This is my glossary of horse terms generally in my words.  It is meant to be a working document, i.e., I will continue adding to it or modifying it to reflect the everyday use of horse-related terminology. Your suggestions, questions, requests are welcomed!  If I don’t have the answer I will endeavor to research it.  If you have a better definition, by all means, share it!  — E. Gardner 

  • buckskin         A horse with a light coat, usually yellow-gold, or a light reddish bronze, and having black points (“points” are mane and tail, and lower legs).  Little Jewel, in the second blog post, is a lovely example of a little buckskin filly.
  • burro             Usually used interchangeably with donkey; used by many to mean small                                donkey but not necessarily a miniature.
  • colt                A male horse under four years old, whether gelded or not.
  • filly                    A female horse under four years old.
  • gelding             A male horse age four or older who has been castrated (had testicles removed) rendering him unable to reproduce and vastly reducing the amount of testosterone produced.  Virtually all domestic male horses you see people riding are geldings, with few exceptions.
  • HA       (“Herd Area”)   Federal public land designated as legal habitat for wild horses and burros but on which no horses remain to manage, having been removed by the Bureau of Land Management (“BLM”)

  HISTORY OF HERD AREA:     When the 1971 Wild Free-Roaming Horse and Burro Act was unanimously passed by Congress, wild horses and burros were documented on 53.8 million acres of public land.  That Act declared:

It is the policy of Congress that wild free-roaming horses and burros shall be protected from capture, branding, harassment, or death; and to accomplish this they are to be considered in the area where presently found, as an integral part of the natural system of the public lands.  (Emphasis added by me. —E.Gardner)

However, they have been removed from 26.9 million acres, so half of their legally mandated area is now considered HAs, or “Herd Areas” devoid of wild horses or burros.

  • HMA    (“Herd Management Area”):   Federal public land designated as legal habitat for wild horses and burros  on which they presently dwell.   Note the word “management” in there and think of it because there are actually horses to manage, whereas a “Herd Area” lacks “management” because no horses are left to manage.
  • mare                  A female horse age four or older.
  • mustang    Used interchangeably with wild horse, defined specifically by the 1971 Wild Free-Roaming Horse and Burro Act as all unbranded and unclaimed horses and burros on public lands of the United States.  Many mistakenly believe a wild horse is only a real mustang if it has Spanish blood or genetics, but this is not correct.
  • roan      (noun) a horse having an admixture of white hair in her coat, e.g.  bay roan (red roan), chestnut (strawberry roan), or black (blue roan) coat, black sprinkled with white hairs which creates a silvery-blue cast.  The faces of the roan horses are always a darker, more solid shade of the base color.
  • stallion        An intact male horse (has not been castrated) of any age, but usually referring to intact males age four or older.
  • stud             Shorthand/slang, used interchangeably with stallion although often with a derogatory connotation .

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