Ever wondered what all these equine abbreviations mean?

Ever wondered what all these equine abbreviations mean?

If you read any classified advertisements selling horses, there will often be abbreviations, so what do they all mean? Here is our list which will help make sense of not just advertisements but equine articles and horse talk.


TB – Thoroughbred

ID – Irish Draught

RID – Registered Irish Draught

X – used to signify a cross breed so IDxTB would be Irish Draught cross Thoroughbred

WB – Warmblood

PBA - Part bred Arab

KWPN – Dutch Warmblood

ISH – Irish Sport Horse, usually a mixture of Irish Draught and Thoroughbred but could also include some pony breeding as well

¾ - Usually used to denote three quarter Thoroughbred

7/8 – seven eighths Thoroughbred the remaining element usually being Irish Draught or a heavier breed

NATIVE – usually denotes the type of pony if the breeding is unknown but suspected to be one of the nine native breeds of pony in the UK

REG or REGISTERED – horse is registered with their respective breed society

BY – usually followed by a name means the stallion or sire

OUT OF – indicates the mare or dam

CLASS 1 BREEDING – denotes the level of pedigree in the Studbook

BROOD MARE – the mare has been used for breeding and may not have been ridden

YOUNGSTOCK – a horse under four years old

YEARLING – a horse up to one year old

IN FOAL – the horse is a mare and she is carrying a foal

YEAR – if a year is given before the main description of the horse then that would be the year of foaling, this is an alternative to describing the age of the horse

Disciplines and events

BD – British Dressage

BS – British Showjumping, some people still used the old name which is BSJA (British Showjumping Association) but this means the same thing

BE – British Eventing formerly BHTA, the British Horse Trials Association

PC – Pony Club

RC – Riding Club

ROR – Racehorse to Riding Horse, a competition series for rehomed racehorses

BYEH – Burghley Young Event Horse, a competitive series for aspiring young event horses

ODE – One Day Event

3DE – Three Day Event

XC – Cross Country

WH – Working Hunter, a show class with a course of rustic fences

IN HAND – often refers to showing so the horse may have shown in hand only as a youngster because it is not yet able to be ridden which would be described as ‘under saddle’

BN – British Novice, the first level of showjumping under BS rules

DISCOVERY – the level after British Novice so a higher level

FOXHUNTER – a particular height level showjumping usually around 1 metre 20

FILLERS – solid and decorated pieces of wood, often painted in different colours with shapes and patterns used to in fill beneath the poles of a show jump

AFFILIATED – means the horse has competed in one of the disciplines listed above and may have gained winnings or points

GRASSROOTS – used to describe the lower levels of eventing and a competitive series with a prestigious final at the Badminton Horse Trials

Descriptive Terms

Y/O – year old so 9 y/o would indicate that the horse is 9 years old

ALL ROUNDER – a horse that could do a bit of everything

GREEN – novice/inexperienced, usually a young horse

SPOOKY – tends to look at or react to things so ‘can be spooky with fillers showjumping’ means the horse may look at the fence dressings or, ‘can be spooky hacking’ means that the horse is sharp and sensitive and will react to things encountered when riding out

RISING – nearly the stated age so ‘rising five’ would mean nearly five years old

BACKED – broken in

RIDING AWAY – the first education after breaking in

PRODUCED SLOWLY – means the producer/rider has taken time to educate the horse slowly, common if the horse is big and slow to mature

BROKEN LATE – this means the horse was not broken in at the usual age which is normally around 4/5 years old. There could be several reasons for this, the horse if a mare may have been used for breeding or there could have been an injury which delayed the process or simply lack of time

SCOPE – the horse’s ability over a fence, suggesting a powerful jump with good technique also sometimes referred to simply as ‘jump’

THREE CORRECT PACES – the three gaits of the horse, walk, trot and canter and mean that the paces are good, established and correct

MOVEMENT – how the horse performs in the gaits. Movement may be described as good, expressive, floating or correct

CLEAN – usually referring to the limbs and meaning no bumps, lumps, blemishes or scars

BONE – the phrase, ‘good bone’ or ‘plenty of bone’ means literally that the horse has substance and that there is sufficient bone to support the mass of the body

CONFORMATION – how the horse is put together

FILLED OUT – a horse is described as still to fill out if it is continuing to grow and developing, this does not necessarily refer to height but coverage and condition

WILL MAKE – the horse is still growing and based on the parentage should reach a particular height, often seen in youngstock advertisements

STANDING AT- means the current height of the horse

VICES – kicking, biting, bucking, rearing, bolting, wind sucking, crib biting, weaving. If the advertisement said, ‘no vices’, it would be usual to assume that the horse did not do any of these

SEEN HOUNDS – the horse has been hunting

FIRST OR LAST – will hunt or hack at the front but is happy to go along at the back of a group without pulling or becoming excitable

SNAFFLE MOUTH – sometimes also described as ‘soft mouthed’ means the horse is light and doesn’t take hold or pull. A snaffle is usually a mild bit

HONEST/GENUINE – straightforward, not silly or spooky

EASY TO DO – the same as ‘good to do’ means the horse is good to handle and manage

MARISH – used to describe a female horse, a mare, that can be tricky or temperamental

IN THE RIBBONS- this means the horse is usually placed when they compete and receive a rosette

FOR SALE THROUGH NO FAULT OF THEIR OWN – the sale is genuine and for a reason not connected to the horse. sometimes also described as ‘a genuine sale’

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