How well do you know your equestrian terms?

Dyann Joyce

Image: Shutterstock

About This Quiz

Horses have helped mankind for thousands of years and forged a relationship that is ancient. But can you tell a numnah from a piaffe? How well do you know your "horse talk"? Take our quiz to test your knowledge of these equestrian terms and see if you are up to the challenge!

What is a horse called, if he is given a clean bill of health?

A horse that is classified as "sound" is close to perfect, but he will only be that way for a few years of his life. At that time the horse has no lameness or deformities, and has not to anyone's knowledge ever displayed any lameness. There are no irregularities of any kind in the horse's body, gait or movement.

What is the device that is tightened around a nervous horse’s top lip to calm him called?

Studies show that horses can be calmed by the use of a twitch, which applies pressure to the nose or even the ear. It may calm a nervous horse by focusing its attention on a dull pain sensation. A twitch is sometimes used when a horse is being shoed or is having medical procedures performed.

What is the type of riding in which a lady has both legs on one side of the horse, instead of astride?

In medieval times, sidesaddle was a way for a lady to ride with a skirt. The earliest side saddle was introduced in the 1300's and consisted of a chair-like contraption, complete with footrest and back support. Catherine de Medici improved upon it, adding a small slipper stirrup higher towards the horse's neck for a more comfortable experience.

What is the term for a nursing foal, not yet weaned?

The first milk a foal takes from his mother is colostrum, and foals are considered "on the teat" until 3 to 4 months old, when they begin the weaning process with grass, hay and grain. A foal is normally born at night and can be standing within 1-2 hours, then walking within 2-3 hours.

Which of these is a flexible, braided leather whip with a short handle?

Developed by vaqueros to goad cows along without punishment, the quirt usually has two braids, or falls. In the 1947 film, "Angel and the Badman," John Wayne's character is named Quirt Evans.

What is the long hair on some horses' fetlocks that may cover their feet and extend up the leg?

Most draft breeds sport this extra silky hair. The feathering on a horse is a recessive gene, meaning if you breed a feathered horse to a non-feathered one, you will not get feathers. This is why the registries of breeding are so strict for some types of horses.

Who is the person who practices the profession of caring for the hoof, as well acting as a blacksmith to fit the horse for shoes?

This is from the Latin word for iron, "ferrum." Most horses will see a farrier every 3 to 6 weeks for life, because, like a toenail, the hoof grows constantly. The hoof is made of keratin, like our nails and hair.

What do you call it when a horse shies and suddenly runs away, with or without a rider?

A horse's brain is about half the size of a human's, at about 22 ounces. Horses have long memories and can remember places or things that spooked them for many years to come. Due to flight or fight, the horse will run when spooked, as he is a prey animal.

What is the tough triangular structure that acts as a shock absorber in the horse's hoof?

This little rubbery part absorbs the impacts from jumps and hops. The frog also helps circulation by helping blood pump back into the leg. To regrow a horse's entire hoof takes about 9-12 months.

When a horse has sharp points on his teeth, what does an equine dentist do to improve them?

The teeth are floated, or ground down to be smoother. Some experts believe this helps to promote even growing and chewing patterns, as a horse's teeth never stop growing.

What is the term that indicates another color besides black is mixed with the white of a pinto to form its pattern?

In equestrian terms, both skewbald and piebald refer to the coloring of a pinto, while the white markings are referred to as the patches. A pinto can be any breed, but if has any American Quarter Horse or Thoroughbred blood it is a considered a "paint."

Which saddle sets the rider further back on the horse, to encourage flashy, high-stepping action from gaited horses?

The goal of the park saddle was to show off a horse's extravagant and flashy gait, while letting the owner stay seated behind the animal's center of balance. On picnic Sundays, the gentry would have their high-stepping horses on display for pleasure riding. To have a pleasure horse was a distinction of class and status.

What is the term for the side of a horse?

The flank is the side of the horse, between the ribs and the hip - one of his most sensitive and ticklish areas. Sometimes a small thin flank strap is placed on a horse to make it buck higher, for rodeos and other performances. This practice is questionable, per some animal rights activists.

Which ancient Greek philosopher, soldier and historian is called the “father of classical equitation (horsemanship)"?

A student of Socrates, Xenophon wrote a manual about training and raising horses with humane methods. The book was titled "The Art of Horsemanship." Xenophon was also known as the "Attic Muse" in Athens, for his sweet diction.

How much does the average horse weigh?

A horse has only one stomach, unlike a cow. He is a herbivore and eats up to 2% of his body in roughage that consists of grasses, hay, oats, barley and bran. The average horse weighs 840-2,200 pounds and can eat up to 21 pounds of hay and drink up to 25 gallons of water a day.

What is the term for dressage movements where the horse's feet leave the ground when prompted by the rider?

The airs include movements such as levade, capriole, croupade, courbette and the ballotade. These moves were made famous by the Lipizzaner stallions. Dressage is considered the highest form of horse training.

When a horse is unshod, or without horseshoes, he is _________?

Ancient Greeks did not shoe their horses. The philosopher and historian Xenophon claimed a shod horse would become lame and unhealthy, as his feet could not commune with the earth. Considered more natural, the barefoot horse has become more common in recent years, as part of a movement advocating a holistic approach to horse care.

In horses, what is the term for a bad habit, such as biting or kicking?

Most vices in horses can be avoided if the horse is allowed to participate in normal activities, like exercise, grazing and interacting socially. Boredom or improper training techniques can cause vices and unwanted behaviors to develop.

In horseracing, what is the term for 1/8th mile or 220 yards?

"Furlong" comes from the old English "furh" for furrow and "lang" for long, which was a farmer's width of field, one furrow long. Most horses gallop at between 25-30 miles per hour, with the fastest recorded at 55 mph.

In horses, what is the term for a healthy but uncommon blue pigmented eye?

Blue eyes or whitish eyes in horses are just a color and do not indicate disease or vision problems. Horses have binocular vision and can see two images at the same time. The eyes can swivel, allowing 300 degrees of sight.

What do you call a horse that has not been ridden much - a horse that is just starting out in training?

This color of sapling or branch means it is young and pliable. In the past, horses were the main mode of transportation, and the better behaved and trained horses were sought after by the upper classes. The term "horsepower" was invented by James Watt, to express the power of a steam engine in terms people could understand.

What do you call a basic, average horse that has some use but is nothing special?

A hack is also someone who works for money, with no special effort or creativity. Draft horses were the workhorses of their day and invaluable to businesses, due to their strength and good nature.

What is the name for a form of canter that is slow and on a 3-beat gait, often seen in Western-style riding?

Horses can run shortly after birth. To lope means to run with a long swinging gait. Galloping is the fastest gait, and the canter is the second fastest speed.

What do you call a strap or tie around a leg or legs of a horse to keep it from wandering too far, but allowing it to graze?

"Hobble" also means to walk slowly or with difficulty. The traditional vaquero horse hobble was made from 8-16 strands of latigo or rawhide. Horses could graze freely and walk slowly with effort. However, a hobble would not keep a horse in one place - it could travel up to a mile overnight.

What is the type of bridle that relies on a noseband for control, instead of a bit?

Hacklemore comes from the Spanish word for halter, "jaquima." The first horses were domesticated around 2500 B.C., using twisted leather for lassos and bridles. The hackamore is one of the oldest styles of bridles. The three types of hackamore are the sidepull, bosal and mechanical hackamore.

What do you call the thin saddle pad that is shaped like the saddle, rather than a rectangle?

The word "numnah" has a Hindi origin. The numnah is supposed to be safer and better fitted on the horse, to prevent falls. In the 2008 Scripps National Spelling Bee ,an 8th grader was asked to spell "numnah," but he heard wrong and thought the announcer said "numbnut." The misunderstanding was cleared up and that boy, Sameer Mishra, won the competition.

What do you call the side of the horse that is on the rider's right when seated?

A horse is trained to accept riders on the left side, or near side, as in Medieval times the sword and shield hung on the right. Never mount a horse from the off side.

What do you call a vicious horse that cannot be handled and oftentimes is a nuisance?

He, like many bank robbers, could be famous in the West for being a nuisance and robbing ranchers of their stock. An outlaw stallion will be vicious, fight over females and steal another stallion's mares, depleting rancher's herds.

What do you call an overshot bite, where the upper teeth protrude beyond the lower jaw?

Horses' teeth take up more room than their brains in their heads. The front teeth of the horse are the incisors. Females often have no canine teeth.

What do you call a mare that has produced 2 or more winners in over 3 of the 8 most prestigious Thoroughbred races?

With some purses at over a million dollars in prize money, mares that produce winners are highly prized. These valuable mares can have their own fanfare, armed security, and cushy life as to their producing abilities. The Prix du Cadran and York's Gold Cup are the longest Thoroughbred races at over 2.5 miles.

What is the name of the proud rhythmic trot performed in one place?

"Piaffe" comes from the French word meaning to strut, "piaffer." It is a calm, well-controlled elevated trot in place. The piaffe is the ultimate display of the horse in controlled movement. It is not natural, but rather a learned ability and movement.

What is the beginning level of dressage in FEI competition?

Dressage was not a competitive sport until 1912, when it became an Olympic sport. Before then it was considered an art. It is comprised of only the most highly skilled riders and horses.

What is it called when you groom by tugging out the longer hairs of a horse by hand?

Hand grooming and hand combing were used by primitive tribes to keep their horses neat. Without proper grooming, a horse's mane will tangle, break off or get too thick, and not be a good defense against insects.

What do you call a horse that is between the ages of 12 months and 24 months?

When a horse is a year old, he is expected to be weaned on grass. From a year on, a horse will consume mostly grass and grains. Most horse breeds live 20-30 years, while miniature horses can live into their 50s.

What is a horse that appears to be a gelding but has an undescended testicle?

A horse with one or two undescended testicles is a ridgling. An undescended testicle will not produce sperm, but if the other testicle has descended the horse can breed. A horse with one or more testicles intact but undescended can behave like a stallion and fight other stallions.

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