Happy Trails Dictionary

 Intro:  Let me give a brief rundown of why I added this section / page.  I will try to continue to update it as often as I see the need.  One of the basic assumptions that permeates my life, always has – always will, is that generally others know more about Topic X than I do.

Topic X being whatever is under discussion, whenever, wherever, and with whoever.  Doesn’t really matter.  No, it’s not an inferiority complex, trust me.  It’s just a humble grasp of reality.  This assumption causes me to do two things that can annoy some people.  (I know – “me, annoying?” NEVER!) .

1.  I ask tons of questions.  I love learning and if I think I can learn from you, I’m going to ask you questions.  I will not apologize.  I think I could write a book on negative reactions to being questioned and how ridiculous most of them are, but that’s a whole ‘nother story.

2.  More to the point here is that I sometimes use terms and concepts that not everybody does know or understand.  So, here are some explanations of some things, in my words of course, and as I understand them.


Horse – while I know there are technical differences, but for me this includes ‘horses’, mules, donkeys, and jackasses (4-legged only).  Don’t care if it’s a yankee horse, southern horse, British horse, Appaloosa, Arabian, Andalusian, Percheron, Friesian, Quarter Horse, Half Horse, Three-Quarter Horse, Full Horse, or even a Yosemite Sam pound-puppy gaited horse, IT’S A HORSE.  All are same thing to me.  (Fine Print Disclaimer:  these are like flavors of soft drinks.  All are soft drinks, yes, but that doesn’t mean I like to drink all the flavors.  We all have our preferences.)

Saddle – this means english saddle, western saddle, Australian saddle, dressage saddle, McClellan military saddle.  If it’s anything more than a pad that goes between you and the horse’s back (and I could argue that a pad then becomes a saddle), it’s a saddle.  Don’t matter which one.  Again, flavors that suit preferences and the task at hand that’s all.

Bit – anything that goes in the horse’s mouth to exert influence from the rider.  This includes, but certainly is not limited to, snaffle bit, curb bit, bradoon, pelham, gag, kimberwick, spade.  Don’t matter, all are still bits.  When I say “don’t matter”, that’s not that the bitchosen doesn’t matter, because it sure does.  I mean that a bit is a bit.  The CHOICE of which bit is HUGE, and you guessed it, a whole ‘nother story.

Bridle – this is horse headgear for riding.  It is sometimes used in ground work as well, such as lunging, but is primarily for riding.  Bits are optional here.  Which means a bosal is a bridle, a hackamore is a bridle, a double bridle is a bridle.  Any “bitless” bridle is still a bridle.

Now some specifics.

ez boot – if interested, suggest you google it.  I’m sure you’ll get more than you ever wanted to know about ez boot.  There is a brand name I think called specifically Easy Boot.  I’m using ez boot as a general reference to a hoof protection device.  These are rubber-like ‘boots’ that fit over the hoof and then are held on by some type of clamp mechanism that grips the outer hoof wall.  I think there are some glue-on versions as well.  Don’t know for sure but don’t think they are intended for anything other than temporary use.  Could be good to carry with you in case a horse loses a shoe in rough country, to protect him til he gets home.  Have also seem them used in rehab / therapy after an injury.  Better explanations are welcome via Comments below.

weight tape – very inexpensive (or at least they used to be) way of estimating your horses weight.  It’s a plastic-paper measuring tape, similar to a seamstress’ tape measure.  Wrap it around your horses barrel (belly area) right where the girth would sit.  Then read the results for a pretty good estimate in pounds of your horse’s weight.  Then, REMEMBER it!  Ha, sure!

Colic – belly ache.  Just like in people, the colic is the simple part.  It just means his belly hurts, bad.  Now the complicated part is figuring out WHY his belly hurts.  If I could answer that in a blog, well I wouldn’t be blogging right now, I’d be off riding somewhere warm and wonderful.  I’d be filthy rich, so all my friends would be with me too!  Yeah, whatever, so it can be caused by any number of things and you don’t usually know for quite a while, if ever.  It can be as simple as a horse doing more than he’s physically fit to do, a young or nervous horse in a new, tense situation that gets too anxious, who knows.  It can also be a digestive upset or a growth blocking his intestines.  Bottom line, it can kill him really fast.

Banamine – it’s a horse version of NSAIDS, a pain reliever.  Is used to treat pain and inflammation in lots of cases, but can absolutely save a horse’s life in a colic situation.  Of course, it’s not a guarantee.  There are certainly instances of colic where using Banamine will not save the horse’s life.  However, if it is a simple case of overdoing it, mild stress colic, and the like it can definitely save his life.  It will ease the pain and lessen the chances of him injuring himself (and YOU) while thrashing around in pain.  If he’s not thrashing around, he’s not likely to twist his gut!  Odds are if you can ease the pain til the colic resolves itself naturally (usually lots of gas passing!), he’ll be fine.  Even if it’s more serious and you can / will consider surgery, the Banamine will make him more comfortable until he gets medical care.  Bottom line, it can kill him really fast.  Banamine might help.  Why NOT use it?

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