Here is a completely revised, full-color second edition of the established go-to source for equestrian information. This comprehensive A-to-Z guide covers “everything horse” and bridges gaps in the equestrian universe between English and Western styles. More than 1,700 entries explain wide-ranging topics such as breeds, tack, facilities, equine care and management, health and safety issues, riding styles and disciplines, shows, and much more. Whether you’re a rodeo hand, thoroughbred racer, seasoned professional, or armchair admirer, you’ll get everything you need from noted equestrian author Jessie Haas’ clear and thorough descriptions.
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About the Author
Lifelong horse lover Jessie Haas is the author of 38 previous books, including many children's books focused on girls and horses. Haas lives in rural Vermont with her husband, Michael, and two Morgan mares.
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* See American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP)
above the bit When the horse brings his head up to avoid contact with the bit while being ridden or driven.
* See also on the bit
abscess An inflammation surrounding a concentration of pus. Abscesses can occur anywhere in the horse's body, but are most common in the hoof.
* See also hoof; gravel, in hoof
acepromazine/acetylpromazi ne maleate A tranquilizer, often abbreviated to "ace," that is sometimes used before stressful situations such as transportation by trailer. Injected intramuscularly, it takes effect in less than half an hour and lasts several hours. Ace does not actually relieve anxiety; it merely mutes the horse's physical responses. Unethical dealers may give a horse ace to make him appear well-mannered and calm.
Available at feed stores, ace is frequently administered by horse owners to solve behavioral problems that would be better addressed with training. It has no effect on pain sensation and should not be administered to horses who are bleeding or in shock. It causes involuntary erection in males, which may lead to penis damage. Using ace on an excited horse may actually make him more upset.
action The way a horse moves. Different breeds and disciplines emphasize different types of action. American Saddlebreds, for example, should exhibit sparkling, animated action, with elevated knees and hocks. Dressage horses display forward, supple, balanced movement. Western pleasure horses should move in a natural, relaxed style that is comfortable to ride, while the action of gaited horses like Paso Finos may incorporate a lateral swing that would be considered a grave fault in other breeds.
* See also individual breeds
acupuncture An ancient Chinese healing art that uses thin needles to stimulate certain external points (called acupressure points) on the body in order to stimulate the flow of energy or release blocked energy. Acupuncture may be beneficial when treating painful or chronic conditions that have not responded to standard medications, such as chronic colic or heaves. In addition to needles, weak electric currents, cold lasers, and ultrasound may be used to stimulate the points. A veterinarian may combine acupuncture with traditional medicine to maximize benefits to the horse. Horse owners can learn to massage acupressure points to relieve certain conditions.
"Adopt a Pony" programs Programs offered at some stables, in which a sponsor pays for purchase and upkeep of ponies to give lessons to young people who otherwise could not learn to ride.
African horse sickness (AHS) An equine disease endemic to much of Africa and parts of the Middle East that is transmitted by biting flies and mosquitoes. Symptoms include a high fever lasting several days and clearly apparent discomfort, with swollen eyelids and jugular veins. The disease can be fatal.
age The average life expectancy for a horse is 25 to 30 years; many horses, with good care, can live to be well past 30. Horses reach their prime at varying ages, depending on genetics, training, treatment, and a variety of other factors. Many show horses, including dressage horses, hunters, and polo ponies, are at their best when they are at least 10, and some compete or perform for many more years. Older, experienced horses can be valuable teachers, helping young riders develop their skills.
A 15-year-old family horse, for example, can help children learn to ride safely. For an adult, a calm, sensible middle-aged horse can be the perfect partner. However, if you intend to ride regularly, avoid buying a horse older than 20; you will likely have only a few years of riding before you have to retire him. It is difficult to sell an old horse, so you will have to decide — before you purchase him — whether you can take care of him once he is retired.
How old should your first horse be? The golden rule is "The younger or less experienced the human, the older or more experienced the horse should be." Never pair an inexperienced or uneducated person with an inexperienced or untrained horse. Such a match could result in life-threatening injuries.
* See also teeth and age
aggressive horses Aggression is attempting to injure with intent; it can range from biting (not casual nipping, but the fierce, jawswide-open kind) to full-on attacks with front or hind hooves. Some aggression is natural between horses but relatively rare toward humans. Aggression can be created in a foal raised without a proper understanding of boundaries, or in a horse who has had painful and confusing experiences with people.
Most horse-training techniques operate on the assumption that the horse is not aggressive, and trainers work to establish submission and docility. A horse who comes at you with teeth and hooves, on purpose, is in a different category and should be handled by an experienced professional.
* See artificial insemination (AI)
aids The rider's means of communicating cues to the horse. Natural aids are the seat (or weight), legs, hands, and voice. Artificial aids (whips and spurs) amplify the natural aids.
* See also hands; seat
aiken A jump used in hunter classes, constructed of vertical wooden posts topped by evergreen branches.
airs above the ground Advanced high school dressage maneuvers executed from a rearing position. In training the horse progresses from levade, a 45-degree-angle rear held for several seconds, through several stages of hopping on the hind feet — croupade, ballotade, courbe tte — to capriole, in which he leaps forward while lashing out full force with his hind feet. The airs above the ground are said to have been originally useful on the battlefield to scatter enemy soldiers. They require great collection and physical strength, and are performed mostly by baroque European riding academies, including the Spanish Riding School.
* See also ballotade; capriole; courbette; croupade; dressage; levade; Spanish Riding School
albino A horse lacking all pigment in skin and hair is sometimes called an albino. Although white horses do have pink skin, they are not true albinos, as they have blue or brown eyes, not pink ones.
An ancient hot-blooded breed developed in Turkmenistan. The name (AK-hal Tech-ay) means "pure Turkmen." Beautiful and fast, with a soft gliding gait and legendary powers of endurance, Turkmen horses were highly valued in the ancient world, and were traded from North Africa to China. During the 1600s and 1700s many were imported to England, where they had a profound influence on the modern Thoroughbred; the Godolphin Arabian may have been part Akhal-Teke.
Ranging from 14.2 to 16 hands, and weighing 900 to 1,000 pounds (408–454 kg), Akhal-Tekes look like small Thoroughbreds, lean and long, with deep heart girths. Narrowly built, with little body fat, they cool efficiently; quick recovery time is a plus for Akhal-Tekes competing in eventing and endurance. They have a low resting heart rate, but a large stroke volume and great aerobic capacity. Their calm, alert temperament is helpful in dressage, where, though not currently a fashionable breed, individual Akhal-Tekes can excel with good training. The Akhal-Teke stallion Absent won the gold medal in Prix de Dressage in the 1960 Summer Olympics.
Many Akhal-Tekes exhibit a metallic gold or silver sheen to the coat, and black horses may have a blue or purple sheen, due to hair structure. The normal opaque core is small or absent, allowing the transparent hair shaft to bend and refract light. Add the blue or partially blue eye common among Akhal-Tekes, and you have a horse of arresting beauty. Despite this, numbers are low, with fewer than 1,000 annual registrations and a worldwide population under 5,000. Livestock Conservancy status: Threatened
alfalfa hay A high-protein, legume hay. Most horses love alfalfa hay, but it usually should not be fed alone because it is very rich and can cause weight gain, loose stools, mineral imbalance, or even colic. Alfalfa contains more protein than an average horse requires. Alfalfa is best fed in a blend, mixed with clover and grass. Thirdcut alfalfa is usually the most nutritious but may contain blister beetles. A horse who has had an episode of laminitis should not be offered alfalfa.
* See also blister beetle poisoning; colic;feeding and nutrition; hay; laminitis
amble A four-beat gait resembling the pace. The hind and front legs on each side move forward together but land separately, so there is no moment of suspension. It is smoother to ride than the trot, beautiful to watch, and can be very fast.
This extra gait shows up naturally in certain breeds instead of or in addition to the trot or canter. The Icelandic horse has a natural amble called the tölt. The five-gaited American Saddlebred ambles at two speeds — the slow amble is called the slow gait, and the fast version is known as the rack. Paso horses have three gaits — a walk, a slow amble, and a fast amble; they do not learn to canter.
Tennessee Walking Horses have a special extended amble, in which the hind legs take particularly large steps. This "Tennessee walk" (also called a running walk) can be as fast as a canter, and is extremely comfortable for the rider. The American Saddlebred, Tennessee Walkers, and Mountain Saddle breeds have Spanish blood, which is thought to have contributed the extra gait.
The amble is not the same as a pace, in which the legs on the same side strike the ground together.
* See also gaited horse; Mountain Saddle Horses; Paso Fino; Peruvian Horse;rack; slow amble/slow gait; tölt
American Cream Draft Horse
The American Cream Draft Horse, the only draft horse to originate in the United States, can be traced to an unusually colored mare in Central Iowa in the early part of the 20th century. Her offspring consistently showed the pink skin, amber or hazel eyes, and light, medium, or dark cream color that became the breed standard. Standing 15 to 16.3 hands high, Creams have refined heads, powerfully muscled bodies, and sturdy legs. Like most draft horses, they are kind, willing, and trustworthy. Livestock Conservancy status: Critical
Originally a strain of northern mustang with a thick, curly coat; a curly mane and tail; and even curly eyelashes. A breed registry was formed in 1971; in order to avoid inbreeding, Arabian, Morgan, Appaloosa, and Missouri Fox Trotter blood was introduced, based on similarities between these breeds and the original Curly type. A sturdy breed resembling the old-style Morgan, Curlies are good, all-purpose ranch and family horses; they are exceptionally hardy in cold weather. Some Curly horses shed the mane and tail annually.
Curly horses have long been touted as hypo-allergenic, and new research appears to support this claim. In one test, 37 of 40 riders with documented horse allergies showed no signs of reaction after exposure to Curly horses, and the remaining 3 responded well to a single dose of inhaled medication. Additionally, allergic reactions to flat-coated horses diminished in some of the riders over the three years of the study, suggesting that exposure to Curly horses desensitized them to equine allergens in general.
* See also Bashkir
American Indian Horse
A collective description of all Native American horses. Individual tribes had types of horses they preferred, but many of the bloodlines were lost when tribal populations were decimated. The American Indian Horse Registry researched and combined the remaining tribal lines into one breed, though some tribal lines remain individual. The American Indian Horse is a small, tough horse of Spanish type. Every color is allowed. American Indian Horses are excellent for trail and endurance, and are shown at Western breed horse shows, where they compete at their own variation of Trail classes and Western games.
* See also Appaloosa; Florida Cracker Horse; mustang; trail class
American Paint Horse
A popular stock horse breed of pinto coloration, based on Quarter Horse and Thoroughbred bloodlines. In order to be registered as a Paint, a horse must have two registered Paint parents or one registered Paint parent and one Quarter Horse or Thoroughbred parent. Paints are found in most disciplines, including their own races, but they are most popular in the Western disciplines.
* See also overo; tobiano; tovero
American Saddlebred/American Saddle Horse
A North American gaited breed, developed to have a comfortable stride and the endurance to go all day. Saddlebreds and the closely related Tennessee Walking Horses combine the qualities of colonial ambling horses with the blood of Thoroughbreds, Morgans, and Arabians. With their beauty, good minds, and endurance, they were the mount of choice for officers during the Civil War.
Today's Saddlebreds are primarily show horses, though people also use them on the trail. They can make fine dressage horses and are also shown in harness. Saddlebreds come in two types: the three-gaited horse (shown at the walk, trot, and canter) and the five-gaited horse (which also performs the slow gait and the rack).
Saddlebreds usually stand around 16 hands high, with strongly arched necks and tails, and finely sculpted heads. All colors are permitted, including pinto and palomino, and splashy white facial and leg markings are common. Though generally good-natured, Saddlebreds have a reputation for being fiery.
* See also amble; five-gaited horse; pace; rack; racking horse; slow amble/slow gait; three-gaited horse
American Walking Pony
A large pony (13.2–14.2 hands high) developed by crossing Welsh Ponies and Tennessee Walking Horses. Walking Ponies are beautiful and versatile athletes; some are capable of performing seven gaits. They are used for pleasure, driving, jumping, and trail. The breed, which has existed only since 1956, is small in population.
American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP) A nationwide organization of veterinarians specializing in the care of horses, ponies, mules, and donkeys. The AAEP website (aaep .org) has a search function that allows you to find a nearby veterinarian.
American Horse Shows Association (AHSA) Former name of the United States Equestrian Federation (USEF).
* See also United States Equestrian Federation (USEF)
ANATOMY OF THE HORSE
The structure of a horse; essentially the basic "map" of a horse's body parts. The term "anatomy" is objective, with no judgment of the correctness or quality of how those parts fit together. In contrast, a horse's conformation can be considered good or bad, depending on breed standards and the absence or presence of conformation defects.
* See also conformation; hoof; judging
An ancient Spanish warhorse breed, later used as a stock horse and in the bull ring. Andalusians excel at dressage, working dressage, and doma vaquera; the latter two are newly popular sports based on Spanish stock horse training.
A handsome midsize horse, 15 to 16 hands high and 1,000 to 1,200 pounds (454–544 kg), the Andalusian has an elegant, straight or slightly convex profile and highly arched neck, short back, wide chest, and rounded croup. They have excellent feet and legs and profuse and often wavy tails. Most Andalusians are bay, gray, or black; chestnut is not an accepted color. They are spirited but exceptionally gentle, and they have great "cow sense." They are also called Pura Raza Española (PRE), or "Purebred Spanish," horses.
* See equine infectious anemia (EIA)
anestrus Not cycling into heat. Mares are typically anestrus in winter, when days are short, and their estrus (i.e., heat) cycles begin again in spring as daylight lengthens.
* See also diestrus; estrus
Anglo- A prefix designating a cross-bred Thoroughbred. Anglo-Arabs are Thoroughbred-Arab, Anglo-Morgans are Thoroughbred-Morgan, and so on.
anhidrosis Inability to perspire; most likely to occur in hot, humid climates. If a horse overexerts or is confined in an airless stall during hot weather, his sweat glands can overwork and ultimately shut down. The horse will be very hot but dry to the touch; he may pant after exercise, become uncoordinated, or collapse. Signs of colic are also common. The condition can be fatal. The immediate remedy is to bring the horse's temperature down to normal — 99.5 to 101.5°F (37.5–38.6°C) — by bathing him in cool water and placing him in a shady, cool spot. A fan may be necessary to cool him off.
Supplementing with electrolytes and amino acids is sometimes helpful; consult your vet. Anhidrotic horses may recover their ability to sweat in a cooler climate or season, but there is no cure; long-term management of the condition is essential.
anthelmintic Any of several medications used to treat horses and other animals for parasitic infections.
Excerpted from "The Horse-Lover's Encyclopedia"
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Table of Contents
Preface to the 2nd Edition Preface to the 1st Edition A: AAEP to Azoturia B: Back at the knee to Buzkashi C: Cadence to CVI D: Daily to Dwarf horse E: Ear nets to Eye problems F: Face brush to Futurities G: Gag bits to Gymnasticize H: Habronemiasis to Hyperkalemic periodic paralysis (HYPP) I: Icelandic Horse to Ivermectin J: Jaw to Jutland K: Karbardin to Knots L: Lactic acid to Lyme disease M: Maclay Equitation Finals to Mythology, the horse N: Nails, for horseshoes, to Nutrition O: Oat hay, cautions, to Oxyuris equi P: Pace to Pyrantel tartrate (Strongid C) Q: Quagga to Quittor R: Rabicano to Rust S: Sacking out to Synthetic tack T: Tack to Typey U: Udder to Uveitis V: Vaccinations to VS (vesicular stomatitis) W: Wagon train treks to Worming XYZ: Xylazine to Zorse Index