Trotting Out Miscues in Equestrian Terminology

Trotting Out Miscues in Equestrian Terminology

10 Often Misused Horse and Rider Words

What’s in a word, right?

Actually, folks often mix up words, leading to very strange (and perhaps accidentally humorous) meanings. In the equestrian world, for example, several terms may be used interchangeably, even thought this is wholly inaccurate.

Try these ten oft-confused pairs (or sets) of words, just for horsing around.

bridal path vs. bridle path

If you trim your horse’s bridle path properly, you will have a well-groomed mount to ride down the bridal path to the altar. If you fail to trim his bridal path nearly, you may alter his appearance for the worse.

confirmation vs. conformation

Conformation dictates the proper presentation of a young horse in a halter class, where a horse show judge will assess his conformation, often long before the horse has experienced confirmation in his training.

for long vs. furlong

When the starting gate opens, even the slowest horse will not stand for long, covering each furlong before long.

gait vs. gate

In a trail class, the equestrian will plan a downward transition to the walk gait before attempting to open or close a gate.

gallop vs. Gallup

If equestrian enthusiasts were to commission a Gallup poll, would they find most riders prefer the walk, trot, canter or gallop?
hay vs. hey

Hey, barn manager! Did you order enough hay to feed the horses all winter?

nay vs. neigh

Horses may neigh, while pessimists natter and nay.

longe vs. lunge

A fencer will look for an opportunity to lunge, while an equestrian may simply need room to longe his horse.

pole vs. poll

According to a recent poll, a skilled rider will encourage his horse to flex at the poll before trotting over a ground pole.

reign vs. rein vs. rain

An equestrian does not reign supreme by holding on too tightly to each rein. The rider who does may need to be retrained, or he is likely to rain on his own parade, at least figuratively.

See? What a difference the correct word can make, even in the equestrian arena.

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  1. Confirmation has nothing to do with what the judge looks for in a young horse. The judge is looking at how the horse is Conformed meaning he is checking for conformation not confirmation.

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