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Chapter 14 Horses and other equine.

Chapter Objectives

* Learn the unique role of horses in human

* Learn the primary breeds of horses in the
United States, and their defining characteristics

* Understand the makeup of the horse industry
in the United States

Horses occupy a unique place in human society. In the thousands of years of human life, horses have served every role, from food source to a source of power and transportation, to a partner in recreation. Although the consumption of horse meat is still important in some countries, horses are not consumed in the United States. In some cultures, horses have even been an important part of religious ceremonies. Many horses still occupy traditional work roles, but the majority of horse owners now use their horses for recreational purposes. Like dogs, breeds of horses were developed to do specific tasks, and many breeds were developed within specific regions. It is estimated that over 400 distinct breeds of horses exist worldwide.

Mules and donkeys are also members of the family Equus, so are grouped with horses. Horses are of the species caballus (kah-bahl-uhs), whereas donkeys are of the species asinus (ahs-i-nuhs). Donkeys are not a breed of horses, but are a different species. Several of the wild asses of Africa are also in the species asinus.


Hundreds of breeds of horses are found throughout the world, and many of them can be found in the United States, although in greatly varying numbers. Crossbreeding is less common in the horse industry than in other livestock industries that have been discussed in this text. Grade horses, which are unregistered horses of mixed or pure breeding, do comprise a significant number of animals in the industry, but most breeding programs are focused on the development of purebred animals. Horses are commonly divided into ponies, light breeds, and draft breeds.

Ponies Ponies are small equines. The upper limit of height depends on breed requirements, but all ponies are less than 58 inches tall at the withers. Some breeds may have height limits below 58 inches. Children often use ponies for driving or for riding. Most ponies are too small for adults to ride. The following are some of the pony breeds that have found popularity in the United States:

Pony of the Americas The Pony of the Americas (POA) was developed in the United States by crossing a Shetland pony stallion with an Arabian/Appaloosa mare. The ponies are between 46 and 56 inches tall, and have the distinctive Appaloosa markings. These well-muscled, versatile ponies are used for a variety of activities. POA are especially popular with youth, and the POA club has a major focus on serving youth (see Figure 14-1). Ponies are registered with the Pony of the Americas Club.

Shetland The Shetland is an ancient breed, and one of the smallest ponies. Shetlands get their name from the Shetland Islands off the northern coast of Scotland, where the breed originated. They have been used extensively through history as small draft horses, especially in the coal mines, where their small size allowed them to fit through the tunnels carved in the earth. Shetlands must stand under 46 inches tall, and may be any color. The American Shetland Pony Club recognizes the following two types of Shetland ponies:


Classic Shetlands A small pony with a short, broad back, round body, and full mane, tail, and forelock. The classic Shetland still looks much like the Shetlands that were first imported to the United States.

Modern Shetland The modern Shetland was developed by crossing classic Shetlands with elegant, high-trotting ponies of other breeds. The resulting pony maintains the small stature of the classic Shetland, with a longer, more upright neck, and more flexion and animation of the knees and hocks than is seen in Classic Shetlands. This "high action" has made Modern Shetlands popular show horses, especially in driving classes.

Welsh (wh-ehlsh) The Welsh breed was present in the mountains of Wales when the Romans invaded Great Britain. These are relatively large ponies, with small-dished faces, long necks, short strong bodies, and excellent legs (see Figure 14-2). The ponies are very athletic, and are used for all activities, from jumping to trail riding and driving. Because they are one of the larger pony breeds, small adults can comfortably ride Welsh ponies. Welsh ponies may be any solid color, but cannot be piebald or skewbald. The registry, maintained by the Welsh Pony and Cob Society, is divided into four sections, and variations of the type are registered in each section.



Light horses Light horses are those used primarily for riding or driving carriages and other light wagons. There are hundreds of breeds of light horses throughout the world. Some of the most popular in the United States will be mentioned here.

American Paint Horse The American Paint Horse was developed in the United States by breeding native horses with the distinctive broken color pattern of stock-type horses. The Paint is of stock type, with heavy muscling in the front and rear quarter (see Figure 14-3). The horse should have an attractive head, with a flat or slightly dished profile. Although breeders prefer that all animals have the distinctive coat patterns (overo, tobiano, tovero), occasionally animals with two registered parents will be born without the pattern. These horses can be registered with the American Paint Horse Association as "Breeding Stock" and are not eligible for registration in the regular registry.


American Quarter Horse The American Quarter Horse is the most popular horse in the world, based on total breed registrations. More American Quarter Horses are registered than any other breed. The Quarter Horse originated in the eastern United States from breeding Thoroughbreds to native horses. The horses quickly became famous for their speed over a quarter mile, thus becoming the Quarter Horse. The Quarter Horse moved west with the expansion of the United States, and became the preferred horse for ranch work. The Quarter Horse has an attractive head with a flat, or slightly dished profile and large dark eyes. The Quarter Horse is well muscled throughout the body, especially in the forequarter and hindquarter. Muscling should be round and full (see Figure 14-4). The American Quarter Horse Association, the official registering organization, recognizes 16 acceptable colors; however, the amount of white markings on registered horses is limited. American Saddlebred The American Saddlebred was developed in Kentucky from Thoroughbred and Narragansett Pacer foundation stock. The goal was to breed a stylish horse that had a smooth and comfortable gait. Morgan and Arabian blood was added, to result in the Saddlebred we are familiar with today. The Saddlebred is the "ultimate showhorse" in the equine world. They stand between 15 and 16 hands tall, with a straight profile, large dark eyes, and a long neck that raises straight up from a well-laid back shoulder. The Saddlebred-moves with style and brilliance at all gaits. Saddlebreds can either be three-gaited (walk/trot/canter), or five gaited (walk/trot/canter/slow gait/rack). Saddlebreds can be almost any color, and are registered with the American Saddle bred Horse Association.

Appaloosa These spotted horses first appeared on ancient Chinese art. However, the Appaloosa breed that we know today was developed on the banks of the Palouse River in Washington State by the Nez Perce Indians, from whom they get their name. The Indians bred the horse to be swift, agile, and useful in war and for hunting. They also bred for the unique spotted pattern. In addition to the spotted coats, Appaloosa characteristics include white sclera around the eye, skin that is mottled pink and black around the muzzle and genitalia, and hooves that are vertically striped dark and light (see Figure 14-5). Appaloosas are similar in type to Quarter Horses, with heavy muscling throughout the body. The Appaloosa Horse Club is the registering organization.

Arabian (uh-rab-e-ehn) The Arabian is the oldest of the light horse breeds, and was developed by the Bedouin tribes of the Arabian Desert. The Bedouins bred horses to be athletic, beautiful, and to tolerate the harsh desert climate. The Arabian has small sharp ears, a dished face, and large, dark eyes set well on the corners of the head. Arabians are short-backed, with strong bodies, and have characteristic high-tail carriage (see Figure 14-6). According to Bedouin legend, the high-tail carriage was desired to catch the cloak of a warrior if it came off in battle. Arabians may be almost any solid color, and are registered in the United States with the Arabian Horse Association. The blood of the Arabian has contributed to the development of almost all light horse breeds in the world, as well as several pony and draft breeds.



Morgan The Morgan horse was developed in the United States in the eighteenth century. All Morgan horses are descended from one horse, Figure, of unknown ancestry. Figure was purchased by a traveling schoolteacher in New England, Justin Morgan, for whom the breed is named. The Morgan is a versatile breed that excels in many equine disciplines. The Morgan is an athletic horse with a straight profile, a long neck, a strong body, and good muscling throughout. Morgans are sound of limb and temperament, and of moderate size, from between 14.1 and 15.2 hands on average. Morgans are most often bay, but can be a wide variety of solid colors. The American Morgan Horse Association is the registering organization.

Mustang (muhs-tang) The Mustang originated in the western United States when horses brought over by the European explorers escaped, and returned to the wild. Because the Mustang is the result of nonselective breeding, color and body type are highly variable.

Standardbred The Standardbred was developed in the United States from breeding Thoroughbreds imported from Great Britain with native horses. Originally, horses were selected based on their ability to trot or pace the mile in a set (standard) time, hence the name Standardbred. The modern Standardbred is a substantial and athletic horse that excels at racing at a trot or pace in harness (see Figures 14-7 and 14-8).Horses stand between 15 and 16 hands tall, and are most often bay, brown, or black.

Tennessee Walking Horse The Tennessee Walking Horse was developed in central Tennessee in the 1800s by farmers looking for a horse that offered a smooth, comfortable gait suitable to riding all day. The Tennessee Walking Horse was developed by breeding Saddlebreds, Thoroughbreds, and both Canadian and Narragansett Pacers. The resulting horse is of moderate size (15 hands is average), good substance, and of almost any solid color (see Figure 14-9). The Tennessee Walking Horse naturally performs the running walk, and even young foals are seen moving through the pasture in this gait. Horses are registered with the Tennessee Walking Horse Breeder's and Exhibitors' Association.

Thoroughbred The Thoroughbred was first created in Great Britain when Arabian horses were bred to native horses. Three Arabian stallions, the Byerly Turk, Godolphin Arabian, and Darley's Arabian are the foundation sires of all modern Thorough-bred horses in the United States and abroad.



Thoroughbreds are consummate athletes, and excel at all athletic endeavors. They are especially well known for their ability to race and jump. Thoroughbreds are around 16 hands tall, and have long, lean necks, high withers, and well laid-back shoulders. They have long, lean muscling that provides the power for their speed. Thoroughbreds may be any solid color (see Figure 14-10). Thoroughbreds have been used extensively to improve other breeds, and many breeds owe at least some of their athleticism to the Thoroughbred. The Jockey Club is the registering organization for Thoroughbreds.



Draft horses Draft horses were developed for pulling heavy loads. They were often crossed with lighter horses to develop heavy carriage horses that could pull a large carriage full of people. With the advent of the tractor, the use of draft horses became much less common in the American countryside. The draft horse is becoming increasingly popular as a show animal, and there is little more dramatic than the sight of a six-horse hitch of draft horses trotting in rhythm. The following breeds are the most common draft horse breeds seen in the United States:

Belgian (behl-juhn) Developed in Belgium, the Belgian is the most popular draft breed in the United States. The horse is well muscled and athletic, and is used in activities ranging from multi-horse hitches to horse pulls, where power is the most important criteria. Belgians are most often golden in color, with a white or blond mane and tail, white markings, and clean legs with no feathering. They are deep-bodied horses with well-sprung ribs and weighing around 2,000 pounds (see Figure 14-11). Belgians are registered with the Belgian Draft Horse Corporation of America.


Clydesdale The Clydesdale is one of the best known of the draft breed, in large part because of the famous "Budweiser Clydesdales" that are exhibited throughout the world. Clydesdales were developed near the River Clyde in Scotland as heavy draft horses. Clydesdales may be more than 18 hands tall, and weigh over 2,000 pounds. They are most often bay or roan, with white markings on the legs or face. Clydesdales have moderate feathering on their lower legs. Clydesdales are registered with the Clydesdale Breeders of the USA.

Percheron (per-chur-uhn) The Percheron was developed in the Perche region of France, where it got its name. These stylish draft horses stand between 16 and 18 hands tall, and weigh around 2,000 pounds. They have a flat, or slightly dished profile, large dark eyes, large bodies, and well-conformed legs with no feathers. The most common colors are black and grey. Percherons are the most athletic of the draft breeds, and were used extensively as heavy carriage horses in earlier days. They are now also crossed with Thoroughbreds and other riding horses to create athletic horses of size and substance for activities such as dressage and jumping. Percherons are registered with the Percheron Horse Association of America.

Shire The shire is the most massive of the draft horse breeds, and the largest breed of horse in the world. Shires were developed in England from the ancient Great Horses that carried knights, and their hundreds of pounds of armor, into battle. Shires stand between 16 and 18 hands tall, and can Easily weigh over 2,000 pounds. They may be black, brown, bay, gray, or chestnut with white markings and full feathering on the lower legs. Shires are well muscled throughout the body, and are strong and powerful in their movement. Shires are registered by the American Shire Horse Association.

Suffolk Punch The Suffolk Punch is the least common of the draft horses seen in the United States. This draft breed was developed in the Suffolk region of England. These horses have a rounded, muscular body, and a short, smooth hair coat that is always chestnut in color. The body of these horses is deep and strong through the flank, and the legs are clean of feathers. White markings are minimal, with occasional stars and snips being the most common. The Suffolk Punch is registered by the American Suffolk Horse Association.


Donkey The donkey probably originated in Africa, but has been domesticated since before recorded history. The donkey was probably one of the first equine that people used as a work animal. The donkey has a large head, large ears, and a relatively straight neck. The donkey has a tail that is covered with short hair, and with a switch on the end like a cow (see Figure 14-12). Donkeys may range from miniature to mammoth, and are registered accordingly with the American Donkey and Mule Society.

Miniature Horses Miniature Horses were developed from breeding small horses to small horses, with some infusion of Shetland blood. Despite their size (less than 34 inches at the withers), Miniature Horses are not ponies. They should show the same balance and structure as full-sized horses, in miniature size. According to the American Miniature Horse Registry, "... when looking at a photograph with nothing to give it scale, it should be impossible to tell a Miniature Horse from a full-sized horse" (see Figure 14-13). The Miniature Horse may be any color, or a combination of colors.




Mule The mule is a result of crossing a male donkey and a female horse. The mule has characteristics of both parents, with the longer ears and narrower body of the donkey, combined with the large size, smoother hair coat, and tail of the horse (see Figure 14-14). As with many interspecies crosses, both male and female mules are almost always sterile. A hinny (hin-ne) results when a male horse is bred to a female donkey. The characteristics of a mule and hinny are virtually identical, and cannot be differentiated in the mature animals. Mules can range in size from miniature (less than 50 inches tall), to mammoth (more than 68 inches tall). Mules are registered with the American Donkey and Mule Society.


Offspring The most common product of the equine industry is offspring or breeding animals for sale. Prices range from a few hundred dollars, to millions of dollars, depending on the breed, pedigree, and performance potential of the animal.

Service industry The service industry is a significant part of the equine industry, and the route for most people making a living in the equine industry. The following are common services offered:

Boarding Keeping horses owned by others, and providing housing and care for a fee. Board can range from full board, which includes all labor and supplies, to partial board, where the horse owner provides some labor or supplies. Some horses are on pasture board, which means they live in a pasture, and not in the barn.

Riding instruction Lessons to teach people how to ride a horse, for which payment is received. This may be instruction with a horse owned by the rider or the instructor.

Training Care of a horse, including teaching the horse to be ridden, for which payment is received. Training may also include teaching the horse to participate in a particular competitive activity or event. The trainer is the person who teaches the horse.


Recreation is the primary use for most horses in the United States. The following list is some of the recreational opportunities that are available for participants in the equine industry:

Trail riding Over 80 percent of people who own horses do so for recreation. One of the most popular recreational activities is trail riding. Trail riding describes casual riding in a noncompetitive environment (see Figure 14-15), such as at state or national parks, or on the home property. Any breed of horse can be used for trail riding, although the gaited breeds are often preferred because of their smooth gaits.


Horses are widely used for competitive activities or sports. Many horse sports originated in activities that used to be part of a horse's work (see Figure 14-16).

Barrel racing A racing activity in which horses race against a timer to complete a cloverleaf pattern around three barrels (see Figure 14-17). Horses race the course one at a time (see Figure 14-18). The event may be held independently or as part of a rodeo.



Combined driving An event in which horses are harnessed to a wagon and complete a drive over trails, an obstacle course, and a pattern of cones in an arena.

Dressage (drah-sahj) A classic style of training that emphasizes the quality of movement of the horse, and teamwork between the horse and rider. Any breed can compete in dressage, and the principles of dressage are valuable for horses ridden in any discipline. Dressage is one of the Olympic equestrian disciplines, and is a component of a three-day event. The United States Dressage Federation (USDF) is the organization that oversees dressage in the United States.



Gymkhana (jihm-kah-nah) Racing events on horseback. Gymkhanaincludes events suchas barrel racing and pole bending (see Figures 14-17 and 14-19). The horses typically race individually against the clock.



Polo One of the most ancient horse sports, polo involves teams of riders that compete to knock a ball through goal posts with a mallet (see Figure 14-20). The polo match is broken up into periods called chukkars (chuck-ers), similar to innings in baseball, which are 71/2 minutes long.

Showing Any of a wide range of activities in which a horse is exhibited, either ridden, driven, or based on its conformation, and a judge decides which horse most closely fits the standard for that activity. Common show classes are Western Pleasure, English Pleasure, and Showmanship. Each breed has classes that are specific to the breed's origin and unique abilities.

Show jumping Competition in which horses complete a prescribed course of jumps. Penalties are assessed for knocking down parts of the jumps, or for completing the course in more than the allowed time.

Three-day event A competition in which horses first complete a dressage phase, followed by a cross-county phase where they must complete jumps over a course of several miles within a prescribed time, and then must complete a show jumping competition. The three-day event is also known as combined training, and is one of the equestrian events at the Olympics.

Racing Generally refers to an activity in which horses compete directly against one another to complete a distance in the shortest possible time.

Endurance racing Races that are up to 100 miles or more in length. Although any breed can participate, breeds such as the Arabian excel.

Sprint racing Horses sprint a short distance, 1/4 mile or less. Paint Horses, Appaloosas, and Quarter Horses are the primary breeds competing at this distance.

Thoroughbred racing Distances range from 1/2 mile to 2 miles, with most races between 7/8 of a mile and 1 1/4 miles. The Kentucky Derby, the Preakness Stakes, and the Belmont Stakes (the Triple Crown) are examples of Thoroughbred races.

Reining A competition in which working ranch horses demonstrate the skills needed by completing maneuvers in a prescribed pattern. Any breed can compete in a reining sponsored by the National Reining Horse Association; however, many breeds have reining as a class at their show, and only horses of that breed may compete in those shows. The following are maneuvers that are combined in different arrangements to make reining patterns:

Sliding stop A maneuver in which the horse goes from a gallop to a stop, and slides on its hind feet in a controlled manner.

Spin A maneuver in which the hind foot of the horse stays in place, and the horse rotates at a speed to either the left or the right in a complete circle. While spinning, one hind leg stays in place, and the horse crosses its front legs over to spin its entire body around the pivot point created by the stationary hind leg.

Rodeo A competition in which skills used on the ranch are judged, based on time, points, or a combination of time and points. Horse-related events include:

Bronc (brohngk) riding An event in which riders ride a horse that tries to buck them off. In saddle bronc riding, the horse is equipped with a saddle, whereas in bareback bronc riding, there is no saddle. Riders must stay on for eight seconds, and separate points are assigned from a judge for the rider's performance, and the performance of the horse.

Calf roping An event in which riders rope a calf from the horse, and restrain the calf as if it was getting a shot or branded. The event is timed, and the rider and horse with the fastest time wins.

Steer wrestling An event in which riders gallop next to a steer on their horse, then reach over and dismount their horse to wrestle the steer to the ground. Two horses are involved, one for the rider that wrestles the steer, and a second rider (the hazer) on the other side keeps the steer in a straight line. The rider who wrestles the steer to the ground most quickly wins.


Although horses are primarily used for recreation, either competitive or noncompetitive, significant numbers of horses are still used for work in the United States. Some jobs are still better completed by man and animal than by man and machine. The following are work-related terms in the equine industry:


Dude ranch A place where people come to enjoy an experience similar to a working ranch, such as riding horses while doing ranch-type work or trail riding.

Police work Many cities use officers on mounted horses for crowd control and other police work.

Ranch work Many ranches still use horses for moving animals, roping and restraining animals for treatment, and separating animals from the herd (cutting). Some of the skills for ranch work have evolved into competitive events.

Therapy Horses are being increasingly used as part of physical, mental, and emotional therapy programs. The therapy occurs both through riding (see Figure 14-21) and through programs where the people handle horses. The North American Riding for the Handicapped Association (NARHA) is the major overseeing organization for this type of therapy in the United States. Other organizations are emerging that focus on areas such as equine-facilitated mental health and equine-facilitated psychotherapy.


American Horse Council An organization that represents the horse industry in Washington, D.C., and works to promote legislation supportive of the horse industry.

American Hippotherapy Association An organization that promotes research and professional development for people involved in hippotherapy.

Appaloosa coat patterns Several breeds show the coat patterns most associated with the Appaloosa and the POA. The following are common coat patterns seen in Appaloosa and POA horses:

Blanket Dark body with white over some parts of the loins and hips (see Figure 14-22).May be just the white blanket, or a white blanket with colored spots matching the dark body on the white background.


Leopard A white body with colored spots on the whole body (refer to Figure 14-18). Some horses are heavily spotted, whereas others have a small number of spots; those are known as few spot leopards.

Snowflake A dark body with white hairs over the hips and/or loin.

Bay A term describing a coat that is light brown to reddish-brown with a black mane, tail, and legs. May have white markings.

Bedouin (behd-o-ehn) A nomadic tribe of the Arabian Desert that developed the Arabian horse as a warhorse and for transportation.

Bit A piece of metal that fits in a horse's mouth and provides control for riders when riding. The determination of curb and snaffle is based on where the bit applies pressure on the horse. Either type can have a solid or broken mouthpiece.

Curb bit A bit with a shank extending from the mouthpiece to the reins, creating leverage action when pressure is applied to the bit through the reins. Snaffle bit A bit with reins that connect directly to a ring attached to the mouthpiece of the bit. This direct connection does not provide leverage such as that seen in using a curb bit.

Bridle A piece of equipment that riders place around a horse's head to provide control when riding (see Figure 14-22).

Buckskin A dark golden color with a black mane, tail, and legs. May have white markings.

Cart A two-wheeled driving vehicle.

Cold blood Describes horses that are primarily of draft blood, with thick skin and hair, often heavy bones, and a docile temperament.

Chaps Originally, leather coverings for the leg worn to protect riders from brush while riding. Chaps are now primarily an accessory used in Western riding disciplines.

Double register Referring to an animal registered with more than one organization (for example, a breed association and color association).

Dun A brownish golden color with the same colored or slightly darker mane. Horses often have a darker stripe down the spine, and may have striping inside the legs.

English riding Riding in a saddle without a horn, either in a forward seat, saddle seat, or dressage. Equine (e-kwin) A term relating to all members of the family Equidae, including donkeys and asses, as well as horses and ponies.

Equestrian (e-kwes-tre-ehn) Relating to horses, or to a person who works with horses.

Equestrienne (e-kwes-tre-ehn) A female who works with horses.

Equine-assisted programs A broad term for all activities involving horses to improve the mental, emotional, or physical health of people. Equine-assisted programs range from therapy, in conjunction with a trained therapist, to visitation programs where interaction with the animal creates a feeling of well-being in the patient.

Face markings Horses have a variety of white markings on the face. The markings on the face and legs are important for animal identification. Horses may have a combination of markings (for example, a star and a snip). Common face markings include the following (see also Figure 14-23):

Bald White covering the entire forehead, over the eye sockets, and over the upper lip. Often includes the lower lip as well.

Blaze A wide, white marking beginning between the eyes and going to the muzzle.

Star Any white marking on the forehead.

Strip A narrow white stripe down the face from the forehead to the muzzle.

Snip A white marking on the upper or lower lip, or between the nostrils.

Feather Long hair below the knees and hocks that may cover the hoof in some breeds.

Flying lead change Changing from one lead to another, at a canter or gallop, while still cantering or galloping. A simple lead change involves changing leads by going from a canter to a trot, walk, or halt, and then starting to canter again on the other lead.

Gait A pattern of footfalls resulting in movement. There are both natural gaits, which the horse can instinctively perform (see Figure 14-24), and artificial gaits, which must be learned. A horse that is gaited performs gaits other than the standard walk, trot, and canter. The following are terms that refer to various gaits:


Walk A flat-footed, lateral natural gait in which three feet are always on the ground (right hind, right front, left hind, left front).

Trot A medium diagonal, two-beat natural gait with a suspension phase, when all four feet are off the ground (right hind and left front, left hind and right front move together). The term jog is used to describe this gait in Western show classes.

Pace A medium lateral, two-beat natural gait with a suspension phase. The left hind and left front legs move together, then the right front and right hind legs. The lateral gait has a slight rolling motion from side to side. The trot is the natural gait for most horses instead of the pace. Most pacers are Standardbreds.


Running walk The running walk is a four-beat lateral natural gait with the footfall pattern of right hind, right front, left hind, left front. The running walk differs from the regular walk in the rate of the steps, and in that the horse steps beyond the front leg with the hind leg. The running walk has no suspension phase, which makes it extremely smooth. The running walk is a breed characteristic of the Tennessee Walking Horse.

Rack The rack is an artificial gait for most horses, and must be taught. However, some horses are predisposed to this gait, including American Saddlebreds and some other gaited breeds. The rack is a four-beat gait with the same footfall pattern as the walk and the running walk. The rack has an equal amount of time between each step. The slow gait is a slower version of the rack.

Canter A three-beat natural gait with a suspension phase. The horse begins with one hind leg, then the other hind leg and the diagonal front leg move together, followed by the other front leg. The canter is not a symmetrical gait. If the horse begins with the left hind leg, the right front leg is independent, and they are on the right lead; if the horse begins with the right hind leg, and the left front leg is independent, they are on the left lead. The word lope is used to describe this gait in Western show classes.

Gallop The fastest of the natural gaits and most similar to the canter, the gallop is a four-beat gait. The difference from the canter is that instead of the second part of the stride being one hind leg and one front leg in unison, they strike the ground separately. On the right lead: left hind, right hind, left front, right front. On the left lead: right hind, left hind, right front, left front. The suspension phase occurs between the final front leg, and the hind leg beginning the next stride.

Groom(groom) (1) To clean a horse with brushes; or (2) a person who is responsible for the care of the horse.

Grooming equipment The brushes commonly used to groom a horse (see Figure 14-25). The following are examples of grooming equipment:

Curry comb A rubber disk with blunted teeth that works dirt and hair loose. The curry comb should not be used on sensitive areas such as the face and lower legs.

Stiff brush A bristled brush with stiff bristles that is used to remove the loosened hair and dirt from the horse.

Soft brush A brush with soft bristles used to brush sensitive areas such as the face and lower legs. The soft brush is also run over the entire body following the stiff brush to remove dust.



Hoof pick A hooked implement used to remove debris from the hoof of the horse. The hoof pick should always be used from the heel to the toe to ensure that any sharp debris is not pushed into the sensitive parts of the hoof.

Halter A piece of equipment used to control the horse when leading or tying. The halter goes over the poll of the horse and across the nose. The halter does not have a part in the mouth of the horse (see Figure 14-26). Halters can be made of rope, leather, or nylon.

Hand A unit of measurement for measuring the height of a horse at the withers. One hand equals 4 inches. A horse that stands 15.2 hands tall is 15 hands plus two inches.

Harness Equipment used to attach a horse to a cart or wagon for pulling.

Hippotherapy The use of the unique movement of the horse for physical benefits to a patient with the assistance of a licensed therapist.

Hot blood A term that describes horses of generally Arabian and Thoroughbred ancestry. Hot-blooded horses are very athletic light horses with thin skin and fine hair. May be associated with high energy levels.

Jockey A person that rides a racehorse.


Leg markings White markings that begin at the hoof and goes various distances up the leg (see Figure 14-27). The following are common leg markings:

Coronet White markings just around the coronet band.

Ermine spots (er-mihn) Dark spots in a white leg marking, usually at the coronet.

Heels White on one or both heels.

Pastern White up to the bottom of the fetlock joint.

Half pastern White to the middle of the pastern.

Sock White over and including the fetlock joint.

Stocking White to the knee or hock.

North American Riding for the Handicapped Association (NARHA) An organization that certifies instructors and accredits facilities offering therapeutic horseback riding and associated activities.

Overo (o-var-o) A marking pattern for Paint or pinto horses that are irregular and scattered across the body. With an overo pattern, the markings usually have uneven edges, with one or more legs often dark. The tail is usually solid in color, and the white markings do not cross over the back from one side to the other.

Palomino (pahl-ah-me-no) A palomino is a horse with a coat the color of a gold coin, and a white or silvery white mane and tail. The body color can range from cream through a dark gold, but the bright gold is preferred. Palominos also may have white markings. The palomino color occurs in numerous breeds, and the Palomino Horse Breeders Association will register horses of any ancestry that meet the color requirements of the registry. Many owners choose to double register their horses with the breed association and the palomino association.

Piebald A horse with a black-and-white patched color pattern.

Pinto (pin-to-) A coat pattern of white and any other color in large patches (see Figure 14-28). Pinto is a color and many breeds and individuals can have a pinto coat color. Paint is a breed, such as the American Paint Horse; only horses eligible for registration as American Paint Horses should be called "Paints."

Posting (post-ing) The act of a rider rising from the saddle and sitting down in the saddle in rhythm with the trot. Because of the suspension phase, the trot is a bouncy gait to sit, and posting protects both the horse and rider from fatigue.



Rein (rain) A strap extending from the bit to the rider's hand.


Roan (ron) A coat color with intermixed solid-colored hairs and white hairs. A red or strawberry roan is a combination of chestnut and white hairs, and blue roan is a combination of black and white hairs.

Saddle Equipment placed on a horse's back that provides a seat for riding. Saddles fall in two primary categories: English saddles (see Figure 14-29), which do not have a saddle horn, and Western saddles (see Figure 14-30), which have a saddle horn. Each saddle was developed for a specific purpose, and saddles are still used for traditional purposes, as well as for recreational riding.

Saddle pad A thick piece of cloth placed between the horse and the saddle that absorbs sweat and cushions the horse's back from the saddle.

Skewbald (skyew-bahld) A patched color pattern of white and any color except black.

Stock type A muscular body type that is consistent with that desired for working on a ranch. The Quarter Horse body type is a "stock type."

Stride When a horse is moving, the distance from the first step of a gait, through all subsequent steps of the gait, until the first step is repeated.

Sulky A lightweight two-wheeled cart for racing.

Tack Equipment used when riding or driving a horse.

Tobiano (to-be-ah-no) The tobiano is a color pattern for Paint or pinto horses that is in large patches, instead of scattered. The ends of the pattern tend to be uniform, and white often crosses over the back. The mane and tail reflect the pattern, and are often partly colored. The head is usually dark, with markings similar to those seen in solid-colored horses.

Tovero (to-ver-o) Tovero is a color pattern for Paint or pinto horses that shows characteristics of both overo and tobiano patterns.

Warm blood A group of breeds developed from a combination of hot-blood and cold-blood ancestry. The horses are generally athletic and of good size and substance. Some breeds have now adopted the use of the term warm blood as a part of the name.

Western riding (1) A style of showing that includes the use of Western saddles, equipment, and attire. Riders usually wear hats, and in many classes also wear chaps. (2) A specific class in which a horse performs a pattern around cones and over logs.


The horse has been a valuable part of human society for all of recorded time. Horses have served every role possible in society in the thousands of years of interaction between horses and humans. Cave paintings even show horses being hunted as food. Horses have gone from a primarily work animal, to an animal that is used for work, recreation, and therapy. There are more horses in the United States today than when horses still provided the primary source of power for humans.

Match the breed with the fact provided.

1. -- Arabian                   a. Best known for racing on the flat.

2. -- Percheron                 b. Results when a horse and donkey
                                   are bred.

3. -- Quarter horse             c. The smallest of the pony breeds.

4. -- Appaloosa                 d. Naturally performs the running

5. -- Mule                      e. The oldest and purest breed.

6. -- Shetland                  f. A golden draft horse.

7. -- Saddlebred                g. A stock-type horse with a
                                   distinctive spotted coat.

8. -- Tennessee Walking Horse   h. A gray or black draft horse.

9. -- Belgian                   i. The "peacock of the show ring."

10. -- Thoroughbred             j. The most popular breed in the
                                   United States.

11. What rodeo event involves jumping off the horse to tackle a steer?

a. Calf roping

b. Steer wrestling

c. Cow tipping

d. Steerdogging

12. How many barrels are in a barrel racing pattern?

a. 4

b. 3

c. 2

d. 1

13. What three horses were the foundation sires for the Thoroughbred?

14. What organization is the legislative arm of the horse industry?

15. What color is a palomino?

16. What Indian tribe created the Appaloosa horse?

17. What breed races with a sulky?

18. What three races are in the Thoroughbred Triple Crown?

19. Draw and label three leg markings.
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Author:Brady, Colleen
Publication:An Illustrated Guide to Animal Science Terminology
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jan 1, 2008
Previous Article:Chapter 13 Alternative production animals.
Next Article:Chapter 15 Canine.

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