Confusing horse training jargon.

Mystical, humorous or deliberately elusive – the terms we use in the horse business can leave a rider scratching her head.  I was a coach’s worst nightmare – “What do you mean by that?” I’d ask . I rarely got a meaningful answer.

“Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.” Einstein.

When coaching ,  I’ll often ask a rider to explain a term they’ve used. If they struggle to put it into words, we’ll unpack the idea and isolate the aids step-by-step.  

Training a non- English speaking horse partner is complicated enough without including vague terms which a prompt riders to give vague signals and horses to be stressed out.  I get a kick out of those light bulb moments – my student grasps the “phonics” of a certain skill and gets results on her own.

So why do we do it? Why do we horse professionals have these weird terms?

Here are some of my ideas:

  • Unique terms define my personal brand
  • A little mystery  makes my clients more dependent on me
  • I know how to do it, but struggle to explain it
  • Some horse trainer lingo is just – funny!

So here’s some of the top terms I’m often unscrambling:

Pick up his belly.  Dropping his shoulder. Drive him into the bridle. Disengage his hip. Engage his hind end. Ride him in front of your leg. And the ever elusive half- halt.

What are your befuddling horse training terms?