Fifteen More Words That Mean Something Different to Horse Lovers

Pop Culture
Eclipse Sportswire/Wikimedia Commons

If you’re a horse person, then you have access to a whole secret vocabulary that might baffle those who aren’t equine-obsessed. If you want more, part one is here!

1. Bit

Wikimedia Commons
Wikimedia Commons

To most people: A portion or a segment of something.

To horse lovers: The (usually) metal piece attached to the bridle that fits in a horse’s mouth to aid in guiding the horse.


2. Girth 

Wikimedia Commons
Wikimedia Commons

To most people: the measure around anything; circumference.

To horse lovers: The piece of equipment that attaches the saddle to the horse’s back.


3. Chestnut 

Wikimedia Commons
Eclipse Sportswire

To most people: Nut famous for roasting on an open fire.

To horse lovers: Two things, actually! Chestnut can describe the reddish-brown coat color with similar mane and tail (think Secretariat) or the callous on the inside of horses’ legs, which are thought to be the remnants of vestigial toes. The more you know!


4. Airs 

Wikimedia Commons
Wikimedia Commons

To most people: Gasses that form the atmosphere; you breathe them in and out.

To horse lovers: Airs or airs above ground are movements in classical dressage in which the horse leaves the ground with two or four legs under a rider’s cue.


5. Bolt 

Wikimedia Commons
Wikimedia Commons

To most people: The fastest man in the world, the form of lightning, something you get at a hardware store, or a cartoon dog, depending on your point of view.

To horse lovers: When a horse is startled and runs off. 


6. Buck 

Wikimedia Commons
Penelope P. Miller/America's Best Racing

To most people: Buck: a deer, a big male deer.

To horse lovers: The movement where a horse lowers its head and throws both his back feet in the air.


7. Cannon 

Wikimedia Commons
Wikimedia Commons

To most people: A big, big, big gun popular in pirate and period movies.

To horse lovers: The third metacarpal bone on a horse’s leg; sometimes it’s called the shin, although it’s actually analogous to a bone in a human hand. It bears the majority of the weight of the horse.


8. Pace 

Wikimedia Commons
Eclipse Sportswire

To most people: The act of walking in circles in an agitated manner.

To horse lovers: The fastest of the intermediate gaits, pacing is like a trot, but the horses’ front and hind legs on the same side move at the same time.  


9. Blaze 

Wikimedia Commons
Eclipse Sportswire

To most people: The flames in a fire.

To horse lovers: A big white marking taking up most of a horse’s face.


10. Dam 

Wikimedia Commons
Wikimedia Commons

To most people: Beavers make them. Hoover has one named for him. It’s a barrier that obstructs the flow of water.

To horse lovers: A horse’s mom.


11. Form 

Wikimedia Commons
Eclipse Sportswire

To most people: You fill them out to pay your taxes, get a job, get a driver’s license, etc.

To horse lovers: A horse’s fitness coming into a race or the way a horse looks going over a jump.


12. Grade 

Wikimedia Commons
Wikimedia Commons

To most people: A letter or number that signifies how well one is doing in class.

To horse lovers: A horse of indeterminate breeding.


13. Lead

Wikimedia Commons/MMA-NYC
Eclipse Sportswire

To most people: To go before, direct, or show the way.

To horse lovers: A lead is when the front and hind legs on one side of the horse appear to land in front of the other set of front and hind legs when the horse travels. Alternatively, it’s the rope that attaches to a halter to escort a horse from place to place.


14. Place

Wikimedia Commons
Eclipse Sportswire

To most people: A distinct portion of space, or to put an object down.

To horse lovers: To come in second in a horse race.


15. Sulky

Wikimedia Commons
Eclipse Sportswire

To most people: The act of being pouty, sullen, gloomy, or dull.

To horse lovers: A light, two-wheeled carriage meant for one person. The type of carriage used in harness races.

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