Monday, December 22, 2008

You Say To-may-toe, I Say To-Mah-Toe

We have had two posts in a row where our language barriers have created some interesting discussions. When you think about it, this should come as no big surprise. We come together on this blog from different parts of the country, different disciplines, heck all over the world. Add to this the magic of "horse speak" and we have the potential for some pretty interesting mix-ups in our communication.

I'm still flat out cracking up over our comments about "back". When Whywudyabreedit was asking for help to select a trainer to back her horse for the first time, I have to admit, in my mind I kept thinking, "Just back the damn thing!", as in pick up your reins and get him to step back. Since I try hard to never cop that kind of attitude I simply squelched it and went on....

So I hope you get the help you're looking for Whywud, I was pretty useless on that one.

Anyway, so now I'm thinking, what terms do I regularly use that might cause confusion? How often are we just being polite and not saying "Huh?" because we feel stupid for asking? I say let's all get in the habit of simply going, "Huh?" We'll all learn a lot more and get a good laugh once in a while at each others expense.

I think the horse world makes people more self-conscious than anywhere else. As horse people we tend to be the first to offer our expertise and the last to admit when we don't know something. No matter how little we may actually know. Be honest, you know we have all been there.

I don't know what it is about horses that makes us all want to be the expert in every situation. Is it because it takes so long to actually learn anything? Is it because there are so many levels where we can actually become knowledgeable, but still fall down in others? What is it?

I have learned there are specific phases every new rider goes through.

1. "Which end is the head, why can't I wear my Crocs and when can we run?"

2."Oh no, this is hard, kinda scary and this bone-head horse won't do anything!"

3."Oh my gosh I''m learning to do stuff and I understand the difference between a fetlock and a forelock!"

4."If I learn how this thing ticks then I can get more done!" ( My favorite point with a new student)

5. I'm an expert! (Uh-oh)

Then depending on the person, this phase settles in for a while. Some stay there forever. I'll be honest, I don't have much patience for this phase. Luckily, most of us have some massive slap from reality, you know, we break something, we humiliate ourselves, we try to step up into a discipline that's over our head, that kind of thing. Sometimes it's tragedy.
From there horse people go two different ways. They either quit or they go back to learning.
Personally, I'm still learning.

I'm determined to become a competitive cutter.
I still dabble in dressage and probably will for the rest of my life. I find it a peaceful and interesting discipline.
I am re-structuring my program for developing a bridle horse, yet again.
I'm learning from you guys ever day.

So here's my contribution. I'm putting out my list of terms that you may or may not be familiar with.
Please, please, add in your terminology. This should be really fun.

Turn-around: A spin in place. My horse plants his inside hind leg and trots or runs around with the front legs for several revolutions, pushing with the outside hind for momentum.

Spin: See turn-around.

Roll-back: The horse comes to a stop. He rocks back, turns over his hocks and returns in the direction he came from. The horse leaves in a fluid motion without hesitation.

dry work: reined work. The reining pattern we do before we work our cow. Since many of us hate the dry work (horses and riders both) we'll refer to it as dry as dust....

boxing: holding a cow at the short end of an arena. This is the first phase of cow work in a cowhorse competition.

down the fence: taking the cow down the long side of the arena, this is the fast, fun part. We pass and turn the cow at least twice during this phase.

circle up: this is the last phase, we drive the cow to the middle of the arena and circle it to the left and then right with our horses.

Romel: Romel reins are becoming very popular again as they were in the days of the vaquero.The romel is a requirement in the reined cowhorse competitions.They are like a one piece or roping rein with a ring or tie connector with a romel connected and a popper on the end. You can get these made out of simple leather or pay for hand braided rawhide. The coolness factor that comes with a set of high quality rawhide romels is priceless.

Full bridle: In my world this is when my horse has graduated to a one-ear bridle, a full spade or half-breed bit, ridden with a flat leather chin strap and romel reins.

Hackamore: A bosal. A bitless bridle made of braided raw-hide, leather or a combination of the two. The hackamore works off of the sensitive areas of a horse's nose and jaw. The hackamore is used for one to several years in the development of a bridle horse.
Mechanical hackamores with long shanks are different. They can apply a very high ratio of pressure to the sensitive area of the nose, chin and poll and cause extreme pain.

Snaffle: A bit with no shanks. So an O-ring or and egg-butt can be a snaffle, but a tom thumb is not.

Curb: A bit with shanks

Broken Mouth Bits: A lot of us learn to call all broken mouth bits snaffles. They aren't. You can have a broken mouth curb such as a tom thumb or a broken mouth pelham or you can have a broken mouth snaffle such as a ring snaffle or eggbutt snaffle. You can have a two piece broken mouth or a three piece broken mouth and the action of each can be very different giving your horse very different signals and producing different results.

I have to get to work, or get beaten. So I'll end with my favorite.

Horsin' : A mare in season



  1. Funny - and great definitions. Here's one for you. Showing a while back I was informed in no uncertain terms that I'd better watch out or my horse would become a crib-sucker. All show horses do eventually, it's the stress of being stalled. "A what?" I asked. "A crib-sucker." Okay, and what is that? Oh, that's where they puff themselves up and get broken winded from pacing.

    Hmmm.... Well, since I show on average of once a year, and my boy's got 24 hour turnout, I don't have to worry about the dreaded "crib-sucking" causing problems.

    *shakes head* I think she'd muddled cribbing, wind-sucking & broken-winded horses with stall pacers... at least that was my best guess. Gotta be careful of that advice from unexpected corners - LOL!

  2. Um, I found these two in my own life recently:
    1) Paycheck: when the horse inhales
    2) Invoice: when the horse exhales

  3. Lets see, here's some rope horse terms. "Head horse"--the horse used to rope the head and pull the steer. "Heel horse"-- horse used to heel the steer. "Breaking the barrier"--when the head horse jumps out of the box too soon--an automatic penalty. "Legging" a steer--when the heeler ropes one leg, another automatic penalty. "Facing"--when the header whirls to face the heeler and time is called. "Hazing"--guiding a steer to run straight down the arena.
    Then there's using a "Breakaway" rope to train a young rope horse, "Roughstock" for bulls and broncs in the rodeo string, and "Chasing Cans" for barrel racing.I used those last three terms as titles in my equine mystery series.

  4. I'm deep in quarter horse/barrel racing country. The only time I get the 'huh?' reaction is when I say something like: "I have an Arabian and I ride English."

  5. I am never afraid to ask questions cuz I think I'm a big dork anyway! I tend to shut my mouth otherwise cuz there ARE a lot of horse people that will spend all day tellin' you what to do and how to do it when you HAVEN'T asked.

    Most of the tack and some of the more specific riding terms for your area of expertise leave me confused on this post. shrug. I keep reading! I get the jist of the story/post and still enjoy all of it.

    I went to a clinic once and they kept telling me to "disengage the hip" I wasn't trying to be disagreeable but I could NOT for the life of me figure that concept out. I have always been taught to go forward and engage the hind end in a very classic German way for Dessage. The clinician gave up on me and left me alone - she could never explain in a way that I "got it". It was this NH clinic I went to...

    I wasn't sure what it was all about...but I signed up anyway. I found out!

    Interesting but I wouldn't do it again. The other thing they kept asking me to do is back my mare any time she was being difficult.

    I wouldn't do it. I'd had problems with her sucking back and rearing straight up. I'd just gotten FORWARD etched into her brain and wasn't about to make her go backwards all day long.

    I don't think they liked me there. S'ok. It was interesting.

    I worked once with a guy who roped so I actually knew what a headin' horse and a heelin' horse were!

  6. This really is the-fish-in-water-principle in action - you really don't notice it till someone else goes, Eh?

    Overheard response to an observers comment of: "Wow, they're really through."

    "Threw? Who threw what? I missed it."

    ('Through' as in the dressage term meaning engaged and working evenly without resistance through the whole body.)

    Um, jump mares (used for AI)
    Spin - as in lunge for exercise ("Spin him for twenty at trot please")
    Spell - slow down a horse / give a breather
    Let-up - turn a horse away for a period of time / break from competition

  7. Here are some from my cutting lessons.. Some are pretty obveous though:
    Cow side: kick the horse with your leg that is closest to the cow you are working.
    Herd Side: kick the horse with the leg that is close to the herd of cattle.
    check him: When you are going across the pen, just bump the bridle to slow the horse down if it gets to far ahead of the cow.
    Draw: Pull the horse in the ground, also known as WHOA!
    push his hip up: Push the hip of the horse into the cow and have the shoulders towards a cow that way the horse is arced like a c. makes it easier for the horse to suck back and do the roll back with the cow better.

  8. Wow...I'm on information overload and feeling incompetant to teach some of this stuff to my horses. Well, that and it sounds easier in a western saddle. At least, if nothing else, I'm learning when to ask for help from someone more experienced. I am by no means an expert and I'll be the first to tell you that. I haven't heard half of the terms you guys use, and I'm from the Sacramento area (which according to the beginning of one of Laura's books is hicktown I've never been anywhere but H/J shows and 3 day events. I promise to ask next time if I don't get it from the context of the post.

  9. I've said it before, and I think I will always feel the same: I will never be satistifed with my riding skills and I will never know everything I want/need to know about horses and riding. I tend to go with the shut up and observe school of thought.

    I knew all mugwumps and Laura's terms. FD's were all new to me. I'm trying to think of one I can give.

    Ok, I thought of something. My trainer will tell me to "pick him up" when the horse I'm riding stumbles on his own feet. He means, lift the reins (but don't check him or touch the mouth), lower my heels, and touch him in the sides with my spurs. Sure enough, the horse decides to actually use his feet to step instead of dragging himself along.

    I'm sure there are many more. My mind is blank on this though right now!

  10. Joy,
    I had a gelding that tripped and stumbled on his front feet quite a bit until I started him on Reined cow horse stuff. the term "pick Him UP" is the same to me as Drive him forward, Or "Drive"...I was Constantly told that with him..."Drive, drive, drive...keep about wear my legs and arms out! In reining I was taught (And you can correct me Mugwump...I am NOT an expert like you are in Cow horse stuff)to put your hand way forward and up and "Hold" him and drive him forward into the bit until he collects himself. But I am not a trainer in any way shape or form, just repeating what I was taught with my ONE cow horse I had! LOL

  11. You explain it better, sweet. But yes, that's exactly what my trainer is telling me. And my hips tend to hurt more than my legs; this particular horse is WIDE. Ouch. My own horse nice and comfy. And doesn't stumble (thank God).

  12. I'm not going to lie, I have big problems with the know it all attitude sometimes. Or, at least I think I do. But it seems like the vast majority of my barn time is spent with horse folks who know less than me (now, anyways) and I constantly find my fifteen year old self explaining things. Now, I think it's ingrained in me from the past couple of months. (oh no, oh noooo!)

    However, even after 6 years, I know I know close to nothing comparatively speaking.

    Terms... terms... uhm... I have nothing =P

    Just like to say I love your blog, and I love checking up for new posts. I think I'll start commenting more often :)

    Eventing Wannabe Blog

  13. Funny thing about terminology that just popped into my head reading your list... Bits!!! Boy have I run into this in training discussions--you use a WHAT?!--You think that's GENTLE?! When in reality we're talking about 2 different bits that we happen to CALL by the same name! LOL

    Dr. Bristol: When I hear this I thin k of the D or loose ring 2 jointed bit. It can be harsh because the middle is flat (pressure on tongue) but I used on my OTTB so he could entertain himself! Basically a pinchless French Link or French Training Snaffle. an example or this

    Tom Thumb: I think of the English version: loose ring snaffle with cheek pieces. like this Was informed in no uncertain terms that I am TEH EBIL! to even consider such a horrible device! (correct me if I'm wrong but I think even the other one is basically a gentle leverage bit?)

  14. Hackamore: A bitless bridle with shanks (what you refer to as a mechanical hackamore)
    Bosal: A bitless bridle, work with the knot on the underside, often used on young western pleasure horses in place of a snaffle.
    Bitless Bridle: English style bitless, often works with poll presure.
    That's how we differentiate at my barn, but then again, we have just about every dicipline under the sun, along with all sorts of breeds and about 5 trainers all doing different things. As you can imagine, it's a crazy, busy place! (And then throw in about forty lesson kids coming through each night in about a four hour time period... Ugh!)

    Horsie - mare in heat (not horsin for us, but I only hear the 'old timers' say it.)

    When I was younger, I used to get yelled at about 'Standing them up' in corners, what my instructor meant was that I was letting them fall in or out and losing control of the bend.

    'Slide the bit' was a new one for me a few months ago, as I took a lesson with a different trainer - and halfway through finally admitted I had no clue what she wanted me to do. She meant to me to alternate closing each hand slightly to literally 'slide' the bit in the horses mouth. :P, I felt like an idiot.

  15. Just thought of another -

    Riding hunt and english is two different things for us.

    Hunt - riding in a huntseat saddle, not necessarily jumping
    English-saddleseat saddle, any division or breed.

    So I always have to stop and consider when people I don't know say they ride english, because most of the time they mean my version of hunt.

  16. When I teach a new student, and that is mostly all I do because most of the people are new to horses that come to us, I don't use technical terms. I use very silly simple explanations but find this gives the student confidence, and slowly introduce various things like, "this is the saddle horn, you want to keep your hands out of the way of that, so that the reins, these things are reins, don't get caught in it...and so on."

    I've had guys come here and think because they can ride a motorcycle that they can ride a horse. Then found out it is hard to learn and said stuff like, "oh for gawds sake, this is like sport!"

    I've had some real successes too, and then leave me in the dust forget everything I taught them about lightness and philosophy of training and working with horses, and join the low-end dressage crowd and then complain to other students of mine that they have had to build up their upperarm muscles holding in the head of the leasing horse they are presently trying to prepare for dressage competitions.


  17. I don't hear the term "back" often but I must admit I always have to think for a minute about what they mean.

    It is funny the misconceptions and misunderstandings when we all supposedly speak the same language.

    As for those people who know it all.....I prefer to just turn my ears off when they speak.

  18. If you want to generate a good debate, ask a random sample of dressage riders what the term "on the bit" means to them!

    All the Western terms are new to me, it's interesting, thanks.

  19. My coach was out with some friends and one of the horses (being led by his green owner) started acting up really badly and the natural horsemanship guru with them starts yelling for her to "disengage the hindquarters! DISENGAGE THE HINDQUARTERS!!" -lmao- That poor woman was so confused until my coach finally said "Turn him!" and that was that. Why do people come up with unecessarily difficult to say-and-understand terms? I understand that sometimes it's just the lingo that's built up in a certain locale or discipline, but why re-invent the simple "turn him" with something that sounds far more complicated and is harder to spit out in a crisis?

  20. You learn something new every day, and lately, this blog is responsible for many days' education. Thanks for good "bits" of information!

  21. Love the language barrier subject! A few from my experience:

    Double-a very tight turn (not necessarily on the forehand, but really requiring the horse to bend around your leg and through its back and back end) in one direction and then the other

    Shank snaffle-self explanatory! Snaffle mouthpiece with shanks!

    Bosal-what Mugs describes as hackamore


    Forward headed-a saddleseat horse who cannot rock back and carry his head/neck so the poll is close to vertical

    Choker-what I call my mare's cribbing collar

    Allergic to leather-self explanatory I think! One that doesn't ride

    And a host of others that are escaping me right now! Mugs, I understand your use of 'horsin', but must admit I've gotten a few strange looks for using it in the past!

    And just this weekend I heard a new one 'ride 'em close'-this from a person I've been riding with literally all my life!?!?! It took me about three repeats to get it....

  22. SunnySD-my daughter was a "crib-sucker" for a while. She chewed on the rails of her crib when she was teething!
    Laura Crum- That reminds me of another one. "Turn Tail." Sweetslippin' will know this one too.If you turn tail on a cow,or turn your horse away from a cow while working it you will get either a 5 point penalty or a DQ. No bueno.
    Shanster and Starrynight- Disengage the hip simply means bend the ribcage and move the hip over, so the inside hind crosses the top of the outside hind. A properly executed turn on the forehand accomplishes the same thing. It will get a horse moving who's planning on bucking or rearing. It's handy. The "disengage the hip" term is a NH'er way of claimimg a basic maneuver for any discipline.
    Western disciplines rely on our horses being rocked back over their haunches for almost every maneuver, so backing up is a vital part of what we do.
    FD-the only one we have in common is "spell". We set a spell, rest a spell, that kind of thing. I love the term "through", it's beautiful.
    slippin-draw or....put em' in the dirt!
    chickenrider-I hate tom thumb bits! I think they're sneaky and nasty! The shanks are so short they give a horse no warning at all....simply go from nothing to WHAM! Yuk.
    Stelladorro-Trust me on this one, the hackamore(bosal)was never originally intended to be used on western pleasure horses. If you want some accurate information about the history of the hackamore and their intended use read "Hackamore Reinsman" by

  23. Oops! I lost some of my comments.... Hackamore Reinsman is written by Ed Connel.
    Anon- I have had the same thing happen. I also have had students come back, sometimes years later and say, "You were soooo right." That makes me feel good.
    Leah Fry- Thanks!
    Supposed Suburbanite-Explain "Ride em' close!" please?

  24. Let's see, do I remember any terms from my cutting days? Well, to "quit" a cow--though this is obvious. You put your hand down and touch the horse on the neck to tell him to quit working. if a horse "quits" a cow before you tell him to, that's bad. "Ran through the bridle" for the horse that didn't stop (or even slow down) when cued to stop. A horse who will "really cow" is one who watches and works a cow very much on his own volition.
    Ropers "get the flag" or "didn't get a flag" or get "flagged out" at the end of a run, as its the flagger who determines when to call time or if the run includes an illegal catch, in which case one is flagged out. Pulling a log with a horse to teach him to pull and to build up his pulling muscles is called "logging" him.

    Does every discipline use the word "cinchy" to describe a "cold-backed" horse?

    And I loved "through", which I had never heard before and "allergic to leather". I was just as confused by "backed" as mugwump. Her version of our email dialogue on the post before last is quite accurate. It was a crack up.

  25. Here's one I heard recently from a women who's an NH type (I think). She said her horse had "herd head". It took me a first I thought her horse was having a bad hair day or something. Then I realized she meant "herdbound", as in a horse who was "mothered up" to her pasture mates. Or "barn sour". I've heard those last three terms all my life. But I had never heard "herd head" before.

  26. Let's see-from my knoweledge of barrel racing, roping horses of all kinds...and a few things about polo I've heard from my dad, I present these:
    Logging off: Steer roping horse that doesn't stand at the end of the rope, drags the steer off, making it difficult to tie said animal.
    Sky-eyed:a barrel horse who's head is so high they "have their eyes in the sky".
    Pockets: space between a barrel and your horse that your horse needs to be able to go around the barrel w/out knocking it over.
    Ride your stirrup: In steer roping, riding on the side of your horse (literally) with one foot in the stirrup to be sure your steer will stay down
    Scotching: when a barrel horse doesn't run full throttle to the barrel, they slow down or "rate" way too early, throwing off their momentum, usually screwing up the turn in the process!
    Dragger: steer in team roping that literally drags behind the head horse on the rope, making it more difficult for the heeler to catch the steer's hind legs.
    Scoring: sitting in the roping box on your horse like you were going to make a run in any roping event and letting the cattle out to make your horse relax and not over anticipate coming out of the box when the gate opens.
    I can't think of any more off the top of my head...

  27. Heh heh - well why didn't they just tell me turn on the forehand? I know THAT! grin. I was so corn-fused that day...

    Fun post!

  28. I've finally thought of a few...

    Hat - for an english helmet

    Bat - Is a bat actually different from a crop or is it two names for the same thing. I've heard it used so interchangably that I don't even know anymore. I do remember thinking the first time I heard the term bat that is sounded bad that you were going to smack your horse with one. I think bats are actually the ones with the squarish leather piece at the end and crops are straight with a little rope end.

    Bump him up - equivelent to "pick him up"

    Massage the bit - same as slide the bit. I think this helps beginners understand you don't want them to saw back and forth on the horse's mouth.

    Diagonal - The front leg that is travelling forward when you rise in a posting trot. I like this rhyme to remember "rise and fall with the leg on the wall" or basically up and down with the motion of the outside leg.

    Popped a jump - means you got in too deep to the fence and the horse has to pop up horizontally to get over it. Not fun at all.

    Jumped long - when the horse or rider realizes they're going to be in too deep with the next stride and take a flying leap to avoid popping up.

    Oh, and my trainer used to talk all the time about opening and closing the rider's hip to get the appropriate angle for the flat and over a fence when I was younger. I never really got it. It's one of the things I'm going to figure out this time around because the joy of age is I realize how important researching this stuff is until I figure out a learning method that makes sense to me.

    I also wanted to admit that I do often google terms Mugs uses. "Over and under" was one that got me at first. You can't do that with english reins. I figured out kinda what it mean from the post but to learn the actual technique I googled. Oh, and I had no idea who Matt Dillon was and I was wondering why Mugs referred to an actor, but I thought maybe he was in a horse movie I hadn't seen. I was glad when someone finally mentioned there is another Matt Dillon. I even tried to search the web to see if I could find a Matt Dillon horse movie. LOL

  29. Great post. I rode at a barn where the trainer was from Spain and taught dressage. We not only had a language barrier, but the terminalogy is different. I haven't ever ridden english or dressage and he thought that all persons that rode western were idoits and couldn't ride. One day I was working my horse and he tried to help me with something I was working on so he tells me to push my horse into the bridle...but that isn't what he said... I don't even remember now how it went but I was so confused and then finally I got it and said "Oh you want me to push him into the bridle" and he looked at me like I was from mars. I had trouble seeing where the "give back or release" was in dressage. The term "on the bit" is one that confuses me. I learned alot from him, some of it I still use and some didn't translate well - for me... not that is was wrong, I just didn't get it.

    Now that we defined terms can we cross reference them? :)

  30. Oh yeah Kel, go ahead and give us all a head ache!
    Fyyahchild- Matt Dillon was the hero of the TV show, Gunsmoke.Remember guys, all of my early "trainers" were from television programs. Matt Dillon was big, so was Roy Rogers and the Lone Ranger. And of course, the Cartwrights.
    Interesting the riders I emulated were all men. I think it was simply that nobody ever et the womwendo anything except scream and wave goodbye!
    Laura Crum-Herd Head. Snort

  31. That would be- let the women do anything.

  32. barrelracer20x-- I heard the term "scotching" in my youth applied to rope horses, for the same fault more or less (slowing down before they've gotten to the steer). Now I mostly hear folks say "rated off too soon" for that crime. All the team roping terms are quite familiar to me, but I've never heard the steer roping terms...I don't know anyone who competes at steer roping around here (coastal central California).
    How about "he died in the hole" for the team roping head horse who dwells too long in the moment when the steer is roped and checked before pulling him off, thus ruining the momentum of the run. And "cross firing" for the run where the heeler ropes the heels before the head horse has even begun to tow the steer off. This is illegal in most arenas and results in a "no-time".

  33. As a British dressage rider/happy hacker, none of those made any sense to me. Definitely a 'huh' moment! Below are my interpretations of these strange words:

    Turn-around: What your horse does upon seeing a tractor/cyclist/leaf, usually when you have a tailback of several miles and the person directly behind starts leaning on their horn
    Spin: See turn-around

    Roll-back: The advanced manoeuvre only known by the best riding school ponies, where the horse manages to deposit the rider on the ground without seeming to do anything at all.

    dry work: When the outdoor school isn't a swamp

    boxing: Something that often occurs during a trail ride - the horse in front will double barrel the horse behind, who will strike out with its forelegs. Of course, when the trail manager comes alongside to see whats happening, they will resume their trudge along the track.

    down the fence: Imagine the scene... You battle through wind and rain and flood to get to the yard and check on your horses, when you notice copious amounts of hot tape flying around the yard, and a suspicious lack of navy blue blankets in the field. The horses have obviously been playing a little game of 'down the fence'.

    circle up: On a 'hot' horse, when you ask to do a circle and it instead does a all-the-way-from-hollywood straight-up rear!

    Romel: A possible mispelling of pommel??

    Full bridle: Something one buys for the 'larger' horse in ones life. The one that likes to rub its (dinosaur sized) head all over your best coat.

    Hackamore: Horse language for "Let's go out of this quagmire of sand where you want me to do stupid fancy things and go out down the road where I can deposit you in a conveniently placed hedge shall we?"

    Snaffle: Every horse out there is advertised as 'snaffle-mouthed'. In reality, you will require copious amounts of leather and metalwork to prevent it charging off at high speed.

    Curb: What everyone pretends to hate with a passion, (unless of course you are competing at high level dressage) but schools/jumps in when no-one's watching.

    Broken Mouth Bits: The remains of a happy mouth bit after an hour or so of 'licking and chewing'.

    Laura: In the UK we usually say 'girthy' or just plain 'cold-backed' as people (obviously) are predominantly english riders, who say 'girth', not 'cinch'.
    Herdbound is also sometimes 'nappy'.

    Fyyahchild: I use 'popped a jump' to mean jumped a little jump, no pressure, just a bit of fun. But that could just be my yard!

    Sorry for super long post!!

  34. A big one for me is 'flat' At some h/j places if you arnt jumping you 'flat' a horse. This includs all prep work, anything really except jumping. Example: "Im not jumping *horses name* Im just going to flat him." This word is also great for confusing dressage people. I used to mistify my HUS (who would occasionaly jump) kids when they asked what we were doing in lessons that day and I said 'flat'.

  35. xmuskateerx-I love it! Too funny! Now be fair, give us some of your terms for everything, (hacking: cat coughing up a hairball) and we'll translate. This should be fun.....

  36. Some terms from the backside of the racetrack, ahh the good ole days...

    Light in the front - strikes, or rears

    Light in the back - cow kicks or bucks

    Handy - kicks and doesn't miss

    Smiler - a horse that bites

    Common - a horse with poor manners overall, pushy and obnoxious. Also a deadly insult to a person at the track.

    Nicklebred - a cheaply bred horse, or a horse with poor bloodlines. One step up from a backyard breeder. When used for a person, they're um... "loose", or sleep around.

    Homebred - back yard breeder, usually horse the owners "wuv, and wuv both the parents too"

    Flipping her tail - a term for humans, a woman flirting. Sometimes used for "horsin'", explained by Mugs

  37. I hear people say he "dropped a shoulder" or "walking thru his shoulder". When I've asked, the explanation is still fuzzy. Can you help?

  38. Okay Mugs, I will try to explain 'ride 'em close', but I probably won't do a very good job, but try to follow please. Basically I (finally) took it to mean, ride the horse every stride, this was a horse you had to work as the rider to keep in frame, and you had to keep the frame pretty tight (or he would fall out of it), this particular horse is not capable of self cadence/balance and keeping the frame himself. I think I probably used a lot of terms that need explaining to explain it! Sorry! Hope it made some sense!!?!?!

  39. SupposedSuburbanite- I rode a horse like that once. Evey single stride you had to work your butt off. The horse seemed incapable of a moment of self carriage. I rode him once in a lesson and I was exhausted afterwards! Now I realize the horse probably realized he didn't have to carry himself, the rider would do it for him. My guess is that someone like mugs would have made him carry himself! Ok, now everyone will probably wonder what I mean by 'self carriage'? In the words of SupposedSuburbabnite "capable of self cadence/balance and keeping the frame himself" as well as going forward into the bridle and throughness to use a few more abstract terms we've covered today :)

  40. Anon-A dropped shoulder (in my world)means the horse is tipping into one direction or the other instead of carrying himself straight. Say you're loping a circle to the left, on the left lead. Your horse keeps leaning into the left, making the circle smaller and smaller. The rider is tempted to keep holding him up with the inside rein and leg. If you look from the front the inside shoulder is travelling lower than the outside....which leads me into self carriage-mocha and suburban-yes I encourage my horse to be responsible for her own cadence, balance and frame. It takes years, but is much more satisfying than carrying them every step.

  41. I drive a lot so I get a lot of Huh's? when I say things like "breeching" "woah back staps" "tugs" "lines" etc.
    Same thing when I explain riding stuff to the driving folks. A lot of them are not past putting the 100 year old saddle on the horse and hopping on and letting the horse go about its merry way in my area. Good lot of people though.

    I love to learn. Thats why I am going to university for equine science (only 1 more year!! yay!)
    I don't ever want to stop learning. I don't ever want my horses to stop putting me in my place when I get my head in the clouds either.

  42. xmuskateerx, I agree with mugwump. That was great. Now give us some terms to define. Mugwump and I already did to "back" a horse. Uhmm, just pull on the silly thing and get him to take a step backward.
    And Rhova, I loved the racetrack terms. I never heard any of them before. I will remember, "flipping her tail". That should come in useful.

  43. I think Laura needs to name a horse in her next mystery "Smiler". Snark.

  44. Here's a few for you UK types. "Girthy"--what we old cowgirls get as we go up several sizes in our jeans. "Hacking"-- smoker's cough--very not PC here in coastal California. "Yard"--your lawn and flower beds--nothing to do with horses. "Through"--horse is old/crippled/should be retired. ie "That horse is really through." "Nappy"--horse wants to doze rather than work.

    And here's some more western slang. "The horse just bogged his head and broke in two," meaning he put his head down and bucked hard. And "caught himself", as in he "caught himself in the turn and went to bucking". The moment when a cinchy horse gets grabbed by the cinch and goes for it.

    And does everybody use "crowhopped" for minor bucking?

  45. Ok, I have a question...

    Over and under,

    I have been assuming that this means take the end of your reigns and attempt to smack the horse on one ass cheek and then the other.

    Is this basically correct?

    What is the optimum length of reins to have to get this done?

    I do understand from previous posts that eye protection may be in order here when starting out =)

    Also I really enjoyed my first exposure to the term "rank" to describe a horses general attitude or demeanor.

  46. Whywud-Yes indeedy. I use 8 foot split reins or the popper on the end of my romels. My favorite trick is to wrap the reins around my neck and THEN whack myself in the eye. I are a working perfeshunal after all.

  47. LOL!

    Ok thanks! I think I'll pick it up quick, cuz I sometimes have success slapping myself in the face with my lead line while standing on the ground.

    Left me a bit dazed =)

  48. My favorite trick while attempting to over and under a recalcitrant horse is to whip myself on the arm or leg, and guess what? It really hurts. No wonder they scoot forward when we give them a spanking (!)

  49. One that I did not know until very recently is "soggy." I was like WTF does THAT mean until it was explained to me - a heavy-bodied, muscled up stock type horse.

    Here's one from polo: A horse who "cheats" is a horse who waits til you are poised to take the shot and then scoots away and makes you miss. The tough ones are the ones who switch it up between scooting away and scooting OVER the ball, so you cannot anticipate and correct.

    I think the term that is the MOST all over the place is "green broke." I have heard horses described as "green broke" who have had 1 or 2 rides and didn't kill anybody, and I have heard horses described as "green broke" who are jumping courses but don't have their lead changes clean yet. All I can say is that there are a HELL of a lot of shades of green!

    >>My favorite trick while attempting to over and under a recalcitrant horse is to whip myself on the arm or leg, and guess what? It really hurts.<<

    I am so good at this. I hit myself in the leg every time and sting the crap out of myself with the popper. I think I have only actually connected with the VLC, and not my own calf, once. He did stop balking though...I think the noise and the loud "SHIT!" from atop his back scared him out of the behavior. Therefore over-and-undering is effective even when you F it up.

  50. When I first moved to Texas, I had a hard time understanding some people. I went to a cutting clinic back in '99 and had a guy giving me lessons on my mare. He kept saying "Git a Holt o' 'er!" For the life of me I couldn't figure out what he was saying because he had an accent and he was saying it really fast...Finally after the first day of lessons, I realized what he was saying..."Get a Hold of her!" meaning pull her in the ground! I felt stupid after that...but the most hilarious thing I have ever herd was when I first moved here the neighbor came over and was telling his helper to kick the horse when it got too far behind the cow... He was yelling at the kid and saying "HARPOON the sucker!" My trainer and I just about fell off our horses after we herd that expression! LOLOL

    I also have a stupid question to ask...I have seen you talk about clinicians...but you refer to them as NH...what does NH mean????


  51. Thought of a whole bunch of random other ones...

    Flatting or Hacking a horse. Sometimes hacking out, going for a hack, etc. = not jumping!

    spot: Where you want to take off for a jump.

    Deep spot: too close!

    Long spot: too far!

    buried him/her: really really too close!

    popped the horse in the mouth, caught him on the backside: all terms for hitting the horse in the mouth with the bit on the landing side of a jump

    vertical: jump with a horizontal bar on it

    falling in: the horse is leaning in on a turn or circle instead of staying balanced

    working trot: medium posting trot

    hand gallop: slow gallop or fast canter (depends who you ask)

    hit: to jump as in "hit the brown oxer to the green vertical"

    cavillati: trot poles

    gymnastics: jumps with only 1 or 2 strides (steps) between them all in a row (usually 2-4 jumps)

    bounce: no strides/steps between fences just land and take off again

    set him up: to set the horse up to make a lead change, pick up a gait, ready him for the jump

  52. Hunter/Jumper sayings, still alive and well today?

    "On the bit"
    The horse holds the bit like an egg in your hands, the slightest, lightest pressure of seat and leg and hand gets you what you want. It's a penultimate term used too quickly, like for instances when the horse is pulling your arms out, but his head is in the right place.

    see horsin'

    "left a leg"
    Horse is a front leg dangler over fences, or literally left a leg on the jump, and flips the rider off, Horses, if left alone, rarely fall when leaving a leg. Riders though, different story.

    "Dropped his shoulder" and deposits you tidily on the ground, usually when he's caught you fair and square "ahead of the motion".
    Hey that's another one. Happens on the flat, as well as over fences.

    The horse runs up under the jump, ("chipping" the distance) and helicopters upward, with extended hang time. It ain't pretty. Feels worse.
    Sometimes, a "chocolate chip". Horse and rider pretend they MEANT to do that.

    "lived to see dinner"
    A really, really long distance away from a jump, making the rider "left behind" quite often..

    exactly right!

    I'd only be cribbing (also means cheating) on the rest. Those are the ones I remember best. Most Hunter Judges have some pretty funny short forms, but my memory cells are refusing to retrieve them.

    Great Post, Fun stuff!

    I hope I never stop learning.

  53. Oh, and Mugs,

    the thing I heard (no idea if it's true) is that the western Tom Thumb bits are nicer than longer shanked bits because the leverage is less? So it's not that it's surprise!wham! but that when you actually have to pull there is less wham! ? Yes/No? LOL

    Also, what do you think about double reins and/or curb chains? Pehlams and the like.

  54. GoLightly

    We always said chipped for a short distance where the last stride was a "chip" or an eeny weeny little step! So I guess similar to how you said it--am really tired need to get off the internetz.... LOL I will check back tomorrow!

    Oh and if a rider gets left that's always interesting! I've actually landed behind the saddle (poor horse's kidneys!) with both feet still in the stirrups and both hands on the reins. Hehe!

    Ducked: The horse ducked out of the jump at the last second / refused the jump in a very sneaky way! Riders can duck as well, its that funny leaning waaaaay over the horses neck with their heads next to the mane thing. Happens a lot when switching from outdoor jumping to indoor (even tho the ceiling is miles away!!).

  55. Yes ma'am Miss Laura--I've seen many a good head horse die in the hole from too heavy a rein hand! Lol, my sole purpose in high school was to keep my daddy's head horse light in the bridle so that he didn't do that exact thing. I'll never understand how some guys can kick and spur for all they're worth when their reins are under their chins! Cross-firing has gotten to be a less used term, believe it or not. Most associations around here phased it out when the USTRC did. I think it was a bad idea, it made a whole lot of horses who wanted to cover up on the corner SO much worse! HA! There ya go, there's another one-Cover Up On The Corner...a heeling horse that over anticipates! Lol.

  56. Here's another confusing one:

    I grew up learning that the wrong lead was the wrong lead. Then I boarded at a pleasure horse barn and they would "counter-canter" deliberately. And sometimes judges would ask for it in patterns. Still looks like the wrong damn lead to me, and I still don't really understand what it is supposed to accomplish. Although I do understand that the dressage people do it too.

    Now, one lead behind and the other up front is either "cross-cantering," "disunited," or "hanging a lead," depending on what barn you're at.

  57. Fugs, counter cantering is a pretty high-school movement, when done properly. It introduces counter-flexion, which leads to easier flying changes, IMO. It's an ultimate obedience test, on the flat. My beloved GoLightly hated 'em:) I had to really ride him right, to get the right balance.
    Shouldn't ever be done on too small a circle, it ain't fair.
    I've often used the wrong diagonal, as a way to introduce counter flexion:) Keeps it clearer, to the horse. On the straight, there is no "wrong" diagonal:)
    IMO, of course.

    ChickenRider, yup, a chip is that ugly little quarter/half/stride before the fence. I thought I said that:) "Jump ahead" of a chip, and when the horse drops his shoulder, and stops, you'll be on the floor, usually straight over the horses' neck.
    I remember David Broome describing a great jumper mover. "I like to watch how they leave the floor. You can hear a good horse, by how quietly they leave the floor. It's like they are traveling on air. "

    Aha! A universal term, crow-hopping! But, where the heck did the term come from? Any body?
    Did medieval crows make horses do little bucks?
    Me tired too.
    way cool post, mugs.
    I laughed hard at your "backing" confusion. Yeah, only in the horse world.

    "Then depending on the person, this phase settles in for a while. Some stay there forever. I'll be honest, I don't have much patience for this phase."
    No Kidding:(
    Amazing that those phases are the same, in ALL disciplines.

  58. I don't speak this language AT ALL! While you all are tomaytoe-tomahtoeing, I am saying "cauliflower"! But it doesn't keep me from enjoying your blog any less. Don't know how you keep up with how wildly popular it has become! I do love reading it, even though I don't "get" most of it! You don't need me to tell you this, but you are a GREAT writer!!! Congrats on your success here!

  59. fugs-I think a cheat is a cheat in every discipline...
    chickenrider-no.A Tom Thumb is not a mild bit. I have no maybes on this one. They create head tossing, they pinch and I would not have explained it the way I did if I were guessing. A longer shank creates a longer cue time between the lift of the reins to the contact with the mouth. If I am using the longer shank to hurt my horse I shouldn't be using it. I know from experience that bad hands can do as much damage with a ring snaffle as anything else. With a snaffle the rider communicates through the reins to the horse's mouth. With a shanked bit the rider communicates with the reins to the leverage created between chain and bit. A tom thumb gives no pause between contact and leverage because of the short shank.
    I don't have an opinion on double reins because I haven't used them. But my guess is if the horse and hands are trained to the point of understanding the complexities involved and able to use them to go to a higher degree of performance, then they are a tool that causes no harm. If the hands and horse are using the double reins for control they should go back to their Tom Thumb.
    Fugs-Crossfire-we call it out in the back.
    This was fun, I like the cross reference idea, I'm going to play with that for awhile, so keep sending them in the comments OK?

  60. crowhopping- What Indigo does when she doesn't want to go from a trot to a canter. Sure she'll go from a half to a canter but ask her to do a circle and shes not in the mood and she launches herself a good foot or two off the ground, strait into the air.

    Longe- when a horse runs around you in circles making the handler dizzy. (lol)

    wallet- empty, all spent on horse

    WOAH DAMMIT!!- probably what Indigo thinks her name is.

  61. Ok I have a few from the TWH world for you.

    Over-Stride = the distance the off-side back foot (visually) steps past the near-side front foot - or - the distance between the foot impression of the heal of the back foot in front of the toe of the front foot on the same side.

    Elevate = the amount of rise in the fore-quarter of a walking horse at gait. Usually you will have more elevation in the faster gaits

    Crawling = the sunk down walk a walking horse will do in the hind-quarters because of the distribution of weight on the hind. Also related to Elevation. More elevation should equal more crawl

    Swing - term used to describe the amount of lateral movement of a horse

    Square - term used to describe the lack of lateral movement in a horse.

    Fish Hook - The appearance of a TWH tail when the horse has a good swing in their walk. The end of the tail will flip up like a fish hook.

    Pace-em-out = Allowing a gaited horse to pace undersaddle. This stretches the muscles and warms up "some" walking horses. (depends on horse)

    Turned loose = "wow that horse is really turned loose" Used to describe the relaxation of the neck head and ear during gait. The horse will often clack their teeth, and flop their ears in time with their step. Relaxation of the neck is what allows the horse to have a good head shake.

    Bound up = term to describe the tension in the head/neck of a horse with NO headshake, or in the hind quarters for a horse with no over stride.

    I can't think of any more right now.

  62. yes, I know crowhopping = little easy bucks! I can't think of anything to add...darnit!

    I loved the racetrack terms too!

  63. Thanks for the clarification about Tom Thumb bits Mugs!

    Crowhopping: I always associated that with when the horse tucks his head and does the little buck bounce to a little rear-ish thing and bounces back into a little buck. So it looks like he's "hopping".

  64. So many new phrases to me! I love this! Of course there's still a ton of them I'm like... well duh I knew that x] Mostly from the hunter/English parties.

    Set them up - I've heard this said for halter horses, mostly Arabians since that's what I'm around

    Parked out - Used for breeds like Morgans or Saddlebreds, when they stand with their front legs straight and hind legs stretched way out. I've heard they did this back in the plantation days to literally make them shorter to allow the riders to easier get up on them.

    I think I have a book somewhere that has a whole bunch of terms... might go look for it, maybe there's something else in there.

  65. Parked out - Used for breeds like Morgans or Saddlebreds, when they stand with their front legs straight and hind legs stretched way out. I've heard they did this back in the plantation days to literally make them shorter to allow the riders to easier get up on them.

    TWH'ers do it to and that is the reason for it. Most of the horses are 15 hands or taller so making them park out brings them down so it isn't such a jump to get in the saddle.

    My 16hh + mare knows how to park because of halter when she was a yearling. Now I am sooooo glad she learned it because it does come in handy to mount. AND I it also helps if the step up with you. Right about the time you put your weight in the stirrup good they can step up and sort of launch you into the saddle. So with Bonnie, when I first started I would say UP when I was ready to step up. She would too and it has made it easy. Every once in a while she gets a little ahead of me and we have to start over.

  66. okay mugs, here goes:

    canter = lope
    clear round = clean round
    combined training = any two phases of a 3 day event. All 3 is just known as eventing
    equitation = not as popular here. Usually part of a showing event, such as best rider, or judged in dressage.
    girth = cinch
    hacking = trail riding.
    headcollar = halter
    indoor arena = very rare and very expensive. Only on big livery yards or at competitions. Sometimes available for hire.
    loose box = box (so the horse is free to move)
    manege = arena
    nappy = barn sour
    overreach boots = bell boots
    paces = gait. Only the basic walk/trot/canter/gallop unless you ride a gaited/western
    ratcatcher = tweed jacket. A fox hunting term really, showing it's just a tweed jacket!
    rising = posting (to the trot)
    schooling = anything you do to practice for a competition. Includes jumping (even xc), but not hacking.
    stall = usually come in rows. A barn separated by partitions where the horse is tied in
    stud = stallion
    through = when a horse is using its back end correctly and is working in a true outline, where the power goes all the way through the body from the back legs. What everyone supposedly tries to achieve!
    whip = crop
    yard = barn - although these mean something else - something expensive!! We mostly have open stable blocks, usually on a U shape, not closed barns

    any more western terms?? It's so strange that we all use such different words!

    laura - I love your english definitions!!

    chickenrider - I had a similar experience, except my horse stopped, I fell onto his shoulders, he then jumped and away we went (me still on the shoulders). Ah the joys of Pony Club :D

  67. In English, a full bridle is also known as a double bridle. It is one that has two bits.

    Chickenrider -
    That "tom thumb" bit you showed is also called a Fulmer Bit. Wonderful bit to use!

    Fyyahchild -
    to open or close the hip - It is how you bend at the waist when you go into a two point, and the angle refers to how much you bend at said waist.

    Backing - to ride a horse the first time, get on it's back

    Starters - unbroken youngsters, just "starting" out

    English - ANY of the english disciplines using an English-type saddle

    Break - a pacer that loses it's stride during a race, usually going to a gallop

    Slide the bit - I have heard people use see-saw, massage, bump, and other things to describe the back and forth motion of the bit. It is great to keep the horse from bracing against it.

    I love this topic! It is great to see what some people are talking about. And maybe share some bits of info with others as well.

    It is really neat to see exactly what you cow people are talking about!

  68. Heres a few more that I don't think have been mentioned yet:

    Drive-by: When a horse ducks out of a jump at the last second and runs off. A favorite tactic of many ponies

    Sit um on their butt: When you shift your horse's weight back over their hocks which makes the forehand come up and the haunch sink down. (while moving)

    Hang a knee: When a horse holds one knee lower that the other over a jump.

    Rollback: When you land from one jump and then make a sharp turn or a u-turn another jump.

    This has bee a really educational discussion! I have a question about a term I haven't seen defined here yet, what are sliders? Are they special shoes?

  69. Queso -
    The most logical definition I have for sliders (other than the TV show) are the shoes with trailers that are used on reining horses. The heels stick out a bit behind so they protect the heels more with sliding stops.

    Mugs...correct me if I am wrong here!

  70. from dressage -

    counter flex- counter bend in reining
    on the bit - on the aids?
    jaw mobilizations

    lateral - bilateral and diagonal half halts or HH.

    reinback- back up

    turn on forehand or ToF - disengage hip

    leg yield or LG- two tracking

    volte -small precise circle
    smaller than 10 meter, 15 or 20 meter circle
    20 meter about 66 feet

    inside leg to outside rein

    from mtnmollie

  71. I know everybody will know this one, but I love the words, how pretty they sound together.

    "Flying Change"
    is so much prettier than "swapping leads", or "changing legs".
    Wow, can horses DO that?? LOL!

    Happy New Year to Mugwump