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Horse Smarts - Horse Terms and Definitions
Horse Terms: A- CTerms: D - FTerms: G - ITerms: J - LTerms: M - OTerms: P - RTerms: S - UTerms: W - Z

All definitions below are from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Horse Terms and Definitions

Australian Stock Saddle - The Australian Stock Saddle sometimes called a Poley, is a saddle now in popular use all over the world for activities that require long hours in the saddle and a secure seat. The saddle is suitable for cattle work, everyday pleasure riding, trail riding, endurance riding, polocrosse and is also used in Australian campdrafting competition.

The traditional Australian stock saddle was designed for security and comfort in the saddle no matter how harsh the conditions. While having stylistic roots from the English saddle in the design of the seat, panels, fenders, and stirrups, it has a much deeper seat, higher cantle, and flared pommels in the front to create a very secure saddle or riders who ride in rough conditions or spend long hours on a horse.

Modern styles range from traditional models through to a newer "half breed" that incorporates the independent swinging fender of the western saddle with the traditional Australian tree and seat style. There are also "cross breed" saddles that combine other western saddle elements, such as a saddle horn or a western cantle design, with traditional Australian elements, such as the pommel swells and deep seat.

Ballotade - a ballotade is a leap made by a horse, such as between two pillars, or upon a straight line, so that when his four feet are in the air, he shows only the shoes of his hind feet, without jerking them out.
Bat - The crop or bat is a short stick-like object about 2 feet in length, with a popper at the end. The rider uses the crop behind their leg, to back up the leg aids if the horse does not respond. It is also a common implement for discipline, such as when a horse refuses a jump.

Most equestrian organizations have rules regarding use of the crop. This includes regulations on the maximum length, the maximum number of times the horse may be hit, where it may be hit (most do not allow for the crop to be used anywhere near the animal's face), and circumstances it may be used in (for example, it may be used after a refusal, but not after the rider has left the showing arena to "punish" the horse for putting in a poor performance).


Bates Australia - a leading saddle manufacturer originally established in 1934. Bates Saddlery was formed when Mr George Bates borrowed $100 from his sister, bought a sewing machine and began to make saddles on the veranda of his home in Perth, Western Australia. Bates Australia is the parent company to Bates Sddles and Wintec.

The family owned business, located in Perth, Western Australia, has successfully expanded into many international markets and can now be found in 36 countries around the world.

Bell Boot - Bell boots, or overreach boots, are a type of protective boot worn by a horse. They encircle the horse's ankle, and protect the back of the pastern and the heels of the animal. More Information

Bit - used in equestrian activities is a piece of metal or similar synthetic material that is placed in the mouth of a horse and allows a rider to control the animal. It is held on a horse's head by means of a bridle and has reins attached for use by the rider. More Information

Bit Converter - A bit converter is used on pelham bits to change them from two-rein bits to one-rein bits. It is a leather strap that attaches from the snaffle ring to the curb ring. The rein is then attached to the loop made between the two rings. A bit converter is very helpful when riding the cross-country phase of eventing, so that a rider using a pelham does not have to keep track of two reins as opposed to one. However, the bit converter diminishes the rider's ability to apply the curb and snaffle functions of the pelham independently and discriminately, and thus is usually considered unsuitable for other types of riding; it is illegal in hunt seat equitation, for example.
Bit Guard - A bit guard is a piece of equipment used on a horse to protect the animal's lips from chaffing or pinching by the bit. It is usually made of rubber, and is placed between the side of the horse's face and the bit ring. Bit guards are usually used with loose ring snaffle bits, as these bits in particular have an ability to pinch the horse's lips. They may also be used as a temporary fix to make a bit fit better, as they add space between the ring and the side of the horse's mouth. Bit guard are usually seen in jumping events, such as eventing and show jumping. They are not permitted in competitive dressage, and are not seen in hunt seat competition.
Bit Mouthpiece - The mouthpiece is the part of a horse's bit that goes into the mouth of a horse, resting on the bars of the mouth in the sensitive interdental space where there are no teeth. More Information
Bit Ring - The bit ring is the ring on the side of a horse's bit, particularly on a snaffle. It is used as a point of attachment for the cheekpieces of the bridle and for the reins. More Information
Blinkers - Blinders also known as blinkers are a piece of equipment used on a horse's face that restrict the horse's vision. They usually compose of leather or plastic cups that are places on either side of the eye, so that the horse can not see to his sides. Many racehorse trainers believe this keeps the horse focused on what is in front of him, encouraging him to pay attention to the race rather than other distractions, such as crowds. Additionally, blinkers are commonly seen on driving horses, to keep horses from being distracted or spooked, especially on crowded city streets. Many of the riding disciplines, other than racing, do not permit the use of blinders in competition at any time, under penalty of elimination.

In racing, blinkers are usually seen attached to a synthetic face mask, rather than to the bridle. In driving, they are attached to the bridle's cheekpieces.

Bradoon - A bradoon is a piece of horse tack, and can refer to a bradoon bridle , a bradoon bit , or a bradoon rein . Alternate spellings include "bridoon". A bradoon bit is a loose-ring, or rarely an egg butt, snaffle bit used in a double bridle. The rings are smaller in diameter (maximum 8 centimeters) than a regular snaffle bit. The bradoon always lies higher in the horse's mouth than the curb bit used in the double bridle, and is placed above the curb chain. The bradoon rein should be wider than the rein used on the curb bit, so that it is easy to distinguish the two by feel.
Breastplate - A breastplate (used interchangeably with breastgirth and breastcollar) is a piece of riding equipment used on horses. Its purpose is to keep the saddle from sliding back, and is most helpful on horses with large shoulders and a flat ribcage. More Information
Breeches - Riding breeches are specifically designed for equestrian activities. Traditionally, they were tight in the legs, with buckles or laces in the calf section, and had a pronounced flare through the thighs. However, with the advent of new materials such as spandex, modern breeches are skin-tight. The flared style is making a slow comeback, however, and is available to cavalry and other military reenactors.
Browband - The crownpiece actually runs through the browband. The browband runs from just under one ear of the horse, across his forehead, to just under the other ear. In certain sports, such as dressage and Saddle seat, decorative browbands are sometimes fashionable.
Calks - Studs or Screw-in Calks are traction devices screwed into the bottom of a horse shoe. This improves the horse's balance and grip over uneven or slippy terrain, and can make him move better and jump more confidently in poor footing. More Information
Canter - The canter is a controlled, three-beat gait that usually is a bit faster than the average trot, but slower than the gallop. Listening to a horse canter, one can usually hear the three beats as though a drum had been struck three times in succession. Then there is a rest, and immediately afterwards the three-beat occurs again. The faster the horse is moving, the longer the suspension time between the three beats. More Information
Cantle (saddle) - the back of the saddle.
Caparison - A caparison is a covering, or cloth laid over a horse or other animal, especially a pack animal, or horse of state.
Cavesson - A noseband is the part of a horse's bridle that encircles the nose and jaw of the horse. In English riding, where the noseband is separately attached to its own headstall, it is often called a Cavesson. For More Information See Nosebands
Chambon - A chambon is a training device used on horses. It runs from the girth or the bottom of the surcingle, forks about half way, and continues to rings on the horse's head at the base of the ears. Running through those rings it follows the direction of the cheekpieces and attaches to the bit ring. More Information
Chaps - Chaps are sturdy leather coverings for the legs, consisting of leggings and a belt. They are buckled on over trousers with the chaps' integrated belt, but unlike trousers they have no seat and are not joined at the crotch. They are designed to provide protection for the legs and are usually made of leather or a leather-like material.
Cheekpieces - Two cheekpieces attach to either side of the crownpiece and run down the side of the horse's face, along the cheek. They attach to the bit rings. In a double bridle, two pairs of cheekpieces are used.
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Cinch - A strap that goes around the horse's barrel that holds the saddle on.
Circling - Like weaving, this is a repetitive movement, only the horse circles compulsively in its stall rather than just rocking back and forth. This habit can also lead to weight loss and lameness.
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Collection - Collection is when a horse carries more weight on his hindlegs than his front legs. The horse draws the body in upon itself so that it becomes like a giant spring whose stored energy can be reclaimed for fighting or running from a predator. More Information

Cold Bloods - Muscular and heavy draft horses are known as "cold bloods", as they have been bred to have the calm, steady, patient temperament needed to pull a plow or a heavy carriage full of people. One of the best-known draft breeds is the Belgian. The largest is the Shire. The Clydesdales, with their common coloration of a bay or black coat with white legs and long-haired, "feathered" fetlocks are among the most easily recognized.


Colt - A colt is a young male horse, under the age of four. An older male horse is called either a "stallion", if left fertile, or a "gelding", if neutered. A young male horse is considered a colt even if he is gelded. The verb 'to geld' refers to the process of neutering a stallion.

A young female horse is called a filly until age four, and a mare thereafter.

A group of colts is called a "rag". In the wild, colts are kicked out of their herds when they become stallions by the stallion of the herd. When they are kicked out, they usually will be able to find a herd made up of horses just like him called yearlings. They stay with this band until they are mature enough to get their own herd and take care of it.

Corkscrew (Bit) - The mouthpiece (usually single-jointed) has many rounded edges. However, it is not actually "corkscrew" in shape, but more has a more "screw-like" mouthpiece with blunt edges. Thicker than a wire bit, thinner than a slow twist. The edges amplify pressure on the mouth, especially the bars and tongue. Considered severe.

Counter Canter - The counter-canter is a riding movement performed, as its name suggests, at the canter, which asks the horse to move on the outside lead. For example, while on a circle to the left, the horse is on the right lead. The horse should be very slightly bent in the direction of the leading leg.

The counter-canter is primarily used as a training movement, improving balance, straightness, and attention to the aids. It is used as a stepping-stone to the flying change. It is also a movement asked for in dressage tests.

Cribbing - When the horse grabs a board or other surface with its teeth, arches its neck, and sucks in air. This can harm the teeth and may lead to colic.
Crop - The crop or bat is a short stick-like object about 2 feet in length, with a popper at the end. The rider uses the crop behind their leg, to back up the leg aids if the horse does not respond. It is also a common implement for discipline, such as when a horse refuses a jump.

Most equestrian organizations have rules regarding use of the crop. This includes regulations on the maximum length, the maximum number of times the horse may be hit, where it may be hit (most do not allow for the crop to be used anywhere near the animal's face), and circumstances it may be used in (for example, it may be used after a refusal, but not after the rider has left the showing arena to "punish" the horse for putting in a poor performance).

Crownpiece - The crownpiece or crown (headpiece - UK) goes over the horse's head and rests just behind the animal's ears. It is the main strap that holds the bridle in place and prevents the bit from slipping down.
Crupper - A crupper is a piece of tack used on horses to keep a saddle or surcingle from sliding forward. It consists of a strap with a buckle on one end, to adjust the crupper's length, and a padded, rounded strap that passes under the horse's tail. More Information

Curb Bit - A curb bit is a type of bit used for riding horses that uses leverage. It includes the pelham bit and the Weymouth curb along with the traditional "curb bit" used mainly by Western riders.

Kimberwickes are modified curb bits, and a curb bit is used in a double bridle along with a bradoon. A curb bit is, in general, more severe than a basic snaffle, although there are several factors that are involved in determining a bit's severity. More Information

Curb Chain - A curb chain, or curb strap, is used on curb bits (including the pelham and kimberwicke) when riding a horse. It is a linked chain or leather strap that runs under the chin groove of the horse from one cheekpiece to the other. It often has a "fly link" in the middle to apply a lip strap (used to keep the horse from grabbing the shank and to keep the curb chain from unfastening).

The curb chain applies pressure to the curb groove under a horse's chin when the curb rein of the bit is used. When the curb rein is pulled, the shank of the bit rotates back towards the chest of the horse and the cheek (upper shank) of the bit rotates forward (since it is a lever arm). The curb chain is attached to the rings at the end of the cheek, so, as the cheek moves forward, the chain is pulled and tightened in the curb groove. Once it comes in contact with the curb groove of the horse it acts as a fulcrum, causing the cannons of the bit mouthpiece to push down onto the horse's bars, thus amplifying the bit's pressure on the bars of the horse's mouth.

The tightness of the curb chain therefore has a great effect on the action of the bit. If the bit is used without a curb chain, it loses its leverage action. If used with a loose curb chain, it allows the shanks to rotate more before the curb chain is tight enough to act as a fulcrum and exert pressure. This extra rotation can warn the horse before pressure is exerted on his mouth, so he may respond beforehand. If used with a very tight curb chain, the bit immediately exerts curb pressure and increased pressure on the bars as soon as pressure is applied to the reins. Therefore, a tight curb chain is harsher, and provides less finesse in signaling the horse than a looser curb chain would.

Most horsemen adjust the curb chain so it only comes into action when the shank rotates 45 degrees back.

The information above is provided by Wikipedia. All text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License. (See Copyrightsfor details.)

Horse Smarts does not endorse or confirm accuracy of any information listed on this page. It was provided by Wikipedia. Horse Smarts does not endorse sites listed in the horse breed pages, the Horse Classified listings or link pages.

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