ABSCESS: An infection in the sensitive hoof tissues, often causes lameness, and requires draining.
Once puss has been drained from the hoof, the horse will usually recover quickly.
If not drained, it will usually work itself out of the hoof, making a hole along the coronet band or at the bulbs
of the heels, and will then drain.
ALAMAR KNOT: A traditional Vaquero symbol that denotes a finished bridle horse usually tied from the mecate and drapped over the horse's neck so it rests on his chest like a medal of honor.
ANDALUSIAN: Highly regarded since the Middle Ages, the Andalusian, has officially been known as the Purebred Spanish Horse. It reigned for several centuries throughout the known world as the embodiment of perfection in horseflesh due to their quality, flashy action and distinguished appearance. The Moors invaded Spain in the Seventh Century and brought Iberian or Barb horses with them. These oriental horses were crossed with quality native Spanish stock, and the result was the Andalusian. In the Middle Ages, the Andalusian was the favored mount for European nobles and was a major influence on the Lipizzaner breed in the 1500's. Originally, only Iberian Horses from the Andalucia province in Spain were called Andalusians. It is a compact horse, usually appearing in the colors white and light gray, and occasionally bay with excellent proportions, and usually stands at 15.2 hands. The mane and tail are abundant. The Andalusian is renowned for its ability to learn and its superb temperament.
APPENDIX: AQHA created a special registry and numbering system for Quarter Horse-Thoroughbred crosses. These horses are considered Quarter Horses, but are named for the registry system created for them — Appendix. Their registration numbers also begin with an X.
APPALOOSA: A horse breed easily recognized because of its splashes of color and marked by a spotted rump. The breed is also characterized by a white sclera (part of the outer covering of the eyeball), and striped hooves. When white settlers came to the Northwest Palouse region, they called the spotted horses of the Nez Perce Indians "Palouse horses" or "a Palouse horse." Over time the name was shortened and slurred to "Appalousey" and finally "Appaloosa."
ARABIAN: God fashioned the desert south wind into a creature who "shall fly without wings." No matter how the horse came into being, it is one of the oldest of all breeds. Ancient nomadic Bedouin tribes of the Middle East took them as prized members of their households and individual horses were selected for the gentle, affectionate nature, the striking look and proud spirit the breed is known for today. The Arabian was also bred to withstand long treks across the desert and the tribal wars that sometimes followed such trips. The Bedouins developed horses with strength, courage and stamina required for survival, and for the speed and responsiveness needed to win the tribal skirmishes. The Arabian's head has a characteristic dished profile with a prominent eye, large nostrils and small teacup muzzle. His gracefully arched neck rises out of a long sloping shoulder and broad chest. A short, strong back and high trail carriage complete the picture. Arabians come in grey, chestnut, bay and roan and an occasional solid black. Although some individuals will vary, most are between 14.2 and 15.2 hands in height and weigh between 800 and 1,000 pounds. See: www.arabianhorses.org
AURAL PLAQUES: White, crusty growths that develop on the inner surface of a horse's ears. While this isn't uncommon, affecting an estimated 22% of horses, it sometimes causes discomfort thus making bridling difficult.
BADMAN: Also known as an Outlaw or Desperado. "A good man to leave alone."
BANAMINE: An equine pain killer and anti-inflammatory drug. "Bigger than an aspirin pill."
BANDANA: Few items have become more commonly associated with the American Cowboy
than that humble piece of clothe. This paisley-print, red fabric is more functional than just as a
wardrobe accessory. To learn more, click HERE.
BANDOLEER: A belt fitted with small pockets or loops for carrying cartridges and worn across the chest by soldiers. From Spanish,bandolera.
BAROQUE: Strong, heavily muscled, yet agile European horse breeds, traditionally used for classical riding, are commonly called Baroque horses. Lipizzaners, Lusitanos, Andalusions, and Friesians are all Baroque horses.
BARS: The toothless gap between incisors and molars where the bit rests in a horse's mouth. "Gottcha! Bet you thought it was a place of enjoyment where firewater flows."
BAY: A horse coat color. Reddish or dark brown hair with black mane, and some black on legs and ears.
BEAN: In this case, not associated with a "chuck" necessity, this bean is a firm, kidney-bean shaped mass in the pouch at the end of a horse's penis, formed from dried secretions and urine salts. Periodic sheath cleaning is a good maintenance practice that prevents and removes beans.
BELL-HORSE: The lead horse in the remuda with a bell around it's neck in order for the wrangler to locate the herd.
BISON: Buffalo. Also an expression, i.e. "So long and bye son."
BLM: The Bureau of Land Management is a division of the Department of Interior. Between the BLM and the Forest Service, they control over one-third of the U.S. landmass - most of it in the twelve western states, to the extent that the federal government owns 83 percent of Nevada.
BOSAL: A bit-free, braided rawhide noseband, not unlike a halter, used in the training of horses in Western Pleasure events. The pressure on the horse's nose, poll & mandible signal him to slow or stop.
BRANCH: One side of a horseshoe, from toe to heel.
BRAND: A permanent identification mark consisting of letters or symbols signifying ownership, breeding or location for livestock. Either applied with a hot branding iron, tattooed or by applying a freeze mark. Branding has been around for thousands of years. There is Biblical evidence that Jacob, the great herdsman branded his stock. Egyptians etched ancient brands in hieroglyphics on tombs and drawings. Introduced by the Spaniards into the Americas, by the Spanish Conquistador, Hernan Cortes (1485- 1547) who brought the first branding irons to the New World. Cortes' brand was three crosses representing the Christian Trinity. Examples of branding: Thoroughbred horses have registration numbers tattooed under their upper lips, BLM Mustangs have multi-character brands burned or freeze marked on the left side of their necks or hips, while registered Arabian horses have the freeze brand on the right side of the neck under their mane. See: http://www.cdfa.ca.gov/ahfss/Livestock_ID/2007_Brand_Book.html
BRIDLE: Tack worn on the horse's head consisting of the bit, reins and headstall used by the rider as a means to give directions to his mount.
BRITCHEN: Primarily used as mule tack. Its function is to keep a saddle in place when stopping and going down hills. Unlike horses, mules don't have whithers and are built thinner in front, therefore it is common for saddles to shift easily. This piece of tack uses the mule's hips to help distribute the rider's weight. Unlike a crupper, which fits under a mule's tail and attaches to a saddle, the britchen is less irritating to the "ass."
BRONCHO BILLY ANDERSON: (Gilbert M., 1880-1971) Considered to be the first western movie star getting his start in "The Great Train Robbery" (1903) where he played 3 roles. He went on to write, direct and act in his own films establishing the role that make him a star, "Broncho Billy." He appeared in more that 300 films, 148 as "Broncho Billy." He died on Jan. 20, 1971 in Los Angeles at age 90.
BROOD MARE: A mare used for breeding purposes.
BRUSH POPPER: A cowboy who hunts cattle in the brush.
BUCKAROO: The Anglicized version of the word "Vaquero." Also refers to a style of cowboying today patterned after the old Californio Spanish Cowboys and easily recognized by the wearing of tall boots, flat hats, chinks and tapaderos. Can also describe a youngster playing cowboy. "Looks like your little buckaroo's gonna grow unto a pretty good cowboy!"
BUCKSKIN: A tan or yellow colored horse with black mane & tail.
BURRO: The Mexican and Spanish term for the Donkey. (Equus Assinus) A Burro is the small animal of the ass family from Mexican and Spanish stock, native to the southwestern U.S., but not widespread. Sometimes mistakenly called a donkey. Shrek’s pal was correctly called a donkey, but Quick Draw McGraw’s sidekick, Baba Looey was a burro.
BUTE: Phenylbutazone, an equine nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory. Can take up to 2 hours to take effect and begin to relieve a horse's mild musculoskeletal pain.
CABALLO: (pronounced: "Ka bio")Spanish for horse.
CABALLOS CORRIENTES: Tough all-round utility horse descended from the original Spanish Mustangs.
CAIRNS: (pronounced "Karens") Shaped rock piles - have been used as markers on a trail or mountain summit. Also evoking safety and friendship, they are considered to be imbued with spirit.
CANNON BONE: Name of the horse's leg bone that lies between the knee and the fetlock on the front legs, and hock and the fetlock on the hind legs.
CANTLE: The upright back portion of the seat of the saddle. Old time Western saddles had heights of 5-6 inches. Most modern saddles now have 4-inch heights with some competition saddles (cutters and ropers) having heights as low as 2 inches. It also provides a backrest and secures the rider so that they don't slide off the back of the horse.
CARPUS: "Knee" joint of the horse, equivalent to the human wrist.
CAST: When a horse has been lying down and can't get up. "My horse cast himself last night in the barn and ended up breaking his cannon bone."
CAVVY: A ranch's string of saddle horses, also referred to as "remuda."The word comes from the term "cavvietta," derived from Spanish and referring to the whole herd of horses that a ranch owns. The cavvy of horses is gathered by the horse wrangler in the morning.
CAYUSE: Refers to a range-bred horse. Not a breed but a general term. Received it's reference due to the Cayuse Indians, a nomadic tribe that occupied territories in Washington and Oregon who were skilled horseman and placed a high premium on warfare often using their horse-riding prowess to their advantage during battles.
CHAPS: ("shaps") as in chaparral, not as in "You really chap my hide." Cowboys use these leather leggings as protection against the thick brush and chaparral from cutting up their pants and legs when every bush on the trail seems to carry thorns. Derived from the Spanish work, los chaparreras or chaparejos meaning "leather leg armor." This functional equipment was developed by the New World vaqueros of Mexico in the 1700's which were originally two large pieces of cowhide tht attached to the saddle and draped over the rider's legs and horse's chest. Texas cowboys in the 1850's designed buckskin leggings that encircled the entire leg called "Shotgun" or "Stovepipes." Other styles include: "Batwings," which are long and flared at the bottom to keep thorns from penatrating the toe of the boot while in the saddle. Mostly worn by the working cowboy or in the rodeo arena to showcase the leg's movement during horse or bull bucking; "Angora or Woolies," were developed in the 1890's for harsh winter conditions usually made with goat or sheepskin with shaggy wool and Chinks (see below).
CHARRO: Proud Traditional Mexican rider that exhibit a very flashy style and use ornate dress and gear while usually riding high stepping Andalusian steeds. Originating in the State of Jalisco. Also a 1969 Western film starring Elvis Presley and is the only movie in which he did not sing.
CHESTNUT: 1.) Horny growth located above the knees and below the hocks on the insides of the legs.
2.) One of the foundation colors on which other colors are made. Chestnut colored horses are usually described with red bodies and red points. However, there are different opinions regarding this color. Some refer to the bright and light shades of red horses as SORREL and reserve Chestnut for the darker shades. What terms are "correct" also depends on what breeds you are referring to. Quarter Horse breeders commonly use the term Sorrel for the bright red and lighter shades, while Arabian breeders use the term Chestnut for all shades.
CHINKS: (also called short chaps or half chaps) Buckles around the waist, but hang just below the knees, and are usually worn by ropers and working cowboys. Said to have been developed in Nevada by cowhands in the 1940's who needed to easily bend their knees when throwing a calf to the ground and holding him down for branding.
CHUCK WAGON: A mobile kitchen for use during long trail drives to feed cowboys. Charles Goodnight is credited with its invention. In 1866 he and his partner, Oliver Loving, made preparations to take a herd of 2,000 longhorn cattle from near fort Belknap in northern Texas, to Denver. Goodnight purchased a government wagon and had it completely rebuilt according to his specifications. The distinguishing feature of the wagon was the sloping box on the rear with hinged lid that lowered to become a cook's worktable. The box was fitted to the width of the wagon and contained shelves and drawers for holding food and utensils. To the cowboys, "CHUCK" was food, so the box was called a chuck box and the wagon became known as a chuck wagon. Goodnight's early prototype of the chuck wagon was copied widely and changed little in the years to follow. Most chuck wagons had the same basic design and are still used today. "If you ever want to be invited back for chuck, don't make the cook mad." See: www.ChuckWagon.org
CINCH: Derived from the Spanish word, cincha. The leather or fabric strap underneath the barrel of the horse that secures a Western saddle to the horse. English equivalent is a girth. Some saddles have a back or flank cinch called a "bucking strap" which is usually not pulled tight. This holds the back end of the saddle down on the horse's back during extreme activity such as roping or fast stops. A saddle with both a flank and front cinch is called a double rig.
CLIP: Projection extending upward from the outer edge of a horseshoe to stabilize it on the hoof, preventing the foot from sliding too far forward and to minimize torque/shear forces on the nails.
COCINERO or COSI: Spanish term for male cook or chuck wagon cook.
COILS: A roping term meaning the loops in the middle of the rope that you hold in your left hand.
COLIC: A condition that causes great pain in a horse's intestines. Can be caused by a change in diet or stress. Colic is the number one killer of horses.
COLT: A male horse, two-years old or younger. Or, a pretty good firearm. One of the first truly modern-style handguns, the Colt revolvers became known as "The Great Equalizer." "God made man, but Sam Colt made 'um equal."
CONFORMATION: Body structure of the horse.
CORONET BAND: Part of a horse referring to the lower part of the pastern immediately above the hoof. Also referred to as a "band."
COWBOY: Answering to the term that generally describe those who draw a wage from working cattle; as well as a lifestyle. A true American icon that has found a way to survive amidst an ever-changing world that threaten their existence. Fact is, most people simply assume because “cowboy” tends to translate to “cowfeller,” that you have to be a guy to learn the principles of “cowboy.” Whether male or female, it is the attitude you carry thru life, it is the approach when you take on a job, it is the expectation when you give someone your word and it is the “light-hand” when riding your horse. It embodies the “Code of the West” not in the boots one wears but in the life they lead. There is more to being “Cowboy” than just sitting on a horse in hat and boots. "I've met many gals who are much better cowboys than a lot of men I know."
COWBOY TURTLE ASSOCIATION: (Oct, 1936 - March 1945) precursor to the PRCA. Began due to rodeo organizes refusal to add a cowboys' entry fees to the rodeo's total purse making it difficult for cowboys to recoup cost for food, lodging, travel, etc. The cowboys organized and went on strike at Boston Gardens. That name was chosen because, while they were slow to organize, when required they were unafraid to stick out their necks to get what they wanted.
COW HORSE: A horse that is trained to work with cattle i.e. roping, cutting. Most usually a Quarter Horse. Also known as having
Cow Sense or "having cow in him."
COWPUNCHER: Or COWPOKE. Old-west term originally used to describe the person who would sit on the fence and poke the cow with a stick to get him to move around in the stall or into the boxcars at the end of the cattle drive. Now used as a description of a person who works with cows.
CRACKER: A term assigned to drovers who "cracked" their whips as they herded cattle out of woods, treacherous bogs, dense brush too thick to ride through on horseback.
CREASE: The channel on the ground surface of a horseshoe into which nail holes are set. Some shoes have creases just on the branches, generally referred to as a three-quarter fullering; others have a crease that goes completely around the shoe from heel to heel, which is considered a rim shoe or full swedge shoe. Also known as Fullering.
CREST: Top part of the horse's neck, from the ears to the withers; where the mane grows.
CRIBBING: A stable vice in which the horse arches his neck and sucks air in through his open mouth. When the horse latches his teeth onto a solid surface in order to suck air, he is called a cribber, or a crib biter.
CROSS FIRING: Describing when your horse is on the correct lead in the front but the wrong lead in the back. Your horse is out of his rhythm and in an uncomfortable gait.
CROUP: Upper part of the horse's hindquarters between the loin and the tail.
CROW HOP: A rodeo term used to describe the bucking of a horse with stiff legged jumps. See also "Sunfishing," "Frog Walker"
CRUPPER: A piece that connects to the back of the saddle and goes around the base of the horse or mule's tail to keep the saddle from sliding forward.
CUIDADOR: A cowpoke who rode in the caboose of a train during transport to attend to the cattle's needs on the journey.
CURB BIT: A bit that uses sidepieces ("shanks") a mouthpiece and a strap or chain under the chin to create leverage on the bars of the mouth. More severe than a snaffle bit.
DALLY: To wrap the rope around your saddle horn after you have roped a steer. Or, to just take one's 'ol sweet time. "I'll just dally around the barn for a bit, till you're saddled and ready to go."
DALLY WRAPS: Strips of rubber or leather wrapped around the saddle horn to prevent the rope from slipping once you've roped (or dallied) your steer.
DAM: A horse's female parent.
DANDY: A Dude.
DEADLINE: Since most towns in the Wild West had laws against carrying guns, the city limits were also known as the "dead line" and guns were not allowed past that point.
DIAMOND HITCH: Used to secure the packs on pack animals. When properly done, the rope's knots make diamond patterns.
DOC BAR: A legendary Quarter Horse stallion that revolutionized the cutting horse industry. Foaled in 1956 on the Finely Ranch in Arizona to be a race horse but made his mark as a halter horse by Steven Jensen of the Double J Ranch in Pacines, California. Doc Bar died July 20, 1992 and inducted into the American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame in 1993. Many of today's top performance horses carry Doc Bar blood. "A great bloodline to recognize when buying a horse."
DOGGIE: ("dough' gee" spoken with a long O) not ("doggy" as in a mut) but as in "Whoopee Ti Yi Yo, Git Along Little Doggies." Given the nickname to calves by ol-time cowboys who thought their swollen and bloated bellies after nursing reminded them of the rising dough of morning sourdough biscuits. The cowboys called these calves dough-bellies, later shortened to doggies.
DONKEY: Name for the animal from the ass family (equus assinus). And, Shrek’s best friend. The domesticated donkey that we’re familiar with is a descendent of the African wild donkey known as the African Wild Ass, Equus africanus. Traditionally, the scientific name for the donkey is Equus asinus asinus based on the principle of priority names of animals. That’s why they’re called asses! Get it?
DRAFT HORSE: Large, big-hearted, big-hipped and powerful horses used for pulling. Usually between 17 and 18 hands tall, weighing approx. 1,600 to 2,400 pounds. Believed to date from the medieval period (500-1,000 A.D.), their arrival on the American scene was delayed until the early 1800's. Clydesdale, Belgian, Shires, Percherons are some of the more popular breeds.
DROVER: A person who drives or herds cattle. "It took 6 drovers to push them cows across that river."
DUDE: A Dandy.
DUSTER: A flowing canvas overcoat with a split up the back to facilitate riding. First worn by Australian ranchers then made popular as hard riding garb worn by outlaws in Western films.
DUN: Not a color but a type of gene inheritance usually associated with a Buckskin distinguished by a dorsal stripe down the back and primal lines or "tiger stripes" on the legs, neck, and ear.
ENTEROLITHS: Rocklike objects that form in the intestines of a horse when mineral layers build up around a foreign object, such as a pebble. Eventually it blocks the intestine leading to colic. Surgical removal is the only option. Sometimes referred to as "Stones."
EQUINE: Refers to a horse or horses therefore; EQUITATION is the skill of riding horses and EQUESTRIAN relates to horseback riding or to horseback riders.
ESCOPETAS: A short-barreled flintlock musket.
FARRIER: A blacksmith or a person who specializes in the care of horse's feet by either trimming the hoof or the application of horseshoes to retain its proper balance and orientation to the ground. From the Latin word meaning iron. See: www.HealthyHoof.com
FEATHERS: The long hair that grows on the horse's fetlocks. This is also called 'fetlock hair'. Some breeds of horses, like Clydesdales and Friesians, exhibit long, flowing feathers. The purpose of feathers is to protect the back of the fetlock, and to direct water running down the horse's legs away from the bulbs of the heel, where it could cause sores.
FETLOCK: The joint where the pastern and cannon bone meet; the first join above the hoof. Not just the actual joint, but also the outer part of the horse's body surrounding it is called the 'fetlock'.
FILLY: A Female horse, two-years old or younger. (Or a pretty, young girl of marryin’ age.) “That lit’l filly almost made me give up cowboyin’.
FLANK: Thin folds of skin on the sides of the horse between the abdomen and the stifle.
FLEHMEN: When a horse curls its upper lip. Doing this will help a horse place or remember a new smell. Most often seen when a stallion smells a mare; it is thought that this helps him determine if the mare is in heat. Some horses, when exposed to a new or strange substance, a new medication, or a strong smell, will flehmen. Also, sometimes this is done by mares in the first stage of labor.
FOAL: A young horse of any sex in its first year of life. When used as a verb (to foal), it means to give birth.
FORK: The saddle fork is the front of the saddletree. It holds the two parallel bars together and provides a base for mounting the horn. A fork is also commonly called the swells or, on English saddles, the pommel. The fork is what gives the shape to the front of the saddle. The term “fork” came from the early practice of making this part of the saddle from the fork of a tree.
FOUNDER: see laminitis
FRED FOY: (1921- 2010) Best known for conjuring up "those thrilling days of yesteryear" in the late 1940's & 50's as the announcer-narrator for "The Lone Ranger" on radio and television. Considered the most famous opening in broadcast history and accompanied by the stirring strains of Rossini's William Tell Overture: "A fiery horse with the speed of light, a cloud of dust and a hearty 'Hi-yo, Silver' - the Lone Ranger! With his faithful Indian companion, Tonto, the daring and resourceful masked rider of the plains led the fight for law and order in the early Western United States. Nowhere in the pages of history can one find a greater champion of justice. Return with us now to those thrilling days of yesteryear. From out of the past come the thundering hoof-beats of the great horse Silver. The Lone Ranger rides again!" Foy was inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame in 2000 and received a Golden Boot Award in 2004.
FREEZE MARKING: A permanent, unalterable means of identification that causes the loss of color in the hair or completely stops hair growth where the mark has been applied. Unlike a hot brand, this is virtually painless.
FROG: Part of the horse’s hoof. The consistency and shape functions as an anti-concussion and traction device. At varying times during the year (usually twice a year) the frog sheds. When this happens, the horse’s feet are usually tender for a short time.
FROG WALKER: A rodeo term describing the buck of a horse that resembles the jump of a frog.
GAIT: The movements of the horse at various speeds. The gaits of the horse are: Walk, Trot, Canter, Gallop and “Hell-bent for leather!”
GAITED HORSE: One that has a natural tendency to travel in something other than a simple walk. Tennessee walking horses, Paso Finos, Missouri Foxtrotters, Lepizans and Andalusians are examples. “Or a horse that always runs back to the barn gate no matter how hard you pull back on the reins. Whoa you SOB!”
GASKIN: Muscle above a horse's hock.
GELDING: A castrated stallion.
GET: A stallion’s offspring. Short for "beget" as a verb. As a noun, it refers to the entire offspring of a stallion. This word should never refer to the produce of a mare. Females do not "beget." Or, a way of tellin' a horse to move along. "Get"
GIRTH: (1) The strap underneath the barrel of the horse by which an English saddle is secured. Called a cinch in Western riding. (2) The circumference of the body measured from behind the withers around the barrel. “That horse was so fat, I couldn’t get my legs around him because his girth was so wide!”
GRULLA/GRULLO: Spanish word, pronounced 'grew-ya' or 'grew-yo'. This is also called a blue dun, lobo dun, or black dun. The horse is a mouse grey-tan color with a dorsal stripe and other dun factors. It is essentially a black horse with a dun dilute gene. Unlike grey horses, grullas are not a color pattern; instead, each hair is a diluted, dun-grey color.
The original word is actually the Spanish word "Grulla", a word for a blue-gray crane. The term was adopted for horses of this color, and the word was later changed by the AQHA to "Grullo", which had a more masculine sound. Technically "Grulla" is more correct as it is the original word. However, some people like to use "grulla" for female horses of this color and "grullo" for male.
GULLET: The arched or open area underneath the fork in the front of the saddle that sits above the withers on the horse. On a Western saddle, the horn is placed upon the gullet. The design of the fork and the angle of the bars of the saddletree determine the width and height of the gullet. It's important that the gullet have the right amount of clearance over the withers. If the gullet height is too short, the saddle will rub on the horse's withers. If the gullet width is too wide, the saddle will sit too low on the shoulders, and also rub on the horse's withers. Rubbed withers equals unhappy horse.
A good rule of thumb to use for gullet fit is that there should be clearance of two to four fingers-widths between the withers and the gullet.
GYMKHANA: A fun equestrian competition usually consists of timed events and games on horseback. Often includes barrel racing, pole bending, keyhole, and flag race, and sometimes egg-in-spoon, arena race, and others.