Horsey Terms

RainbowDash

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3 February 2012
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Hi all,

Had my boy over a year now - he's my first pony ( I'm 35) - ridden since 9 yo and part loaned before buying.

Some horse terms have me confused for example 'Top-line' and most dressage terms had me confused.

Just wondered if anyone else has nodded in agreement or read posts and not truly understood what was being said ?

:)
 

TrasaM

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19 May 2012
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I spent some time learning the horses body parts when I was ill last year but forgot most of them again.. Hence i make comments like horses ankles are swollen/ hot :eek: but it's better than saying it's got swollen forelocks lol.
 

Enfys

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If you say ankles you are in good company, my most excellent Vet always calls them ankles - it is easy enough to translate to a body part.
 

Littlelegs

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Topline means just that really, along the top. If you picture say a 3yr old, or an old tb, that is a healthy weight, it won't have the same muscle bulk & definition along its neck, back & on its quarters as it would in its prime, & fit & well schooled. The other end of the spectrum would be a horse at badminton, or gp dressage etc, which will have very well defined muscles. And then there's all the shades of grey inbetween, like say a horse returning to work after a break that's currently just hacking on a loose rein, it would have some topline muscle, but would need to build up more before being able to work really well. Or a rs horse used for beginners, it would be fit, & have some muscle, but even if it was brilliantly schooled in the past, it would need more muscle in the right places to be able to do a longer schooling session at a higher level.
When horses are working correctly, in very simple terms they lift up through the back, with all the power coming from the back end. And in order to do that, they need to have the muscles (topline) to do so. Which is why green horses or those who have been out of any schooling work for a while, need to work long & low, because they don't have the muscles to work up through the back, they need to stretch them & build them. But if you watch Carl hester riding gp tests, the horses have a very upright head carriage, because they have the topline to lift their backs, work from behind, & carry their heads. (i say Carl hester rather than top level dressage so there is no confusion with rolkur or overbending etc). If you got on a just backed 3yr old though & asked it to carry its head that upright though, you'd just get it pulling its head free, or shuffling along, because it doesn't have the muscles/ topline to carry its self like that. Easiest comparison is probably ballet. You can't just whack on a pair of points & start dancing, you have to spend time conditioning & building the correct muscles first, even if you are average fitness. Topline is the same.
Topline also can be misleading. My connie x tb is slim at this time of year, but has reasonable muscle on her topline. My friends tb is out of work & in terms of fat, exactly the same. But, mine gives the impression of carrying more, while the tb looks scrawny, because although not underweight it has little muscle on its neck, over its back, on its quarters etc.
Hope that makes sense. But if you ever see anything on a thread you don't understand, just post & ask, that's the only way any of us learn anything.
 

nostromo70

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5 October 2012
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Good post from littlelegs.
Informative and not patronizing, why can't all replies be like this, it helps people not to be scared of asking questions that might have obvious answers for some other people.
 

Enfys

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Actually "ankles" is commonly used in the US, so you're not alone.
I am in Canada as you know, and everyone I know says ankles, it is something I have had to adapt to if I want to be understood. ;) I learned very quickly to say paint and not coloured :) and as for skewbald and piebald:eek: - forget it. :D When I first got here I felt like a complete novice again.

North American terminology is quite confusing to begin with to a Brit :)
 

Enfys

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I spent some time learning the horses body parts when I was ill last year but forgot most of them again.. Hence i make comments like horses ankles are swollen/ hot :eek: but it's better than saying it's got swollen forelocks lol.
That reminds me of something my completely unhorsey Mother said many, many years ago, one of my ponies had gotten into the garden and she told me that she had caught him and led him out by his fetlock! Bless her :)

Chuckling at the thought of swollen forelocks :D
 

Keen

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5 December 2011
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I did a (Prelim) dressage test at my RS a couple of summers ago on a pony who I rode once in a blue moon. I ran through the test in a lesson with my instructor in the week, and rode the test on the Sunday. They are just for fun, and for the experience. But the only comment I got from the judge was "Needs softer top line". What now? Topline? Who, me or the horse? :confused: :rolleyes:

Googling at the time was not much help. Clearly, I should have asked on here!
 

sandi_84

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22 November 2011
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During one of my lessons early last year (when I was getting back into riding after a decade break) my instructor told me to half halt....:confused:
Had to ask her to explain in dummy terms what she meant as I'd never come across that term in my previous horsey life ha ha! :D
There are so many new things about (or at least it seems so) since I rode in my teens (and before) that at times it can be confusing... I thought top line was just to do with muscles along the back for example :eek:
HHO has been an invaluable tool for learning as has the internet, the updated pony club manual, and various other books. So even though I'm still (and always will be) learning I now have at the tips of my fingers all the information I could want :D
 

CaleruxShearer

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I am in Canada as you know, and everyone I know says ankles, it is something I have had to adapt to if I want to be understood. ;) I learned very quickly to say paint and not coloured :) and as for skewbald and piebald:eek: - forget it. :D When I first got here I felt like a complete novice again.

North American terminology is quite confusing to begin with to a Brit :)
I occasionally do some freelance grooming for some Canadian eventers that are based here in the UK, either working at events or holding fort at home and some of the terms they use have really confused me before! Things like 'beet pulp' are fairly easy to work out but there are some others that have really stumped me, one that stands out is when I was doing fences for the guy in the school and he asked me to put up a swedish oxer - didn't have a clue! Apparently they are quite commonly used in the states and Canada though.
 
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Idiot's guide (by, not for an idiot)

Lateral work= going sideways on purpose.

On the bit=horse wants to go forwards but will slow down if you ask nicely.

At least, that's how I understand it...
 
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