Plan Your Trip

Photo from the Alentejo Coastal Trails (Portugal) ride.
Aids
Signals given to the horse with hands, legs and voice.
All-inclusive
All meals, drinks and extras are included.
Asado
A popular South American barbeque style of cooking, usually involving whole cuts of meat and vegetables cooked slowly over an open fire.
Back-protector
A piece of equipment which fits around the body of a rider and protects them in the event of a fall.
Back-up Guide
A person who rides at the back of the group to ensure everyone stays together and there are no stragglers.
Based Ride
A riding trip which is based at the same accommodation each day/night.
Bed & Breakfast (B&B)
Accommodation option with only breakfast included.
Bit
A device placed in the mouth of the horse as a means of control which is attached to the bridle and the reins.
Bitless
Riding a horse without using a bit, but in a special halter which works on pressure and release.
Boots (Brushing or jumping)
Reinforced leg protection which helps to minimise injury to a horse’s legs from impact. Used popularly in jumping, western reining and dressage.
Bosal
A type of noseband made from braided rawhide and popularly used as an alternative to a bit in western and vaquero riding.
Braai
A South African barbecue.
Breastplate
A set of straps which pass around the horse's chest and prevent the saddle from slipping backward.
Bridle
The headgear used to control a horse, consisting of buckled straps to which a bit and reins are attached.
Broken in
A horse that has been handled and can be ridden.
Buck
When a horse kicks hinds leg in the air with front legs on ground.
Canter
A three beat gait of a horse between a trot and a gallop.
Cantle
The back part of a saddle.
Cattle-cutting
Selecting one cow from a herd and separating it out of the herd without using ropes.
Cattle Drive
Riding behind a herd of cattle to move them from one pasture to another.
Colic
A medical condition of horses caused by abdominal pain often resulting from digestive issues. Can be fatal if not treated quickly.
Collection
A dressage term used to describe a horse’s pace that has been shortened but maintains the same rhythm.
Colt
A male horse under 4 years old that has not been castrated.
Condition
A horse’s weight, health and fitness
Cross Country
Jumping over solid fences such as logs, which are outdoors in open spaces.
Crupper
A strap attached to the back of a saddle which is looped under the horse's tail to prevent the saddle or harness from slipping forward.
Dam
A mare who has had foals.
Drag Hunt
A simulated hunt where participants follow a pre-planned marked route, often including several optional jumps/natural obstacles.
Dressage
The art of riding and training a horse in a manner that develops obedience, flexibility and balance.
Endurance
A horseback sport where competitors take part in controlled long-distance races.
English
A style of riding which is traditionally European and involves sitting upright in the saddle and using the reins independently. English riders post/ride to the trot rather than staying in the saddle and adopt a forward/light seat in canter.
Equestrian
Someone who rides, owns, or shows horses or participates in horse-related activities.
Equine
A horse or another member of the horse family.
Eventing
A competition which involves the three disciplines of dressage, cross country and show jumping.
Extension
A dressage term to describe a horses pace that has been lengthened but maintains the same rhythm.
Farrier
A craftsman who trims and shoes horses' hooves.
Filly
A female horse under 4 years old.
Foal
A young horse.
Forward Seat
See 'Light Seat'.
Frog
The V-shaped part on the underside of a horse’s hoof.
Full Board
When all meals are included - breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Gallop
The fastest pace of a horse, with all the feet off the ground together in each stride.
Game
Typically refers to wild animals seen whilst on a safari ride.
Gaucho
A South American cowboy or skilled horseman typical of Argentina, Uruguay and Southern Brazil.
Gelding
A castrated male horse.
Girth
A band attached to the saddle, used to secure the saddle to the horse by being fastened around its belly. Also called a cinch.
Groom/Grooming
The act of brushing or cleaning a horse.
Guide
A person who leads a trail ride, generally from the front.
Gymkhana
A competitive horseback event made up of mounted games and races such as pole bending.
Half Board
When two meals are included each day, usually breakfast and then either lunch or dinner, but not both.
Halt
Bringing a horse to a stop.
Halter
A rope or strap with a noose or headstall placed around the head off the horse - generally used for leading or tethering it.
Hand
This is the common way to measure horses in the UK. One hand is 4 inches and is measured at the highest point of the withers. This is often converted to cm in Europe, so a 15 hand horse is 152 cm. Hands are abbreviated to hh, so written as 15hh.
Harness
A set of straps and fittings by which a horse is fastened to a cart, carriage etc and controlled by its driver.
Helmet
A reinforced hat worn by riders to protect from or minimise head injuries if they should fall.
Hoof
The thick, horny, keratin covering at the very tip of the horse’s foot.
Instructor
A horse riding coach or teacher.
Jockey
A rider, traditionally one who rides racehorses.
Jodhpurs
Traditional trousers worn for horse riding, similar to 'breeches'.
Jog
A slow western style of trot.
Jump
An obstacle which a horse is expected to jump over. Jumps can be solid or made of lightweight poles.
Kick
A strong riding aid to ask a horse to move forward. Or an aggressive display of dominance/defence between horses, usually as a result of being too close together.
Leg-Up
When someone assists a rider to mount but using their hand under the rider's bent knee to lift them up into the saddle. Useful when there are no useful rocks/logs to use for mounting your horse out on a trail.
Light Seat
When a rider lifts their seat out of the saddle and takes their weight through their legs - usually when cantering/galloping, to enable the horse to use its back. Also called ‘forward seat’.
Lope
A slow, western style of canter.
Lunge/Lunging
Exercising a horse around you in a circular motion on the end of a long line.
Mare
A female horse over 4 years old.
Martingale
A strap or set of straps, attached at one end to the noseband (standing martingale) or the reins (riding martingale) of a horse and at the other end to the girth. It is used to prevent the horse from raising its head too high.
Mosquero
A leather or horse hair fringe or tassel that attaches to the horse's browband to keep flies out of their eyes. Typically seen in Spain, particularly Andalucia, and in some Latin American countries.
Mounting
The action of getting on a horse.
Mule
The offspring of a male donkey and a female horse.
Natural Horsemanship
A way of starting and training horses which uses methods which are kind to the horse and create a relationship rather than using punishment.
Nearside
The left-hand side of the horse.
Neck-reining
Often used in Western riding, this is a method of turning/moving the horse - the reins are held in one hand and the pressure of the reins against the side of the horse's neck asks it to bend/turn one way or the other.
Offside
The right-hand side of the horse.
Pack Horse
A loose or led horse which carries provisions or luggage on its back.
Paddock
A small field or enclosure where horses are kept or exercised.
Piaffe
A dressage move showing the highest degree of collection, with the horse lifting each diagonal pair of feet in turn (as trot).
Polo
A competitive sport played on horseback which involves teams of riders using long handled wooden mallets to hit a ball and score points.
Pony
A small equine typically classified as being under 14.3 hh (150 cm).
Posting
See 'Rising Trot'.
Quarters
Refers to the hind end of the horse.
Rein
A long, narrow strip attached at one end to a horse's bit, typically used in pairs to guide or check a horse while riding.
Rein-back
A dressage and western movement where the horse moves backwards.
Rising Trot
When the rider rises up and down in the saddle in time with the horse's footfall whilst trotting. Also called posting to the trot.
Round Pen
A circular construction in which a horse can be worked ‘loose’, without a rider - often used in Natural Horsemanship training.
Saddle
A seat fastened on the back of the horse for riding. It is typically made from leather and raised at the front and rear.
Saddle Bag
A small pouch or bag which attaches to the saddle.
Safari
A Swahili word meaning 'journey'. In the English language the word was adopted to describe a trip to hunt or (more often) to observe wild animals in their natural environment.
Season
For holidays this is typically divided into high and low (sometimes more seasonal divisions) and refers to the busiest and quietest times of the booking year. Often has an affect on the pricing of certain rooms or options.
Seat-Saver
a comfortable pad, usually made from sheepskin or neoprene/gel, which can be placed over the seat of a saddle to offer more protection during long hours of riding.
Self-Catered
Accommodation option with no meals included. Guests should provide or source their own meals.
Shank
A long attachment to the side of a bit which applies more pressure to the horse's mouth.
Shoe
A slim metal plate attached to the bottom of a horse’s hoof to offer extra protection.
Showjumping
Asking the horse to complete a series of jumps which are constructed from lightweight poles and are easily knocked down if the horses makes contact with them.
Sitting Trot
Staying in the saddle whilst the horse is trotting and absorbing their movement through your hips.
Snaffle
A simple bit in a horse’s mouth which is usually gentle- may or may not be jointed in the middle.
Spur
A metal tool worn on the boot heel of a rider to reinforce their natural leg aids. Popularly used in western, dressage and jumping disciplines.
Stable/stall
A building in which horses are kept.
Stallion
A male horse over 4 years old that has not been castrated.
Stirrups
A pair of devices attached to each side of a horse's saddle, in the form of a loop with a flat base to support the rider's foot.
Sundowner
An early evening drink or refreshment taken as the sun is setting and very typical on safari rides in central and southern Africa.
Tack
Tack is any of the various accessories worn by horses in the course of their use as domesticated animals. Saddles, stirrups, bridles, halters, reins, bits, harnesses, martingales, and breastplates are all forms of horse tack.
Tacking Up (Saddling)
The act of preparing a horse to be ridden by fitting it with tack, also known as 'saddling'.
Tölt
A pace unique to the Icelandic horse. It follows the same footfall pattern as walk but is much faster and smoother.
Trail Ride
A term used to describe the act of riding a horse outside in nature. Trail rides can last anything from a few minutes to multiple days.
Transfer
Organised transportation to move from one place to another (for example, from the airport to the start point of a ride).
Trot
The pace of a horse, faster than a walk, lifting each diagonal pair of legs alternately.
Unguided
A trip which is self-navigated, without the aid of a guide.
Vaquero
A Spanish term for “cattle worker” or cowboy.
Vet
A medical professional who is trained in the treatment of animals.
Walk
The slowest ambling pace of a horse, lifting each foot in sequence.
Western
A style of riding generally associated with North American cowboys. The saddle is larger, with a high pommel and cantle and large stirrups, and the rider sits deeply.
Whip
A stick, strip of leather or length of cord fastened to a handle and used for urging a horse on.
Working Equitation
A competition where riders control their horse with one hand in several phases of competition which include dressage, riding around an obstacle course and tackling obstacles at speed.
Xenophon
An Athenian-born Greek military leader who is credited with developing the very first principles of modern day horsemanship and classical training for horse and rider.
Yearling
A horse in the calendar year after its year of foaling.
Zebra
Another member of the family 'equus' known for its striped coat pattern.