Horsey Jargon – Debunked

When researching for this blog to pick a subject I was reading through my old notes from many moons ago. I came across a list of terms that I handwritten back in the day and thought that they might be of interest to you. They give simple definitions of some of the commonly used terms in dressage training today. Of course there is much, much more to each aspect but they offer a good starting point and area for discussion.



    The ability of the horse to maintain the distribution of his weight, together with that of his rider, at approximately equal proportions over all four legs.


    The energy from the quarters that passes through the horse and is directed by the riders hands through the reins.


    The regularity and correctly ordered flow of the gait.

  • TEMPO:

    The rate of the stride or footfall.


    The extra quality, expression and animation given to the rhythm and to each successive footfall by increased upward impulsion.

  • BEND:

    the lateral curve in the neck and body of the horse.


    The articulation, lateral or direction, of the horse’s head and jaw in relation to its junction with the neck at the poll.


    the ‘stepping under’ of the hind legs which enables the horse to employ the power of his quarters more effectively.


    The moment during which all four legs are off the ground together.


    the degree to which a horse raises his feet above the ground during a step or stride.


    The horse completes a connection through from the hindquarters, rounding his back through to the riders hand with a soft mouth taking a steady, equal and relaxed contact with the reins.


    the horse is alert and responsive to the lightest of the rider’s signals.


    The concentration of the horses forces, brought about by the increased engagement of the hindquarters. With increased flexion of the joints enabling the horse to become light in the forehand and with increased balance and ability to perform movements with ease.