inherited disease of Arabian and part-Arabian horses. The genetic defect that occurs in CID results in a failure of the immune system to develop, leaving affected animals vulnerable to virtually any infection. All other organ systems develop normally, and affected foals cannot be identified by any outward signs. Affected foals invariably die by 4 months of age of a variety of opportunistic infections in spite of medical treatment. Diagnosis can be made any time after birth based on the lymphocyte count and specific immunoglobulin levels.
  • Combined System - Using turnout and stabling in the care of a horse.
  • Compounding - An alternative source of medications when there are no commercially available products that meet the needs of a particular patient. Compounding, by definition, is tailor-made preparation of a drug to meet the needs of a specific patient when an approved drug can't fit the bill.
  • Concentrated Feed - Food that produces energy such as oats and barley as opposed to grass, hay, or bran mash.
  • Concussion - The jarring to the horse's feet, legs, and joints as his hooves strike the ground. It is usually used in reference to being worked on hard pavement. It also refers medically to an injury to the brain.
  • Conditioned Race - A race where eligibility is based on age, sex, money won or races won. An example would be 2 Year Old Colts, Non-winners of $5,000 or 2 races life.
  • Conditioned Response - When a horse is strained to respond a certain way based on a specific stimulous que.
  • Conformation - A horse's physical characteristics.
  • Coprophagy - Eating of feces which is common in foals and young horses. This is considered to be normal behavior by some researchers though the reason for its occurrence is not known. It is uncommon for adult horses to engage in this behavior.
  • Corn - Bruises to the sole in the heel area just under the heels of the shoe.
  • Coronet or Coronet Band - A sensitive band that goes around the top of the horse's hoof. Injury to this can cause improper growth of the hoof.
  • Corpus Luteum - A cortical structure that forms from the tissue remaining after a follicle ruptures at ovulation. Unlike the follicle, the corpus luteum is solid-cored and secretes the hormone progesterone.
  • Counter Canter - The horse canter's with the outer, rather than the usual inner leg. Opposite lead.
  • Cover - A horse which races with another horse in front of him is said to race with cover, as the leading horse cuts the wind resistance.
  • Cover the Mare - An artificial vagina used to collect semen in the breeding process.
  • Cow Hocked - Horses are bowed in at the hocks and cannon bones instead of parallel. Typically, their hocks are set too close together, pointing inward with the feet widely separated. Cow-hocked horses tend to be weak in major movements that require work off the hindquarters, such as stopping, turning, and sliding.
  • Cracked heels - Open cracks in the heels.
  • Cradle - A frame that is fitted around the horse's neck to prevent him from biting or licking wounds, injuries, or dressings.
  • Cranial--That part of the horse's structure above the knees and hocks located closer to the skull (cranium). Example: The withers are cranial to the tail.
  • Crease Nail Puller - Designed for easy removal of driven nails from creased or fullered shoes. They can also be used to pull nails from pads on show horses.
  • Creep Feeding - A method of allowing foals access to grain without the mare's intervention. It is necessary to provide creep feed to the foal to meet the foal’s nutrient demand for optimum foal growth. Foals may be offered creep feed as early as two weeks of age.
  • Crest - The upper line of a horse's neck. The thickness of the neck.
  • Cribbing - A vice developed through boredom or learned behavior. The horse gets hold of the stall or any object with his teeth and sucks wind at the same time. This gives a pleasurable feeling by releasing endorphins. It is considered a very bad vice and can cause loss of weight, the inhaling of splinters, the grinding down of teeth, etc. It is also extremely difficult to stop. Use of a cribbing strap can help curtail the behavior.
  • Croup - The top line of a horse's quarters.
  • Cresty neck - The neck has excess fat deposits along the crest (top line) of the neck. Flexing at the poll can cause discomfort The horse is predisposed to unsoundness such as ringbone, sidebone, and navicular because the center of gravity is shifted forward on the foreleg.
  • Cross Fire - When a horse's hind foot strikes the opposite front foot or leg.
  • Coupling - The junction of the loin and the hindquarters. The coupling should be heavily muscled and wide to provide support for the loin. It should also be deep so that the horse is not cut up in the flank.
  • Curb - A thickening of the ligament of the hind leg just below the hock. Also, when referring to a horse's bit it is a solid metal bit usually with a chain or leather strap attached that goes under the horse's chin. This provides more control.
  • Curb Bit - Constructed with a mouthpiece and shanks. The headstall is attached to upper shanks and the reins are attached to lower shanks of a curb bit. A curb bit applies leverage pressure and, as such, increases the amount of pressure from the reins to contact points in and around the horse's mouth. In general, curbs are designed to be used with no rein contact unless the rider is applying a specific cue.
  • Cut Back - A saddle that has the tree cut away over the withers to prevent pinching, rubbing, and injury.

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D

  • Dam - The mother of a horse.
  • Dapples - Round, colored markings on a horse's coat as in a "dapples" gray.
  • Dead Heat - When the judges cannot separate two horses at the finish line even with the aid of the photo finish, it is called a dead heat.
  • Dental Star - As cups disappear, dental stars appear first as narrow, yellow marks in front of the central enamel ring. These stars are dark circles near the center of the tooth in older horses.
  • Diestrus - Begins about 24-48 hours after ovulation and lasts an average of 14-16 days. During diestrus, the mare rejects the stallion with behavior typically seen in the form of tail switching, squealing, striking, biting and/or kicking.
  • Digital Cushion - The digital cushion is a wedged-shaped structure with a fibro-fatty composition. It is very elastic and has very few blood vessels and nerves. It is located in a wedged-in position between the lateral cartilages on the side, then deep flexor tendon on the top and the frog and frog stay on the bottom and rear. When it is compressed by the pastern bones and frog, it absorbs shock and cushions the bones.
  • Dishing (winging out) - The horse's front feet, or foot, whips outward instead of straight ahead. Some Paso Finos have been bred to have this foot action. Deviations of bone structure can predispose horses to less than perfect travel. Horses that stand base wide or toed out travel in inward arcs called "Winging or Dishing." Although winging and paddling are common deviations in horse travel, winging is the more serious fault. If the condition is severe enough, interference between the supporting and striding legs and feet may occur.
  • Displacement Colic - A portion of the intestine has become twisted or caught in an abnormal position. Strangulating displacements, such as volvulus-torsion(twists) of the large colon, can be rapidly fatal and require prompt diagnosis and treatment if the horse's live is to be saved. It has been passed down though the ages that horses twist their intestines by rolling, but in most cases this is an unlikely cause.
  • Distal - Indicates a location toward the free end of a limb. The part that is farther away from the body. Example: The distal end of the cannon bone connects with the long pastern bone or third phalanx.
  • Distanced - When a horse finishes more than 35 lengths behind the winner.
  • Diving - A term used to describe a horse that is not balanced when jumping. The hocks are not engaged and the horse is going on the forehand.
  • Division - A race that has too many entries and must be split into two or more divisions.
  • Dock - The tail bone.
  • Dorsal - Parts of the horse's anatomy toward his back (dorsum). Example: The point of the croup is dorsal to the stifle.
  • Dorsal Plane - Passes through a body part parallel to its dorsal surfaces.
  • Driver - The person holding a license or permit to drive harness horses. There are different types of licenses, which correspond to differing levels of experience.
  • Dovetail Notch - As the horse ages, the incisors appear to slant forward and outward. As the slant increases, the surface of the lower corner teeth are not worn all the way down to the back margin of the uppers. A dovetail notch is then formed on the upper corners at 7 years of age. It may disappear in a year or two, reappear in horses 12-15 years of age, and disappear again thereafter.
  • Drop Noseband - Fitted below the bit and attached to the cavesson, or fitted in place of the cavesson, helps keep a horse from evading the bit, grabbing the bit, getting the tongue over the bit, and gives the rider more control.
  • Drylots - Also referred to as an exercise paddock. Drylots are also used to ensure that pasture does not become overgrazed. They can also be used as "fat pens" for horses who need to lose weight or cannot be at grass for other health reasons. Their food intake must be carefully monitored.

  • Dumped Toe - Fitting the hoof to the shoe. Rounding the toe to fit the shoe.

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E

  • Early/Late Closer - A race requiring payments which start much closer to the actual race date than a stake 'Early' and 'Late' involve specified periods of time.
  • Entry - Two or more horses starting in a race owned by the same person.
  • Endocrinology - The study of hormones and their effects. The processes involved with reproduction in the mare are driven by the action of substances known as hormones. Hormones are chemicals which are produced by various tissues in the body and which travel through the circulatory system to produce an effect on one or several target organs.
  • Entire - An uncastrated male horse.
  • EPM (Equine Protozoal Myeloencephalitis) - EPM if one of the most challenging diseases in horses. If a horse shows signs of neurologic problems, the veterinarian must begin a process of elimination to determine what isn't causing the signs. EPM is a neurological disease that occurs when protozoal parasites infect and invade the central nervous system. At least two protozoal parasites cause EPM: Sarcocystis neurona and less commonly, Neospora hughesi. EPM infection results in characteristic lesions in the brain and spinal cord that are evident during necropsy. The presence of these lesions correlates well with the clinical signs generally attributed to EPM, muscle wasting, lack of coordination, ataxia. It is thought that possum droppings are a source of the parasites.
  • Equine - Horse
  • Equine Encephalomyelitis - Sleeping sickness. This is a brain disease that eventually degenerates the vascular system. It is caused by a virus. This disease can be prevented by a yearly vaccination.
  • Equine Infectious Anemia (EIA) - See Coggins
  • Equine Influenza - A virus that is extremely infectious and contagious. Immunize your horse every year.
  • Ergot - Horny growth located on the back of the fetlock. The ergot is thought to be another vestige of a toe similar to the chestnut. It grows from the rear underside of the fetlock joint. The composition is somewhat like soft hoof wall material. It tends to be somewhat tougher than the chestnut and not so easy to peel away with your fingers. On some horses it will be a very small nub, while on others it may be much larger, curling and splitting as it grows. If it becomes long and unsightly you can trim it down with hoof clippers or ask your farrier to trim it when he trims your horse’s feet. Interestingly, one breed of horse, the American Bashkir Curly, is often found not to have ergots.
  • Ermine spot - A black spot that occurs on white markings. This is usually seen around the pastern area.
  • Estrogen - Causes the familiar receptive behavior patterns observed in mares during heat and act to prepare the uterus for receiving the conceptus (embryo) if fertilization occurs. One type of estrogen is Estradiol. Estrodial concentrations continuously rise through estrus, peaking immediately prior to ovulation.
  • Estrous - Around 12-15 month a filly comes into puberty and starts to come into heat. This is the time when she will be able to attain pregnancy. Estrus, or heat, is the period of the reproductive cycle when the mare ovulates and, if bred, is likely to conceive. Estrus is also the time when the mare is receptive and will accept the stallion. The duration of estrus is five to seven days (actually about six days), but it can vary from two to 10 days. Signs of estrus include frequent urination, straddling (squatting) posture, and clitoral "winking."
  • Ewe neck - A sagging top and bottom line neck profile. They have problems flexing (bending) at the poll. They also tend to throw their head upward when halted.
  • Excessive Fermentation Colic- The microbial digestion in the horse's digestive tract produces great quantities of gas and fluid. If this is produced more rapidly than it can be eliminated, painful distention of the stomach or intestine will occur. The most complicated and life-threatening condition is gastric dilatation. In this condition, the horse has ingested excessive grain, which distends the stomach. Gastric dilatation is seldom amenable to surgical correction and medical treatment is difficult.
  • Extension - Greater stride at the trot or the canter. (Extended trot or extended canter)
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F

  • Falling In - When making a circle or rounding a corner the horse moves his shoulder in and comes off the true circle. This is usually do to some sort of discomfort or loss of balance.
  • Far side (off side) - The right side of the horse if you are facing the horse. The side you do not traditionally mount.
  • Farrier - The professional who shoes your horse. Sometimes the reference may be blacksmith, however that is actually incorrect. A blacksmith fixes wagon wheels, etc. A farrier works with horse shoes.
  • Favorite - The horse considered most likely to win based on the odds and past performance.
  • Feather - Long hair on lower legs, common in heavier horse breeds.
  • Fetlock - Joint formed by the cannon, pastern and sesamoid bones.
  • Fiddling - A rider plays with the reins on the flat and while jumping. The contact is constantly being changed. This is not a good thing and is annoying and confusing to the horse.
  • Field of Vision - The entire spacial area from which the complete visual image of an eye is formed is known as the field of vision. In the horse, it is about 215 degrees for each eye. The wide-set eyes of the horse enable it to enjoy a panoramic field of vision even to the extent of seeing everything around itself with slight head movements. Only what is immediately behind the horse's hindquarters is outside its field of view, until it moves its head and neck.
  • Fighting - Aggressive behavior by a dominant horse.
  • Filly - A female horse under three years of age.
  • First Over - The first horse to make a move on the leader in a race, moving up on the outside.
  • Fistula (fistulous withers) - Inflammation caused by pressure and bruising.
  • Flake - Section of measurement for hay.
  • Flat Jumping - The horse should round his back while jumping and lower his head and neck. When he jumps flat the horse does not do this. It is not a good thing.
  • On the Flat - Going without jumps. (As in thoroughbred racing)
  • Flipping - The act of throwing up. Many jockeys engage in flipping in order to make weight before a ride or in order to maintain their weight. It is a dangerous practice and can lead to all kinds of health problems.
  • Flying change - At the canter there is a change in the leading leg without breaking into a trot to pick up the new lead.
  • Foal - From birth to up to January 1 following birth, both genders.
  • Foal Heat - Postpartum mares will have a "foal heat" 7 to 14 days following foaling, and a second cycle approximately 30 days later.
  • Follicle - The ovum is encased by a single layer of follicular epithelial cells. This structure is called a primordial follicle. Most follicles degenerate or undergo partial development and then disappear. Upon appropriate stimulation, a primordial follicle will begin to grow and mature in preparation for ovulation.
  • Forging - Over striding. The hind hoof hits the foreleg hoof. This can cause bruising and injury. It can also pull off a shoe.
  • Free Legged - A pacer which races without wearing hopples.
  • Freeze Branding - A form of identification that uses a chilled frozen instrument to mark a horse's hair or skin. Frozen nitrogen is the common substance used to chill irons before use. Hair that grows back where the brand was applied has no pigment, resulting in a white brand.
  • Frog - The bottom part of the hoof that absorbs concussion upon contact with the ground. It also helps with slippage. "V" shaped.
  • Full mouth - At around 5 years of age a horse has all of its permanent incisors visible in the mouth. This is referred to as a full-mouth.
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G

  • Gait -Sequence of the way a horse moves. (Usually refers to walk, trot, canter, gallop) However, "gaited" horses move differently. There is the rack, slow gait, flat walk, running walk, foxtrot, tolt, stepping pace, pace, etc.
  • Gallop - The gallop is an interesting movement. The horse is extended fully. Imagine a canter with the two paired diagonal legs landing out of synchrony. This gives the gallop a 4-beat sound.
    (1-2-3-4- 1-2-3-4) Although the gallop or run appears to only be a faster canter, it is in fact a different gait containing four beats. Like the canter, the gallop also has a right and left lead. The footfall pattern of the gallop on the left lead is the right hind, left hind, right front, left front. Likewise, the right lead footfall would be left hind, right hind, left front, right front.
  • Galls - Swellings or soars. (As in girth galls. Caused by an ill-fitting girth that rubs. Also improper hygiene can cause this. A horse who has not been groomed.)
  • Galvayne's Groove - Appears at the gum margin of the upper corner incisor at about 10 years of age, extends halfway down the tooth at 15 years, and reaches the wearing surface at 20 years. The groove then begins to disappear at the gum and has completely vanished after 30 years of age.
  • Gamgee - Cotton wool encased in gauze.
  • Garden Spot - The second position on the rail during most of the race.
  • Gaskin - Above the hock on the hind leg.
  • Gee - Used to tell the horse to go right when pulling the plough.
  • Gelding - A male horse who has been castrated.
  • Genotype - Actual genetic makeup of an individual determined by its genes or germplasm.
  • Gentling - Training a horse to accept a rider, saddle and bit. This is done without any harsh methods.
  • Gestation Period - The gestation period for a mare is 11 months.
  • Gnats ("No seeums")- Blood sucking insects like black flies or smaller gnats that are small and difficult to see. Their bites cause itching. The horse loses hair where it rubs and scratches. They attack the ears, eyes, heads, neck, and belly.
  • Going and Way of Going - This can refer to how the horse is moving or performing (as in "his way of going") or it can refer to the conditions of the ground.
  • Graafian Follicle - A mature follicle. Each ovum is encased by a single layer of follicular epithelial cells. This structure is called a primordial follicle. Most follicles degenerate or undergo partial development and then disappear. Upon appropriate stimulation, a primordial follicle will begin to grow and mature in preparation for ovulation.
  • Gravel - Abscesses that occur between the sensitive sole, frog, or laminae and the insensitive or horny counterparts. Usually the infections form as a result of bruising.
  • Green Broke - Beginning training. The horse has been taught some ground manners and will accept the bit, a rider, and a saddle on his back. Usually the horse will also respond to rein directions. Much more training is needed.
  • Ground-line - The take off spot for a jump.
  • Groundwork - Working with a horse on the ground such as manners, teaching a horse to stand, to tie, to cross-tie, to move over, to back by command, to go in and out of gates, to lead, etc. Sometimes you might hear this expression refer to working with a horse, but not over fences, as well.
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H

  • Haw - Command for a horse to go left when pulling a plough.
  • Hackamore - A type of bitless bridle.
  • Half halt (checking the horse) - A gentle squeeze on the reins to keep the horse from picking up speed, and keep him in check.
  • Half pass - The horse moves both sideways and forward. This is a lateral movement.
  • Halt (standing square)- To stop a horse from impelling forward. The horse must stand quietly, still, and straight, accept the bit, and be balanced. His weight must be evenly distributed over all four legs. Each pair of opposite legs must be lined up evenly, as well. Sometimes you will hear the term "standing square."
  • Handicapping - The first step in successfully picking a winner (or handicapping) is becoming familiar with reading the racing program. Each program has a section explaining the information format used at that track.
  • Hard Hands - A rider is rough on the horse's mouth by using too much force with the bit. Sometimes a rider will balance himself by using the reins which constantly hurts the horse's mouth, as well. Not a good thing! Soft Hands or Easy Hands means the opposite. A light touch. This is a good thing.
  • Hard hat (riding helmet) - Protective helmet worn while riding. Should meet Pony Club standards.
  • Hard Mouth - The horse's mouth is so tough and damaged from"hard hands" or excessive bitting that he becomes non responsive to the rider. Often there is permanent nerve damage.
  • Hardening Off - Getting a horse use to stimuli that might otherwise scare him. See Sacking Out.
  • Harness - The gear which is used to attach the sulky to the horse, to carry the hopples and to enable the driver to steer the horse.
  • Hautee ecole - The classic art of equitation.
  • Head Bumper - A piece of equipment that protects the horse's head from cuts and bruises on the poll while hauling.
  • Head carriage - The position of the horse's head.
  • h.h. - Hands high. A measure of the horse's height. (4 inches equals 1 hand; 10 cm equals 1 hand) This measurement is taken from the base of the horse's front hoof to the top of the withers at its highest point.
  • Head pressing - Head pressing is a condition characterized by the compulsive act of pressing the head against a wall or other object for no apparent reason. This generally indicates damage to the nervous system, which may result from a number of causes, including prosencephalon disease (in which the forebrain and thalamus parts of the brain are damaged), and some types of toxic poisoning.
  • Heaves (broken wind)- Pulmonary emphysema can be caused by allergies, dusty surroundings, and by eating dusty hay. Symptoms include a chronic cough, difficulty in forcing air in and out of the lungs, possible nasal discharge, lack of stamina, and wasting of condition. A heave line eventually can be seen in the flank area. Heaves cannot be cured. It is an unsoundness.
  • Heredity - The transmission of genetic or physical traits of parents to their offspring.
  • Heterozygous Genes - Genes that are not identical. Heterozygous individuals can pass on either of the two different alleles possessed in the genetic makeup.
  • High blowing - A noise made when the horse breaths out caused by a vibration in the nostril. This is not an unsoundness. It is not whistling.
  • Hives - Bumps that appear on the horse's back and flanks. They can also appear in other areas as well. Hives can also be internal. They are usually caused by an allergic reaction to something the horse has eaten, something in the environment, from medications, bedding, dust, mold, etc. Sometimes swelling will accompany hives and can cause breathing problems if severe in the throat area. Call your vet.
  • Hobbles - A hobble is a device that prevents or limits the locomotion of a human or an animal, by tethering one or more legs. Although hobbles are most commonly used on horses, they are sometimes used also on other animals. On dogs, they are used especially during force-fetch training to limit the movement of a dog's front paws when training it to stay still. They are made from leather, rope or synthetic materials such as nylon and Neoprene. There are various designs for breeding, casting and mounting horses. Hobbles can be an extremely useful tool in horse training if used properly.
  • Hopples (sometimes called hobbles) - These are a piece of equipment used by Standardbred pacers to help the horse maintain its pacing gait.
  • Hobday's Operation - Sometimes when a horse's breathing is impaired (wind) this operation can be performed to remove an obstruction in the larynx.
  • Hock - Joint in the hind leg joining the cannon and gaskin.
  • Hollow Back - A horse who has an excessively dipped back.
  • Homozygous - Alleles of a specific gene pair that are alike in an individual.
  • Hoof - Casing of foot. Outer, hard horn at the end of the horse's foot. What the horse walks on.
  • Home Stretch - The straight length of the track, nearest the spectators, where the finish line is situated. It is called this because it is the final part of the track a horse travels down during a race, on its race home (or to the finish line).
  • Hopples - The straps which connect the front and rear legs on the same side of a horse. Most pacers wear hopples to help balance their stride and maintain a pacing gait. The length of hopples is adjustable and a trainer registers the length that best fits his/her horse. There are also trotting hopples that work through a pulley system to help trotters maintain their gait.
  • Hot up - An overly excited horse when ridden.
  • Hound gut (wasp-waisted) - Horses lacking depth in the flank.
  • Housing - An ornamental cover for a saddle.
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I

  • Impact Colic - An impaction is a blockage of the intestinal tract with normal ingesta or with foreign material. Impaction with ingesta may be caused by anything that increases the coarseness of the ingesta, decreases the amount of fluid in the intestinal tract or interferes with normal intestinal motility. If the blockage is so complete as to prevent the passage of gas as well as ingesta, the condition is quite acute and very painful and may require rapid surgical treatment. Foreign materials that may block the intestine includes such things as intestinal stones or enteroliths, Enteroliths sand, and rubber and nylon cords from tractor tire feeders or rubber fencing materials.
  • Impulsion - The horse is urged to move forward.
  • In Foal - A pregnant mare.
  • Incarceration Colic - A loop of intestine has become entrapped within a normal or abnormal structure within the abdominal cavity. The most common example is a strangulating hernia, in which the intestine has become caught within a natural or unnatural opening. If the entrapped intestine becomes strangulated so that its blood supply is shut off, the incarceration is a surgical emergency.
  • Independent seat (good seat) - When a rider can get it together enough to have his/her body, legs and hands work independently and still be secure on the horse.
  • Inguinal Hernia - There is an opening through which the testicles descend into the scrotum. The opening can be too large and the intestines can escape into the scrotum, sometimes causing colic.
  • Inquiry - A review of the conduct of a race, called for by the judges.
  • In Season - A mare that is in heat or receptive to breeding. The terms in rut or in estress may also be used.

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J

  • Jabbing - Catching the horse in the mouth.
  • Jog - Western for slow, sitting trot.
  • Joint - A joint is defined as an anatomic union or junction between two or more bones. There are three basic types of joints in the horse: fibrous joints, cartilaginous joints, and synovial or diarthroidal joints.

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K

  • Keepers - Fixed loops on tack (horse equipment) that holds straps in place. These straps can be on the saddle pad (the girth goes through these keepers to keep the pad from slipping under the saddle), on the bridle to the ends of the bridle straps in place, on the saddle to keep the leather ends in place) etc.
  • Kimberwicke - A snaffle bit that has slots atop the rings from which the headstall can be attached with the curb chain attached by the hooks. A pull on the reins creates a short lever action through the rings themselves to the curb chain, applying pressure in the curb groove under the chin.
  • Knee Boots - A protection worn by the horse to protect its knees from injury.
  • Knee Spavin - Bony growth at back of knee on inner side.
  • Knees Sprung or Sprung at the Knees - This is a conformation fault where the knees are bent forward when viewed from the side and are unsteady.
  • Knock-kneed - Also called close-kneed. Horses that have the entire knee set to the inside of the straight line from the chest to the toe. This condition is usually accompanied by toed-out feet and some degree of outward rotation of the cannon bone. As the horse moves and its legs strike the ground, there is unequal distribution of concussion on the column of bone, predisposing the horse to unsoundness.
  • Knee Spavin - Bony growth at back of knee on inner side.

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L

  • Lameness (Off) - The horse's stride is uneven. This is often checked at the trot. Watching the horse's head movement can often give information as to which leg is lame. Lameness is any alteration of the horse's gait. Such abnormalities can be caused by pain in the neck, withers, shoulders, back, loin, hips, legs, or feet. Identifying the source of the problem is essential to proper treatment.
  • Laminae - Membrane lining the hoof, inflammation causes laminitis.
  • Laminitis - An inflammation of the sensitive laminae of the foot. There are many factors involved, including changes in the blood flow through the capillaries of the foot. Many events can cause laminitis, including ingesting toxic levels of grain, eating lush grass, systemic disease problems, high temperature, toxemia, retained placenta, excessive weight-bearing as occurs when the opposite limb is injured, and the administration of some drugs. Laminitis usually manifests itself in the front feet, develops rapidly, and is life-threatening. In mild cases, however, a horse can resume a certain amount of athletic activity. Laminitis is the disease that caused the death of Secretariat. Also known as "founder."
  • Laminitis (founder) - Feet are warm to the touch (fever in the feet) which is due to intense congestion of the sensitive structures which line the walls of the horse's hoof. This is extremely painful and quite serious. The foot is unable to expand to allow for the internal swelling. Some horses are predisposed to laminitis. Ponies tend to be more susceptible. The horse will thrust his forefeet in front of him and rock. He will not want to move. Light work, too much food, too much work on hard pavement, too much rich food, a horse turned out on grass when he's not accustomed to grass, may cause laminitis.
  • Lapped On - At the finish when a horse's nose is at least alongside of the hindquarters of the horse which finishes ahead
  • Lasix - A drug given to horses in proper dosages, upon approval of the Stewards, to control bleeding through the nostrils of horses as a result of exertion.
  • Lateral - Structures located away from the median plane. Example: When you look at a horse's left side, you see the lateral surfaces of his left limbs.
  • Lateral Movements - Shoulder-In, Haunches-In, Leg-Yield, Turn on the Hindquarters and Forehand. Lateral Movements
  • Lathered (Up) Or Washed Out - Sweat that foams up usually along neck and flanks, often before a race. Too much sweat is considered a bad sign before the start of a race, may indicate a nervous horse.
  • Lead - Indicates which foot moves forward first at the canter.
  • Lead in hand - An individual on the ground leads the horse with the reins or by a halter and lead rope. The horse should be lead with his shoulder even with the person leading him.
  • Leasing - As opposed to buying a harness horse or riding horse, people have the option of leasing one. Just like some people lease a car instead of paying the money up front, leasing a horse gives people use of a horse without large capital outlay. An agreement or contract is drawn up between the two parties and under the harness racing rules the lease must be registered with the relevant controlling body.
  • Left rein - Moving to the left.
  • Leg up - An individual on the ground gives lift to the rider by placing his/her hands on the rider's bent, left leg. The rider springs onto the horse with the help of an upward lift. Care has to be taken by the rider to gently come down on the horse's back, a jockey having a mount or to strengthen a horse's legs through exercise.
  • Length - Measure of distance based on average length of horse.
  • Lice - Two kinds infest horses: the sucking louse and the biting louse. Sucking lice do more damage. They actually penetrate the skin and suck blood. The biting type feed on the external layers of the horse's skin. The horse rubs, bites, and kicks. The itching is intense. Infestations usually show up in the winter.
  • Ligament - A band of fibrous tissue connecting bones, which serve to support and strengthen joints and to limit the range of motion. There are also ligaments that support certain organs.
  • Light Horse Breed - The horse breeds classified in this group stand 14.2 hands or taller at the withers. They typically weigh 900 to 1,500 pounds and are used for recreational, performance, and other activities.
  • Line - Pedigree; male side of the pedigree as contrasted with family, or female side. This is also used as a slang term for the odds on a horse.
  • Lip Tatoo - Lip tatoos for horses are comprised of letters and numbers and placed on the inside of the horse's upper lip for identification purposes. The Jockey Club, which is the governing body of the Thoroughbred industry and registers all Thoroughbred horses, requires that all racing Thoroughbreds have lip tattoos as a verification procedure.
  • Longe/lunge/loungeing - Longeing is a procedure in which the horse travels in a large circle around the handler on a long strap or line. It is useful in training young horses and in exercising others. A horse that is rearing and plunging.
  • Loose Horse - A horse that continues running after losing rider. This is also used as a slang term to refer to a person of inconsistent mannerisms.
  • Loose Rein- A horse on a loose rein is one which is allowed to run freely, without any pressure from the driver to speed up or slow down.
  • Lope - Western term for canter.
  • Lyme disease - A infection transmitted by the bite of dear ticks. The spiral shaped (spirochete) bacteria, borrelia, is the cause. It is an inflammatory disease that causes the horse's skin to be very touchy, joint inflammation, and flu like symptoms. It is often misdiagnosed.
  • Loins - The lower part of the back. In front of the quarters.
  • Lumbar muscles - Loin muscles.

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M

  • Maiden - A horse who has never won a race with a purse. (Also refers to a mare who has never had a foal.)
  • Mane - The long hairs growing on the crest of the horse's neck.
  • Manger - A container that holds the horse's food.
  • Mare - A female horse four years of age or older.
  • Martingale - A strap that prevents the horse from tossing his head or raising his head too high to rear. There are several kinds: a running martingale, standing martingale, etc. They are straps that run from the girth to the reins.
  • Magnetic Therapy - Physical therapy technique using magnetic fields. The low-energy electrical field created by the magnetic field causes dilation of the blood vessels (vasodilation) and tissue stimulation. Magnetic therapy may be used on soft tissue to treat such injuries as tendinitis or bony (skeletal) injuries such as bucked shins.
  • Melanomas - Benign growths that occur on the tail, anus, and head of gray or white horses. Melanomas can occur on other colored horses as well, however, not as frequently. They can become malignant and invade vital organs causing death.
  • Markings - Any unique configurations found on a horses body used for identification are referred to as markings. These markings may be spots on the body, white hairs in the coat, white hairs at the base of the tail, brands, or scars, etc.
  • Mash - Soft, moist mixture, hot or cold, of grain and other feed that is easily digested by horses.
  • Massage - Rubbing of various parts of the anatomy to stimulate healing.
  • Mites (Mange or scabies) - Mange or scabies are specific skin diseases caused by small mites that live in or under the skin. There are three types of mites: sarcoptic, psoroptic, and chorioptic. Sarcoptic mites penetrate the upper layer of the skin, burrow, and lay eggs. Psoroptic mites do not burrow by live on the skin surface in colonies. Chorioptic mites are found below the hocks and knees. They live on the surface of the skin. The horse can be seen pawing, kicking, and biting to relieve the irritation.
  • Medial - Structures located closer to the median plane. Example: When you look at a horse's left side, you see the medial surfaces of his right limbs. (Pertaining to the middle in anatomy, nearer the medial plane (the horizontal plane that bisects the center).
  • Median Plane - This divides the horse's body into right and left halves (median means in the middle).
  • Metacarpal (Fracture) - Usually refers to a fracture of the cannon bone, located between the knee and the fetlock joint in the front leg. Also may refer to a fracture of the splint bone.
  • Mid-Body (Fracture) - See sesamoids.
  • Moment of Suspension (suspension) - The moment when a horse has all four feet off the ground. With a gaited horse the terminology means something different. It is a lull moment when the legs have to catch up with each other because of over striding. Many Tennessee Waling Horses have the moment of suspension.
  • Monkey Mouthed - Undershot muzzle. The horse has difficulty in eating and requires extra care. This is considered an unsoundness. The depth and shape of the mouth is an indication of the "lightness" of a horse's mouth. Typically, the more shallow the mouth, the softer and more responsive a horse is to the bit.
  • Monorchid, Cryptorchid or Ridgling - A male horse of any age that has only one testicle in his scrotum-the other testicle was either removed or is undescended.
  • Monocuar Vision - The horse uses only one eye--its monocular vision--to observe the width of its visual field. When a horse sees an object with monocular vision, it will tend to turn toward the object to get a better sense of the object. The horse's monocular vision spans about 250º.
  • Moon blindness (Periodic Ophthalmia, Uveitis) - Cloudy or inflammation of the eye. The eye recovers and then relapses. Leptospirosis, the parasite filaria equina within the eye, reaction to systemic parasites, or antigens as a result of strep infections can cause moon blindness. Moon blindness should not be confused with night blindness.
  • Mounting block - A piece of equipment to help in mounting the horse. (a step up of some sort)
  • Muck Out - Clean a horse's stall.
  • Musculoskeletal System - Consisting of the bones, muscles, ligaments, tendons and joints of the head, vertebral column and limbs, together with the associated muscles, tendons, ligaments and joints.
  • Muzzle - A term defining the nose and lips of a horse.

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N

  • Nap or Nappy - A horse who is a bad actor! (Stubborn, unwilling to move forward, barn sour, rearer, spinner, bolter, etc.)
  • Nasogastric Tube - A long tube that is capable of reaching from the nose to the stomach.
  • Navicular Bone - A small, flat bone within the confines of the hoof that helps-along with the short pastern bone and the coffin bone-to make up the coffin joint.
  • Navicular Disease - This is an ulcerated condition of a small bone called the navicular bone that lies across the rear of the hoof. It acts as a pulley for the flexor tendon. It is usually seen to affect both forelegs at the same time. The removal of the heel nerves is the usual method of treatment.
  • Near Side - The left side of a horse, the side on which a horse is mounted. The "far side" referrers to opposite side of the horse or right side.
  • Neck strap - The martingale is held in place by being passed through a strap that is worn around the horse's neck.
  • Neurectomy - A surgical procedure in which the nerve supply to the navicular area is removed. The toe and remainder of the foot have feeling. Also referred to as "posterior digital neurectomy," "heel nerve," or as "nerving."
  • Nerve- To remove a nerve, eliminating pain but not the infirmity that causes it. Illegal in major racing.
  • Nerved - Operation that severs vital nerve to enable horses to race without pain. Illegal in most jurisdictions.
  • New Zealand Rug - A waterproof horse cover for a turned out (horse in the field).
  • Night blindness - Faulty vision during the twilight hours. A vitamin A deficiency can cause this.
  • Night Eye(s) or Chestnut(s) - There are a number of different uses of the word chestnut when it comes to horses. A horse color which may vary from a red-yellow to golden-yellow. The mane, tail and legs are usually variations of coat color, except where white markings are present. Chestnuts area also horny, irregular growths found on the inside of the legs. On the forelegs, they are just above the knees. On the hind legs, they are just below the hocks. No two horses have been found to have the same chestnuts and so they may be used for identification. Chestnuts are also called "night eyes." Some scientists believe that chestnuts and ergots may be remnants of the pads that were under the toes of a very early ancestor of the horse. Scientists believe that about 50 million years ago the first known ancestor of the horse, Eohippus, had four padded toes on the front legs and three padded toes on the back legs.
  • Nippers - The farrier uses hoof nippers to remove the excess growth of the wall. They should be used only for this purpose. They come in several sizes: 14 and 15 inch nippers are used where more leverage is needed on dry hoofs and on draft horses; 12 inch nippers care used on show horses, race horses and foals.
  • Nose Band - A leather strap that goes over the bridge of a horse's nose to help secure the bridle. A "figure eight" nose band goes over the bridge of the nose and under the rings of the bit to help keep the horse's mouth closed. This keeps the tongue from sliding up over the bit and is used on horses that do not like having a tongue tie used.
  • Novice horse - Untrained or inexperienced horse.
  • Numnah - A saddle pad used to protect the horse's back.
  • Nut cracker action - Force on the horse's lower jaw produced by the action of a bit.

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O

  • Oat hay - "An excellent feed for horses. The choice between alfalfa and oat hay depends on price per unit of energy or protein and the type of horse being fed. Depending on the area of the country in which it is grown, oat hay can be low in protein and contain only marginal calcium, phosphorus, and carotene" (eXtension)
  • Objection - A claim of foul lodged by a driver, upheld or dismissed by the judges.
  • Oblique (Fracture) - Fracture at an angle.
  • Ocd Lesion - A cartilaginous or bony lesion that is the result of a failure in development.
  • Off Side - Right side of the horse; also called far side. Example: One theory of why we mount from the left instead of the right is that warriors and soldiers of old generally carried a sword on the left side and this would get in the way if swinging up from the right or off side of the horse.
  • Oiled (Oiling) - Administration of mineral oil via nasogastric tube to relieve gas or pass blockage. Preventative procedure commonly used in long van rides to prevent impaction with subsequent colics.
  • On Side - The horse's left side; also called near side. Example: Normally, the side on which we mount and dismount.
  • On the Bit - When a horse is eager to run. Also known as "in the bridle."
  • On the buckle - To be able to ride a horse with a loose reign. With an English bridle, that actually means holding the buckle.
  • On the Flat - Going without jumps. (As in thoroughbred racing)
  • On the Muscle - Denotes a fit horse.
  • Open Fracture or Compound Fracture - A fracture where the damaged bone breaks through the skin.
  • Open Knee - A condition of young horses in which the physis of the knee has not closed; an immature knee. Often used to describe the status of the physis immediately above the knee and is an indicator of long bone growth in two-year-olds.
  • Osselets - This is an arthritis of the fetlock joint that causes the ankle to become enlarged and out of shape. Firing or blistering and rest is the method of treating this condition.
  • Osteoarthritis or Degenerative Joint Disease - A permanent form of arthritis with progressive loss of the articular cartilage in a joint.
  • Ouchy - Sore.
  • Over at the Knee - A leg that looks like it has a forward arc with its center at the knee when viewed from the side.
  • Overcheck - A strap that holds the bit in place.
  • Over face - Jumping a horse beyond his training or ability.
  • Over reach, striking off, speedy cutting - Striking the front leg by a foreleg. This can cause injury to the horse. Sometimes you will hear the word forging. A sound can sometimes be heard like a click, click, click.

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P

  • P3 - Third phalanx. See coffin bone.
  • Pace - A horse gait. The legs on either side move together laterally. The left front and left hind move together, then the right front and right hind move together. This gait is rough and hard to sit. It is not considered desirable. It is a two beat gait. The broken pace or stepping pace is a delayed four beat gait. It would be counted 1-2-3--4. It is smoother and acceptable in the show ring. Stepping Pace See my article under Genetics--Horse Gaits/Footfalls on the home page.
  • Pacing - Pacing is a 'laterial' gait in which the horse moves the legs on the same side back and forward together. Most pacers wear 'hopples' - straps connecting the legs on the same side. Pacing, or 'ambling', is a natural gait for some breeds of horse (as well as giraffes and camels) and is faster than trotting by roughly 3 seconds per mile. Pacers are also less likely to 'break,' so they are more popular with punters than trotters, where the two gaits exist. As a result pacing dominates harness racing in the English-speaking world.
  • Paddling - When a horse's stand is base-narrow or toed-in they generally travel in wide outward arcs referred to as "Paddling." Although winging and paddling are common deviations in horse travel, winging is the more serious fault. If the condition is severe enough, interference between the supporting and striding legs and feet may occur.

  • Paddock - Large enclosed area that a horse can run around or move about freely.
  • Paint - Counter-irritant used to increase blood supply, blood flow and to promote healing in the leg. A mild form of blistering.
  • Palmer - Back of the front limb from the knee down.
  • Panniers - Made from wood, rawhide, fiberglass canvas, and leather paniers are filled with gear, food and equipment.

  • Parasites - Internal and external living things that use the horse as a host. There are over 50 different kinds of internal horse worms. Examples of external parasites would be bot flies, warbles, ticks, lice, mites, chiggers, gnats, mosquitos, flies, etc.
  • Parked Out - In racing terminology it means when a horse cannot find a position along the rail in a race and is forced to race outside those on the inside. Is also called taking the overland route.
  • Parked Out - In the gaited horse community a horse it taught to park out. The horse keeps its hind legs stationary and moves its front feet forward. This facilitates the rider to be able to mount with the horse being a bit lower. It is also a requirement in many gaited show competitions.
  • Parrot Mouth (overshot) - Overshot muzzle. The horse has difficulty in eating and requires extra care. This is considered an unsoundness. The depth and shape of the mouth is an indication of the "lightness" of a horse's mouth. Typically, the more shallow the mouth, the softer and more responsive a horse is to the bit
  • Passage - Advanced dressage movement. The horse performs an elevated trot in slow motion with a definite period of suspension as each pair of legs are lifted off the ground.
  • Pastern (Bones) - Denotes the area between the fetlock joint and the hoof. The joint between the long and short pastern bones is called the "pastern joint." Can also be used to describe the area of the limb or to describe a specific bone long pastern bone. Technically known as the P1 (long) and P2 (short).
  • Pause or Hesitate - The horse is asked to stand still for a few seconds to "settle" between certain movements in the reining pattern, particularly after spins. Pauses are not judged as a movement per se, but a horse that is ill-mannered or behaves with impatience when asked to wait will be penalized.
  • Peanut Rolling - A term used for a horse that lopes or canters to a 4-beat gait instead of a 3-beat gait. It is very uncomfortable to ride. Another term for the same thing is troping. The sport of western pleasure has been criticized on account of an extremely low head position many judges were favoring in the stock horse breeds, known as the "peanut roller." In this head set, horses carry their heads with the poll far below the level of their withers. This is a problem because it also forced the horse to travel at an extremely slow pace on the "forehand" (carrying too much weight on their front legs instead of rocking it correctly back onto their hind legs). Over long periods of time, moving in this highly artificial frame can cause soundness problems in some horses, and even a sound horse cannot properly bring its hindquarters under its body when traveling forward. This fad and its problems created a poor view of the discipline as a whole, especially by competitors in other equestrian sports.
  • Pecking Order - Dominance in the hierarchy. A form of animal social structure with each animal dominant over those below it and submissive to those above.
  • Pelham - A bit often used in fox hunting. It gives more control. This bit acts like a snaffle and curb combined into one mouthpiece. Two sets of reins are used: the "upper" set, attached directly to the rings that lie in line with the mouthpiece, works like a snaffle or nonleverage bit, and the "lower" set, attached to the end of short shanks, works like a curb or leverage bit.
  • Pedal Bone - Coffin Bone or the third phalanx (P3). The major bone that is within the confines of the hoof. Also called the "pedal [PEE-dal] bone."
  • Pedigree - Refers to a horse's family tree, paternal and maternal ancestors. A horse's pedigree provides insight into its potential ability and value.
  • Periostitis - Inflammation of the tissue (periosteum) that overlies bone. Periostitis of the cannon bone is referred to as "bucked shins," while periostitis of the splint bone is called a "splint." May be heard in the expression Popped a "Splint."
  • Phenylbutazone - Bute (Or Butazolidin) Trade name for phenylbutazone, a commonly used analgesic for horses.
  • Phenotype - The external appearance or measurable characteristic of an individual.
  • Photo Finish - When two horses cross the finish too closely to identify a winner, officials call for a photograph of the race, taken exactly at the finish line, to help them determine the winner.
  • Photosensitization - An allergic reaction to light, usually sunlight. Some plants and other foods, when digested by the horse, have chemicals that cause the horse to have a reaction as well. The skin burns, blisters, weeps, cracks, and may even peal off. Nasty lesions appear, as well.
  • Physis - Plural physes. The "growth plate" at the end of the long bones (such as the cannon bone) that lets the bone grow in length.
  • Piaffe - Dressage movement similar to the passage. However, there is not any forward movement.
  • Piebald - A spotted horse that is black and white in color. Appaloosa horses are not included.
  • Pin Firing - Thermocautery used to increase blood flow to the leg to promote healing.
  • Pin Worms - These are small thread-like worms that are found to live in the rectum of the horse. They cause the horse to rub his tail and to stamp his hind legs.
  • Pinchers - Also called pull offs a farrier tool used to remove shoes, nail stubs and improperly driven nails. They can also be used to turn the clinches. Some types of pinchers can also be used as nail cutters and others can be used as shoe spreaders. Pull offs have knobs on the ends of the handles to make them distinguishable from nippers at a glance.
  • Piroplasmosis - A tick borne disease caused by two different protozoans. There is no vaccine to prevent this disease. Tick control is the best preventative measure. Mortality rate is about 10% to 15%. Symptoms include fever, depression, anemia, thirst, tearing eyes, and swollen eye lids. The urine is an off color of yellow or reddish in color.
  • Pirouette - Advanced dressage movement in which the horse pivots on his hind legs; the forelegs make a complete circle around them.
  • PMU - PMU stands for pregnant mare's urine, which is used to make hormone replacement drugs for women. Drugs such as Premarin, PremPro and PremPhase are taken by millions of women every day.
  • Plantar - Pertaining to the sole of the foot or back of the hind limb from the hock down.
  • Plantar Ligament - The large ligament that is below and behind the hock joint.
  • Pneumonia - Lung inflammation. This disease can be caused by a bacteria, virus, or combination of both. Symptoms include fever 102-105 degrees farenheit, nasal discharge, loss of appetite, difficulty breathing, chest pains, and lung congestion. Prompt treatment is imperative.
  • Pointing - Usually a sign of pain. The horse holds his front leg out and tries not to put any weight on it. Also a hind foot can be pointed or cocked as well. However, when seen with the hind foot it is usually a resting position.
  • Pole bending - A Western competition. The horse and rider do a slalom race around poles which is timed.
  • Poll - The area between the horse's ears at the top of the head.
  • Poll evil - Inflamed area caused by bruising in the poll area. The swelling usually contains puss and may drain. Healing is very slow and difficult.
  • Pommel - The front of the saddle.
  • Pony - 14.2 hh and under.
  • Pony a horse (ride and lead) - A mounted rider leads another horse, with the reins or a lead rope. The horse being led has no rider.
  • Poppers - Anti-snowball pads, sometimes known as "poppers," have a hollow, convex dome or "bubble" in the middle. As snow packs in and pushes against the dome, the dome pushes back and "pops" the snow out before it can accumulate.
  • Port - An arc in the center of a bit with a straight bar. The higher the port the more severe the bit. It acts on the roof of the horse's mouth.
  • Positive Reinforcement - The use of a reward when training. Sweet tones, treats, strokes (not pats) or anything that your horse likes can be used for positive reinforcement when your horse gives you the response that you want.
  • Post-legged - Insufficient angle to the hock. Their hind leg is straight up and down. These horses lack flexion in the hock, tend to be rough to ride, and lack ability to collect.
  • Post Position - Generally, the closer a horse starts to the inside rail, or barrier of the track, especially on smaller tracks, the better its chance of winning. At the start, horses must either "leave" (start quickly) to get a good position or else find a place on the rail to avoid racing on the outside of other horses. When racing on the outside the horse is said to be parked out and loses ground on every turn. A horse on the inside has a better chance to get to the rail or quickly get a good position.
  • Post Time - The starting time of a race.
  • Potomac Fever - Caused by E.risticii, Potomac Fever is an acute and often fatal disease of horses and has been recognized in the United States since 1979. Some symptoms are diarrhea, no appetite, malaise. A vaccine is available. I give a my horses several boosters through the year. Maryland and Virginia are right on the Potomac River.
  • Posterior - Situated behind or toward the rear.
  • Pritchel - A pritchel is a type of punch used in forging, particularly in making nail holes in horseshoes. The horseshoe is heated and a hole is punched through 90 percent of the steel with a forepunch or drift punch. Then the punched hole is lined up over the pritchel hole and the pritchel is driven into the hole, knocking out the remaining metal at the bottom of the punched hole.
  • Progesterone - A hormone found in both males and females. In the uterine endometrium, progesterone stimulates the development of the glands and tissues required for maintaining the pregnancy. Circulating progesterone reaching the brain acts to inhibit the release of lutienizing hormone (LH) from the pituitary. Progesterone changes the mare's behavioral pattern into that typical of diestrus. The mare is unusual in that she will not show signs of estrus as long as progesterone is circulating in her system, regardless of the amount of estrogen present. Extension Males make progesterone. They need it to make their testosterone and for the adrenal glands to make cortisone.
  • ProtoArab - Any one of a number of ancient breeds that contributed to the development of the Arabian horse.
  • Proud flesh - When an injury occurs on the limbs sometimes there is the formation of excessive granulation tissue. This interferes with healing, as the epithelial cells cannot migrate over the proud flesh to create a new skin covering. Once proud flesh is present, it must be removed surgically.

  • Proximal - A location toward the attached end of a limb. Example: The proximal end of the cannon bone connects with the knee or toward the body. Example: The proximal cannon region is the upper portion of the cannon bone.
  • Proud Flesh - This is a tumor like mass of granulation tissue that is found in the healing process of certain wounds on the legs of horses.
  • Pulled Suspensory - Suspensory ligament injury (suspensory desmitis) in which some portion of the fibers of the ligament have been disrupted and some loss of support of the distal limb may have occurred.
  • Puller - A horse who takes the bit or pulls the reins out of your hands. These horses area difficult to halt.
  • Pulling (mane or tail) - Plucking hair from the underside of the mane or the sides of the tail. This is done to improve appearence for showing or fox hunting. It gives the horse a well "turned out" or "finished look."
  • Puncture wounds - Dangerous wounds. They may look small but might be deep. These wounds are usually caused by nails, stakes, wire, or thorns., etc.

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Q

  • Qualifier - A race in which a horse must go a mile below an established time standard to prove itself capable of competing in pari-mutuel races.
  • Quarter Crack - Quarter cracks are a common cause of foot lameness and/or decreased athletic performance in race and sport horses. They typically originate at the coronary band and continue distally. They are full thickness, extending into the dermis of the hoof, which leads to instability, inflammation and/or infection. Quarter cracks are painful due to infection and/or the result of instability caused by movement of the hoof wall posterior to the crack. The vertical movement of the heel bulb on the affected side further complicates this instability. Causes of quarter cracks may include trauma to the coronary band, preexisting damage to the corium from infection, abnormal hoof conformation; especially the long toe under run heel, focal foot imbalances, short shoes or an abnormal landing pattern when the foot strikes the ground.
  • Quarter Crack - This is a crack found in the wall of the hoof in the area of the quarter. It usually runs from the bottom of the wall up to the coronet.
  • Quarter White Stocking (Leg Markings) - The white marking extends up to and includes the lower one-quarter of the cannon.
  • Quartering - Cleaning up a horse in the stable.
  • Quicked - This means that the farrier has accidentally misplaced a nail into the laminar corium (the living tissue immediately beneath the hoof wall). There usually is a trace of blood where the nail exits the hoof wall. Bleeding is one of the body's defense mechanisms to dilute or eliminate bacterial contamination.
  • Quittor - A deep seated sore that drains at the coronet.

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R

  • Rabies - A horse is bitten by a rabid animal and develops symptom such as personality change, lack of appetite (cannot swallow or drink) uncoordinated. Some horse become vicious and some do not. Horses should be vaccinated against rabies yearly.
  • Radiograph - The picture or image on film generated by x-rays.
  • Rank - A stallion that is mean, however, it can apply to any horse that aggressively misbehaves.
  • Rasp - A rasp is used to make a level bearing surface after the hoof has been trimmed with the nippers and to dress a distorted or flaring foot. One side is coarse for rapid removal of horn or steel. The other side is fine for smooth finishing work. Horse Industry Handbook
  • Red corn - A roan horse with appaloosa markings.
  • Rhinopneumonitis - A viral infection passed from horse to horse and similar to the flu.
  • Ridgling - A male horse with one or both testicles not descended into the scrotal sac.
  • Right rein - Moving to the right.
  • Ringbone - A bony enlargement of the pastern bones. It can occur either low on the coronet or high above the coronet.
  • Ringworm - Caused by a fungus. They appear as small reddish, round lesions and appear to be covered with small scales. The hair breaks off just above the skin level. Older lesions may heal in the center, but the edges remain active. Ringworm is highly contagious. There are several types. Humans can also contract it. Be very careful when treating ringworm! Use plastic gloves.
  • Roan - A horse color where the majority of the coat of the horse is a mixture of red and white hairs or brown and white hairs. The mane, tail and legs may be black, chestnut or roan unless white markings are present. Starting with foals of 1993, the color classifications gray and roan were combined as "roan or gray."
  • Roaring (Laryngeal Hemiplegia) or Whistling - A whistling sound made by a horse during inhalation while exercising. It is caused by a partial or total paralysis of the nerves controlling the muscles which elevate the arytenoid cartilages which thereby open the larynx. In severe cases, a surgical procedure known as "tie-back surgery" (laryngoplasty) is performed, in which a suture is inserted through the cartilage to hold it out of the airway permanently. Paralysis almost exclusively occurs on the left side, most frequently in horses over 16 hands high.
  • Roaching - A term used to describe the manner in which a mane can be clipped. The mane is cut close to the back of the horse's neck to simulate a mohawk. This is seen on Quarter Horses most often.
  • Rollback - The horse immediately, without hesitation, performs a 180-degree turn after halting from a sliding stop, and immediately goes forward again into a lope. The horse must turn on its hindquarters, bringing its hocks well under, and the motion should be continuous with no hesitation
  • Romal - A type of long quirt attached to the end of a set of closed reins that are connected to the bridle of a horse. It is not to be used to strike a horse, but rather was a tool used to assist in moving cattle. A romal is usually made of leather or rawhide, is about four to five feet long, flexible and somewhat heavy, to prevent excess swinging and to aid control.
  • Rostral - That part of the structure located closer to the nose (rostrum). Example: The eyes are rostral to the ears.
  • Roughage - Roughages are feedstuffs that are high in fiber such as pasture and hay.
  • Round Worms (Ascarids) - These are long, white, round worms that live in the intestine of the horse. They cause colic and interfere with the digestion of food.
  • Rundown - The horse gallops or"runs" along the long side of the arena, at least 20 feet from the fence or rail. A rundown is a required movement prior to a sliding stop or a rollback.
  • Rundown Bandages Bandages on the hind legs, usually with a pad inside, to keep a horse from scraping his heels when he runs.
  • Run in shed - Shelter in a field or pasture provided for the horse.
  • Runners - Leather loops that are used to keep the straps of the bridle in place. They slide up and down.
  • Run up light - Because of slackness over his loins and a marked space between his last rib and hip bone, the horse loses condition after work and resembles a greyhound.
  • Run up a stirrup iron - Slide the iron to the top of the leather strap. This is done to prevent the iron from banging the horse in the sides.

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S

  • Sacking Out - A term used to describe getting a horse use to external stimuli that might otherwise be scary to him. This can be everything from gun shots, dogs, birds, bikes, balloons, garbage cans, etc. The sky is the limit.
  • Sacrifice Areas - Confined areas where the horses are kept when not at grass. Sacrifice areas help to protect overgrazing of pasture. During time of extreme draught or excessive rain the horses can be confined to these areas to protect the pastures, as well.
  • Saddle Pad - A piece of felt, sheepskin, or more usually, foam rubber, used as a base for the saddle.
  • Sagittal Plane - Any plane parallel to the median plane. Example: A plane dividing the right and left sides of a hoof.
  • Sandcrack - A crack in the wall of the hoof down from the coronet band. Cracks in the toe of a dry and brittle hoof. They may run in the direction of the coronet an inch or two.
  • Saucer (Fracture) - Stress fracture of the front of the cannon bone that can be straight or curved.
  • Savage - When a horse bites another horse or a person.
  • Scalae - Predecessors of stirrups.
  • Scalded back - Heat and sweat on the back that cases blistering, inflammation and soreness. This is due to rubbing of the saddle.
  • Scope - The athletic ability of the horse.
  • Scratch - The removal of a horse from a race after its entry has been accepted.
  • Scratches (mud fever, dew poisoning, grease heel) - An irritation of the skin caused by wet and mud. Most prevalent in cold wet months. The skin on the back of the pasters, bulbs of the foot, legs and stomach may become tender and scaly. Usually this happens because humans are neglectful of their horse.
  • Screw Fixation - A procedure in which steel-alloy screws are surgically inserted to hold together a fractured bone.
  • Seedy toe - An infection of the foot that generally appears at the toe. A separation of sensitive and insensitive laminae.
  • Sensitive Laminae - The area of the hoof that contains nerves and vessels.
  • Seroconvert/seroconversion - An animal who was previously negative, but then tests positive for antibody presence in the blood.
  • Seropositive - An animal who tests positive for the presence of antibodies against a disease in its blood.
  • Sesamoid Bones - Small bones attached to the cannon and pastern by ligaments.
  • Sesamoid (Fracture) - Fracture of the sesamoid bone. Fractures can be small chips or involve the entire bone. Surgical repair is often done by arthroscopy.
  • Sesamoiditis - The sesamoids are two pyramidal shaped bones found at the rear of the fetlock joint. The act as a pulley for the flexor tendons. When they become arthritic and become coated with mineral deposits, the condition is know as sesamoiditis.
  • Settles - The horse relaxes or is less hyped.
  • Shank - Rope or strap attached to a halter or bridle by which a horse is led.
  • Shelly Feet (Hooves) - Horses can have cracks that come up from the bearing surface of the hoof, flare out, and have separations. Generally, these horses have soft unhealthy hooves. This is referred to as "shelly feet." The number one problem in these horses is that they are experiencing too much moisture and/or the recurrent theme of severe moisture and with already poor quality feet. This will traumatize the hooves enough to make poor feet poorer!
  • Shock Wave Therapy - Extracorporeal shock wave therapy (ESWT) is a noninvasive modality used to stimulate healing, particularly in ligament, tendon, or boney structures in horses and other species. Although the exact mechanism of ESWT is not yet fully understood, ESWT has been proven to speed healing and improve the quality of healing.
  • Sidebone - Side Bone - This is an ossification of the lateral cartilages that are located just above the quarters of the hoof. It is seldom seen in thoroughbreds and is generally considered a disease of old horses or horses who have been shoed improperly.
  • Signalments - Natural markings and colors. on the horse: body color, head markings, eye color, leg markings, chestnuts, cowlicks or whorls, scars and blemishes. These should be recorded and may be used for identification purposes.
  • Simple (Fracture) - A fracture along a single line which does not penetrate the skin.
  • Sinusitis - This is an infection of one or more sinuses in the head causing a foul smelling nasal discharge to appear.
  • Sire - The father of a horse.
  • Sires Stakes - Stake races designed to promote Standardbred breeding and racing within a jurisdiction. Eligibility to compete in the Sires Stakes events depends upon the rules of the jurisdiction.
  • Skewbald - A spotted horse whose color is other than black and white. For example: white and brown, white and gray, white and etc. The horse can be tri-colored with some black. Appaloosa horses are not included.
  • Skijoring - A winter competition that is done on snow. A horse is outfitted with long straps, or a rope, that attaches to the saddle. A rider impels the horse forward to pull a skier behind.
  • Skin Flinching - When evaluating for neurological problems in a horse look for nerve reflexes or skin flinching from the prodding.

  • Slab (Fracture) - A fracture in a bone in a joint that extends from one articular surface to another. Most often seen in the third carpal bone of the knee.
  • Sliding Plates - Shoes used on the back feet of reining horses to help them slide across the ground while they are in the sliding stop. Sliders should be long and U-shaped. The toe should be round and rolled slightly. The shoe heel should be extended back to the end of the hoof bulbs. An important feature of sliding plates is that the inside heel should be narrower and longer than the outside heel. Horse Industry Handbook
  • Sliding Stop - The horse goes from a gallop immediately to a complete halt, planting its hind feet in the footing and allowing its hind feet to slide several feet, while continuing to let its front feet "walk" forward. The back should be raised upward and hindquarters come well underneath. A particularly powerful stop may, depending on arena conditions, produce flying dirt and a cloud of dust. The movement should finish in a straight line, and the horse's position should not change. This movement is a crowd favorite, along with spins.
  • Slobbers - Excessive salivation that does not hurt the horse.
  • Snaffle - A type of bit.
  • Snip - A small patch of white hairs on the nose or lips of a horse. (Head Marking) A separate white or flesh colored marking found between the nostrils or on the lips.
  • Snowballs - Snow packs into the hoof and accumulates. Your horse might literally end up walking with small mounds of snow under each hoof as though he were on stilts. Besides being uncomfortable, those snowballs can lead to instability and put your horse at risk for damaging slips and falls. Adding regular pads, anti-snowball pads, or rim pads to your horse's shoes can help prevent trouble.
  • Socks - Solid white markings on a horse extending from the top of the hoof to the ankles.
  • Sole Bruise - Sole bruises are caused by trauma from a sharp object or excessive weight bearing of the sole on rocky ground. They appear as red spots or specks on the sole and frog and vary in size due to the extent of the blood vessels affected in the sensitive structures. A bruised sole can be protected by shoeing with a pad and a flat concave shoe.
  • Sound - Reference to a horse without any major physical problems.
  • Spavin, bone spavin - A bony enlargement on the lower part of the inside of the hock.
  • Spayed Mare - A neutered female horse of any age.
  • Spins or Pivots - Beginning from a standstill, the horse spins 360 degrees or more (up to four full turns) in place around its stationary inside hind leg. The hind pivot foot must remain in essentially the same location throughout the spin, though the horse will pick it up and put it down as it turns. Spins are judged on speed, accuracy and smoothness. A pattern requires at least one set of spins in each direction. Precision is particularly critical: A horse that moves out of position or stops with even one foot a few inches from the center line from which it began will be penalized.
  • Spiral (Fracture) - Fracture that spirals around bone.
  • Splay- footed - The toes and knees should point straight forward, although this rarely occurs. There are several possible deviations from the ideal front column of bone as viewed from the front. These deviations can affect movement and performance. Horses that have toes that point outward (toed-out) are called splay-footed. These splay-footed horses travel with an inward hoof flight path referred to as winging or dishing in.
  • Splints - Bony growths that appear, usually on young horses, on the splint bone, cannon bone, inside fore leg, outside hind leg, or knee. They are generally caused by concussion. The horse may go lame or show signs of soreness. Generally that passes and there is seldom ongoing problems. Either of the two small bones that lie along the sides of the cannon bone or the condition where calcification occurs on the splint bone causing a bump. This can result from response to a fracture or other irritation to the splint bone. A common injury is a "popped splint."
  • Square - Refers to a horse that is standing with feet squarely on the ground with weight equally distributed on all four feet. Also, refers to the "way of going" on gaited horses. Is a horse smooth and going square or is he rough and too pacey?
  • Square Gaiting - Another term describing the gait of a trotter. When trotting or square gaiting, a horse stretches its left front and right rear legs forward almost simultaneously and then follows suit with its right front and left rear legs.
  • Stakes Race - A race where owners make a series of payments, starting well in advance, to keep a horse eligible. If an owner misses a payment, the horse is ineligible.
  • Stale - To urinate.
  • Stall Kicking - This behavior involves a horse habitually kicking or pawing the walls and/or floor of its stall. This behavior often intensifies near feeding time.
  • Stall Walker - Horse that moves about its stall constantly and frets rather than rests.
  • Stallion or an entire - An uncastrated male horse. Reference is sometimes to a male horse four years of age or older.
  • Star - A white mark on the forehead.
  • Starter - The person responsible for starting a harness race. The starter controls the start of the race from the back of the mobile starting gate.
  • Staring coat - A coat that has no shine and stands up instead of lying flat. This is usually a sign that the horse is sick, has poor nutrition, or is cold.
  • Steal a Ride - A term that refers to the act of longeing a horse to tire him out before riding. The rider is said to "steal a ride."
  • Stifle - Joint between the femur and tibia (similar to knee in humans) On the hind legs of a horse.
  • Stifled - The joint at the top and to the front of the hind leg. This is like the human knee. The platella of the stifle joint becomes displaced. Sometimes the horse's tendons hitch or catch. The horse's leg sticks straight out behind it and cannot be flexed when it catches. Sometimes the hind leg will point backwards just above the ground, or drag. The vet can manipulate the leg to free it. The farrier can put pads on the hind feet to raise up the leg about 3 degrees. This helps often. An operation can be done that sometimes alleviates or fixes the problem. However, sometimes it does not.
  • Stirrups - Metal "D" shaped rings into which a jockey places his/her feet. They can be raised or lowered depending on the jockey's or rider's preference. Also known as "irons."
  • Stockings - Solid white markings or a horse extending from the top of the hoof to the knee or hock.
  • Stocking up - Two or more of a horse's legs that are swollen from fluid retention. Usually from the coronary band to the fetlock joint. Front and hind legs are affected. Not just one leg affected. If only one leg swollen that is usually another problem.
  • Stone bruise (bruised sole) - Damage to the horn of the sole and deeper sensitive part underneath. Stones, other objects, and hard ground are often the culprits that cause damage.
  • Straight shoulder - Conformationally this is when the shoulder line to the withers is straight instead of sloping well back.
  • Strangles - A contagious disease mainly seen in young horses.
  • Stress (Fracture) - A fracture produced by the stress created by a repetitive loading cycle on the bone, commonly found in athletic training. Usually seen in the front of the cannon bone as a severe form of bucked shins. Also seen in the tibia and causes a hard-to-diagnose hind limb lameness.
  • Strike off - The first step of the canter.
  • Stringhalt - An involuntary flexion of the hock during progression. Surgery can often cure this by removing part of the tendon of the lateral digital extensor.
  • Strip - A narrow white mark down the face.
  • Stripe - A white marking running down a horse's face, starting under an imaginary line connecting the tops of the eyes.
  • Suckling - A foal in its first year of life, while it is still nursing.
  • Sulky - Also known as the cart or racebike, the sulky is attached to the harness and carries the driver which the horse pulls.
  • Sulci - Look at the underside of the horses's foot. The grooves on either side of the frog are called the sulci.
  • Superficial Flexor Tendon - Present in all four legs, but injuries most commonly affect the front legs. Located on the back (posterior) of the front leg between the knee and the foot and between the hock and the foot on the rear leg. The function is to flex the digit (pastern) and knee (carpus) and to extend the elbow on the front leg and extend the hock on the rear leg. Functions in tandem with the deep flexor tendon.
  • Superior Check Ligament - Fibrous band of tissue that originates above the knee and attaches to the superficial flexor tendon. Primary function is support of this tendon. Accessory ligament of the superficial flexor tendon.
  • Supplements - Dietary Supplements are products containing one or more of the following ingredients: vitamins, minerals, fats, proteins, herbs, or other botanicals. They are often used to balance rations to make up for feed source deficiencies. Some areas, such as Virginia where my horses are kept, lack certain minerals in the soil. Our area is lacking in selenium so it is often given in supplement form to help prevent tying-up.
  • Surcingle - A girth, strap, or belt that goes around the horse's blanket to keep it in place. Usually it is sewn in.
  • Suspensory Ligament - Originates at the back of the knee (front leg) and the back of the top part of the cannon bone (hind leg), attaching to the sesamoid bones. The lower portion of the ligament attaches the lower part of the sesamoid bones to the pastern bones. Its function is to support the fetlock. The lower ligaments that attaches the sesamoid bone to the pastern bones are the distal sesamoidean ligaments.
  • Suspensory Ligament Strain - The suspensory ligament is a broad ligament that lies behind the cannon bone and splits into two branches a few inches above the fetlock joint, attaches to the outside of the sesamoids and ends in front of the pastern as part of the extensor tendon. It supports the fetlock joint. When it is injured, it becomes thickened and inflamed and loses its shape. Often a fractured splint bone will be found to be the cause of the injury.
  • Swan neck - A long, smooth neck that forms an S-curve. This allows the horse to flex at the poll. The horse usually has a smoother gaits because shoulder movement is improved.
  • Sweeny - Any group of atrophied muscles because of lack of use or lack of nerve supply. Often this associated with the shoulder, but not restricted to it.
  • Sweet itch - Irritable condition of the skin on the crest, withers and croup region. It is believed that the cause is a midge bite.
  • Swingy - A term often used to describe a "gaited" horse's "way of going" or how the horse moves in his gaits. The horse is pacey in his gaits, not square. The gait is not as smooth for the rider as it should be.
  • Synchronous Diaphragmatic Flutter - A contraction of the diaphragm in synchrony with the heart beat after strenuous exercise. Affected horses have a noticeable twitch or spasm in the flank area which may cause an audible sound, hence the term "thumps." Most commonly seen in electrolyte-depleted/exhausted horses. The condition resolves spontaneously with rest.
  • Synovitis - Inflammation of a synovial structure, typically a synovial sheath.
  • Synovial Fluid - Lubricating fluid contained within a joint, tendon sheath or bursa.
  • Synovial Joint - A movable joint that consists of articulating bone ends covered by articular cartilage held together with a joint capsule and ligaments and containing synovial fluid in the joint cavity.
  • Synovial Sheath - The inner lining of a tendon sheath that produces synovial fluid. Allows ease of motion for the tendons as they cross joints.
  • Swayback - Horse with a prominent concave shape of the backbone, usually just behind the withers (saddle area). Scoliosis.

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T

  • Tack - Gear used to ride a horse (ie., saddle, bridle, pad, etc.)
  • Tack Room - The tack room can be small or large. It can house all the riding equipment, be a meeting place for those who own and work with the horses; often the tack room also has an office, kitchen area and bathroom. The tack room should be dry, free of dust and clean.
  • Tack up - Put on the saddle, bridle, and other gear necessary when riding a horse.
  • Taki - Mongolian name for the 66-chromosome horse.
  • Teasing - Used in the breeding process. A stallion is brought in to determine how receptive the mare is to breed. The stallion is called a "teaser." Often a stallion that is not actually going to be bred is used to tease. If the mare's response is positive and receptive, the breeding stallion is brought in to do his job.
  • Tendons - Tough, elastic, connective tissue that attaches muscle to bone and gives support to the joints.
  • Tetanus (lockjaw) - An extremely serious disease that is caused by a germ that lives in the soil, on rusty nails, etc. Vaccinations should be given every year to prevent this. Horses seem to be more prone to tetanus than most animals.
  • Thoroughpin - Soft swelling in front of the point of the hock which can sometimes be pushed from one side of the leg to the other.
  • Thermography - Diagnostic technique utilizing instrumentation that measures temperature differences. Records the surface temperature of a horse. Unusually hot or cold areas may be indicative of some underlying pathology (deviation from the normal).
  • The Stick - A slang term for the whip used by drivers or jockeys.
  • Thoroughbred - A Thoroughbred is a horse whose parentage traces back to any of the three "founding sires" the Darley Arabian, Byerly Turk and Godolphin Barb, and who has satisfied the rules and requirements of The Jockey Club and is registered in "The American Stud Book" or in a foreign stud book recognized by The Jockey Club and the International Stud Book Committee. Any other horse, no matter what its parentage, is not considered a Thoroughbred for racing and/or breeding purposes.
  • Throat Latch - Upper part of horse's throat.
  • Thrush - The cleft of the frog becomes diseased by many organisms. Spherophorus necrophorus is the most common. A foul odor can often be detected. There may be a black discharge. Thrush is the destruction of the frog by anaerobic bacteria. It is most commonly in the commissure or sulcus. If the thrush infection is severe enough, it may penetrate the sensitive structure in the hoof and form an abscess. It is often compared to athlete's foot in humans.
  • Thumps - A contraction of the diaphragm in synchrony with the heart beat after strenuous exercise. Affected horses have a noticeable twitch or spasm in the flank area which may cause an audible sound, hence the term "thumps." Most commonly seen in electrolyte-depleted/exhausted horses. The condition resolves spontaneously with rest. This is also called synchronous diaphragmatic flutter.
  • Ticks - Horses attract ticks. There are three major types. There is a winter tick found in the Northern and Western states. The Pacific Coast ticks are found in the coastal areas. Spinose ear ticks are found in the arid and semiarid regions of the West and Southwest. Ticks cause drooping ears, head shaking, itching, rubbing, biting of the affected areas, and excessive ear wax. Ticks need to be removed. They carry diseases such as Lyme Disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, Colorado tick fever, and can transmit piroplasmosis.
  • Time Trial - An attempt to have a horse beat its own best time in a non-competitive event. A time trial is not a race. Galloping horses hitched to sulkies, called prompters, are used to push a horse to its best effort.
  • Timothy hay - "One of the most popular hays fed to horses. It can be quite expensive, depending on whether it has to be shipped long distances. Timothy must be harvested in the pre- or early-bloom stage to ensure a high nutrient content. The first cutting usually has a higher weed content, and quality decreases after the second cutting, so the second cutting is usually the best to feed." (eXtension)
  • Titer - "A titer is a measurement of the amount or concentration of a substance in a solution. It usually refers to the amount of medicine or antibodies found in a patient's blood... Antibodies are a type of protein. They are produced by the immune system in response to foreign substances that may be a threat to the body -- such as chemicals, virus particles, spores, or bacterial toxins. (These foreign substances are called antigens.) Each type of antibody is unique and defends the body against one specific type of antigen."
  • Toe In - A conformation flaw in which the front of the foot faces in and looks pigeon-toed, often causing the leg to swing outward during locomotion ("paddling").
  • Toed-out - The same as splay-footed. A conformation flaw in which the front of the foot faces out, often causing the leg to swing inward during locomotion ("winging"). Winging is a more serious fault than paddling because if the condition is severe enough, interference between the supporting and striding legs and feet may occur.
  • Torn wounds - A tear in the flesh.
  • Torsion - A twist in the intestine.
  • Tote Board - An electronic board, usually in the infield of a racetrack, which posts the odds, amount of money bet, results of a race and the wagering pay offs.
  • Toxemia - A poisoning sometimes due the absorption of bacterial products (endotoxins) formed at a local source of infection

  • TPR - An abbreviation for temperature, pulse, and respiration. Adult horse temperature is 99.5 to 101.5 degrees F. An adult horse has a heart rate of about 32 to 36 beats per minute. The normal respiratory rate for an audit horse, at rest, is eight to 12 breaths per minute.
  • Transverse Plane - Passes through the head, trunk, or limb perpendicular to the part's long axis. Example: An ultrasound image gives a transverse view of the limb.
  • Trapped Epiglottis - Condition, correctable by surgery, in which a flap of tissue interferes with a horse's breathing.
  • Trapping, Trap - To adorn a horse with outward dress. Outward decoration or dress: ornamental equipment.
  • Tree - The foundation upon which the saddle is built. Usually it is wood. Sometimes metal is used.
  • Troping - A 4-beat lope or canter: the hind legs go down first, then the fronts...so for the left lead it would be right hind, left hind, right front, left front, with very little or no moment of suspension in between. A four-beat lope looks very flat and the horse will not have much bob to its head either. A good lope will have a round horse and be 3-beat.
  • Trot - A two-beated gait, that is faster than walking, diagonal feet move together. In English riding there is a sitting trot and the posting trot. The trot is a two beat diagonal gait where the horse's legs work in paired diagonals. The pattern of this two beat diagonal gait may be as follows: right hind and left front then left hind and right front or left hind and right front then right hind and left front. Western riders may call the sitting trot a jog. Trotting is also a A slang term for harness racing in general. It also describes the gait of a "trotter" also called see square gaiting.
  • Tubing - Inserting a nasogastric tube through a horse's nostril into its stomach for the purpose of providing oral medication.
  • Turn on the forehand - A schooling movement. When the horse turns on the forehand, the hindlegs step around the forehand. They step in front of each other and in that way step a tad closer to the front hooves. Turn on the forehand

  • Turn on the hindquarters - The frontlegs step around the hindquarters, but as they do so they step in front of each other and thus further away from the hindquarters. Turn on the hindquarters
  • Turn out - To let the horse out to grass. This can also mean overall appearance of the horse. It also means to saddle up a horse and get it ready to be worked. Turn Out can also beman to send a horse to the farm for pasturing and rest.
  • Tush - In the male horse a tooth behind the corner tooth on each side of the upper and lower jaws.
  • Twitch - A restraining device usually consisting of a stick with a loop of rope or chain at one end, which is placed around a horse's upper lip and twisted, releasing endorphins that relax a horse and curb its fractiousness while it is being handled.
  • Two Year Old - The second year of life after birth.
  • Tying Up - Cramping up of a horse's large muscles. Azorturia, set fast, and Monday morning disease are other names often used for this syndrome which actually are two metabolic disorders. They are a condition where the muscles of the horse become hard, tense and painful. Axorturia is also called "Monday morning disease" and technically known as "paralytic myoglobinuria." Often the horse will sweat profusely. Sometimes he will be unable to move as in "tying up." Extreme pain can also cause the horse to colic and die. Sometimes the horse's urine will look dark brown or red. This is due to the release of myoglobin (red pigment of muscle tissue) when the muscle tissue fibers break down. It is thought that a lack of selenium and vitamin E can be a cause as well as a genetic predisposition. Horses who have this metabolic disorder should not be given grain. Call the vet immediately.

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U

  • Ultrasound - Diagnostic ultrasound is a technique which uses ultrasonic waves to image internal structures. Therapeutic ultrasound a therapy to create heat and stimulate healing.
  • Umbilical Hernia - An opening in the body wall at the navel that does not close normally. This results in the presence of a sack into which the intestines may fall.
  • Under run sole - Pain in the sensitive structures of the foot. Usually there is a wound of some sort. Often it infects.
  • Unmade mouth - Due to lack of training the horse does not respond to the bit aids.
  • Upside-down neck - Heavy fat deposits and muscling on the underside of the neck. See cresty neck for predisposed unsoundness.
  • Unsound - Refers to a horse who has major physical problems for one reason or another. This usually means the horse should not be purchased for work. Depending on the problem, and the animal's lineage, it might be used for breeding. An injury or abnormality that affects the horse's serviceability.
  • Uveitis (periodic ophthalmia or moon blindness) - Equine recurrent uveitis (ERU), also known as periodic ophthalmia or moon blindness, can arise out of many triggers: bacteria (usually leptospira), virus, infection, injury, glaucoma, corneal ulcers, parasites and more; however, one specific cause remains unknown. Veterinary ophthalmologists believe it may also be an immune-related disease, where the horse’s own cells attack the eye.

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V

  • Vee (Venezuelan Equine Encephalomyelitis) - A highly contagious disease affecting the central nervous system that can cause illness or death in horses and humans.
  • Ventral - Anatomy toward the belly (venter). Example: The stallion's reproductive organs are ventral to his flank.
  • Veterinarian Commission - The commission (or board) veterinarian, sometimes referred to as the state veterinarian, is usually appointed by the state racing commission. This person serves as professional adviser and consultant to the State Racing Commission on veterinary matters including all regulatory aspects of the application and practice of veterinary medicine at the track. Association Sometimes referred to as the track veterinarian, this person is employed by the racing association and serves as a professional adviser and consultant to the racing association and its operational staff at the track. Practicing Private practitioner employed by owners and trainers on an individual case or contract basis.
  • Vetting - When purchasing a horse it is really important to have a horse vet come out to check the horse for potential illnesses, unsoundness, vices, and any other problems.
  • Vice - A vice is an abnormal, developed behavior that may affect the horse's health or usefulness. Some vices include cribbing, stall walking, weaving, wood chewing, and stall kicking.
  • Vocal Folds - The membranes attached to the arytenoid cartilages in the larynx. Vibration produces vocalization.
  • Volar Neurectomy (High Nerved) - This operation is performed on the volar nerve that lies between the bottom of the knee and the fetlock joint. Horses that have been high nerved are barred at most race tracks.

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W

  • Walk - The walk is four beat gait where each foot hits the ground independently. The pattern of this four beat walk may be as follows: right front, left hind, left front, right hind or right hind, right front, left hind, left front. In park seat or saddle seat the gaited horse people may refer to the walk as a "dog walk, flat walk, or running walk."
  • Wall eye - One which shows white or blueish white coloring in place of the normal coloration. Wall eyes or "Appy eyes" tend to be more prone to problems.
  • Warbles - The maggot of a warble fly bores a hole in the skin of the horse, hatches and pops out.
  • Warts - Frequently appear around the horse's lips, muzzle, thighs and prepuse (foreskin). They area contagious to humans and other horses because warts are caused by a virus. A vaccine is available for treatment.
  • Wasp-waisted - Horses who are lacking depth in the flank.
  • Way of going - How a horse moves. A horse's Action.
  • Weanling - Foals weaned from their mother until they reach their first birthday.
  • Weaving - A nervous habit that cannot be broken. Boredom often is the cause. Other horses tend to copy the behavior. The horse is usually observed rocking from side to side, picking up each foot as he rocks. Usually the horse weaves in a confined space such as his stall. Weaving is a stable vice.
  • Well furnished - A horse that is fit and well muscled.
  • Wind - When working the respiration or breathing of the horse.
  • Windgall and wind puff- A swelling just above and to the sides of the fetlock joint.
  • Wind sucking - (Aerophagia) is the same habit as cribbing. The horse grasps onto any object with its incisor teeth, arches its neck, pulls backward, and swallows air.
  • Winging or Dishing - Deviations of bone structure can predispose horses to less than perfect travel. Horses that stand base wide or toed out travel in inward arcs called "Winging or Dishing." Although winging and paddling are common deviations in horse travel, winging is the more serious fault. If the condition is severe enough, interference between the supporting and striding legs and feet may occur.

  • Wings - The extensions on the sides of a jump. They are usually higher than the fence. This tends to deter the horse from running out. They are also supports for the jump itself.
  • Whistling - This term describes a wheezing sound made by the horse as he runs when he is suffering form an inflammation of the respiratory tract.
  • Withers - The highest part of the back at the base of the neck. Top of the shoulders between the neck and the back.
  • >Wobbler (wobbles) - Spinal cord compression in the neck. The signs are incoordination in the hind legs. Both hind limbs are affected. There is dragging of the toes in the hind end. The horse has trouble changing direction. The horse does not seem to know where his hind feet are. Eventually the horse will fall down when he tries to change direction. True wobblers do not improve. This is a major unsoundness. These horses are really dangerous to ride. It is thought that this condition is genetic. Therefore, these horses should not be used for breeding either.

  • Wobbler Syndrome - Neurological disease clinically associated with general incoordination and muscle weakness. Can be caused by an injury to the spinal cord in the area of the cervical (neck) vertebrae or is associated with malformation of the cervical vertebrae.
  • Wolf Teeth - These are extra teeth found just forward to the first upper molar. They must be extracted, as they are tender and interfere with the metal bit.
  • Wood chewing - One of the most common vices of horses. The habit is dangerous because the horse can swallow splinters. Also is causes abnormal wear and tear on the incisor teeth. Unlike cribbing, these horses are not sucking wind. It is also very expensive for the stable owner.

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Y

  • Yearling - The First year after birth.
  • Yielding - Condition of a turf course with a great deal of moisture. Horses sink into it noticeably.
  • Yoicks -- Used as a cry of encouragement to foxhounds.

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Z

  • Zantac - Trade name for the drug ranitidine, a medication used to treat ulcers.
  • Zoonotic disease - A term which means that a disease can be transmitted to humans. More than 70% of infectious diseases of domestic animals and wildlife can also infect humans.

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