Terminology is a bummer. But then, it does make our  stories a bit more realistic if you know them.For example, I”ve read where the rider may kick his horse in the ‘flank’ to get him moving. That’s a problem? Do you know where the flank is? If you do, you know that nudging or kicking a horse in the flank is darn near impossible, certainly not in proper form as you have your hero riding now. If you don’t know where a flank is, well, picture a horse and , see where the hindquarters meets the belly. It’s where the rodeo ‘flank’ strap is drawn tight to make the horse buck and kick.(The bull or horse is trying to buck that strap off) So the flank is at least 18-24″ away from the hero’s heel. Nudging that far back puts the rider way out of form, off-balance and likely to fall off because the horse will likely bolt forward. (now some horses won’t move no matter where you kick them)   To nudge that old nag forward, just do so with the heel to the belly. That works just fine.

Okay another term…Did you know horses were measured by ‘hands’ from the wither to the ground? Got ya lost?  A hand is literally a hand measuring four inches wide–across the knuckles, palm side. The wither is where the neck meets the back. So you start at the ground of the front hoof and go up ‘hand over hand’ to the wither–counting. Ponies are  14.2  hands and under, horses are 14.2 hands (a small horse) and over, easily 15-16 hands (an average horse). Draft horses can measure up to 17 hands or more (That’s 68″ or 5’8″ just to the back of the horse…not including head and neck…now that’s big.)

And did you know that there were two kinds of western saddles–one for roping and one for cutting? You can identify them by the pommel of either. (that’s what the horn sits on).  A roping pommel will be smooth on the sides so the rope/lasso doesn’t catch when the  rope goes tight. A cutting pommel is indented to catch the rider’s knees before he gets tossed off as you could see easily happening  in the video on cutting horses back a few blogs. I believe the cutting saddle  originated from the Roman army saddle.

Remember the Frisian horse’s mane in the sidesaddle video not main or Maine etc.

Muzzle is the velvety nose  he sniffs you with, puffing air gently out of curiosity seconds before he decides to nip or taste you.

A horse’s  back should be short for strength. If too long the vertebrae can easily sway thus called swayback.

Legs like humans can be knock-kneed or bowed but are prefered straight.

Hooves can pigeon-toed or splay out but neither are ideal but should point forward.

 The pastern or the joint above the hoof  should be long for a riding horse, short for a draft. Why? A longer pastern is like a shock absorber thus a riding horse should have a longer pastern for a smoother ride. However, a draft horse should have a short pastern for strength but then he’s not good for riding….think solid rubber tires on a Model A . Yeah, that rough. Exception: a Percheron has a longer pastern and a straight hoof. I believe this draft horse was bred for  carrying the knight-in-shining armor.

 Terminology is a bummer but is always there so here are a few files that will help clarify. (Thank you Shirley Drew Hardwick for her Stephens Collage manual on Horsemanship, 1965 and Colliers Encyclopedia vol 12, 1967) Hightlight and print as needed….

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