Page name: Horse and Riding Terms [Logged in view] [RSS]
2005-09-30 03:15:13
Last author: Berengaria
Owner: Noadi
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<img:>Horse and Riding Terms<img:>

Horses almost always turn up in fantasy writing and while I was lucky enough to grow up around horses I know most people haven't. If you've never been around horses try to at least go to a county fair or horse show or race sometime to be around some for a while even if you don't have a chance to ride, trust me it will be worth it. I haven't listed specific breeds (do have some breed types) since with only a few exceptions such as arabians most horse breeds were not around during the middle ages or rennaissance. Coat colors and patterns haven't been listed either, please see for descriptions and pictures.


~Foal - Infant horse until weaned.
~Yearling - Young horse between 12 and 24 months old.
~Filly - Young female horse up to 3 years old.
~Mare - Full grown female horse. Typically more gentle than stallions but sometimes moody.
~Brood Mare - Mare used for breeding.
~Maiden - Mare that has never been bred.
~Colt - Young male horse up to 3 years old.
~Gelding - Gelded(neutered) male horse. Usually gentle easy going horses.
~Stallion - Un-gelded male horse. Often high spirited and can be dangerous if not well trained.
~Stud - Stallion used for breeding. Somtimes used as a synonym for a stallion.
~Dam - Horse's mother.
~Sire - Horse's father.
~Pony - Any breed averaging under 14 ΒΌ hands (56 3/4 inches).
~Mule - Sterile hybrid of a female and a male donkey, typically sturdy, intelligent animals well suited to both riding and light pulling.
~Hinny - Sterile hybrid of a male horse and a female donkey, very similar to mules but much less common.
~Draft Horse - Any large heavy bodied horse used for pulling, typically plows and heavy carts (does not include lighter carriage horses). Archaic spelling is draught.
~Draft Pony - Large heavy bodied pulling pony.
~Gait -
~Walk - Basic slow pace. Amble is not really a gait just a slow leisurely walk.
~Gallop - Fastest gait, the four hooves touch the ground separately
~Gaited Horse - Horse from a breed that move at paces other than the standard four. By the way gaited horses can do all the normal gaits but often are trained not ~Withers - Top of the horse's shoulders, height is measured from the gound to the withers.
~Mane -
~Forelock - Mane between the ear that falls over the face.
~Barrel - Area between forelegs and loins.
~Croup - Top of the hindquarters.
~Fetlock - Lowest joint on the leg.
~Frog - Triangular rubbery pad in the hoof that works as a shock absorber, stones and other objects in the frog are a common cause of lameness and will heal in a few days after the object is removed.

Medieval Horse Terms

~Palfrey - Light riding horse, popular for travel especially for ladies.
~Destrier/Charger - Heavy war horse.
~Courser - Fast racing types, used to relay messages.
~Hunter - Good jumper appropriate for hunting such as fox hunting with hounds.
Sumpter - a pack horse.
Hackney, Nag, or Rouncey - a heavy riding horse of no particular breeding.

Riding and Pulling

~Bridle - Headgear used to direct the horse through the reins, usually has a bit.
~Halter - Headgear designed for leading.
~Hackamore - A bridle without a bit. Horse must be well trained and good natured to use one.
~Bit - Mouthpiece on the bridle, used for controlling the horse.
~Cinch/Girth - Wide strap running under the horses belly to attach one side of the saddle to the other and hold it on.
~Breast Collar - T-shaped set of straps that go across the chest and between the front legs and attach to the saddle keeping to more firmly on the horse.
~Cantle - Back ridge of a saddle
~Saddle -
~Sidesaddle - Ladies saddle where the rider sits ideways with both legs on one side. Modern sidesaddles are built so most anything that can be done astride can also be done with a sidesaddle. However with medieval sidesaddles the rider could trot at most.Sidesaddles were mainly for fashionable noblewomen, many women rode astride in normal saddles until the late rennaissance when it became unladylike for any woman to ride astride.
~Pommel - Center front of a saddle.
~Horn - High pommel used to tie ropes around for cattle roping. It's very bad form to hold onto the horn while riding. Not found on European saddles.

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