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Glossary

A

Albinism

Lack of normal pigmentation or coloration. Horses that are albinos lack pigmentation due to a congenital absence of melanin. Albino horses have white coat, pinkish mucosae and eyes

Amble

To move along at an easy gait by using both legs on one side alternatively with both on the other.

Appaloosa

Dark-skinned horse with a spotted coat. The coat is usually predominantly grey, with brown or black spots.

B

Back

the area where the saddle goes, begins at the end of the withers, extends to the last thoracic vertebrae.

Back at the Knee

The knee inclines backward, behind a straight plumb line dropped from the middle of the forearm to the fetlock.

Balance

Distribution of weight between horse and rider. A horse is said to be balanced when his own weight and that of his rider is equally distributed over all four feet.

Bards

Covering of armour for the breast and flanks of a war-horse. Also occasionally used for an ornamental covering for a horse.

Bay

The body colouring of the horse is brown. The mane and tail must be black.

Behind the bit

When a horse places his head down to evade contact with the bit.

Black points

when the mane, tail and lower legs are black.

Blue dun

A black horse. The coat is solid "mouse-colored" gray or silver with black or dark gray markings.

Bridle

The entire headpiece, the headstall, bit, chin strap, and reins, is called the bridle

Broodmare

A female horse over 4 years old used for breeding.

Buckskin

A bay horse with a yellow, cream or gold coat while keeping the black points (mane, tail, legs).

C

Camped Out Behind

Cannon and fetlock are "behind" the plumb line dropped from point of buttock. Associated with upright rear pasterns.

Canter

Three time pace of the horse. In this pace the sequence of legs is as follows: outside hind, inside hind, and outside fore, inside fore. This is then followed by a moment of suspension when all the legs are off the ground

Chaps

sturdy leather coverings for the legs. They are buckled on over trousers.

Chestnut

A reddish body color with no black. Mane and tail is the same shade or lighter than the body coat. The main color variations are: Liver chestnut (very dark brown coat), Sorrel (Reddish-tan to red coat, the most common shade of chestnut) and Blond or light chestnut.

Chin groove

the part of the horse's head behind the lower lip and chin.

Cold blood

Muscular and heavy draft horses are known as "cold bloods," as they have been bred, not only for strength, but also to have the calm, steady, patient temperament needed to pull a plow or a heavy carriage full of people.

Colic

Pain in the horse's digestive system; the causes can be many and varied. Veterinary advice should be sort immediately colic is suspected.

Cow Hocks

Hocks deviate toward each other, with the cannon & fetlock to the outside of the hocks when the horse is viewed from the side. Gives the appearance of a half-moon contour from the stifle to hoof. Often accompanied by sickle hocks.

Crossbred

result from the cross between an English purebred or an Arabian horse and a mare of any other breed.

Crossbreeding

also known as mixing, refers to the process of breeding a hybrid animal of two purebred parents.

Croup

The part of a horse's back behind the saddle.

D

Dapple gray

a dark-colored horse with lighter rings of graying hairs, called dapples, scattered throughout.

Dapples

Round, colored markings on a horse's coat.

Dominance

phenomenon whereby, a stud horse is able to pass his own characteristic genetic traits on to its descendants.

Dorsal Strip

A band of colour, darker than the majority of the body, along the line of the backbone from the poll to tail. Often seen in donkeys, mountain and moorland breeds.

Dressage

The art of training a horse so he is totally obedient and responsive to his rider, as well as agile and fluent in his performance.

E

Entire

Term used to describe an ungelded horse.

Ermine marks

are dark patches of color on the white limb of a horse, just above the level of the hoof.

Eventing

is an equestrian event which comprises dressage, cross-country and show-jumping.

Ewe-Neck

The top line of the neck is concave.

F

Face

front part of the head that can vary dramatically from breed to breed. It can have a concave profile (dished), convex profile (roman nose) or a straight profile.

Feathers

the long hairs around the pasterns of most heavy breeds and some ponies.

Foal

A foal is a horse that is one year old or younger. More specific terms are colt for a male foal and filly for a female foal.

G

Gait

The majority of breeds have four kinds of gait: walk, trot, canter or small gallop and gallop. Some other horses can have other specified gaits

Gallop

It is the fastest gait of the horse, a four-beat gait, averaging about 25 to 30 miles per hour. Like a canter, the horse will strike off with its non-leading hind foot; but the second stage of the canter becomes, in the gallop, the second and third stages because the inside hind foot hits the ground a split second before the outside front foot. Then both gaits end with the striking off of the leading leg, followed by a moment of suspension when all four feet are off the ground.

Gelding

A castrated male horse.

Grey

The skin is dark and the coat contains a mixture of black, grey and white hairs. Very dark greys are called iron grey, those with circle-like patterns in their coats are called dapple-grey, and those with a freckled appearance are called flea-bitten grey.

H

Halter

A device made of rope or leather straps that fits around the head or neck of the horse and is used to lead or secure the animal.

Hand

10cm. (4") The measurement used to find out a horse's height in many countries.

Harness riding

Form of horse racing in which the horses race in a specified gait. They usually pull two-wheeled carts called sulkies. The races include dressage, endurance racing and gymkhana.

Height

The height of a horse is measured from the withers to the ground.

High Mount

Horse with very long legs

High School or Haute École

The training of a horse to execute a series of difficult and controlled movements at all paces

Hollow Back

When the natural concave line of the back is exaggerated, often found in old horses

Hoof

the horny covering of the end of the foot.

Horse conformation

refers to the correctness of a horse's bone structure, musculature, and its body proportions in relation to each other.

Hot blood

term used to identify the temperament of pure breeds such as the Arabian and the English Thoroughbred.

Hybrid

result from the cross between two purebred lines.

I

Inbreeding

Is breeding between close relatives.

K

Knock-Kneed

One or both knees deviate inward toward each other, with the lower leg angles out, resulting in a toed-out stance.

L

Leg markings

they are called stockings if the white marking extends at least to the bottom of the knee or hock, sock if it extends higher than the fetlock but not as high as the knee or hock, fetlock or sock if the white marking extends over the fetlock, pastern if it is above the top of the hoof and coronet if the white is just above the hoof, around the coronary band, usually no more than 1 inch (2.5cm) above the hoof.

Leopard

dark spots of varying sizes over a white body.

Line breeding

the selective breeding of horses for a desired feature by mating them within a closely related line, only separated by few generations.

Lunge

The act of training a horse by directing him around in a circle while on a long 'lunge' rein.

M

Mare

A female horse over 4 years old.

Moon eye or "Night" eye

A blue eye. Horses with blue eyes are less common than horses with brown eyes, but can see equally well.

O

Open front

Seen from the front, the hooves are outside the ideal vertical lines (plumb lines) traced by the points of shoulder

Oriental

term used to describe breeds coming from Asia like the Arabian and the breeds derived from it.

Outbreeding

breeding between horses of the same breed but from different lines.

Outcrossing

is the practice of introducing unrelated genetic material into a breeding line.

Over at the Knee

Knee inclines forward, in front of a plumb line, when viewed from the side.

P

Pig eye

A small eye, primarily an aesthetic issue, but claimed by some to be linked to stubbornness or nervousness, and thought to decrease the horse's visual field

Pinto horse

has a coat colour that consists of large patches of white and another color.

Plumb lines

Conventional lines dropped in front or at the side of the horse to evaluate its correct conformation.

R

Rabicano

a color pattern that causes white hairs to be evenly intermixed within the horse's body color.

Rack

A swift, 4-beat hoof pattern in which only 1 foot is on the ground at any given time. This motion produces a very smooth gait.

Red Roan

A grey base coat with red roaning pattern with the mane and tail being the same red as the body. Red roans are also commonly referred to as a Strawberry Roan

Remount

The term for a horse bought for military service before issue to a unit. The term describes an Army horse at any stage of his career.

Roman nose

The horse has a very convex profile.

S

Sequence

order in which the horse's legs move during gaits. Each gait is characterized by a specific sequence.

Show-jumping

a competitive sport in which horses and their riders have to jump a series of artificial fences, walls etc

Sickle Hock

Is a conformation fault, see from the side the hocks are too concave - shaped like a sickle.

Sloping shoulder

The horse has an oblique angle of shoulder (measured from the top of the withers to the point of shoulder) with the withers set well behind the elbow. Often accompanies a deep chest and high withers.

Slow galt

A 4-beat motion of the legs in which only 1 hoof is touching the ground at any given time. This is a slower version of the Rack gait.

Snip

a small white marking on the end of the muzzle.

Standard

a set of guidelines which is used to insure that the horses produced by a breeding facility conform to the specifics of the breed.

Stayer

A horse with the capacity for keeping up speed for a long distance without getting unduly tired.

Straight Shoulder

Occurs when the line of the shoulder from the point of the withers is comparatively straight rather than sloping well back.

Stud

A male horse, that is used for breeding.

Sway-backed

The span of the back dips noticeably in center, forming a concave contour between the withers and croup.

T

Toad eye

Show the white sclera ring around the rim of the eye as in the Exmoor pony.

Toed-In

An angular limb deformity causing a pigeon toed appearance from the fetlock down, with the toe pointing in toward the opposite limb.

Trot

a two beat diagonal gait of the horse where the diagonal pairs of legs move forward at the same time. There is a moment of suspension between each beat.

V

Varnish roan

a mix of red and white hairs that extends over the entire body.

W

Walk

A pace of four-time, the sequence of hoof-beats being left rear, left front, right rear, right front.

Wall Eye

Is a lack of pigment in the iris of the eye, showing more white than usual around the pupil.

Warm blood

refers to any cross of "cold blooded" draft horses on "hot blooded" Thoroughbreds or Arabians.

White

One of the rarest colors, a white horse has white hair and pink skin. These horses are born white, with blue or brown eyes, and remain white for life.

Withers

Start at the dip at the base of the crest line of the neck; they should be reasonably high and pronounced at the highest point of the shoulder. They should slope away gradually into the back.

Wobbly Hocks

Hocks deviate from each other to fall outside of plumb line, dropped from point of buttocks, when the horse is viewed from behind.

Worms

general term used to indicate parasites living in the horse's bowl. They can cause sickness and sometimes even death.

Y

Yearling

A colt or filly between one and two years old. Purebred's foals are conventionally considered being born on January 1.

Z

Zebra Marks

Striping on the limbs, neck, withers or quarters of horses or ponies.

 

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