Horse Terminology: Manna Pro® Equine Glossary


Must-Know Horse Terms

If you own a horse or are simply interested in learning more about this exceptional animal, you may have questions about key horse terminology. From around the barn lingo and vocabulary you'll need for riding lessons to horse anatomy and equine health terms, let this glossary be your guide to understanding the wild world of horses.


Horse Training

Term Definition
Backing Teaching a horse to wear riding equipment such as bridle, saddle and carrying someone on their back
Bodywork appointment Bodywork stands for the holistic treatment of horses such as massage and stretching to help relieve soreness and stiffness
Cavaletti Raised rails or small jumps used to train horses
Chiropractic appointment Manual therapy where the chiropractor applies pressure and force to joints or other areas to help promote healing in your horse
Grooming Brushing the mane and tail and caring for a horse's skin, coat and mane health
Ground driving Teaching a horse to wear a saddle, also known as long-lining
Hand walking Guiding a horse on a walk by hand, holding onto the reigns for guidance
In-hand work Teaching the horse to turn on the forehand, turn on the haunches, leg yielding, backing, trail obstacles, etc.
Leg yield When a horse travels both forward and sideways at the same time
Lunging A structured way for your horse to get exercise; the owner leads the horse around in a circle, walking trotting or cantering
Pulse Electro Magnetic Field (PEMF) Therapy A form of therapy for horses to help promote healing from injuries using naturally occurring magnetic fields
Stretching Similar to humans; stretching a horse improves their mobility and helps relieve pain
Therapy massage blanket, Pulse Electro-Magnetic Field (PEMF) treatment, laser, etc.
Trick training Teaching a horse to respond to various signals


Horse Health

Term Definition
Colic Abdominal pain. There are numerous colic causes, and symptoms vary from mild to severe.
Choke Choke is a (condition) of esophagus blockage, typically caused by food.
Laminitis Inflammation of the foot laminae that attaches the coffin bone to the hoof wall. Also termed “founder.”
Lameness Refers to a horse’s change in gait typically in relation to pain within a limb and possibly caused by mechanical restriction on movement. Lameness can vary from subtle to severe.
Degenerative joint disease (DJD) Also known as osteoarthritis and is the most typical form of horse arthritis. Fetlocks, hocks, and knees are commonly affected. It can be asymptomatic (no symptoms) or symptomatic depending on where the arthritis is located. Cause is usually chronic repetitive motion that ends in structural joint damage and inflammation.
Haunches The horse's rear and and bag legs
Hoof abscess A pus filled, wall-off lesion located within the hoof. It is caused by bacteria being trapped in the hoof and may cause sudden lameness and severe pain.
Gastric ulcers Gastric ulcers are sores that happen in the horse’s stomach lining. They can be caused by stress, inadequate forage amounts, feed deprivation, high grain diets, stall confinement, hauling, and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like phenylbutazone (bute), flunixin meglumine (Banamine) or ketoprofen.
Parasite Any organism that depends on another organism (host) for its continued existence, frequently to the host’s detriment.
Cushing's disease A progressive chronic condition of the intermediate pituitary gland of older horses. Horses with the disease frequently have other health challenges like chronic infections, laminitis, and pseudo lactation.
Equine metabolic syndrome (EMS) An endocrine condition that can cause insulin dysregulation, laminitis, localized fat deposits, and/or obesity.
Heaves Also known as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), emphysema, broken wind, and recurrent airway obstruction. Heaves is an allergic respiratory condition depicted by respiratory difficulty, chronic cough, and nasal discharge.
Strangles Extremely contagious bacterial disease caused by Streptococcus equi. Characterized by pharyngeal mucous membrane inflammation and abscess formation, swelling, and inflammation in the association lymph nodes. Also known as distemper.
Sweet Itch Also known as insect bite hypersensitivity or equine insect hypersensitivity, sweet itch is an extreme reaction to biting insect saliva. The condition can happen anywhere on a horse’s body.
Teeth Floating Refers to rasping or filing to remove the sharp edges of a horse’s teeth. The procedure is done by an equine veterinarian or an equine dentist.
Dental exam During a dental exam, the veterinarian will look at and palpate the teeth and check the external and internal structures of the horse’s head, including the cheeks, lips, lymph nodes, cheeks, gums, palate, and tongue. Exam should be performed at least yearly.
Coggins test Test used to detect antibodies to the equine infectious anemia (EIA) virus.
Kissing spine Occurs at the top of the vertebrae (dorsal spinous processes) when two or more bony projections overlap or touch. The condition is one of the most frequent causes of back pain in equines.
Bone spavin Degenerative arthritis of the lower hock joints and the most frequent origin of equine hind limb lameness.
Navicular disease Lameness caused by navicular bone damage and one of the most frequent causes of equine chronic forelimb lameness.
Tendonitis Inflammation of a tendon muscle attachment or tendon.
Dewormer A dewormer is a medication given to horses to kill or prevent internal parasite development. Also known as an anthelmintic.
Vaccines administered to horses to allow their immune system to make antibodies to mitigate specific diseases. This results in reducing disease severity or reducing the risk of contracting the disease.
Radiograph an X ray film used to view the body’s internal structures.
Ultrasound Noninvasive diagnostic method to view the body’s internal structures via sound (echo) reflections.
Prepurchase exam Exams are done by an equine veterinarian on behalf of the prospective buyer to assess a horse’s athletic soundness and general health. The exam is performed to evaluate any preexisting problem or potential problem that may impact future soundness of the horse for its intended purpose. For example, broodmare only versus a competitive race horse prospect or polo pony.


Horse Nutrition

Term Definition
Forage Forage is the cornerstone of a horse’s diet. The most necessary requirement for a horse’s feed needs is long-stem forage.
Grain Horse grain provides additional nutrients and extra energy for your horse’s dietary needs. There are many types of grain on the market specifically formulated for various horse life stages, activity levels, and/or metabolic concerns.
Senior Feed Typically refers to a bagged complete feed that has all the necessary protein, energy, minerals and vitamins, plus a fiber source so additional hay or pasture is not needed. In addition to senior horses, the product can be fed to horses with medical problems such as dental issues or airway disease.
Non-structural carbohydrates (NSC) NSC refers to the starches, sugars, and fructans found in forage plant cells and grains consumed by horses.
Protein A horse’s protein requirement is determined by its life stage and activity level. It’s important to feed a high-quality protein that provides essential amino acids in proper ratios.
Fiber Horse dietary fiber is present in various forages and plants. Fiber sources can include hay, hay cubes, pasture, complete feeds, beet pulp, bran, and grain hulls.
Fats Fat is the most plentiful energy source for a horse’s body. A horse can store body fat for later use or intake and use fat from their diet.
Carbohydrates are a main energy source for horses and also provide dietary fiber. Horses with metabolic conditions like metabolic syndrome and chronic laminitis need a diet low in non-structural carbohydrates(NSC).
Easy Keeper A horse that needs less calories to maintain optimal body weight.
Hard Keeper A horse that needs extra calories to maintain optimal body weight.
Supplements Horse supplements are commercial products (powder, pellet, liquid, or feed) that can be added to a horse’s diet to support the horse’s life stage, condition, nutrient needs, and/or activity level.
Ration balancer A ration balancer is a type of commercial horse feed that supplies your horse with trace minerals and vitamins that are lacking in most forages. You can select your balancer based on the hay type fed to your horse.
Essential minerals Minerals are inorganic nutrients needed in the horse’s diet. The mineral requirements differ depending on activity level, age, body weight, and the horse’s condition (e.g. a lactating or pregnant mare).
Vitamins Vitamins are organic nutrients a horse needs in small amounts. Vitamins required include both water soluble (B and C-complex) and fat soluble (A,D,E, and K).