Jargon buster

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Jargon buster

Helpful terms and information.

For the horse

  • Horse – fully grown adult equine over 14.2 hands high
  • Pony – fully grown adult equine under 14.2 hands high
  • Foal – a baby horse or pony that is under 1 year old
  • Hands (hh) – the unit that horses and ponies are measured in: 1 hand = 4 inches
  • Mane – the long hair that the horse has running over the length of their neck
  • Forelock – the long hair that grows over the forehead of the horse, the horse equivalent to a human ‘fringe’
  • Hoof – the technical name for a horse’s foot


Horse paces

  • Walk = 4 mph
  • Trot = 8 mph
  • Canter = 10 – 17 mph
  • Gallop = 20 – 30 mph


Pieces of tack




The equipment used on horses

Head collar

Tack placed on the horses head, mainly used for leading horse from the ground

Lead rope

The rope attached to the head collar for leading and tying up


The piece of tack placed on the horse's head when riding, it is how the rider controls the horse


The piece of tack used in the horse's mouth, they are normally metal but can also be made other materials such as plastic or rubber


Tack the rider holds that attaches to the bit in the horse's mouth


The piece of tack placed on the horse's back that the rider sits in


The accessories that the rider places their feet in, they are attached to the saddle by long, adjustable straps called stirrup leathers

Saddle pad/ numnah

A soft pad that sits under the saddle to provide cushioning and helps to keep the saddle in place


The thick strap that secures the saddle to the horse, it runs under their belly just behind the front legs


For the rider



Jodhpurs or breeches

The ‘trousers’ worn by riders, they are normally close fitting for safety and, for comfort, have no seams along any areas that are in contact with the saddle

Jodhpur boots

Specialist riding footwear that are ankle high with a smooth sole and small heel


Normally worn with jodhpur boots around the lower legs to protect them from rubbing against the saddle and to provide extra grip

Riding boots

Specialist knee high boots for riding that have a smooth sole and small heel

Riding gloves

Gloves designed specifically for riding with extra grip and no seams in the areas that the rider holds the reins

Body protector

A protective item worn on the top half of the rider for safety

Riding hat

Hats designed specifically for horse riding that have a hard outer shell over protective cushioning and three point strap that fastens under the chin. Also known as a hard hat or skull cap


On the yard




The area where horses are kept

Riding centre/ riding school/ equestrian centre/ riding facility

These are all terms used to describe a business that provides riding services

Livery/ Livery yard

This is for facilities that provide a service where people pay to keep their horses at the yard. Some yards will run this alongside a business providing lessons, while other yards are purely set up for customers to pay to keep their horses there

Field or paddock

The outdoor space where horses live and graze


The indoor space where horses live

Kick bolt

The lock used at the bottom of a stable door

Stable grille or anti-weave bar

A set of metal bars used on the top half of a stable door for safety


Dried grass that horses eat


Semi dried grass that is wrapped in bales and left to naturally ferment, it is also for horses to eat but is more nutritional than hay and contains less dust

Horse feed

Highly nutritional food for horses, fed much more sparingly than grass, hay or haylage

Tack room

A secure room that houses horse tack and equipment

Arena/ school/ manege

The space which you exercise horses in, they usually have a sand surface and can either be outdoors – with no cover, or indoors – with a large roof cover

Hack/ hacking

A form of exercise on horses outside of the arena usually on quiet roads, fields, or bridleways (public rights of way where horses are allowed)


The name for exercise usually undertaken inside an arena to train the horse and rider


The action of getting on a horse


The specially trained and qualified person who looks after the horses feet (hooves) and puts on the horse shoe