Ever read an advertisement for a horse that leaves you scratching your head?
For Sale: Own daughter of Tiznow. She was born on my farm and is the only baby her mother ever had. Her brothers and sisters have won a lot of money racing. She is a solid colt with good confirmation. Make an offer.
Didn’t see anything wrong with the example above? You might be guilty of misusing basic terminology! If you are familiar with equine industry jargon and that ad made you cringe, you might appreciate our list of commonly misused terms!
1. A foal is never “out of” a stallion – a foal is “by” a stallion and “out of” a mare. This is easy to remember, because a mare is literally covered “by” a stallion and the foal literally comes “out of” the mare. Even when referencing historical lineage, it is never correct to use the term “out of” when speaking about a stallion. For example: a horse is not “out of” Three Bars, but the horse does have Three Bars in its pedigree.
2. Stallions do not “produce” – stallions “sire” and mares “produce”. Stallions have “get.”
3. Horses by the same sire are not called “siblings” – only horses out of the same mare are called “siblings.” If horses are out of the same mare, but by different stallions they are “half siblings.” If they are out of the same mare and by the same stallion, they are “full siblings.” Horses that are by the same stallion and out of different mares are not siblings. They are simply “by the same sire.”
4. When referring to how a horse is built, the term is not “confirmation” – it is “conformation.” Big difference.
5. A horse is not an “own son” or “own daughter” unless the horse was foaled and raised at the farm where the stallion stands at stud. Do not use the term “own” when simply stating that a horse is by a stallion. If the horse was not born and raised on the farm where the stallion stands at stud, it is a “direct son” or “direct daughter,” or easier yet “son” or “daughter,” but not “own”! For example: an “own son” of Tiznow would be born and raised at WinStar farm. Born anywhere else, the horse would just be a “son” of Tiznow.
6. “OTTB” stands for “off-track Thoroughbred.” An OTTB is a Thoroughbred that was racing or training to race but is now retired from racing and “off track.” All OTTBs are Thoroughbreds, but not all Thoroughbreds are OTTBs. OTTB should not be used in reference to off-track Quarter Horses, Appaloosas, Paints, Arabians, mules, or other breeds.
7. A retired racehorse that is adopted from a rehoming organization or purchased from the track is not “rescued” – it is “adopted” or “purchased.” Most racehorses and retired racehorses are very well-cared for and do not need “rescuing”, they just need a job!
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1 thought on “Misused Terms That Make Every Horse Cringe”
Thank you a lot for posting this! To my surprise, I was unaware of most of these terms (although I’ve been running a horse farm for quite a while). What a shame! I definitely need to read more books and get educated, and this article is my first step towards that.