Common Horse Terms Aspiring Equestrians Should Know

A group of horses racing away in a desert.

Entering the world of managing and caring for horses is like entering a business industry or learning a new topic. You will have to learn over a hundred terms that most equestrians use daily. Like most terminologies, these horse terms that you need to know will help you better understand the slang that equestrians use in their line of work. Learning these terms and how to use them appropriately can help you interact better and understand your colleagues and coworkers well. With that, below is the different terms that equestrians use.

Equine Terminology


This is what equestrians use to refer to the movement that a horse makes. These could be the trot, canter, gallop, and walk that a horse does.


Aids are signals that the horse receives from riders with their hands, voice, legs, or shift in weight. These aids could also be any pressure that a rider uses to communicate with a horse.


An Appaloosa is a breed and color of a horse. These could be any breed of horse from western North America that usually has a white or solid-colored coat with tiny spots.


Balk refers to the scenario when a horse refuses to follow instructions or refuses to move at all.


The barrel is like the outline of the torso of the horse, which protects their internal organs. This is where the horse’s ribcage is located.


The bit is what equestrians call the metal area of a bridle placed in the horse’s mouth.

Blue roan

Blue roan is what equestrians use to refer to the breed of a horse with a black coat with white speckles on the hair.


Generally speaking, a break is when people train a horse. This is when a horse is taught by humans how it can be rideable or harnessed, as horses normally reject anyone who tries to ride on them.

Breast Collar

A breast collar is the leather piece of tack that is placed on the horse’s chest area. This tack helps in keeping the saddle in place for a steady ride.


A bridle is another piece of tack that is placed on the horse’s head. This piece is used to help maneuver the horse and control their movements to ensure that the rider is well-balanced.


A bronco is the type of horse you see working in rodeos with cowboys.


A buck is the action of a horse kicking its hind legs into the air to express its emotions. This action is usually done out of joy and excitement.


A cannon is a bone located in a horse’s leg. This is the bone that is essentially the calf of the horse.


A canter is a movement or action of the horse that is faster than a trot but slower than a gallop.


Chaff is the finely chopped hay that equestrians use to add to the horse’s food.


Chestnut is the color of a horse. It is when a horse has a reddish-brown coat, including the mane and tail.


A cinch is a strap that wraps around the horse’s midsection where the saddle holds on to maintain its place.


A colt is what equestrians call a young male horse. These are the horses that are usually around the age of 4 years old.

A horse with a sunset backdrop.


A concussion is an act when a horse continuously bangs their feet hard on the ground.


A condition is overall health and physical status of a horse.


A conformation is the structure of a horse’s body and how it was put together.

Coronet Band

A coronet band is a place where the horse’s hoof and hair on the leg meets.


A crest is an area along a horse’s back where the mane grows.


Cribbing is when a horse latches on to something and swallows air. This habit of horses is hard to get rid of, and it is highly addictive for the animals.


The crop is what you call a short-riding whip.


A crupper is the piece of leather placed under the horse’s tail to prevent the saddle from sliding forward as you ride on a horse.


The dam is the term used to refer to the mother of a horse.


A dapple is a set of circular markings that are usually found on grays.


The dock is the part of a horse’s tail that is a bone.

Dorsal Stripe

A dorsal stripe is a black stripe that goes down the back of a horse.


A draft is a horse that usually works to pull loads. These horses are typically slow and larger than the average horse.


Dressage is the riding style where there is a coordination of movements between the rider and the horse.


A dun is the color of a horse’s coating. This is a yellowish color on horses with a dorsal stripe going down their back.


English is not the language we know but rather a particular style of riding that equestrians do.


Equine is a generally used term referred to as a horse or anything that has to do with horses.


An equestrian is a person that rides, trains, interacts, and works with horses.

Equus Caballus

An Equus caballus is the scientific name of horses.


Eventing is an event where people compete with their horses. These competitions involve three disciplines, namely dressage, cross-country, and show jumping.


A farrier is a craftsman that trims and manages horses’ hooves.


Fetlock is the joint between a horse’s knee and hoof.


A feather is the compilation of a horse’s hair on their fetlock.


Gaits are the different actions that horses do when traveling. This could be trotting, galloping, or simply walking.

Hoof Pick

A hoof pick is a metal tool that people use to remove mud, stones, and any dirt or material from a horse’s hooves.


A jockey is what equestrians call a specific rider that rides on racehorses and participates in horse racing events.

Light Horse

A light horse is a horse that participates in rides and drives, not to be mistaken with draft horses.


A mare is any female horse that is over four years old. Mares are usually the female horses that are just about ready for breeding and mating with male horses.


Manure is what equestrians call the horse’s poop.

Navicular Bone

The navicular bone is the small bone located in the hoof of horses, just behind the coffin bone.


The offside is the right-hand side of horses. Riders do not usually get on a horse through their offside as previous equestrians who ride with swords would often end up poking the horse with their sword or get it all tangled.


A palomino means the color of a horse’s coat that is a shade of tan while their mane and tail are white.


Pinto is the pattern of a horse’s coat where there are large spots and hints of white and black. A pinto could be any breed of horse, as long as the colors match with the description.

Pleasure Riding

Pleasure riding is when people ride a horse for the sole purpose of leisure and fun, nothing more, nothing less. 

Quarter Horse

A quarter horse is a breed of horse that performs excellently as sprinting short distances. 


A showing is an event where people present their horses against other horses as an act of competition with the goal of winning prizes such as money, ribbons, or points. 


A stallion is any breed of male horse that has yet to be castrated or gelded.


As with humans, our vices are bad habits, such as smoking and drinking. This is the same for horses. A horse’s vices are any bad habits that they may have.

You may encounter over a hundred horse terms once you enter the world of working equine. While memorizing these terms is not necessarily a requirement to work with horses and equestrians, knowing the basic words and their meaning can help make your life much easier. You will not have to worry about getting confused about which or what other people are referring to.

Knowing these terms will prevent you from getting lost in a conversation. To make sure that you do not overwhelm yourself with all the horse terminology, allot some time to learn at least one term and try using in a sentence once in a while. It is never too late to learn something new. Once you find yourself getting used to these terms and how other equestrians use them, you will become more comfortable in speaking and dealing with horses.

Have A Horse In Coconut Creek?

Millpond Stables in Coconut Creek is your number one choice when it comes to horse care. Our horse boarding services are top notch, our all wood stables are maintained by expert staff. Take horse back riding lessons with seasoned professionals and ride your horse on scenic trails near our stables. Get engaged in the community with local horse shows and gatherings. Are your kids interested in horses? We offer an annual summer camp designed to teach kids how to ride and care for horses. Contact us today to sign up.

Krizzia Reyes is an author for Millpond Stables.

About The Author

As a writer at many renowned websites Krizzia Reyes has covered a wide range of topics in many industries. It has been her passion to only deliver the truth and nothing but the truth.