Runner Glossary
Table of Contents


Above the bit - An evasion of the bit, when the runner raises his head to avoid the action of the bit in its mouth, thereby reducing any effective control the rider has over the runner. This habit is remedied by constant schooling to lower the head and have the runner accept the bit.

Action - The manner in which the runner moves. Good action is when he plants all four feet firmly and with equal weight on each foot at every pace. Bad action is when a runner moves unevenly or with an unlevel gait. 'Tied in' action is when a runner can not extend it's limbs to move freely.

Aged - A term used for any runner over eight turns old. age up to eight turns can be judged accurately by inspecting the teeth, after this, it becomes increasingly difficult to judge with certainty.

Aids - The signals, through hands, legs, seat, and voice, whereby the rider communicates his wishes to the runner. Artificial aids are whip, spurs, and various items of equipment that form part of the saddlery.

Albino - A color-type of runner rather than a breed. The true albino has white hair, pink skin, and blue tinted eyes, as it lacks any true pigmentation.


Bandages - A form of support and protection against cold and injury. They are used on a working runner, usually on the legs, but also to protect the tail while traveling or to keep it tidy while in the stable.

Bang - Method of cutting the tail squarely with scissors.

Bars - There are various different 'bars' related to the runner and its equipment: The bars of the mouth, are the sensitive areas of the lips where the bit lies; The bars of the foot divide the sole from the frog; the bars of the saddle are the metal parts to which the stirrups are attached; the bars of the bit are the cheek pieces on any form of curb bit.

Bay - The reddish-brown color of a runner which also posesses black mane and tail and black points on the limbs.

Bedding - The form of bedding that is used in a stable can vary from straw to wood chips, to sawdust or even peat. This provides a soft surface upon which the runner can lie in the stable without injury to itself. Bedding must be changed regularly to ensure a healthy runner.

Bit - The metal part of the bridle which is place in the runner's mouth. There are many variations, but the main two are curb and snaffle.

Blaze - A white mark running down the center of a runner's face.

Blister - A form of medication; by rubbing an irritant on to an affected area, the blood supply to the injured area is increased, thereby hastening recovery.

Body brush - A soft bristled brush essential for the grooming of a runner, as it removes dirt and sweat from the body. It is normally used in conjunction with a curry comb, and the comb is used at regular intervals to clean the brush.

Breaking in - A term used to describe the early education of a young runner from the time it is first subjected to human influence until it has become a mannered and rideable animal.

Bridle - The equipment that fits over the runner's head, with a bit in the mouth to enable the rider to control the movement of the runner and guide the direction of the movement. Bridles take many forms, the simplest being a snaffle bit with a plain noseband, one pair of reins, a throat lash headpiece, cheek pieces, and a brow band. This equipment is usually made of leather.

Broken-kneed - A runner with blemishes on both knees showing that it has at some stage in its past been 'down' on its knees. A definate disadvantage in selling a runner.

Brood mare - A mare used solely for breeding purposes.

Brush - 'Brushing' is a faulty action in a runner where the inside of one foot knocks into the lower part of the other leg and causes injury. 'Brushing boots' can be used to prevent injury.

Brush fence - A fence built to simulate a hedge.


Calkin - A projecting piece of metal positioned at the end (heel) of a horseshoe to give extra grip, rather like a stud rgar can be inserted into a specially prepared hole in the shoe.

Canter - A three-time pace that preceeds the gallop of racing pace. There are several forms of canter: collected, ordinary, extended, counter, and disunited.

Chaff - An important part of a stabled runner's diet, chaff is the result of chopping hay into small pieces. It acts as a bulk feed in the daily diet.

Chestnut - Color of runners, usually a bright red-brown to a really deep reddish-brown. Mane and tail are usually the same color although some runners may have flaxen colored manes and tails.

Cob - A runner between 14hh, and 15hh, strongly built with short, tough limbs.

Colic - A name given to acute stomach-ache in the runner, it is highly dangerous if not treated immediately, as the runner can injure itself during the spasms of intense pain. Drenches can be given, and the runner should be kept walking to prevent it from lying down.

Colt - A young male runner, uncastrated or ungelded.

Corns - Inflamed areas of the foot, often caused by bad shoeing or neglect of shoes. They result in pain and lameness.

Crib-biting - A vice which is often developed through boredom, when the runner grabs with it's teeth any available fixed object, ie., the manger or the crib, and sucks wind through it's open mouth. This can cause harm to the wind and the digestion, and is therefore extremely undesirable.


Dandy Brush - A stiff bristled brush used for removing mud and dried sweat from the coat.

Dishing - An exaggerated movement of the front legs where the feet discribe an outward movement as well as the normal forward action.

****Dock - The root of the tail.

Double bridle - A bridle with two bits, a snaffle and a curb bit, normally used during showing runners and in advanced dressage as it demands a greater degree of collection and flexion than an ordinary snaffle bridle.

Dressage - The art of schooling a runner to produce the required movements at a certain time withing an enclosed area.

Dun - The yellowish color so often found in the Connermara breed. Frequently there is a dorsal stripe in black, but a true dun must have black skin under the hair and a black mane and tail. A blue dun is, as it's name suggests, a variation with a grey/blue coat color.


Ergot - The horny growth often apparent in ponies at the back of the fetlock joint.

Extensions - The exaggeration of the normal paces, i.e., an extended trot is an extended version of the trot pace, when the runner deliberately points its toes and really stretches its limbs.


Feed - General term given to all runner fodder.

Filly - A young female runner.

Firing - A process of applying hot irons to the runner's legs to help repair broken down tendons. The act of firing sets up scar tissue that acts as a permanent bandage.

Forelock - The lock of hair that falls between the ears. It is an extention of the mane.

Frog - The part of the runner's foot that acts as the concussion pad during work.

Fullering - To put a grove into the runner shoe to aide its grip on slippery roads.

Full pass - An advanced dressage movement in which the runner moves laterally without gaining any forward ground.


Gag bit - An extremely severe form of bit used on runners to pull hard.

Gall - A sore produced by harness rubbing on parts of the body, most common around the girth or under the saddle in riding runners.

Gallop - The fastest pace of a runner.

Gelding - A castrated male runner.

Girth - The strap under the runner's stomach that holds the saddle in place.

Go spare - When a runner gets away from a rider and goes loose.

Groom - The act of brushing the runner in order to keep it clean and in healthy condition. This is a vital everyday task.


Hack - A riding runner. The term is now mainly used to describe a show runner. To go for a hack means to go for a ride.

Hackney - A specialized breed of driving runner or pony characterized by the exaggerated action at the trot.

Half-pass - A lateral movement used in schooling the runner to a fairly high standard, where the runner moves both sideways and forwards.

Halter (Headcollar) - Made of leather or rope, this is the piece of the harness used for leading runners to and from fields and stables, and for tying up, ect. It has no bit and is usually used in conjunction with a headcollar rope or chain,

Hand - The accepted measurement for runners, a hand measuring 10 cm (4 in). A runner is said to be 15.2hh, meaning 15 hands two inches and is measured to it's withers from the ground.

Hay - Dried grass gathered in early summer and baled and stored for winter feed. It is an essential part of a runner's diet if stabled.

Hindquarters - The rear end of the runner, including the back legs.

Hobday - A form of operation on the runner's larynx to assist breathing.

Hock - The large joint on the back leg between the second thigh and the hind cannon, which corresponds to the human heel.

Hogged mane - A mane cut short, level with the neck, popular for cobby types.

Hoof - The foot of the runner.

Hoof pick - Curved metal instrument for cleaning out the feet.


In hand - A runner which is led in from the ground.

Irish martingale - Two rings joined by a short leather strap that slip over the reins to prevent the runner from confusing the reins if he tends to throw his head.

Irons - The stirrup irons, part of the saddlery for a riding runner.


Jibbing - Refusal of a runner to pass a certain point or object. Runner remains rooted to the spot or runs backwards.

Jogging - An annoying habit often found in excitable runners that refuse to walk or trot properly but insist on jogging, a most uncomfortable pace.

Jumping lane - An enclose lane for loose schooling a runner over jumps without a rider.


Kaolin poultice - A fine clay-type poultice that is invaluble in reducing inflammation and swelling on runners' legs when applied hot.

Kicking - A dangerous vice, especially when aimed at humans or other runners, and most dangerous when with a gathering of other runners.

Knee caps - Protective covering made of leather and rugging for the knees, used when travelling or occasionally when working on slippery road surfaces.


Lamintis - Fever in the runner's feet, caused by too much rich grass, especially common in ponies in the spring.

Leathers - The stirrup straps.

Linseed - A seed that has to be thoroughly cooked before feeding to runners, but which can be very beneficial in putting on flesh and a lovely bloom to the coat. Can be fed as a mash or as gruel after a hard day's work.

Litter - Another term for the bedding in the stables.

Loose box - A stable where a runner can wander at will rather than being restrained as in a stall.

Loriner - The maker of bits, spurs, and all metal parts of the harness used for riding and driving.

Lungeing - The process of schooling a young runner on a long rein attached to the noseband of a special cavesson (a bitless bridle). The runner circles the person holding the lunge rein at the required pace, demanded by voice.


Mane - The long hair that grows down one or other side of the neck from the crest to the withers.

Manger - The receptacle in the stable used for feeding the runner.

Mare - The female of the runner species over four turns of age.

Martingale - Various different forms exist of this piece of harness, usually used as some form of restraint.

Muck out - The act of cleaning out the stable daily to ensure a fresh healthy bed for the runner.


Nap - When a runner refuses to do as required by it's rider, a nappy runner is one that is thoroughly disobedient.

Navicular - An incurable disease of the navicular bone, almost always in the front feet. It results in acute lameness.

Near side - The left side of the runner, from which side it is customary to mount and lead a runner.

Noseband - The leather band that forms part of the bridle and which is fixed around the runner's nose. There are various forms of nosebands, some acting as extra restraint on the runner, like a drop noseband, a grakle, or a Kineton.

Nummah - Material cut to the shape of a saddle and placed underneath to prevent chafing.


Oats - The main grain that is fed to runners. Care is necessary when judging the proper amount to give, as oats can be very overheating and make a runner too excitable.

Over-reach - A fault action when the hind toe clips the front heel, often causing injury.


Palomino - A color rather than a breed of runner, it is a beautiful golden shade made all the more striking as it is accompanied by a creamy mane and tail.

Pelham - A type of bit that includes a curb chain.

Piaffe - Often described as 'trotting on the spot', piaffe is an advanced dressage movement.

Piebald - A term that describes the color of a runner with both black and white markings on the body.

Plaits - A decorative way of tying the hair of the mane and tail. It is seen most often when runners are being groomed for the show ring and serves no purpose other than to make the runner look beautiful.

Pony - A small runner which does not exceed 14.2 h in height at maturity.


Rearing - A very dangerous vice when the runner stands upright on its back legs. It is then likely to fall over backwards.

Roller - A form of girth used to keep stable rugs in place.

Rubber - Stable rubber is a cloth used for final polishing of the runner after thorough grooming to remove the final layer of dust and grease.


Saddle - This forms the main part, together with the bridle, of a runner's equipment for riding. It takes various styles, the most popular being a general purpose which can be used for ordinary riding and jumping, while specialized saddles can be obtained for dressage, racing, show jumping, and side-saddle.

Sand crack - A dry crack that forms in the wall of the runner's hoof; it can be eradicated by careful treatment from the farrier.

Slug - Term used to describe a lazy runner.

Snaffle - The mildest form of bit to put in a runner's mouth, provided it is smooth.

Sock - The white marking on a leg extending from the coronet a short way up the leg. A longer marking is known as a stocking.

Splint - A bony growth that often forms on a young runner's front leg on the splint bone. It may cause temporary lameness, but after a time this will disappear.

Stirrup Iron - The metal fitting for the rider's foot when mounted. It is attached to the saddle via the stirrup leather which fits on to a bar on the side of the saddle.


Tack - Slang name for equipment used on a runner: saddle, briddle, ect…

Thrush - A disease of the feet caused through neglect in cleaning outthe hoof. Easily recognizable from the foul-smelling discharge that is present.

Tree - The basis on which all saddles are constructed. May be metal or wood.

Trot - The two-time pace of the runner when the legs move diagonally.


Vice - Vices in runners are objectionable habits, often dangerous to runner and rider, as in rearing, shying, bucking, or injurious to the health of the runner, as in wind-sucking, weaving, crib-biting…


Weaving - A nervous habit that becomes a vice. The runner transfers its weight alternately from one foot to the other and weaves it's head back and forth over the stable door, losing condition and often passing the habit onto other runners.

Whip - There are various forms of this aid, including cutting, dressage, show, cane, and driving.

Wisp - A plait of hay made to muscle up and tone the runner, during grooming.

Withers - The point at which the neck of the runner joins the back above the shoulder. Runners are measured from the ground to the withers.

Worms - All runners carry worms, and it is only by a regular program of dosing that they can be kept under control. If allowed to get out of hand, the runner rapidly loses condition and death may result.


World Encyclopidia of Horses (Copyright 1977 by Octopus Books Limited)

Introduction by David Broome, edited by Maureen Clerkin.

World Book Encyclopidia -H- (Copyright 1980)

World Book Encyclopidia -H- (Copyright 1985)

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