Term used in describing a horse's manner of running. ("Horse's action was smooth and energy conserving.")

A way of treating an animal or human through the use of needles, electrical current or moxibustion (heat and herbs) to stimulate or realign the body's electrical fields.

Added Money
Money racing associations add to total purse of selected races, which supplements nominations and other entry/starting fees. Usually only in stakes races.

Added Weight
Additional weight a horse is carrying beyond the race requirements. Usually happens because the jockey exceeds the stated limit.

Person contracted to transact business for a stable owner or jockey, or contracted to sell or buy horses for an owner or breeder.

All Out
When a horse extends itself to its fullest effort.

Allowance Race
Race for which the racing secretary sets certain conditions to determine weights to be carried based on the horse's age, sex and/or past performance-..

Weight reduction allowed because of the conditions of the race or because an apprentice jockey is on a horse. Weight reduction females receive when racing against males, or that three-year-olds receive against older horses.

Horse entered for a race but not allowed to start unless other horses scratch.

Horse's inability to sweat when working or other increases in body temperature. Also known as a "non-sweater." Most commonly occurs when both the temperature and humidity are high. Horses raised in temperate regions and then transported to hot climates most often develop this condition but even acclimated horses can be at risk. Usually shows itself as inability to sweat, increased respiratory rate, elevated body temperature and decreased exercise tolerance. Sometimes the condition can be reversed if the horse is moved to a more temperate climate.

Apprentice Allowance
Weight concession given to an apprentice rider: usually 10 pounds until the fifth winner, seven pounds until the 35th winner and five pounds for one calendar year from the 35th winner. More rarely, a three-pound allowance is allowed to a rider under contract to a specific stable/owner for two years from his/her first win. This rule varies from state to state. Apprentices do not receive an allowance when riding in a stakes race. All jockeys going from track to track must have a receipt from the clerk of scales from their track verifying the jockeys' most recent total number of wins. Also known as a "bug," from the asterisk used to denote the weight allowance.

Inflammation of a joint.

Arthroscopic Surgery
Surgery performed that eliminates the need to open the joint with a large incision in order to view the damaged area.

Artificial Breeding
Includes artificial insemination or embryo transfer (transplants). Not approved by the Jockey Club.

Waste away, usually used in describing muscles.

Average-Earnings Index (AEI)
Breeding statistic that compares racing earnings of a stallion or mare's foals to those of all other foals racing at that time. An AEI of 1.00 is considered average, 2.00 is twice the average, 0.50 half


Back at the Knee
Confirmation fault. Leg has a backward arc with center of arc at the knee when viewed from side.

Describes a filly or mare which was bred during last breeding season but did not conceive.

Black Type
Boldface type, used in sales catalogs to identify horses that have won or placed in stakes races. Bold and all caps means a stakes-winning horse.

Horse that bleeds from lungs when small capillaries that surround air sacs in the lungs rupture. Exact term is Exercise-Induced Pulmonary Hemorrhage (EIPH).
Although usually discovered by an endoscopic exam after exercise, blood may be noticed coming from the horse's nostrils. A common preventative treatment is Lasix (furosemide).

A counter-irritant causing acute inflammation. Inflammation increases blood to the blistered area, thought to speed healing in the original problem.

Bloodstock Agent
Broker who represents purchaser or seller (or both) at a sale. Usually agent works on commission, often five percent of purchase price.

Short workout at moderate pace, usually a day or two before a race.

Bone Spavin
Bony growth below hock joint. Occurs as a result of undue concussion or strain, causing a lameness.

Group of mares bred to a stallion in a given year. (If stallion has attracted the farm's maximum number of mares, stallion is said to have a Full Book.

Bottom Line
Thoroughbred's breeding in the female (distaff) side.

Bowed Tendon
Tendinitis to the Superficial Flexor Tendon (most common location) below knee and running behind cannon bone. Usually requires long layoff and can mean end of racing career or significant limitations.

Horse is considered "bred" at place of birth. Breeder is owner of dam at time of foaling.

Breeding Right
Right to breed one mare to one stallion for one or more breeding seasons.

Workout at a moderate speed with less effort than handily.

Female (filly or mare) that has been bred and used to produce foals. Broodmare Prospect is a filly or mare that has not yet been bred.

Bucked Shins
Inflammation of covering of the front surface of the cannon bone. Young horses are susceptible. Not career threatening, but usually requires a layoff from training. (Called bucked because of humped or bucked appearance on the bone.)

Best workout time for a certain distance on a certain day. In the listings, this fastest workout is marked by a printer's "bullet."

Horse put through an auction that did not reach seller's reserve and was retained. (Consigner must still pay a fee to the auction company based on a percentage of the reserve.)


A projection on the heels of a horseshoe, similar to a cleat, on the rear shoes of a horse to prevent slipping, especially on a wet track. Also known as a "sticker." Sometimes incorrectly spelled "caulk."

Cannon Bone
The third metacarpal (front leg) or metatarsal (rear leg), also referred to as the shin bone. The largest bone between the knee and ankle joints.

Capped Hock
Inflammation of the bursa over the point of the hock.

A joint in the horse's front leg. Common tern is knee.

A horse on its side or back and wedged against a wall in a way that it can't get up.

Toward the tail.

Center of Distribution
The balance between the speed and staying ability of a horse based on the Dosage Profile.

A list of quality sires that pass on certain traits based on the Dosage Profile theory.

1. Horse color from red-yellow to golden-yellow. Mane, tail, and legs (other than white markings) are same color as coat.
2. Irregular growths found on the inside of the legs. Found just above the knees or below the hocks. No two horses have been found to have the same chestnuts and so they may be used for identification. Also called "night eyes."

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease
Called COPD. A hyperallergenic respiratory condition that involves damage to the lung tissue, similar to human asthma. Affected horses may cough, develop a nasal discharge and have a reduced exercise tolerance. Respiratory rate is increased and lung elasticity is diminished.

Chronic Osselet
Permanent build-up of synovial fluid in a joint, characterized by inflammation and thickening of the joint capsule over the damaged area.

Process by which a licensed person may purchase a horse entered in a designated race for a price set by race conditions. When a horse has been claimed, its new owner assumes title after the starting gate opens although the former owner is entitled to all purse money earned in that race.

Claiming Box
Box in which claims are deposited before the race.

Describes distance. The "Classic" distance in America is 1 1/4 miles. The European classic distance is 11/2 miles.

Clerk of Scales
Official who weighs the riders before and after a race to ensure proper weight is (was) carried.

When a horse lifts its front legs abnormally high as it gallops, causing it to run inefficiently.

Closed Knees
Condition when the cartilaginous growth plate above the knee (distal radial physis) has turned to bone. Indicates completion of long bone growth and is one sign of maturity.

Horse that runs best in the latter part of the race, coming from off the pace.

Coffin Bone
Major bone that is within the hoof.

Coggins Test
Test named for its developer, dr. Leroy Coggins, to determine whether a horse is a carrier of swamp fever.

Leading cause of death in horses. Refers to abdominal pain. Sometimes colic is a simple obstruction in the large colon, sometimes a strangulation caused by a twist in small or large intestine that shuts off food and blood supply.

An ungelded (entire) male horse four-years-old or younger.

Comparable Index (CI)
Average earnings of progeny produced from mares bred to one sire when these same mares are bred to other sires. A Cl of 1.00 is considered average, 2.00 is twice the average, 0.50 half the average, etc.

Compound Fracture
Fracture where the damaged bone breaks through the skin. Also known as an "open" fracture.

Condition Book
Books produced by the racing secretary that set the conditions of races to be run at a certain racetrack
Requirements of a particular race. This may include age, sex, money or races won, weight carried and the distance of the race.

Condylar Fracture
Fracture in the lower knobby end (condyle) of the lower (distal) end of a long bone such as the cannon bone or humerus (upper front limb).

Physical makeup of and bodily proportions of a horse: how it is put together.

Present at birth.

Cooling Out
Restoring a horse to normal temperature, usually by walking, after it has become overheated during exercise. All horses that are exercised are cooled out.

Coronary Band
Where the hair meets the hoof. Also called the "coronet."

To expel air from the lungs in a spasmodic manner. Can be a result of inflammation or irritation to the upper airways (pharynx, larynx or trachea) or may involve the lower airways of the lungs (deep cough).

Two or more horses running as an entry in a single betting unit.

Single breeding of a stallion to a mare. "The stallion covered 75 mares."

Cow Hocks
Conformation fault in which the points of the hocks turn in.

Cracked Hoof
Vertical split of the hoof wall.

Toward the bead.

Creep Feeder
A feeding device that allows the foal to eat but keeps its mother out.

Horse that clings to objects with its teeth and sucks air into its stomach. Also known as a "wind sucker."

Number of foals by a sire in a given year. Also a group of horses born in the same year. Also, a jockey's whip.

A "unilateral cryptorchid" is a male horse of any age that has one testicle undescended. A "bilateral cryptorchid" is a male horse of any age that has both testicles undescended. (Horse called a ridgling.)


Term for a track condition where surface is dry and loose and breaks away under a horse's hooves.


The female parent of a foal.

Dam's Sire (Broodmare Sire)
Sire of a broodmare (maternal grandsire of a foal).

Dark Bay or Brown
Color that ranges from brown with areas of tan on the shoulders, head and flanks, to a dark brown, with tan areas seen only in the flanks and/or muzzle. The mane, tail and lower portions of the legs are always black unless white markings are present.

In the United States, a horse withdrawn from a stakes race in advance of scratch time. In Europe, a horse confirmed to start in a race.

Deep Flexor Tendon
Present in all four legs, but injuries most commonly affect the front legs. Located on the back (posterior) of the front leg between the knee and the foot and between the hock and the foot on the rear leg. The function is to flex the digit (pastern) and knee (carpus) and to extend the elbow on the front leg and extend the hock on the rear leg.

Degenerative Joint Disease (DJD)
Joint problem that has progressive degeneration of joint cartilage and the underlying bone. Occurs most frequently in the joints below the radius in the foreleg and femur in the hind leg. Some of the more common causes include repeated trauma, conformation faults, blood disease, traumatic joint injury, subsubchondral bone defects ( CD lesions) and excessive corticosteroid injections. Also known as: osteoarthritis.

Stakes event for three-year-olds.

Detention Barn
Barn where horses are required to go until blood tests or urine samples have been taken for testing. (See Spit Box)

Part of the limb below the ankle joint. Includes the long and short pastern bones and the coffin bone.

Digital Cushion
Area beneath the coffin bone in the back of the foot that separates it from the frog. Serves as a shock absorber for the foot.

Distaff Race
Race for female horses.

Dimethyl sulfoxide, a topical anti-inflammatory.

Rubber traffic cones placed at certain distances out from the inner rail, when the track is wet, muddy, soft, yielding or heavy, to prevent horses during the workout period from churning the footing along the rail.

Toward the back or spine.

Dorsal Displacement of the Soft Palate
Condition in which the soft palate, located on the floor of the airway near the larynx, moves up into the airway. A minor displacement causes a gurgling sound during exercise while in more serious cases the palate can block the airway. Sometimes known as "choking down," but the tongue does not actually block the airway. The base of the tongue is connected to the larynx, of which the epiglottis is a part. When the epiglottis is retracted, the soft palate can move up into the airway (dorsal displacement.) This condition can sometimes be managed with equipment such as a figure eight noseband or a tongue tie. In more extreme cases, surgery might be required.

There are many Dosage Theories, however, the one most commonly thought of as Dosage is by Dr. Steven Roman. The system identifies patterns of ability in horses based on a list of prepotent sires, each of whom is a chef-de-race. The Dosage system puts these sires into one of five categories: brilliant, intermediate, classic, solid and professional, which quantify speed and stamina. Sires can be listed in up to two chef-de-race categories. Each generation of sires is worth 16 points, divided up by the amount of sires, i.e., the immediate sire is worth 16 points while the four sires four generations back are worth four points apiece.

Dosage Index (DI)
Mathematical reduction of the Dosage profile to a number reflecting a horse's potential for speed or stamina. The higher the number, the more likely the horse is suited to be a sprinter. The average Dosage index of all horses is about 4.0.

Dosage Profile
Listing of Dosage points by category. Used to develop the Dosage index.

Horse that is all out to win and under strong urging from its jockey.

Drop Down
Horse meeting a lower class of rival than it had been running against.

Extremely late in breaking from the gate.


A horse that is gently pulled up during a race.

Instrument used to inspect a hollow organ or body cavity.

Stakes nomination, a jockey's riding commitment

An ungelded horse.

Entry Fee
Fee paid by an owner to enter a horse in a stakes race.

Entrapped Epiglottis
Condition in which the thin membrane lying below the epiplottis moves up and covers the epiglottis. The abnormality may obstruct breathing. Usually treated by surgery to cut the membrane.

Two or more horses running under the same owner; sometimes trained by the same trainer. These become a single betting unit.

Inflammation in the growth plate at the ends of the long bones (such as the cannon bone). Symptoms include swelling, tenderness and heat. Although the exact cause is unknown, contributing factors seem to be high caloric intake (either from grain or a heavily lactating mare) and a fast growth rate.

Added racing equipment, such as bandages, bar shoe, blinkers, hood, nose band, shadow roll, tongue tie.

Heat. Associated with ovulation. Estrous cycle: Time between consecutive ovulations.

EVA (Equine Viral Arteritis)
Highly contagious disease characterized by swelling in the legs of all horses and swelling in the scrotum of stallions. Can cause abortion in mares and can be shed in the semen of stallions for years after infection.

Neither gaining nor losing position during a race.
Exercise-Induced Pulmonary Hemorrhage

Experimental Free Handicap
Year-end projection of the best North American two-year-olds of the season, put together by a panel, under the auspices of The Jockey Club.

Running at top speed.
Extensor Tendon
Tendon that extends the knee joint, ankle joint, pastern and foot and flexes the elbow. The muscles begin above the knee and attach to the coffin and pastern bones.


Weak points of a horse's conformation.

Joint located between the cannon bone and the long pastern bone.

Female horse four-years-old or younger.

Medical treatment used on a horse's legs to encourage healing by increasing circulation. Method involves numbing the leg and creating a number of pin-sized holes in the leg with a hot electrically heated tool. Also known as pin firing.

Longitudinal crack in bone, which is only through the surface of the bone.

Flatten Out
A very tired horse that slows considerably, dropping its head on a straight line with its body.

Dental procedure in which sharp points on the teeth are filed down.

Baby horse.

Foal Heat
First time a mare comes into season after giving birth, about nine days afterward.

Foal Sharing
Arrangement between owner of a stallion share or season and broodmare owner to breed them and to share the foal.

See laminitis.

Founding Sires
The Darley Arabian, Byerly Turk and Godolphin Barb. Every Thoroughbred must be able to trace its parentage to one of the three founding sires.

V-shaped, pliable support structure on the bottom of the foot.
Full Brother, Fill Sister
Horses that have the same sire and dam.

One-eigbth of a mile, 220 yards, 660 feet.


Medication used in the treatment of bleeders, commonly known under the trade name Lasix, which acts as a diuretic, reducing pressure on the capillaries.

Race for two-year-olds in which the owners make a continuous series of payments over a period of time to keep their horses eligible.


Footfall pattern of a horse in motion. Thoroughbreds have four natural gaits-walk, trot, canter and gallop. Thoroughbreds compete at a gallop.

The opening in the rail where horses enter and leave the racetrack.

Gastric Ulcers
Uceration of a horse's stomach. Often causes symptoms of abdominal distress.

Gate Card
C card, which the starters issue, stating that a horse is properly schooled in starting gate procedures.

Male horse that has been neutered by having both testicles removed.

Offspring of a sire.

Elastic and leather band that passes under a horse's belly and is connected to both sides of the saddle.

Grab a Quarter
Injury to the back of the hoof or foot caused by a horse stepping on itself. A very common injury during racing. Generally, the injury is minor.

Graded Race
A system of race classification, established in 1973, for select stakes races in North America. These are denoted by Roman numerals I, II, or III. They care capitalized when used in a race's title. (Similar to the European Group Races.)

A horse's second dam.

A horse's grandfather

Infection of the hoof resulting from a crack in the white line (the border between the insensitive and sensitive laminae). An abscess usually forms in the sensitive structures and eventually breaks at the coronet as the result of the infection.

Horse color where the majority of the coat is a mixture of black and white hairs. The mane, tail and legs may be either black or gray unless white markings are present.

Grayson-jockey Club Research Foundation
Charitable organization devoted to equine medical research.

Green Osselet
Inflammation and swelling in the fetlock joint of young horses, particularly on the front of the joints where the cannon and long pastern bones meet.

Person who cares for a horse in a stable. Known as a lad or girl in Britain.

Group Race
European system of classifying select races, similar to North American graded races. Denoted by Arabic numerals 1, 2, or 3. Capitalized when used in a race's title.

Growth Plates
Located at the end of long bones where they grow in length.


Half-brother, Half-sister
Horses out of the same dam but by different sires. Horses with the same sire and different dams are not considered half-siblings in Thoroughbred racing.

Four inches. A horse's height is measured in hands and inches from the top of the shoulder (withers) to the ground, e.g., 15.2 hands is 15 hands, 2 inches. Thoroughbreds typically range from 15 to 17 hands.

1) Race for which the track handicapper assigns the weights to be carried.
2) To make selections on the basis of past performances.

1) A work (usually in the morning) with maximum effort.
2) A horse racing well within itself, with little exertion from the jockey.

Amount of money wagered in the parimutuels on a race, a program, during a meeting or for a year.
Hand Ride
Urging a horse with the hands and not using the whip.

Hard Boot
Term for a well-traveled breeder. Usually connotes a breeder or trainer whose methods may be considered old-fashioned--"Whose boots are caked with mud and therefore hard."

Heel Crack
Crack on the heel of the heel Also called a "sand crack."

Blood-filled area resulting from injury.

Large joint just above the shin bone in the rear legs. Corresponds to the level of the knee of the front leg.

Horse bred by its owner.

Foot of the horse.

When reference is made to sex, a horse is an ungelded male five-years-old or older.

Behavior of a mare in heat.

Hot Walker
Person who walks horses to cool them out after workout or races.

Horse that does not advance its position in a race when urged by the jockey.


When a horse is stood in a tub of ice or ice packs are applied to the legs to reduce inflammation and/or swelling.

Type of colic caused by a blockage of the intestines by ingested materials (constipation).

Weight carried or assigned.
In Foal
Pregnant mare.

In Hand
Running under moderate control, at less than top speed.

Insensitive Laminae
Layer just under the wall of the hoof. Similar to the human fingernail. It is an integral structure that helps to attach the hoof wall to the underlying coffin bone.

In the Money
Horse that finishes first, second or third.

Isolation Barn
Facility used to separate sick horses from healthy ones.

Intertrack wagering.


Requirement that a horse which has been claimed that next runs in a claiming race must run for a claiming price 25 percent higher for the next 30 days.

Jockey Club
Organization dedicated to the improvement of Thoroughbred breeding and racing. The Jockey Club serves as North America's Thoroughbred registry, responsible for the maintenance of "The American Stud Book," a register of all Thoroughbreds foaled in the United States, Puerto Rico and Canada; and of all Thoroughbreds imported into those countries from jurisdictions that have a registry recognized by The Jockey Club and the International Stud Book Committee.

Jockey Fee
Fee paid to rider for competing in a race.

Slow, easy gait.

Steeplechase or hurdle horse.

Two-year old horse.


Key Horse
In wagering, a single horse used in multiple combinations in exotics.


Lactic Acid
Organic acid normally present in muscle tissue, produced by anaerobic muscle metabolism as a by-product of exercise. An increase in lactic acid causes muscle fatigue, inflammation and pain.

Part of the hoof. (See insensitive laminae and sensitive laminae.)

Inflammation of the sensitive laminae of the foot. There are many factors involved, including changes in the blood flow through the capillaries of the foot. Many events can cause laminitis, including ingesting toxic levels of grain, eating lush grass, systemic disease problems, high temperature, toxemia, retained placenta, excessive weight-bearing as occurs when the opposite limb is injured, and the administration of some drugs. Laminitis usually manifests itself in the front feet, develops rapidly, and is life-threatening. In mild cases, however, a horse can resume a certain amount of athletic activity. Laminitis is the disease that caused the death of Secretariat. Also known as "founder."

See furosemide.

Toward the side and farther from the center. Pertains to a side.

Lathered (up)
See washed out.

Measurement approximating the length of a horse, used to denote distance between horses in a race.

Band of fibrous tissue connecting bones, which serve to support and strengthen joints and to limit the range of motion.

1) Horse rearing and plunging.
2) Method of exercising a horse on a tether ("lunge line").


Magnetic Therapy
Physical therapy technique using magnetic fields. Low-energy electrical field created by the magnetic field causes dilation of the blood vessels and tissue stimulation. Magnetic therapy may be used on soft tissue to treat such injuries as tendinitis or bony injuries such as bucked shins.

1) A horse or rider that has not won a race.
2) A female that has never been bred.

Maiden Race
Race for non-winners.

Female horse five-years-old or older.

Soft, moist mixture, hot or cold, of grain and other feed that is easily digested by horses.

Pertaining to the middle in anatomy.

Metacarpal (fracture)
Usually refers to a fracture of the cannon bone, located between the knee and the fetlock joint in the front leg. Also may refer to a fracture of the splint bone.

Middle Distance
In racing, roughly from one mile to 1 1/8 miles.

Minus Pool
Mutuel pool caused when a horse is so heavily played that, after deductions of state tax and commission, there is not enough money left to pay the legally prescribed minimum on each winning bet. The racing association usually makes up the difference.

Male horse of any age that has only one testicle in his scrotum--the other testicle was either removed or is undescended.

Morning Line
Probable odds on each horse in a race, as determined by a mathematical formula used by the track handicapper, who tries to guage both the ability of the horse and the likely final odds as determined by the bettors.

Muddy (track)
Condition of a racetrack which is wet but has no standing water.

Horse that races well on muddy tracks.

Mutual Pool
Short for parimutuel pool. Sum of the wagers on a race or event, such as the win pool, daily double pool, exacta pool, etc.

1) Nose and lips of a horse.
2) A guard placed over a horse's mouth to prevent it from biting or eating.


Name (of a Thoroughbred)
Names of North American Thoroughbreds are registered by The Jockey Club. They can be no longer than 18 characters, including punctuation and spaces.

Nasogastric Tube
Long tube that is capable of reaching from the nose to the stomach.

Navicular Bone
Small, flat bone within the confines of the hoof that helps - along with the short pastern bone and the coffin bone - to make up the coffin joint.

Navicular Disease
Degenerative disease that affects the navicular bone (small bone in the back of the foot), navicular bursa and deep flexor tendon. Generally considered a disease of the front feet. Both front feet are often affected, but one will usually be more noticeable than the other.

Near Side
Left side of a horse. Side on which a horse is mounted.

Night Eyes
See chestnuts.

Nom de Course
Name adopted by an owner or group of owners for racing purposes.

One who owns a horse at the time it is named to compete in a stakes race.

See anhvdrosis.

Nose Band
Leather strap that goes over the bridge of a horse's nose to help secure the bridle. A "figure eight" nose band goes over the bridge of the nose and under the rings of the bit to help keep the horse's mouth closed. This keeps the tongue from sliding up over the bit and is used on horses that do not like having a tongue tie used.


Stakes event for three-year-old fillies.

OCD Lesion
Cartilaginous or bony lesion that is the result of a failure in development.

Off Side
Right side of horse.

Administration of mineral oil via nasopastric tube to relieve gas or pass blockage. Preventative procedure commonly used in long van aides to prevent impaction with subsequent colics. See colic.

On the Bit
When a horse is eager to run.

On the Board
Finishing among the first three.

On the Muscle
Denotes a fit horse.

Open Knee
Condition of young horses in which the physis of the knee has not closed; an immature knee. Often used to describe the status of the physis immediately above the knee and is an indicator of long bone growth in two-year-olds.

See arthritis.

Permanent form of arthritis with progressive loss of the articular cartilage in a joint.

Out of the Money
Horse that finishes worse than third.

Over at the Knee
Leg that looks like it has a forward arc,with its center at the knee when viewed from the side.

Strap that holds the bit in place.

Elastic band that goes completely around a horse, over the saddle, to keep the saddle from slipping.

Toe of hind shoe striking the forefoot or foreleg.

Horse going off at higher odds than it appears to warrant based on its past performances.

Sheet published by the racing secretary's office listing the entries for an upcoming racing card.

Overnight Race
Race in which entries close a specific number of hours before running (such as 48 hours), as opposed to a stakes race for which nominations close weeks and sometimes months in advance.


See toe-in.

Paddock Judge
Official in charge of paddock and saddling routine.

Counter-irritant used to increase blood supply, blood flow and to promote healing in the leg. A mild form of blistering.

Physical entrance by a veterinarian through a mare's anus to feel or "palpate" her ovaries and uterus to determine breeding soundness, follicular activity (readiness to breed), uterine condition, or pregnancy.

Multi-race bet in which all winnings are subsequently wagered on each succeeding race.

Parrot Mouth
Horse with an extreme overbite.

Form of wagering originated in 1865 by Frenchman Pierre Oiler in which all money bet is divided up among those who have winning tickets, after taxes, takeout and other deductions are made. Oiler called his system "paiier mutuel" meaning "mutual stake" or "betting among ourselves." As this wagering method was adopted in England it became known as "Paris Mutuals," and soon after "parimutuels."

Past Performances
A horse's racing record, earnings, bloodlines and other data, presented in composite form.

Pastern (bones)
Area between the fetlock joint and the hoof. The joint between the long and short pastern bones is called the "pastern joint." Can also be used to describe the area of the limb or to describe a specific bone: long pastern bone.

Patrol Judge
Official(s) who observe the progress of a race from various vantage points around the track.

Written record of a thoroughbred's immediate ancestors. Usually one that gives four generations, called a four-cross pedigree.

Inflammation of the tissue (periosteum) that overlies bone. Periostitis of the cannon bone is referred to as "bucked shins," while periostitis of the splint bone is called a "splint." May be heard in the expression:
Popped a splint.

See bute.

The growth plate at the end of the long bones (such as the cannon bone) that lets the bone grow in length.

Pinched Back
Horse forced back due to racing in close quarters.

Pin Firing
Thermocautery used to increase blood flow to the leg to promote healing. See Firing.

Person who buys a horse with the specific intention of re-selling it at a profit.

Placing Judge
Official who posts the order of finish in a race.

Points of Call
Horse's position at various locations on the racetrack where its running position is noted on a chart. The locations vary with the distance of the race.

Any horse or pony that leads the parade of the field from paddock to starting gate. Also, a horse or pony which accompanies a starter to the starting gate.

Popped a Splint
See: periostitis.

1) Starting point for a race.
2) An abbreviated version of post position: He drew post four.

Situated behind or toward the rear.

Preferred List
Horses with prior rights to starting, usually because they have previously been entered in races that have not filled with the minimum number of starters.

Workout (or race) used to prepare a horse for a future engagement.

When a horse suddenly stops moving by digging its front feet into the ground.

Public Trainer
Trainer whose services are not exclusively engaged by a single stable and who accepts horses from a number of owners.

Pulled suspensory
Suspensory ligament injury (suspensory desmitis) in which some portion of the fibers of the ligament have been disrupted and some loss of support of the distal limb may have occurred.

Pull Up
To stop or slow a horse during or after a race or workout.

Total monetary amount distributed after a race to the owners of the entrants who have finished in the (usually) top four or five positions. Some racing jurisdictions may pay purse money through other places.


Quarantine Barn
1) A U.S. Department of Agriculture structure used to isolate foreign horses for a short period of time to ensure they are not carrying any diseases. The structure may be at a racetrack, airport or specially designated facility. Horses must be cleared by a federal veterinarian before being released from quarantine.
2) Any facility used to keep infected horses away from the general equine population.

Quarter Crack
Crack between the toe and heel, usually extending into the coronary band.

Wager in which the first two finishers must be picked in either order. Similar to a "boxed" exacta or perfecta.


A speed horse running as an entry with another, usually come-from-behind horse. The rabbit is expected to set a fast pace to help the chances of its stablemate.
Racing Secretary
Official who writes conditions of races and assigns weights for handicap events.

Horse that refuses to settle under a jockey's handling in a race, running in a headstrong manner without respect to pace.

Receiving Barn
Structure used by horses shipping in for a race who do not have a stall at that racetrack.

When a horse will not break from the gate.

Long straps, usually made of leather, that are connected to the bit and used by the jockey to control the horse.

Minimum price, set by the consignor, for a horse in a public auction: The horse did not reach its reserve.

Ridden Out
Horse that finishes a race under mild urging, not as severe as driving.

Term describing either a cryptorchid or monorchid. Also spelled "ridgeling."

Ring Bone
Osteoarthzitis of joints between the pastern bones ("high ring bone") or just above the coronet ("low ring bone").

"Reserve not achieved." (Used in results of a sale.) See reserve.

Horse color where the majority of the coat of the horse is a mixture of red and white hairs or brown and white hairs. The mane, tail and legs may be black, chestnut or roan unless white markings are present.

Whistling sound made by a horse during inhalation while exercising. It is caused by a partial or total paralysis of the nerves controlling the muscles which elevate the arytenoid cartilages which thereby open the larynx. In severe cases, a surgical procedure known as "tic-back surgery" (laryngoplasty) is performed, in which a suture is inserted through the cartilage to hold it out of the airway permanently. Paralysis almost exclusively occurs on the left side, most frequently in horses over 16 hands high.

Ill-tempered horse.

Generally, a race distance of longer than 11/8 miles.

Horse that performs well at longer distances.

Abrasions of the heel. Rundown bandages: Wrappings to minimize rundown abrasions.

Run-Out Bit
Special type of bit to prevent a horse from hearing out (or in).


Saddle cloth
Cotton cloth which goes under the saddle to absorb sweat. It usually has the horse's program number and sometimes, in major races, its name.

Saddle Pad
Piece of felt, sheepskin, or more usually, foam rubber, used as a base for the

Saucer (fracture)
Stress fracture of the front of the cannon bone that can be straight or curved.

Scale of Weights
Fixed weights to be carried by horses according to their age, sex, race distance and time of year.

Process of familiarizing a horse with the starting gate and teaching it racing practices. A horse may also be schooled in the paddock.

Schooling List
List of horses eligible to school at the starting Rate before being permitted to race.

To be taken out of a race before it starts. Trainers usually scratch horses due to adverse track conditions or a horse's adverse health. A veterinarian an can scratch a horse at any time.

Second Call
Secondary mount of a jockey in a race in the event the primary mount is scratched.

Second Dam
Grandmother of a horse. Also known as a "grandam."

Sensitive Laminae
Area of the hoof that contains nerves and vessels.

Sesamoid Bones
Two small bones (medial and lateral sesamoids) located above and at the back of the fetlock joint. Four common fractures of the sesamoids are apical (along the top of the bone), abaxial (the side of the sesamoid away from the ankle joint), mid-body (sesamoid broken in halo and basilar (through the bottom) fractures.

Sesamold (fracture)
Fracture of the sesamoid bone. Fractures can be small chips or involve the entire bone. Surgical repair is often done by arthroscopy.

Inflammation of the sesamoid bones.

Group of horses being exercised together.

Set Down
1) A suspension: The jockey was set down five days for careless ri&ng.
2) When a jockey assumes a lower crouch in the saddle while urging the horse to pick up speed: The horse was set down for the &drive to the wire.

Sex Allowance
Female horses, according to their age and the time of year, are allowed to carry three to five pounds less when meeting males.

Shadow Roll
A (usually sheepskin) roll that is secured over the bridge of a horse's nose to keep it from seeing shadows on the track and shying away from or jumping them.

Rope or strap attached to a halter or bridle by which a horse is led.

The stable area. A row of barns.

Horse in need of more work or racing to reach winning form.

1) The male parent.
2) To beget foals.

A breeding term meaning spontaneous abortion.

Racing strip that is saturated with water; with standing water visible.

Slow (track)
A racing strip that is wet on both the surface and base.

Small patch of white hairs on the nose or lips of a horse.

Solid white markings extending from the top of the hoof to the ankles.

Soft (track)
Condition of a turf course with a large amount of moisture. Horses sink very deeply into it.
A three-year-old horse. Called a sophomore because age three is the second year of racing eligibility.

Spit Box
Term describing a barm where horses are brought for post-race testing. Tests may include saliva, urine and/or blood.

Spit the Bit
Term referring to a tired horse that begins to run less aggressively, backing off on the "pull" a rider normally feels on the reins from an eager horse.

1) Either of the two small bones that lie along the sides of the cannon bone.
2) The condition where calcification occurs on the splint bone causing a bump. This can result from response to a fracture or other irritation to the splint bone. A common injury is a "popped splint."

Short race, less than one mile.

Race for which the owner usually pays a fee to run a horse. The fees can be for nominating, maintaining eligibility, entering and starting, to which the track adds more money to make up the total purse. Some stakes races are by invitation and require no payment or fee.

Finished second or third in a stakes race.

Stakes Horse
Horse whose level of competition includes mostly stakes races.

Male horse used for breeding.

Stallion Season
Right to breed one mare to a particular stallion during one breeding season.

Stallion Share
A lifetime breeding right to a stallion; one mare per season per share.

Stall Walker
Horse that moves about its stall constantly and frets rather than rests.

Any of a number of white markings on the forehead. (The forehead is defined as being above an imaginary line connecting the tops of the eyes.)

Starter Race
Allowance or handicap race restricted to horses that have started for a specific claiming price or less.

Horse bred in a particular state and thus eligible to compete in races restricted to state-breds.

Horse that can race long distances.

Horse being taken in hand by its rider, usually because of being in close quarters.

Step Up
Horse moving up in class to meet better competition.

Officials of the race meeting responsible for enforcing the rules of racing.

Large joint above the bock which is made up by the femur, the patella and the tibia.

Metal D-shaped rings into which a jockey places his/her feet. They can be raised or lowered depending on the jockey's preference. Also known as "irons."

Solid white markings extending from the top of the hoof to the knee or hock.

Stress (fracture)
Fracture produced by the stress created by a repetitive loading cycle on the bone, commonly found in athletic training. Usually seen in the front of the cannon bone as a severe form of bucked shins. Also seen in the tibia and causes a hard-to-diagnose hind limb lameness.

(Home) Stretch
Final straight: portion of the racetrack to the finish.

Stretch Runner
Horse that runs its fastest nearing the finish of a race.

White marking running down a horse's face, starting under an imaginary line connecting the tops of the eyes.

Slang name for distemper in a horse. Term derives from fact that in severe cases it occurs in the windpipe area and can strangle a horse.

Male horse used for breeding.

Stud Book
Registry and genealogical record of Thoroughbreds, maintained by the Jockey Club of the country in question.

Fee paid by owner to nominate a horse for a stakes race or to maintain eligibility for a stakes race.
Substitute Race
Alternate race used to replace a regularly scheduled race that does not fill or is canceled.

Foal in its first year of life, while it is still nursing.

Superficial Flexor Tendon
Present in all four legs, but injuries most commonly affect the front legs. Located on the back (posterior) of the front leg between the knee and the foot and between the hock and the foot on the rear leg. The function is to flex the digit (pastern) and knee (carpus) and to extend the elbow on the front leg and extend the hock on the rear leg. Functions in tandem with the deep flexor tendon.
suspensory Ligament
Originates at the back of the knee (front leg) and the back of the top part of the cannon bone (hind leg), attaching to the sesamoid bones. The lower portion of the ligament attaches the lower part of the sesamoid bones to the pastern bones. Its function is to support the fetlock. The lower ligaments that attaches the sesamoid bone to the pastern bones are the distal sesamoidean ligaments.

Horse with a prominent concave shape of the backbone, usually just behind the withers (saddle area).

A groom.


Rider's racing equipment. Also applied to stable gear.

Taken Up
Horse pulled up sharply by its rider because of being in close quarters.

Permanent, indelible mark on the inside of the upper lip used to identify the horse.

Male horse used at breeding farms to determine whether a mare is ready to receive a stallion.

Cords of strong, white (collagen) elastic fibers that connect a muscle to a bone or other structure and transmit the forces generated by muscular contraction to the bones.

Diagnostic technique using instruments that measures temperature differences. Records the surface temperature of a horse. Unusually hot or cold areas may be indicative of some underlying pathology (deviation from the normal).

A Thoroughbred is a horse whose parentage traces back to any of the three founding sires: the Darley Arabian, Byerly Turk and Godolphin Barb, and who has satisfied the rules and requirements of The Jockey Club and is registered in "The American Stud Book" or in a foreign stud book recognized by The Jockey Club and the International Stud Book Committee. Any other horse, no matter what its parentage, is not considered a Thoroughbred for racing and/or breeding purposes.

Tie-back Surgery
Procedure (laryngoplasty) used to suture the arvtenoid cartilage out of the airway. See roaring.

Ready to race.

Race used to give a horse a level of fitness that cannot be obtained through morning exercises alone.

Conformation flaw in which the front of the foot faces in and looks pigeon-toed, often causing the leg to swing outward during locomotion ("paddling").

Conformation flaw in which the front of the foot faces out, often causing the leg to swing inward during locomotion ("winging").

Tongue Tie
Strip of cloth-type material used to stabilize a horse's tongue to prevent it from "choking down" in a race or workout or to keep the tongue from sliding up over the bit, rendering the horse uncontrollable. Also known as a "tongue strap."

Top Line
A Thoroughbred's breeding on its sire's side.

Person who professes to have, and sells, advance information on a race. Also used as a verb meaning to sell or advertise: He's touting the four horse.

Trail Off
Used to describe a fit horse losing its competitive edge.

Trapped Epigiottis
See entrapped epiplottis.

An individual horse's race, with specific reference to the difficulty (or lack of difficulty) the horse had during competition.

Triple Crown
Used generically to denote a series of three important races, but is always capitalized when referring to historical races for threeyear-olds. In the United States, the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes. In England the 2,000 Guineas, Epsom Derby and St. Uger Stakes. In Canada, the Queen's Plate, Prince of Wales Stakes and Breeders' Stakes. See appendix for a list of races, dates and winners.

Inserting a nasogastric tube through a horse's nostril into its stomach for the purpose of providing oral medication.

Turn Down(s)
Rear shoe that is turned down 3/4-inch to one inch at the ends to provide better traction on an off-track. Illegal in many jurisdictions.

Restraining device usually consisting of a stick with a loop of rope or chain at one end, which is placed around a horse's upper lip and twisted, releasing endorphins that relax a horse and curb its fractiousness while it is being handled.

Tying Up (acute rhabdomyolysis)
Form of muscle cramps that ranges in severity from mild stiffness to a life-threatening disease. A generalized condition of muscle fiber breakdown usually associated with exercise. The cause of the muscle fiber breakdown is uncertain. Signs include sweating, reluctance to move, stiffness and general distress.


1) Diagnostic ultrasound: A technique which uses ultrasonic waves to image internal structures.
2) Therapeutic ultrasound: a therapy to create beat and stimulate healing.

A horse racing at shorter odds than seems warranted by its past performances.

Under Wraps
Horse under stout restraint in a race or workout to keep it from pulling away from the competition by too large a margin.

1) Not raced or tested for speed.
2) A stallion that has not been bred.

Gradually withdrawing a horse from intensive training.

Upset Price
Minimum amount at which bidding may start at a public auction. This varies depending on the sale.


Person employed by a racing association to clean and care for a jockey's tack and other riding equipment.

VEE (Venezuelan Equine Encephalomyelitis)
Highly contagious disease affecting the central nervous system that can cause illness or death in horses and humans.

Down; toward the belly.

Veterinary Medical Doctor.


Race in which only one horse competes.

Washed Out
Horse that becomes so nervous that it sweats profusely. Also known as "washy" or "lathered (up)."

Foal that is less than one-year-old that has been separated from its dam.

An allowance condition in which each entrant is assigned a weight according to its age. Females usually receive a sex allowance as well. (Compare with a handicap race.)

Horse color, extremely rare, in which all the hairs are white. The horse's eyes are brown, not pink, as would be the case for an albino.

Wind Sucker
See cribber.

Area above the shoulder, where the neck meets the back.

Wobbler Syndrome
Neurological disease associated with general incoordination and muscle weakness. Can be caused by an injury to the spinal cord in the area of the cervical (neck) vertebrae or is associated with malformation of the cervical vertebrae.

To exercise a horse by galloping a predetermined distance.


Costly type of x-ray procedure that gives higher resolution on the edges of bones and better visualization of soft tissue structure.


Horse in its second calendar year of life, beginning January 1 of the year following its birth.

Condition of a turf course with a great deal of moisture. Horses sink into it noticeable.


Trade name for the drug ranitidine, a medication used to treat ulcers.

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