Do You Know These Horse Terms?

Published by Amber LaRock

Updated on

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What Are horse terms?

horse terms

When working in equine medicine, you start to hear some terms more often than others. Whether they are terms used by your colleagues or by clients, there will be some horse-related terms that you will become quite familiar with. It’s important to understand the terminology well, especially with these common horse terms that our clients might not fully understand.

Popular Horse Terms to Learn

Common horse terms
  • Canter- Three beated gait of the horse.
  • Poll- The highest point on the top of the horses head.
  • Conformation- The overall way in which a horse is put together.
  • Founder- The detachment of the coffin bone. Causes severe lameness.
  • Colic– General term describing abdominal pain. Can range in severity.
  • Scours- Term to describe diarrhea in foals.
  • Colostrum- First milk produced by a mare following foaling.
  • Thrush- Fungal or bacterial infection of the frog; characterized by a foul smell.

Special Mention of The More Serious Medical Terms on This Infographic

  • Founder– Founder is a painful condition affecting the feet of a horse. Technically known as laminitis, founder will occur when the laminae becomes inflamed. The damage can be so severe that the pedal bone is no longer supported within the hoof, causing it to rotate. This can cause severe lameness, sometimes resulting in euthanasia due to the severity.
  • Colic– Colic is a term used to describe abdominal pain. Colic can range from some abdominal discomfort that is easily relieved, to such severe pain that euthanasia is warranted. Colic often presents as pawing at the ground, rolling on the ground, looking at the flank, sweating, and anorexia.

Interesting Facts About Horses

We all have strong opinions about horses. Some of us love them dearly, some of us ride them daily, and some of us avoid them like the plague. Horses may be easy to dislike when they’re trampling through your garden or standing on your porch, but this amazing animal is a complex creature that has so much more to offer than just looks.

Horses are a unique species of animal, related to the donkey and the mule but not the ox, they were domesticated thousands of years ago when early nomadic peoples in Eurasia became sedentary.

Breeders selectively bred them to yield more and more powerful muscles; although, humans have kept them small for centuries by breeding for gentleness and docility as well as for docile temperament.

Horses can run at incredible speeds. The average speed of a horse galloping for one hour is about 15 mph. But there are now so-called “racehorses” that have been trained to run up to 45 miles per hour. And they have been clocked at many more miles per hour for shorter distances.

Horses are the only animals that can voluntarily throw a shoe from their hooves, and then proceed to use the same hoof again without discomfort once a new shoe is applied. There are several horses in the world that can even run almost normally after a shoe has been thrown.

Horses are used for many tasks that we don’t often think about: They pull carts, carry loads for us, plow fields and gardens, and act as companion animals. In fact, there is no need to breed horses for any specific performance or function; they do just fine on their own! And this is great news for the horse lovers out there.

Horses have four toes on each hoof. There are actually three toes on each of the hind feet and two on each of the front feet. The extra hoof, called the “gag,” is located at the bottom of the foot.

black horse hoof

A foal (the baby horse) is called a “filly” (or filly), a colt (male young horse) is called a “colt” or “hobbie,” and an older horse is called a “harrier,” or simply, a “mare.

If you enjoyed this article, take a look at our infographic, You know you are a large animal vet when…. We speak of the hilarious scenarios and daily life of a large animal vet!

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Amber, a dedicated animal enthusiast, has seamlessly merged her passion for animals with her career as a Licensed Vet Tech and content creator. Her journey is a testament to her commitment to educating pet parents through informative articles. With a degree in Veterinary Technology, she has become a prolific writer and a professional dog trainer. Amber's expertise spans veterinary medicine, pets, and shelter medicine. Her Amazon published book, "Heal My Fractious Heart - A Vet Med Romcom," showcases her creative writing talents. Currently residing in Chiang Mai, Thailand, she manages marketing and social media for a preventive pet health subscription company called Vetted.


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