Wednesday, March 19, 2014

What Are Girl And Boy Horses Called?

Going to the very basics now. What do we call male and female horses? How about donkeys?

A fully grown, adult female horse is a "mare." A young female horse is a "filly" - from the French "fille" for "little girl."

An entire, adult male horse is a "stallion." You may also hear him called a "stud" in some regions, but in other regions that term is considered entirely incorrect, so stallion is safer. A young male horse is a "colt."

One point of confusion is that in the west all young horses are "colts" with males being called "horse colts" or "stud colts" and females being called "filly colts" or just "fillies." In any case, a field full of young horses is a field full of "colts" (or "youngstock").

A male donkey is a "jack". A female donkey is a "jenny". Donkeys as a group, though, are sometimes called "jacks" or "jackasses" and some donkey breeds contain the word "jack."

A castrated male horse or donkey is a "gelding" regardless of age.

A male mule is a "john" and a female is a "molly."

Confused yet? A lot of horse terminology carries a weight of tradition with it - and there are some regional variations that even those experienced with it can find a little strange.

An Appaloosa mare.


  1. Please do not write about a "filly colt"! The only people who would say this are newbies or backwoods yokels.

    You would say "filly foal" or "colt foal." Its like saying girl child or boy child.

    Foal= Young horse still nursing. plural foals

    Weanling= Young horse, no longer nursing but less than a year. Plural Weanlings

    Yearling= Young horse, one year of age, Note: For racing horses (and many other registered breeds) become one year older not by their birthday but by Jan. 1. This is why race horses and other breeds that compete in futurities are often born in Jan. and Feb. Most horse owners use the calendar year to age their horses

    Long Yearling= term to describe a horse that is nearly two

    Filly= female under four years of age, plural fillies

    Colt= male under four years of age which is still intact. Once a male is gelded they are always referred to as geldings regardless of age. plural colts

    Gelding= male with both testicles removed, plural geldings

    Stallion= Intact male, Nearly always used as breeding animal.

  2. I have heard filly colt used. It is not a term I would use myself, but I have definitely heard it used.