By: Brittany Bevis
Have you ever been to Worlds? Do you lunge your horse? Is loping your favorite gate? While it may seem like a little thing, spelling, grammar, and punctuation are important. Who are we kidding? The Equine Chronicle is the premier magazine in the equine industry. It’s VERY important!
Having the ability to discuss your sport of choice with confidence, and in an intelligent manner, lends credibility to your testimony. How much would you respect a doctor if he or she wrote an article cautioning patients against keeping subscription medicine within the reach of children? Not too much.
Being able to use proper equestrian jargon not only shows that you have put the time and effort into learning the nuances of your sport. It also shows that you’re well-informed, and that knowledge helps to create a sense of trust in your conversations with others.
The terms and phrases below are some of the most commonly misspelled or misused words that we’ve encountered over the years. So, let’s begin.
#1- World Show versus Worlds– While not technically a misspelling, this is at the top of the list of many equestrians’ pet peeves. You didn’t qualify for Worlds. That would indicate that you qualified for more than one World Championship Show. Do you want to win a Worlds Championship? No. You qualified for, are attending, or want to perform well at the World Show- singular, not plural. Simply avoid this faux pas by referring to any World Championship as the World Show.
Incorrect- “I’m so excited to be going to Worlds this year.”
Correct- “I can’t wait to compete at the World Show.”
#2- Gait versus gate– This is simply a case of incorrect word usage. A gait is a method of travel, like a walk, trot, or lope. A gate is an object that you open and close on a Trail course.
Incorrect- “My horse’s best gate is the trot.”
Correct- “The extended trot is my favorite gait.”
#3- Bridle versus bridal- Unless you’re getting married and planning to ride your horse to the altar, you should never use the word bridal in a horse setting. A bridle or headstall is a piece of tack that incorporates a bit and is used to maneuver a horse. The word bridal is an adjective used to describe something related to a bride at a wedding.
Incorrect- “I forgot my bridal for the show.”
Correct- “Please hang up the bridle properly.”
#4- Rein versus rain- You can certainly ride in the rain, but you probably want to make sure that you have a rein, preferably two, attached to your headstall when you do so. A rein is a piece of leather that’s attached to a bit on a headstall. Rain is precipitation that comes from the sky.
Incorrect- “Please use more of your left rain.”
Correct- “Your right rein is shorter than your left.”
#5- Longe, lunge, and lounge- This is by far the most common error we regularly encounter, even among seasoned competitors. If you plan to exercise your horse on a line, in a circle, you would use a longe line. If you want to do a lunge, go to the gym. If you want to lounge, find a chair by the pool. However, there is a bit of regional discussion with this one as well. Americans typically use longe, while those in Great Britain, England, and Ireland have a tendency to use lunge. So, the bottom line is that, depending on where you live, you can longe or lunge a horse, but never lounge it.
Incorrect- “I had to wait in a long line to lounge my horse.”
Correct- “My horse was crazy on the longe line today.”
#6- Amateur versus amatuer– This is just misspelling. Plain and simple. Use spell-check.
Incorrect- “I’m competing in the Novice Amatuer division.”
Correct- “I recently became an Amateur competitor.”
#7- Fetlock versus ankle– A horse has a fetlock. A human has an ankle. This is just basic horse anatomy. In all actuality, the hock more closely corresponds to the ankle.
Incorrect- “I think my horse hurt his ankle.”
Correct- “Make sure that you extend your polo wrap to the fetlock.”
#8- Crop versus croup– Although these are both equestrian terms, they’re certainly not interchangeable. A crop is a short, stiff riding whip. The croup is the topline of a horse that runs from the loin to the tail.
Incorrect- “Be a bit more gentle with the use of your croup.”
Correct- “Put the crop in your left hand.”
#9- Bosal or hackamore- Ok, this is getting a little picky since plenty of people use the terms interchangeably. However, if we’re getting technical, the hackamore is made up of several parts, one of which is the bosal. The hanger or headstall is the leather piece that goes behind a horse’s ears. The mecate is the single rein. The bosal is the braided, rawhide noseband that goes across the nose and behind the horse’s chin.
Are there any we missed? What are your biggest pet peeves when it comes to horse jargon?