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Basic Horse Terminology
WRITTEN BY: Cheryl Sutor   [April 1997]


Adult Horses:
MARE - Adult female horse (3 years and older).

GELDING - Castrated adult male horse (3 years and older).

STALLION - Uncastrated adult male horse (3 years and older).

PONY - A full-grown small horse (14.2 hands and under).


Young Horses:
FOAL - A newborn baby horse (before weaning).

WEANLING - A colt or filly who is 6 to 12 months old.

YEARLING - A horse who is between 1 and 2 years old.

COLT - Male horse (3 years old and under).

FILLY - Female horse (3 years old and under).


The Horse's Body:
CONFORMATION - The shape of a horse's body. A horse with good conformation is stronger and more likely to stay sound than one with weak conformation.

HAND - Measures how tall a horse is (one hand = four inches).

LAME - A "lame horse" has an injury that interferes with his performance and/or health.

SOUND - A "sound horse" does not have any injuries that interfere with his performance and/or health.

POINTS - This word is used when describing the color of a horse. The "points" of a horse are his mane, tail, lower legs and the tips of his ears.

GAIT - The different speeds a horse can travel. Every horse has 4 natural "gaits", the (1) walk (2) trot (3) canter (4) gallop.


Other Words:
WEANING - The gradual process of separating a foal from its mother.

TACK - All equipment used on a horse (bridle, saddle, halter, etc.)

LUNGING - A way of exercising a horse, using a lunge line that is attached to the horse's halter. The horse moves in circles around the trainer, who stands in the middle holding the lunge line.

LUNGE LINE - A very long rein (about 20-40 feet) used to lunge a horse.

For additional horse words, view our Horse Words Dictionary.



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This article was published on: April 1997. Last updated on: April 1997.