Definitions & Terms
Selections from the "Horseman's
"Bog Spavin" - The feeling of panic when
riding through marshy area. Also used to refer to horses that throw a
fit at having to go through water puddles.
"Colt" - What your mare always gives you when you want a filly.
"Contracted foot" - The involuntary/instant reflex of curling
one's toes up - right before a horse steps on your foot.
"Drench" - Term used to describe the condition an owner is in
after he administers mineral oil to his horse.
"Endurance ride" - The end result when your horse spooks and
runs away with you in the woods.
"Equitation" - The ability to keep a smile on your face and
proper posture while your horse tries to crow hop, shy and buck his way
around a show ring.
"Feed" - Expensive substance utilized in the manufacture of
large quantities of manure
"Fences" - Decorative perimeter structures built to give a horse
something to chew on, scratch against and jump over (see inbreeding).
"Flies" - The excuse of choice a horse uses so he can kick you,
buck you off or knock you over - he cannot be punished.
"Founder" - 1.) The discovery of your loose mare-some miles
from your farm, usually in a flower bed or cornfield. Used like-"Hey,
honey, I found'er." 2.) Founder: A condition that happens to most
people after Thanksgiving dinner
"Gallop" - The customary gait a horse chooses when returning
to the barn
"Gates" - Wooden or metal structures built to amuse horses.
"Grooming" - The fine art of brushing the dirt from one's horse
and applying it to your own body.
"Grooms" - Heavy, stationary objects used at horse shows to
hold down lawn chairs and show bills.
"Hay" - A green itchy material that collects between layers
of clothing, especially in unmentionable places.
"Head Tosser" - A blonde-haired woman who wears fashion boots
while working in the barn.
"Heaves" - The act of unloading a truck full of hay.
"Hobbles" - Describes the walking gait of a horse owner after
his/her foot has been stepped on by his/her horse.
"Hoof Pick" - Useful, curbed metal tool utilized to remove hardened
dog doo from the treads of your tennis shoes.
"Inbreeding" - The breeding results of broken/inadequate pasture
"Jumping" - The characteristic movement that an equine makes
when given a vaccine or has his hooves trimmed.
"Lameness" - The condition of most riders after the first few
rides each year; can be a chronic condition in weekend riders.
"Lead Rope" - A long apparatus instrumental in the administration
of rope burns. Also used by excited horses to take a handler for a drag.
"Lungeing" - A training method a horse uses on its owner with
the purpose of making the owner spin in circles-rendering the owner dizzy
and light-headed so that they get sick and pass out, so the horse can
go back to grazing.
"Manure spreader" - Horse traders
"Mosquitoes" - Radar equipped blood-sucking insects that typically
reach the size of small birds.
"Mustang" - The type of horse your husband would gladly trade
your favorite one for...preferably in a red convertible and V-8.
"Parasites" - Small children that get in your way when you work
in the barn. Many gather in swarms at horse shows.
"Pinto" - A colorful (usually green) coat pattern found on a
freshly washed and sparkling clean gray horse that was left unattended
in his stall for ten minutes.
"Pony" - The true size of the stallion that you bred your mare
to via transported semen-that was advertised as 15 hands tall.
"Proud Flesh" - The external reproductive organs flaunted by
a stallion when a horse of any gender is present. Often displayed in halter
"Quarter Cracks" - The comments that most Arabian owners make
about the people who own Quarter Horses.
"Race" - What your heart does when you see the vet bill.
"Rasp" - An abrasive, long, flat metal tool used to remove excess
skin from the knuckles.
"Reins" - Break-away leather device used to tie horses with.
"Ringworms" - Spectators who block your view and gather around
the rail sides at horse shows.
"Sacking out" - A condition caused by Sleeping Sickness (see
below). The state of deep sleep a mare owner will be in at the time a
mare actually goes into labor and foals.
"Saddle" - An expensive leather contraption manufactured to
give the rider a false sense of security. Comes in many styles, all feature
built-in ejector seats.
"Saddle Sore" - The way the rider's bottom feels the morning
after the weekend at the horse show.
"Sleeping Sickness" - A disease peculiar to mare owners while
waiting for their mares to foal. Caused by nights of lost sleep, symptoms
include irritability, red baggy eyes and a zombie-like waking state. Can
last several weeks.
"Splint" - An apparatus that can be applied to various body
parts of a rider due to the parting of the ways of a horse and his passenger.
"Stall" - What your truck does on the way to a horse show, fifty
miles from the closest town.
"Tack Room" - A room where every item necessary to work with
or train your horse has been put, in a place, which it cannot be found
in less than 30 minutes.
"Twisted Gut" - The feeling deep inside that most riders get
before their classes at a show.
"Vet Catalog" - An illustrated brochure provided to stable owners
that features a wide array of products that are currently out of stock
or have been dropped from a company's inventory.
"Withers" - The reason you'll seldom see a man riding bareback.
"Yearling" - The age at which all horses completely forget the
things you taught them previously.
"Young stock" - A general term used for all equines old enough
to bite, kick or run you over, but not yet old enough to dump you on the
The Manual of Appropriate Behavior
(According to Your Horse!)
1- SNORTING: Humans like to be snorted on. Everywhere.
It is you duty, as the family horse, to accommodate them.
2- NEIGHING: Because you are a horse, you are expected to neigh. So neigh
- a lot. Your owners will be very happy to hear you protecting the barn
and communicating with other horses. Especially very late at night.
3- STOMPING CATS: When standing on cross ties, make sure you never ---
quite --- stomp on the barn cat's tail. But keep stomping.
4- CHEWING: Make a contribution to the architectural industry.... chew
on your stall wall, the fence or any other wooden item.
5- BEDDING: It is good manners to urinate in the middle of your freshly
bedded stall to let your humans know how much you appreciate their hard
6- DINING: Always pull all of your hay out of the hay rack, especially
right after your stall has been cleaned, so you can mix the hay with your
fresh bedding. This challenges your human, the next time they're cleaning
your stall - and we all know how humans love a challenge (that's what
they said when they bought you as a two-year-old, right?).
7- DOORS: Any door, even partially open, is an opportunity for you and
your human to exercise. Bolt out of the door and trot around, just out
of reach of your human, who will happily chase you. The longer it goes
on, the more fun it is for all involved.
8- HOLES: Rather than pawing and digging a big hole in the middle of the
paddock or stall and upsetting your human, dig a lot of smaller holes
all over. They won't notice this if you carefully arrange little piles
of dirt. There are never enough holes in the ground. Strive daily to do
your part to help correct this problem.
9- GROUND MANNERS: Ground manners are very important to humans; break
as much of the ground in and around the barn as possible. This lets the
ground know who's boss, and impresses your human.
10- NUZZLING: Always take a BIG drink from your water trough immediately
before nuzzling your human. Humans prefer clean muzzles. Be ready to rub
your head on the area that you just nuzzled to dry it off, too.
11- PLAYING: If you lose your footing while frolicking in the paddock,
use one of the other horses to absorb your fall so you don't injure yourself.
Then the other horse will get a visit from the mean ol' vet, not you!
12- VISITORS: Quickly determine which guest is afraid of horses. Rock
back and forth on the cross-ties, neighing loudly and pawing playfully
at this person. If the human backs away and starts crying, advance swiftly,
stamp your feet, and neigh louder to show your concern.
Murphy's Horse Laws
If you do a thorough check of your trailer before
hauling, you can be assured that your truck will break down.!
There is no such thing as a sterile barn cat!
No one ever notices how you ride, until you fall
The least useful horse in your barn will eat the
most, require shoes every four weeks and need the vet at least once a
A horse's misbehavior will be in direct proportion
to the number of people who are watching.
Tack you hate never wears out; blankets you hate
cannot be destroyed; horses you hate cannot be sold and will outlive you.
Clipper blades will become dull only when the horse
is half finished.
Clipper motors will quit only when you have the
horse's head left to trim.
If you're wondering if you left the water on in
the barn, you did. If you're wondering if you latched the pasture gate,
One horse isn't enough, two is too many.
If you approach within 50 feet of the barn in your
"street clothes", you will get dirty.
You can't push a horse on a lunge line.
If a horse is advertised "under $5,000, you
can bet he isn't $2,500.
The number of horses you own increases, according
to the number of stalls in your barn.
An uncomplicated horse can be ruined with enough
You can't run a barn without baling twine.
Hoof picks migrate.
Wind velocity increases in direct proportion to
how well your hat fits.
There is no such thing as the "right feed."
If you fall off, you will land on the site of your
most recent injury.
If you're winning, QUIT!
Definitions ... From the Horse's
Point of View
ARENA: A place where humans can
take all the fun out of forward motion.
CROSSTIES: Gymnastic apparatus
DRESSAGE: A process by which some riders can eventually
be taught to respect the bit.
GRAIN: The sole virtue of domestication.
A JUMP: An opportunity for self-expression.
FENCE: A device to protect good grazing areas.
STALL DOOR LATCH: A type of puzzle.
FARRIER: Disposable surrogate owner; useful for
acting out aggression without compromising food supply.
TRAINER: An Like owner but with mob connections.
RIDER: An owner overstepping its bounds.
BUCKING: A counter-irritant.
HITCHING RAIL: A means by which to test one's strength.
How Do You . . .? Quick Cures
for Common Problems
To induce labor in a mare? Take a nap.
To cure equine constipation? Load them in a clean trailer.
To cure equine insomnia? Take them in a halter class.
To get a horse to stay very calm and laid back? Enter them in a liberty
To get a horse to wash their own feet? Clean the water trough and fill
it with fresh water.
To get a mare to come in heat? Take her to a show.
To get a mare in foal the first cover? Let the wrong stallion get out
of his stall.
To make sure that a mare has that beautiful, perfectly marked foal you
always wanted? Sell her before she foals.
To get a show horse to set up perfect and really stretch? Get him out
late at night or anytime no one is a round to see him.
To induce a cold snap in the weather? Clip a horse.
To make it rain? Mow a field of hay.
To make a small fortune in the horse business? Start with a large one!