Get past the jargon: horses

There is a lot of jargon associated with horses particularly in racing. Here is a quick guide to some common terms:

  • Colt – a young male horse up to the age of four
  • Filly – a young female horse up to the age of four
  • Stallion – a male horse used for breeding
  • Mare – a female horse aged five or older
  • Sire – the father of a horse
  • Dam – the mother of a horse
  • Foal – newborn horse up to one year old
  • Yearling – a one year old horse
  • Gelding – a male horse castrated usually to make it more even-tempered
  • Maiden – a horse that has yet to win a race

Other things that you may hear around the racecourse include:

  • Progressive – a horse whose performance is improving
  • Backward – a horse that is physically immature for its age
  • Off the bit/Off the bridle – Describes a horse being pushed and encouraged along by his jockey
  • On the bit/On the bridle – a horse that is going well and still full of running, with a firm hold on the bit
  • Banker – a horse considered very likely to win, often the cornerstone of complex multiple bets

You can find out the meanings of more racing terms by visiting our Glossary.

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