Tack is the name given to the saddlery used on a riding horse as
opposed to a driven horse when it is called Harness. It is the
link between the rider and the horse or pony and must be safe and
comfortable for both. All tack and harness must be cleaned and
oiled regularly to keep it supple and in good condition.
A horse or pony's height is measured in HANDS. One hand is equal
to four inches or 10cm. The measurement is taken in a vertical
line from the ground to the highest part of the withers. The
animal must be standing squarely on level ground for an accurate
To fit a RUG measure from the middle of the animal's chest to the
point of the buttocks but, if possible, try a rug before buying.
To MEASURE a horse or pony's FOOT for shoes, take the measurement
across the widest part of the foot and also from the toe to the
heel. Front and hind feet may be different sizes.
BONE is the name given to the measurement taken just below the
knee. In a Thoroughbred it varies from 5inches (20cm) for a filly
to 8 inches plus (32cm) for a stallion
In an adult horse or pony the normal TEMPERATURE is 100 - 101
degrees F. (38 degrees C). The PULSE (or heart rate) is between
36 and 40 beats per minute and the RESPIRATION (or breathing
rate) is between 8 and 16 times a minute. At work, both the pulse
and respiration rate will be increased.
In very young foals the TEMPERATURE should be between 100 and 101
degrees F (38 degrees C), the PULSE between 80 and 120 beats
per minute and RESPIRATION 30 per minute at rest.
BLAZE- covers the forehead and front of the face and extends
towards the mouth.
STRIPE- extends down the face and is no wider than the nasal
bones. If it is the continuation of a star then it is described
as a star and stripe conjoined.
STAR - a patch on the forehead. Any description should include
size, shape and position.
MUZZLE markings cover both lips and extend to the nostril area.
FEW WHITE HAIRS on the forehead should be described as just that.
WHITE FACE - white covering the forehead and the front of the
SNIP - isolated patch of white between the nostrils.
CORONET - the hair immediately above the hoof is white.
ERMINE - small black or brown marks on white hair surrounding the coronet.
SOCKS - white hair covering to just above the fetlock joint.
STOCKINGS - white hair to just below the knee or hock.
HEEL- white from the back of the pastern to the ergot.
PASTERN -white from below fetlock joint downwards.
AN ERGOT is a small horny growth at the back of the fetlock
PROPHET'S THUMB MARK is a pronounced dimple occasionally found on
the neck. It is believed to be lucky.
WHORLS are peculiar to each animal and are used as a means of
identification. There are whorls on the forehead and neck.
Feathering is when the hair lies in a different direction to the
normal growth of the coat. A whorl may have feathering attached.
WALL EYES - when the iris is lacking in pigment.
FORGING or CLICKING is the noise made when a horse or pony hits the
hind shoe with a front shoe at the trot. Tired, young or
badly collected horses and ponies sometimes forge.
POSTING is the term used for the period a rider is rising from
the saddle at the trot. It is also the method of travel used by
more wealthy people before the advent of trains. Private
carriages were used, as opposed to a stagecoach which was used by
the general public, on the same principle. Each stage was about
10 miles when the horses were changed and sent back to their
starting point, either drawing another vehicle or ridden.
Whether you are contemplating BUYING a horse or pony privately
or at public auction, be sure the animal is suitable for the use you
will be needing it and you are happy with the way 'it looks'
before entering into any negotiations.
A BILL OF SALE is only proof of your purchase or sale. Specific
terms may be stated.
An expected LIFE-SPAN of a horse or pony would approximately be between
twenty and thirty years. Modern practices can either
increase or decrease this expectancy. Severe injury during the
course of work, competition or racing may require the animal to
be destroyed either from economical or humanitarian reasons.
Retired race-horses may not be suitable for any other work
because of temperament or conformation reasons so they have no
viable future. Conversely, due to the advance of veterinary
medicine and science many animals can now have an extended
working life and an even longer retirement than would have been
possible fifty years ago.
To estimate your horse or pony's WEIGHT click onto the following
web-site and follow instructions. www.osted.dk/Horses/weight.html
You will need to know the girth, length from shoulder to
buttocks, shoulder to hip and the height of your animal, all in
The amount of BLOOD in a horse's body is equivalent to one
eighteenth of its total weight. It's distributed approximately
one quarter in the heart and larger blood vessels, one quarter in
the liver and intestines, one quarter in the muscles and the rest
divided amongst other parts of the body. The blood is carried
around by arteries from the heart, which acts as a pump, to all
parts and is returned to the heart through a system of veins.
According to the Guinness Book of Records Old Billy, believed to
be a Cleveland Bay cross Eastern horse foaled in 1760, lived to
the incredible age of 62. The OLDEST recorded pony is 54 although
there is an unsubstantiated report that a Welsh Pony living on
the Gower Peninsula in Wales was 66 years old.
The HEAVIEST recorded horse was a 19.2 hh pure-bred Belgian
stallion named Brooklyn Supreme foaled in 1928. He was 3,200
pounds or 1.42 tons. (1.44 tonnes).
The TALLEST recorded horse was a Percheron crossed with a Shire
named Firpon, foaled in 1959. He was 21.1 hh.
The SMALLEST breed of horse is Falabella. Mature Falabellas range
from 15 to 30 inches (38-76 cm) and weigh 40 to 100 lbs (18 - 45
A pair of Draught Horses, believed to be Shires, pulled the
HEAVIEST LOAD of 53.8 tons (55 tonnes) in 1893.
A LIVERY YARD is a place that takes other people's horses or
ponies as paying boarders. There are several types of livery -
grass keep where the animals are cared for when they live
outside, part livery is usually when the animal is stabled at
night and turned out during the day. Feed and grooming are
included as is obtaining farriery or veterinary treatment when
required. Full livery includes full care as well as any required
exercising. Cost is on a scale according to amount of attention
Horses and ponies can rest and even SLEEP STANDING UP because of a
remarkable stay apparatus in their patella or kneecap. A hook
situated on the inside and bottom end of the thigh bone, on its hind
leg, cups the patella and the medial patella ligament, so
preventing the leg from bending.