The publications in this collection do
not reflect current scientific knowledge
or recommendations. These texts
represent the historic publishing
record of the Institute for Food and
Agricultural Sciences and should be
used only to trace the historic work of
the Institute and its staff. Current IFAS
research may be found on the
Electronic Data Information Source
site maintained by the Florida
Cooperative Extension Service.
Copyright 2005, Board of Trustees, University
horses and horsemanship
4-H HORSE PROGRAM
4-H HORSE PROGRAM
HORSES AND HORSEMANSHIP
This educational material has been prepared for 4-H use by the Cooperative Extension Services of the
U.S. Department of Agriculture and State Land-Grant Universities in cooperation with the National 4-H
Council and the American Quarter Horse Association.
Trade or brand names used in the publications are used only for the purpose of educational information.
The information given herein is supplied with the understanding that no discrimination is intended and no
endorsement of products or breeds of horses by the Federal Extension Service or State Cooperative
Extension Services is implied, nor does it imply approval of products or breeds of horses to the exclusion
of others which may also be suitable.
This material was originally published by the National 4-H Council, 7100 Connecticut Avenue, Chevy
Chase, Maryland 20815.
Programs and educational materials supported by National 4-H Council; Extension Service, United
States Department of Agriculture; and all Cooperative Extension Services of the State Land-Grant
Universities are available to all persons regardless of race, color, sex, age, religion, national origin or
handicap. All are equal opportunity employers.
Action: How a horse moves its feet and legs as at walk,
Aids: The legs, hands, weight, and voice, as used in
controlling a horse.
Alter: To castrate a horse, to geld.
Amble: A slow, easy pace. The front and rear feet on a
side move in unison.
Appaloosa: A breed of horses characterized by
leopard-spot markings. Developed by the Nez
Appointments: That equipment and clothing used in
Astringent: Drugs that cause contraction of infected
areas, such as tannic acid, alum, and zinc oxide or
Back: To step a horse backward.
Bandy Legs: a horse pigeon-toed on his hind feet with
the points of his hocks turned outward.
Banged tail: Hair of tail cut below the dock or bony
part of the tail.
Barren mare: a mare that is not in foal.
Bearing rein: Neck rein rein pushed against neck in
direction of turn.
Bight of the reins: The part of the reins passing
between thumb and fingers and out the top of the
Bitting rig: a combination of bridle, harness pad and
crupper. Used to teach horse to flex at the poll.
Black points: Mane, tail, and legs black or darker than
rest of horse.
Blemish: Any mark or deformity that diminishes the
beauty but does not affect usefulness.
Bloom: Usually refers to hair that is clean and glossy,
denoting a healthy appearance.
Bosal: That part of hackamore that fits over the nose.
Brand: A mark of identification. A private registered
mark burned (in cheek, shoulder, or hip. A number
burned on upper neck as in army horses.
Temporary brands are made by burning a number
on the hoof, or painting a mark on the skin with
silver nitrate. Brands are now tattooed on inside of
upper lip to avoid disfiguring body.
Broom tail: A western range horse; a poor, ill-kept
horse of uncertain breed.
Buck kneed: knees bent forward.
Bugeyed: Eye protruding; horse usually cannot see
Calf kneed: opposite of buck-kneed. Knees bent
Canter: The Canterbury gallop. A three-beat gait, a
moderate, easy, collected gallop.
Cantle: The back of a saddle.
Cannon: The lower leg bone below knee and below
Castration: Removal of testicles from a male. A
castrated male horse is a gelding.
Cavesson: A noseband on a bridle. A stiff noseband on
a halter used with longer strap in training.
Cavy: A collection of horses.
Cayuse: A general term used to describe a horse of
Center fire: A western saddle with cinch hung from
Chaps; chaparajos: Seatless overalls made of leather,
sometimes fur covered, for protection when riding
in brush or for protection from cold. Also spelled
Chestnuts: The horny growths on inside of horse's leg;
also called night eyes.
Cinch; cincha: A wide cord girth used on western
Chukker: A seven-and-one-half-minute period in a
polo game. (From Hindu meaning a circle").
Coarse: Lacking refinement, rough, harsh appearance.
Cob: A stylish, high-actioned horse used for driving
Cold-blooded: A horse with ancestry from the draft
Collected: Controlled gait; a correct coordinated
Colt: A male foal.
Combination horse: One used for saddle and driving.
Conformation: Structure, form, and symmetrical
arrangement of parts as applied to a horse.
Congenital: An abnormal condition that an animal
possesses at birth, such as hernia.
Coon Footed: Long, sloping pasterns throwing
Corona: Saddle pad cut to fit shape of saddle; has a
large colorful roll around edge.
Coupling: Region of the lumbar vertebrae, loin, or
space between last rib and hip.
Cow-hocked: Hocks close together, feet wide apart.
Crest: Upper, curved part of neck, peculiar to stallions.
Cribbing: Biting or setting teeth against manger or
some other object while sucking air.
Criollo: A breed of South American horses; a small,
sturdy horse used as a cow pony.
Cross: A dark stripe across the shoulders.
Cross reins: Method of holding single reins where
reins overlap in hands across horse's neck.
Croup: Part of the back just in front of base of tail.
Crow hops: Mild bucking motions.
Dam: The female parent of a horse.
Defect: Any mark or blemish that impairs usefulness:
Docked: Bones of the tail cut in shortening the tail.
Dressage: Advanced exercises and training in
Dropped sole: Downward rotation of toe of coffin
bone inside hoof due to chronic founder or
Entire: A stallion.
Equine: of or pertaining to a horse.
Equitation: art of riding horseback, horsemanship.
Ergot: A horny growth behind fetlock joint.
Ewe-necked: Top profile of neck concave like a
female sheep's neck.
Farrier: A horse shoer.
Far side: The right side of a horse.
Favor: To favor: to limp slightly.
Fenders: The wide pieces of leather along the stirrup
Feral: A wild horse. Has escaped from domestication
and become wild, as contrasted to one originating
in the wild.
Fiadore: A special knot on hackamore, exerts pressure
at rear of jaws.
Filly: A female foal up to 3 years.
Five-gaited: a saddle horse trained to perform in five
gaits namely the walk, trot, canter, slow gait, and
Flame: A few white hairs in center of forehead.
Flat-foot: When the angle of the foot is noticeably less
than 45 degrees.
Flat race: A race without jumps.
Floating: Filing of rough, irregular teeth to give a
smoother grinding surface.
Foal: Colt or filly under one year old.
Forefooting: Roping an animal by the forefeet.
Forehand: The fore part of a horse; the forelegs, head,
Founder: Inflammation of the feet causing lameness.
Fox trot: A short-step gait, as when passing from walk
Gaits: The manner of going. The straight gaits are
walk, trot, canter, and gallop. Five-gaited horses
walk, trot, canter, rack and do one of the slow
gaits: Running walk, fox trot, or stepping pace.
Gallop: A three-beat gait resembling the canter but
faster, 12 miles per hour. The extended gallop may
be a four-beat gait and is about 16 miles per hour.
Gaskin: The muscular part of the hind leg above the
Geld: To geld: to cut or castrate a horse.
Gelding: An altered or castrated horse.
Gestation period: The length of time for the
development of the foal from time of breeding,
usually about 11 months.
Get: The progeny of a stallion.
Girth: The measure of the circumference of a horse's
body back of the withers. A leather, canvas, or
corded piece around body of horse to hold saddle
Glass eye: Blue or whitish eye.
Goose-rumped: Having narrow, drooping rump.
Go short: To take short steps, indicative of lameness.
Green horse: One with little training.
Groom: To groom a horse is to clean and brush him.
Groom also refers to person who does this.
Gymkhana: A program of games on horseback.
Hack: A horse ridden to a hunt meet. A pleasure riding
Hackamore: A bitless bridle of various designs used
in breaking and training. (From Spanish word
Hand: A measure of the height of horses: a hand's
breadth equals 4 inches.
Haw: A third eyelid or membrane in front of eye
which removes foreign bodies from the eye.
Head shy: Applied to a horse that is sensitive about the
head: jerks away when touched.
Head stall: The leather bridle straps exclusive of bit
Herd bound: A horse who refuses to leave a group of
High school: Advanced training and exercise of the
Hobble: Straps fastened to the front legs of a horse to
prevent him from straying from camp.
Hogged: Short-cut mane.
Hoof: The foot as a whole in horses. The curved
covering of horn over the foot.
Honda: A ring of rope, rawhide, or metal on a lasso
through which the loop slides.
Horse: General term for an animal of the horse kind.
Horse length: Eight feet; distance between horses in a
Horsemanship: Art of riding the horse and of
understanding his needs.
Jack: A male donkey or ass.
Jaquima: Spanish bridle: a hackamore.
Jockey: The leather flaps on the side of a saddle.
Laminae: The horny-grooved inside of the hoof.
Lariat: From Spanish, la reata, meaning "the rope". A
rope, often of rawhide, with running noose, used
for catching cattle.
Lead: The first stride in the canter.
Lead strap: A strap or rope attached to the halter for
Light horse: Any horse used primarily for riding or
driving: all breeds except draft breeds.
Longe: A strap, rein, or rope about 30 feet long,
attached to halter or cavesson, used in breaking
Mare: A mature female horse.
Martingale: A strap running from the girth between
front legs to the bridle. The standing martingale is
attached to the bit. The running martingale has
rings through which the reins pass.
Maverick: An unbranded stray.
Mecate: a hackamore lead rope.
Mellow hide: Soft, pliable, and easy to handle.
Mule: A cross between a jack and a mare.
Near side: The left side of a horse.
Neat's-foot: An oil made from suet, feet, and bones of
cattle, used for softening leather.
Off side: The right side.
Open behind: Hocks far apart, feet close together.
Orloff: A breed of Russian trotting horses.
Outfit: The equipment of rancher or horseman.
Outlaw: A horse that cannot be broken.
Palatable: Agreeable and pleasing to the taste.
Passenger: One who rides a horse without control,
letting the horse go as he wishes.
Pathological: A diseased condition.
Paunchy: Too much belly.
Pony: A horse under 14.2 hands.
Pointing: Standing with front leg extended more than
normal a sign of lameness.
Poll: The top of a horse's head just back of the ears.
Polochain: A chin chain of flat, large links.
Port: The part of the mouthpiece of a bit curving up
over the tongue.
Posting: The rising and descending of a rider with the
rhythm of the trot.
Pounding: Striking the ground hard in the stride.
Pudgy: Short and thickset.
Pull leather: Holding to the saddle with hands while
riding a bucking horse.
Pulled tail: Hairs of tail thinned by pulling.
Quality: Fineness of texture; freedom from coarseness.
Ray: A black line along the spine. Also called dorsal
Reata: Spanish for lasso.
Registration: Recording an animal from registered
parents in the breed registry association.
Remuda: A collection of saddle horses at a roundup
from which are chosen those used for the day. A
relay of mounts.
Ridgling: A male horse that has retained one or both
testicles in his body cavity.
Reached back: Thin, sharp, arched back.
Reached mane: Mane cut off so part is left standing
Rolling: Side motion of the forehand.
Rowels: The toothed wheels on spurs.
Rubberneck: A horse with a very flexible neck, hard
Running walk: A four-beat gait faster than a walk,
often over 6 miles per hour.
Sacking: To slap a horse with a sack, saddle blanket,
or tarpaulin as a part of gentling and training.
Shank: that portion of the cheek of the bit from the
Sickle-hocked: With a curved, crooked hock.
Side-wheeler: A pacer that rolls the body sidewise as
Single-foot: A term formerly used to designate the
Sire: the male parent of a horse.
Slab sided: flat ribbed.
Snaffle-key bit: A snaffle with small metal pieces
dangling from center used in training colts to the
Sound: Free from any abnormal deviation in structure
or function which interferes with the usefulness of
Spread: To stretch or pose.
Stallion: An unaltered male horse.
Stargazer: A horse that holds his head too high and his
Stud: A place where stallions are kept for breeding.
Stylish: Having a pleasing, graceful, alert, general
Sunfisher: A bucking horse that twists his body in the
Surcingle: A broad strap about the girth, to hold the
blanket in place.
Symmetrical: Proper balance or relationship of all
Tack up: To put on bridle and saddle.
Tapadera: Stirrup cover.
Three-gaited: a saddle horse trained to perform at the
walk trot, and canter.
Thrifty condition: Healthy, active, vigorous.
Traverse or side step: Lateral movement without
forward or backward movement.
Tree: The wooden or metal frame of a saddle.
Tucked up: Thin and cut up in the flank like a
Undershot: protruding under jaw.
Utility: the use to which a horse is designated.
Veterinarian: One who is trained and skilled in the
treating of diseases and injuries of domestic
Vice: An acquired habit that is annoying, or may
interfere with the horse's usefulness, such as
Walk-trot horse: A three-gaited horse: walk, trot, and
Walleyed: Iris of the eye of a light color.
War bridle: An emergency bridle made of rope.
Weanling: a weaned foal.
Wrangling: Rounding up: saddling range horses.
Yeld mare: a mare that did not produce a foal during
the current season.
Additional Horse Terms
The mark of a knowing horseman is the terms and "horse-talk" which he uses frequently and correctly. Learn these
terms and use them correctly.
AGE MALE FEMALE MIXED GROUP
Suckling Colt Filly Foals
Weaning Colt Filly Foals
Yearling Foals or Foals of
Yearling Yearling Colt Yearling Filly
Foals of such and such a
2-year old 2 year Old Colt 2 year Old Filly a
Mature Breeding Animals Horse or Stallion Mare Horses
Mature Non-Breeding .
Mature Non-Breeding Gelding Spayed Mare Horses
A mare is carrying a foal, or in foal, or with foal.
Mare with foal at side or nursing a foal (to be more
specific, use colt or filly).
A mare will foal, or is with foal, to (name of stallion).
The sons and daughters of a mare are her produce.
A foal is by its sire.
A foal is out of its dam.
When a stallion stands for service, he is offered to the
public for breeding purposes. Stallion owners
usually present one of the following terms to the
mare owner when he offers his stallion for stud:
Stud Fee: That charge for breeding services rendered
by a stallion.
Stud Fee Each Service: The mare is not guaranteed to
be with foal and a stud fee is charged for each
Guarantee Foal to stand and suck: Guarantees a live
Return privilege in season: You may bring your mare
back until she is with foal for that breeding season
only. A second fee will be charged after that
current season if the mare is returned.
1. This document is 4HHSG02, one of a series of the 4-H Youth Development Program, Florida Cooperative
Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida. Printed. Please visit the
FAIRS Website at http://hammockifas.ufl.edu.
2. Dean Frischknecht, Oregon State University, Debbie Glauer, member of 4-H Animal Science Design Team,
Department of Family, Youth and Community Science, Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and
Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida, Gainesville, 32611.
.LI, UNIVERSITY OF
Cooperative Extension Service
Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences
COOPERATIVE EXTENSION SERVICE, UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA, INSTITUTE OF FOOD AND AGRICULTURAL SCIENCES, Christine
Taylor Waddill, Director, in cooperation with the United States Department of Agriculture, publishes this information to further the purpose
of the May 8 and June 30, 1914 Acts of Congress; and is authorized to provide research, educational information and other services only
to individuals and institutions that function without regard to race, color, age, sex, handicap or national origin. The information in this
publication is available in alternate formats. Single copies of extension publications (excluding 4-H and youth publications) are available
free to Florida residents from county extension offices. Information on copies for out-of-state purchase is available from Publications
Distribution Center, University of Florida, PO Box 110011, Gainesville, FL 32611-0011. Information about alternate formats is available from
Educational Media and Services, University of Florida, PO Box 110810, Gainesville, FL 32611-0810. This information was published
December 1989, Florida Cooperative Extension Service.