How Do You Say That
 By Winniefield Park   •   25th Sep 2013   •   2,270 views   •   1 comments
How Do You Say That

The world of horses has a language of its own. And, the language varies from place to place. Floating your horse in Australia won't be the same as floating it in North America. And just what is a numnah? Pony Club manuals, horse books and novels may use terminology we are not familiar with depending on where we live. Here's a look at the wonderful world of horse words.

I'll start with numnah, because that's a word that gets crowds of Pony Clubbers searching the internet during quiz time. Numnah is from the Indian word Numdah. Numdah is a coarse felt of unspun wool or a wool cotton blend. Numdah rugs are made of this felt, and lavishly embroidered. A numnah is a thick saddle pad, and the word, slightly altered was brought home by British soldiers and colonists living in India.

Another word of Indian origin is gymkhana. A gymkhana can be a horse, or other sporting event. In the horse world, a gymkhana may include mounted games and races. The word gymkhana comes from the Hindi word Jamat-khana or gend-khānā which was a gathering place. During the British Raj, gymkhanas were social and sporting clubs where various sports activities, including polo and other mounted equestrian contests were held.

The word jodhpurs comes from India too. Jodhpurs evolved from a type of pants called churidar. Jodhpurs become popular with polo players during the late 1800s. Now that we have stretchy, breathable riding pants, the traditional narrow legged, wide hipped jodhpurs has gone out of style.

In some parts of the world, such as Australia and Britain, you may float your horse to events. In North America, you probably will only float your horse's teeth. North Americans will likely trailer their horse to events in a horse trailer. British horse owners may use a horse van, a horse box or lorry. And should you plait or braid your horse's mane and tail for these events? That depends on where you live, since they mean the same thing.

Headcollar is another word that sends North American Pony Clubbers to their computers. Although headcollar is often used to describe what most of us think of as a halter, a headcollar may also be a figure-eight shaped strap, or a simple head and cheek piece and nose band of leather or webbing that serves the same function as a halter.

Going is the same as footing. It just depends on what side of the pond you live on. If you're British, the going on your cross-country course may get slippery, but those of us in North American might find the footing slippery. In fact, the whole yard, not including the buildings of course, can be slippery, unless you're in NA, in which case the stable area will be, especially in winter.

Of course, no one wants to have to call the knackeróor the dead stock truck. If you've read the novel Black Beauty, you may remember the chilling scene where Ginger's body was hauled away on the knacker's wagon.

Some more interesting words:
Girth strap = girth point
Heavy hunter = clumper
Round up = muster
Wild or feral horse = brumby
Easy keeper = good doer
Balk = nap, jib
Boarding = livery
herd = mob

And there are many more. Some terms are regional, and may be particular to one area of a country. What are some interesting horse words you've learned?

Image Credit: © Kcho |
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Valkyrie   MOD 
NZ uses some of the same terms as Britain. We have floats for trailers, too, and I know what a numnah is. A round-up is also called a muster here.

Some different horse racing terminology I've noticed:

Trots - harness racing, regardless of whether they're trotters or pacers.
Gallops - flat racing.
Jumps - hurdle/steeplechasing.
2yos - juveniles.
Straight/backstraight - stretch/backstretch.
Birdcage - paddock.
Barrier draw - post position.
Clerks of the course - outriders (and here they do not accompany horses to the start unless they specifically need to. There is usually only two per race).
Cricket score odds/roughie - rank outsider.
Get up/salute the judge - win a race.
Hang - bear (veer off course during a race).
Hold all tickets - close finish/photo finish.
Odds on - short priced runner, often the favourite.
Strapper - groom.
Handicap race - allowance.

Pronunciation difference:

"Derby" here is pronounced how it is originally intended to be ("dar-bee") as NZ
  Sep 25, 2013  •  2,910 views
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