How to speak horse

Actually, this is a glossary of difficult terms associated with equestrian sports. Whether or not the horse understands them is up for discussion, although with enough training, you could probably teach yours almost anything.

Action: The manner in which a horse elevates its feet, hocks, knees, and legs, along with how it uses its elbow, humerus, shoulder, and stifle in its trot, canter, or gallop

Aging: Estimating a horse’s age by the condition of its teeth

Aids: Signals used to tell the horse what to do; can include natural aids like weight and voice and artificial aids like bits and spurs

Balking: When a horse refuses to move

Bell boot: A boot that encircles the horse’s ankle and protects its pastern and heel

Bit: Object placed in the horse’s mouth and used (with reins) to guide the animal

Canter: A three-beat gait where front and rear legs on one side land ahead of those on the other

Cinch: A firth made of mohair, felt, or other material used to secure a saddle

Counter canter: A form of canter where the horse canters on a curve with the outside leg leading

Daisy cutter: A horse with long but low movement; desired in show hunter horses

Distaff: A female horse, named for the spindle used in weaving

Dressage: 1. A classical form of horse training 2. An Olympic sport based on classical principles and governed by the Federation Equestre International

Easy keeper: A horse which doesn’t require much food to maintain

English riding: British style of riding used in dressage, show-jumping, cross-country, and others, characterized by the use of a flat saddle

Equitation: skill of riding a horse

Farrier: Hoof care specialist who trims hoofs and does horse shoeing

Feathering: Long hair on the fetlocks of horses

Fetlocks: the joint above the pastern, equivalent to the basal joint in a human finger

Gait: the way a horse moves its legs

Girth: a strap made of leather, canvas, cord, or other material to secure a saddle

Glass eye: also called a wall eye; a rarer blue eye on a horse

Hack: 1. An average horse 2. A leisurely ride 3. a type of competition based on obedience

Hackamore: substitute for a bit that uses a noseband or bosal

Hendra virus: also Henipavirus; a deadly virus which can affect both horses and humans

Irons: stirrup made entirely of metal

Jockey: rider of a horse during horse racing

Jog: a slow trot

Kimberwicke: a type of bit

Laminitis: inflammation of the hoof’s laminae, which can cause lameness and severe pain

Livery stable: a site for boarding horses

Longeing: training a horse at the end of a rope and teaching it to obey commands

Mare: mature female horse

Martingale: piece of tack used to control head carriage

Near side: left side of a horse

Nicker: also whicker; soft, vibrating sound made by horses

Off side: right-hand side of horse

On the bit: horse who is flexed at poll, holding the bit calmly, and responding to the rider

Outlaw: a horse too vicious to be handled

Pastern: segment of leg between fetlock and coronary band

Pedigree: the lineage of an animal that can be documented

Pulling: trimming the mane/tail by pulling the long hairs

Quirt: short-handled whip used by some Western-style riders

Rearing: rising up on hind legs

Roundup: gathering of horses or other livestock

Smooth mouth: older horse that has worn down its incisors

Sound: adjective to describe a healthy horse

Tack: the equipment that horses wear

Thoroughbred: a specific breed of horse used for racing

Trot: a diagonal gait with two beats

Vice: a habit of a horse that makes it hard to work with

Warmblood: breeds that originate from the crossbreeding of heavy harness horses and light horse breeds

Wild horse: horse without any domesticated ancestors

Yearling: a horse between 12 and 24 months old

You can find a complete glossary of equestrian terms at Wikipedia.