More horse words you need to know
terms h to z

Confused over words in sale ads and show rules? These horse terms will help you talk like a Breyer expert.

Hackamore- a bitless bridle of Spanish origin with a large braided rawhide noseband. Hackamores are used in Western riding. Also called a Bosal Hackamore.

Hackamore Knot- the knot where the fiadore is tied to the bosal on a hackamore. Sliding the knot up and down adjusts the size of the bosal.

Hames- steel arms attached to the horse's collar. The reins go through eyes on the top of the hames. Used for driving.

Heel Knot- the large braided knot at the bottom of the bosal.  A bosal is used in Western riding.


Hip Drop- decorative straps that hang over the horse's hindquarters. They attach to a Western parade saddle.



Horn- the part that sticks up on the pommel of a Western saddle. The rider wraps their end of the lariat around the horn after they rope a calf, so the calf is pulling against the saddle and the horse, not the rider. Horns on Western pleasure saddles have silver horn caps.

Irish Martingale- this martingale keeps the reins from going over the horse's head. It is very simple- a strap with a ring on each end. One rein goes through each ring. Used in English riding.

Jog- a bouncy two-beat gait performed in Western events.

Keeper- this is a loop in the flap of an English saddle that the extra stirrup leather runs through.

Kimberwick Bit- a snaffle bit with a mild curb action but no shanks. Used in English riding.

Leaping Head- the lower pommel on a sidesaddle that the right leg tucks under.

Line-up- at the end of a pleasure or equitation class, when all the horses stand in a row in the middle of the arena while the judge makes his decisions.

Lip Strap- the lip strap attaches to the bit on each side and goes through the fly link on the curb chain to keep the chain from getting twisted. Western bridles do not have lip straps.

Liverpool Bit- this bit has a smooth mouthpiece and shanks. Reins can be attached through the three slots on the shanks so it works like a snaffle or a curb. Liverpool bits are used for driving.



Lope- a Western canter. The lope is a smooth three-beat gait that is faster than a jog.

Lot- a large group of model horses for sale for one price. Some lots have hundreds of models in them. Sometimes sellers call these "herd reductions".

Mecate- a rope that serves as the reins and lead rope for a bosal hackamore.

Noseband- only English bridles and Hackamore bridles have these. Cavasson nosebands are straps that go around the horse's muzzle. Figure-eight, Drop, and Flash nosebands are other kinds.


Overo- a pinto pattern. The horse has dark legs, a white head, and white on the sides of the body and neck.



Palomino- a horse with a gold coat and a white mane and tail.



Parked Out- some show horses like Saddlebreds stand this way, with their front and hind legs extended out.

Pelham Bit- a Pelham is a combination of a curb bit and a bridoon. It has four rings and short shanks. It is used with four reins in English riding.

Pellon- a tapestry made of braided wool that is worn over a show saddle. It is part of the Peruvian Horse's native costume.

Piaffe- a movement in dressage where the horse trots slowly in place, lifting each leg high, with a long period of suspension.


Piebald- a pinto horse with black and white spots.

Pinto- any horse with large white spots.

Poll- the area on the horse behind the ears, on top of the head.

Pommel- the front of a saddle.


Pony- a small, stocky horse under 14.2 hands high (56.8 inches) at the withers.

Racing Saddle- a racing saddle is small and flat, with short stirrup leathers.

Reining Saddle- a Western saddle with a very deep seat, and a low cantle.

Reins- the leather straps that the rider holds to control the horse's head. The reins attach to the bit. English reins are two separate pieces buckled in the middle. The most commonly used Western reins are two strips that are not buckled together, called split reins.
English reins can be laced to provide a better grip.
Western split reins are held in one hand while the other hand rests on the leg. English reins are held in two hands, and are held tighter than Western reins.

Roan- a horse that has white hairs mixed into its coat. A strawberry roan is chestnut with white hairs. A red roan is bay with white hairs.
Blue roans are black with white hairs. Many roan horses have solid, dark- colored legs and heads.

Roping Reins- these reins are used by barrel racers who don't want to drop their reins in the middle of a timed event. The reins are a single continuous loop buckled to the bit on each side of the bridle.

Roping Saddle- the horn is very upright so the roper can dally easily, and the seat is deep. A roping saddle needs a back cinch, which prevents the calf (or steer) from pulling the saddle up too much. When the calf pulls on the rope, it will put pressure on the looser back cinch too, not just the tight front cinch.

Running Walk- a smooth 4-beat gait performed by the Tennessee Walking Horse where the horse's hind foot oversteps the front foot.

Sabino- a pinto horse with a white head and legs, the edges of the spots are speckled and jagged.

Saddleseat Saddle- this saddle is used when riding gaited breeds. It has a flatter seat, and is cut back at the pommel for high-withered horses. A saddleseat rider sits just behind the center of the horse.
These saddles are often worn by American Saddlebreds, Tennessee Walking Horses, Morgans, and Arabians.

Saddle tree- the saddle tree is the shape the saddle is built on. The tree on a finished saddle cannot be seen. You can buy resin or pewter trees or make a custom tree from clay.



Seal Brown- a horse that is black with brown shading on the flanks, girth, belly, muzzle, and above the eyes.



Seat- the part of the saddle that the rider sits on. Some Western saddles have suede-type seat with decorative stitching. The rider should sit in the deepest part of the seat.

Shadow Roll- a sheepskin covered noseband used on racehorses to keep them from shying at shadows.

Side Rein- a leather strap that hooks onto the bit and a D-ring on the vaulting surcingle. Attach it to the side of the vaulting horse that faces the person lunging.

Sidesaddle- a saddle for ladies where both legs are on the same side of the horse. There is only one stirrup, for the rider's left foot. The rider carries a whip, which she uses in place of a leg on the right side of the  horse.


Silver Plates- engraved pieces of silver on a Western saddle. Parade and Western saddles have lots of silver accents, on the corners of the skirts, gullet, horn, cantle, and stirrups.




Skewbald- a pinto horse with a base coat that is any color other than black.

Skid Boots- these boots cover the back of the rear fetlocks and protect the fetlocks from abrasions when the horse performs sliding stops in reining.

Skiving- using a blade to slice off the backside of a piece of leather lace to make it thinner. Unskived lace is too thick to use.

Sliding plates- smooth horseshoes worn on the rear hooves of reining horses to help them perform the sliding stop.


Slip Ear Bridle- this is a Western bridle. Instead of a browband, it has a loop that goes around one ear and is attached to the crown piece.

Slit Ear Bridle- this Western bridle has a slit in the crown piece that one ear goes through.

Snaffle Bit- snaffle bits are used in English riding. They have no shanks and are very mild. The mouthpiece has a ring on each side. D-ring snaffles have D-shaped rings. O-ring snaffles have round rings. Bridoons are small O-ring snaffles. Eggbutt snaffles almost have oval rings.


Snip- a little white mark on the horse's muzzle.

Sock- a leg marking that comes up to the horse's cannon.

Sporthorse- a horse that can do dressage, jumping, endurance, and eventing.


Stablemates- Breyer's 1:32 scale model horses. More about Stablemates.

Standing Martingale- it keeps the horse from throwing its head up and hitting the rider in the face. It is buckled around the girth on one end, and around the cavasson noseband on the other. A separate loop goes around the horse's neck, holding the martingale close to the horse. Used in English riding.


Star- a small white mark in the middle of the horse's forehead.

Stirrups- the metal or wooden parts of the saddle that your feet go in. The balls of the rider's feet touch the tread. The rider's heels should be down and close to the horse, with the toes pointing up and out.

English stirrups are made of metal but not covered in leather. They are called stirrup irons.

Western stirrups are U-shaped with a flat bottom and a bar across the top. They are often wooden, covered in leather. Pleasure stirrups have silver plates on the side that faces outwards.



Stirrup leathers- the stirrup irons on an English saddle hang from these strips of leather. The leathers loop through the top of the stirrup iron, go up under the skirt, and the extra goes down through a loop on the flap.


Stocking- a leg marking that ends at the horse's hock or knee.



Stripe- a thin white marking running down the horse's nose.

Tapaderas- leather coverings for Western stirrups, parade saddles often have large tapederas with silver decorations.

Tapas Ojos- leather blinkers worn by Peruvian Horses as part of their native costume. Originally they were used to train nervous horses to be mounted.

Terrets- rings on the harness that the reins pass through.

Throatlatch- the throatlatch buckles around the horse's throat where its head meets its neck and keeps the bridle (English or Western) from coming off over the horse's ears.

Tie-Down- a Western version of the standing martingale. The tie-down attaches to the bottom of the noseband and to the cinch. It is run through the breastcollar to keep it out of the way of the horse's legs. It is used in speed events.

Tobiano- a pinto pattern- the horse has white legs, a dark head, and white on the topline.

Traditional- Breyer's 1:9 scale model horse line. Read more about Traditionals.

Trot- a bumpy, two beat gait that is faster than a walk and slower than a canter. Depending on their breed, some horses lift their legs high and trot fast while others perform a slow trot that looks more like a walk from a distance.

Walk- a slow four-beat gait that is very easy to ride.

Warmblood- a type of riding horse that has a calmer temperament than a hotblooded breed like an Arabian. Many warmblood breeds originated in Europe. Warmbloods are generally tall, and are often seen doing three day eventing.

Western Pleasure / Equitation Saddle- these saddles have deep seats to provide good balance. They are usually covered in tooling and silver plates.

Weymouth Bit- this is used on a double or Weymouth bridle. It has shanks and rings for one pair of reins. The Weymouth Bits are used with snaffles, and four reins (two are attached to the snaffle). They are used on three and five gaited horses, and dressage horses.

Terms A to G

Abbreviations for Breyer, Breeds and Conditions

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