Friday, January 29, 2016

What is "fanning"?

Fanning is when a driving team is asked to go sideways, turning the cart in that way. It's used to turn large carts and teams in small spaces.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

What is "tuning up"?

Tuning up or giving a horse a tune up is taking an already trained horse back to basics to work on problems such as untidy transitions. Cutting riders also use the term for demanding perfection while working. It may also refer to reminding a horse of its manners, especially one ridden by novices.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

What is a "sidepass"?

A sidepass is when a horse moves sideways, in either direction, without moving forward or backward. It's considered an advanced movement that is particularly difficult for a horse to perform correctly.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

What is "rating"?

Rating is controlling a horse's pace when working at speed. For example, a jockey not allowing a horse to go to the front too early, a show jumper slowing the canter to get the right number of strides, or a cutting horse staying parallel to a cow.

A horse that is "hard to rate" is one that consistently wants to go faster than the desired pace, and which objects to being rated by throwing the head, rushing or otherwise showing a negative reaction to the rider.

Monday, January 25, 2016

What is bearing in?

Bearing in or out is when a racehorse doesn't run in a straight line, losing ground. It's usually caused by jockey error (the jockey tries to go around a horse in front of them and ends up moving too far) or by the horse being tired or slightly lame. Inexperienced horses, especially two year olds, may also "bear in."

Friday, January 22, 2016

What is a bat?

A bat can refer to one of two kinds of horse whip. The kind of whip a jockey uses and a short whip sometimes used in show jumping to remind the horse to pick up its hooves. The latter, usually called a jumping bat, is a few inches shorter than a standard riding crop.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

What is an "open" mare?

An open mare is any mare that is not currently carrying a foal. It's often used in sales lingo as a way of saying the mare is ready to be bred to your choice of stallion. A breeder may also say they're "leaving a mare open" - meaning they're giving her a year off from having babies.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

What is a "blow out"?

A blow out, which is sometimes hyphenated, is a very short workout done against the clock. It's usually half a mile or less and the horse is run at full speed. It's designed to help a racehorse practice running flat out so that he speeds up correctly towards the finish line. Blow-outs are also used as a way of measuring a horse's raw speed.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

What is a horse's "bottom line"?

It's not it's value in money. The bottom line is the bottom line of the pedigree. As pedigrees are always displayed with the males on top, the bottom line of the pedigree is a horse's female line of descent.

The very bottom line - mother to grandmother to great grandmother is sometimes called the "tail female" line.

Monday, January 18, 2016

What is acey-deucey?

Acey-deucey is deliberately riding with one stirrup shorter than the other. It's most often seen in racing, where a jockey will slightly lengthen the inside stirrup - some riders believe this helps them get better balance through the turns.

Friday, January 15, 2016

What do we mean when we say a horse "rides big"?

A horse that rides big is one that feels larger than is when you are on top of it. "She's only fourteen hands, but she rides much bigger."

Riding big is a result of either of a combination of two factors: The width of the horse's body - i.e., a stockier build or an extended or elevated action (a big gait or big stride).

Needless to say, a horse can also "ride small," but you don't hear that said
as often. Riding big is often used as a selling point for shorter horses.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

What is "double barrelled"?

Not something you want to have happen!

We say a horse "double barrels" a person or another horse when they kick with both hind leg at once, or attempt to. Obviously, this is a much more forceful thing than kicking with only one leg - in fact, people have died that way. (Obviously, this term only dates back to the invention of firearms).

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Do horses have a sense of humor?

Okay, you can't really answer this question. I'm very much on the side of yes - I once knew a pony who would toss people into mud puddles if, and only if, they got on him wearing white breeches.

Horses do sometimes seem to do things just because they're "funny." As a social animal, they have a strong sense of play, and they're capable of recognizing human laughter as, well, a reaction and probably a positive one. So if you think a horse has done something to make you laugh - who knows, maybe they did.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

What is a "rogue"?

A rogue or rogue horse is one that is uncontrollable and untrainable - a very rare instance. (I've encountered two horses in my life I would call rogues, one of which may have been a mankiller - it was purchased at a livestock auction and promptly made pretty serious attempts to kill multiple people before being euthanized).

A true rogue can't be fixed, but a lot of horses that have been poorly trained, abused, or spoiled end up branded as rogues, and I've also seen the term used incorrectly for a horse that was freaking out for some good reason.

Monday, January 11, 2016

What is a spur stop?

A spur stop is when a horse is taught to stop (rather than go) off of the pressure of the heel or spur. It's often seen in pleasure classes, but considered incorrect everywhere else. (If the spur means stop then what the heck means go?)

I admit to some bias here, but I've never seen the utility in it.

Friday, January 8, 2016

What is jumped off?

As in what almost happened to me this week.

We say a horse "jumps the rider off" if the rider falls during or immediately after the jump because of a lack of coordination between the horse and rider. It's usually caused by a disagreement over when to take off or by the horse jumping far higher than the rider expects. Needless to say, it's highly embarrassing.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

What is a collecting ring?

The collecting ring is the area at a horse show where horses and riders wait to go into the main arena. It may also be the area in which riders school or warm up their horses before competing, depending on the configuration of the show grounds or barn. (At many barn shows the warm up area is a good distance from the arena used for actual competition and the "collecting ring" may be a designated part of the stable yard).

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

What is a Trakehner?

One of two things, actually.

1. A breed of Warmblood horse that originates in Germany.

2. A fence consisting of a rail over a ditch, often quite frightening for the horse and a test of bravery.

The two terms appear to be a weird coincidence, but this isn't true - both originate from the Trakehnen area of East Prussia.

The Trakehner fence originally referred to fences built in drainage ditches, common in this wetland area.

The breed originated at the Main Stud Trakehnen in the same area.

A kid and a pony jumping a trakehner fence. Image source: Timdnz via Wikimedia Commons.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

What is a sunken road?

A sunken road is a cross country fence that's designed to simulate crossing a rather typical English country road.

The horse jumps down a drop, then up a bank a few strides later. There may or may not be rail on one or both sides of the road. It's considered a difficult obstacle, especially with rails.

Monday, January 4, 2016

What is a Normandy bank?

A Normandy bank is a ditch followed by a bank, with a fence on top of the bank. It's seen mostly in cross country and is considered quite difficult, especially if the fence is at the far side of the bank, forming a drop.

Friday, January 1, 2016

What is an oxer?

An oxer is a horse jump with two rails set a distance apart. Sometimes there is "filler" in the oxer, such as brush. The rails may be the same height or different heights, but the front rail is never higher than the back rail, as this messes with a horse's vision and causes them to knock the fence down. A lower front rail is considered more inviting.

In the UK, an oxer where the two rails are at the same height is called a "parallel."

An oxer with three rails is a "triple bar."

The horse is jumping a parallel rails or parallel oxer, with a regular ascending oxer in the background. Image source SGBailey via Wikimedia Commons.