A colt is a male horse, usually below the age of four years.
The term "colt" only describes young male horses and is not to be confused with foal, which is a horse of either sex less than one year of age. Similarly, a yearling is a horse of either sex between the ages of one and two. A young female horse is called a filly, and a mare once she is an adult animal. In horse racing, particularly for Thoroughbreds in the United Kingdom, a colt is defined as an uncastrated male from the age of two up to and including the age of four.
The term is derived from Proto-Germanic *kultaz ("lump, bundle, offspring") and is etymologically related to "child."
An adult male horse, if left intact, is called either a "stallion" if used for breeding, or a horse (sometimes full horse); if castrated, it is called a gelding. In some cases, particularly informal nomenclature, a gelding under four years is still called a colt. A rig or ridgling is a male equine with a retained testicle or one which has been incompletely castrated.
In the wild, colts are driven from their herds by the herd stallion somewhere between the age of one and two. This may be, in part, an instinct to prevent inbreeding. When driven out, they usually join with other young stallions in a bachelor herd. They stay with this band until they are mature enough to form their own herd of mares. The terms "rag" or "rake" have been historically used to refer to a group of colts, but they have fallen out of modern usage.
The horse is one of two extant subspecies of Equus ferus. It is an odd-toed ungulate mammal belonging to the taxonomic family Equidae. The horse has evolved over the past 45 to 55 million years from a small multi-toed creature, Eohippus, into the large, single-toed animal of today. Humans began domesticating horses around 4000 BC, and their domestication is believed to have been widespread by 3000 BC. Horses in the subspecies caballus are domesticated, although some domesticated populations live in the wild as feral horses. These feral populations are not true wild horses, as this term is used to describe horses that have never been domesticated, such as the endangered Przewalski's horse, a separate subspecies, and the only remaining true wild horse. There is an extensive, specialized vocabulary used to describe equine-related concepts, covering everything from anatomy to life stages, size, colors, markings, breeds, locomotion, and behavior.
Horse breeding is reproduction in horses, and particularly the human-directed process of selective breeding of animals, particularly purebred horses of a given breed. Planned matings can be used to produce specifically desired characteristics in domesticated horses. Furthermore, modern breeding management and technologies can increase the rate of conception, a healthy pregnancy, and successful foaling.
A number of hypotheses exist on many of the key issues regarding the domestication of the horse. Although horses appeared in Paleolithic cave art as early as 30,000 BCE, these were wild horses and were probably hunted for meat.
A gelding is a castrated horse or other equine, such as a donkey or a mule. Castration, as well as the elimination of hormonally driven behavior associated with a stallion, allows a male horse to be calmer and better-behaved, making the animal quieter, gentler and potentially more suitable as an everyday working animal. The gerund and participle "gelding" and the infinitive "to geld" refer to the castration procedure itself.
A filly is a female horse that is too young to be called a mare. There are two specific definitions in use:
The New Forest pony is one of the recognised mountain and moorland or native pony breeds of the British Isles. Height varies from around 12 to 14.2 hands ; ponies of all heights should be strong, workmanlike, and of a good riding type. They are valued for hardiness, strength, and sure-footedness.
A foal is an equine up to one year old; this term is used mainly for horses. More specific terms are colt for a male foal and filly for a female foal, and are used until the horse is three or four. When the foal is nursing from its great (mother), it may also be called a "suckling". After it has been weaned from its dam, it may be called a "weanling". When a mare is pregnant, she is said to be "in foal". When the mare gives birth, she is "foaling", and the impending birth is usually stated as "to foal". A newborn horse is "foaled".
A stud animal is a registered animal retained for breeding. The terms for the male of a given animal species usually imply that the animal is intact—that is, not castrated—and therefore capable of siring offspring. A specialized vocabulary exists for de-sexed animals and those animals used in grading up to a purebred status.
A stallion is a male horse that has not been gelded (castrated). Stallions follow the conformation and phenotype of their breed, but within that standard, the presence of hormones such as testosterone may give stallions a thicker, "cresty" neck, as well as a somewhat more muscular physique as compared to female horses, known as mares, and castrated males, called geldings.
A mare is an adult female horse or other equine.
A feral horse is a free-roaming horse of domesticated stock. As such, a feral horse is not a wild animal in the sense of an animal without domesticated ancestors. However, some populations of feral horses are managed as wildlife, and these horses often are popularly called "wild" horses. Feral horses are descended from domestic horses that strayed, escaped, or were deliberately released into the wild and remained to survive and reproduce there. Away from humans, over time, these animals' patterns of behavior revert to behavior more closely resembling that of wild horses. Some horses that live in a feral state but may be occasionally handled or managed by humans, particularly if privately owned, are referred to as "semi-feral".
The Phantom Stallion books, first published in 2002 by Avon Books, are a series written for young adult readers by American Terri Farley.
Horse behavior is best understood from the view that horses are prey animals with a well-developed fight-or-flight response. Their first reaction to a threat is often to flee, although sometimes they stand their ground and defend themselves or their offspring in cases where flight is untenable, such as when a foal would be threatened.
Rags to Riches is an American thoroughbred racehorse who in 2007 became the first filly to win the Belmont Stakes in over a century.
A ridgling, or rig, is a cryptorchid; a male animal with one or both testicles undescended, usually describing a ram, bull, or male horse, but cryptorchidism also can be an issue in dogs and cats. Because the heat inside the body is too high for sperm to survive, an undescended testicle is non-functional. The condition is most often discussed in the horse world, as the health behavioral issues surrounding adult males with the condition are of concern to owners and handlers of such animals.
A yearling is a young horse either male or female that is between one and two years old. Yearlings are comparable in development to a very early adolescent and are not fully mature physically. While they may be in the earliest stages of sexual maturity, they are considered too young to be breeding stock.
Studbook selection is a process used in certain breeds of horses to select breeding stock. It allows a breed registry to direct the evolution of the breed towards the ideal by eliminating unhealthy or undesirable animals from the population. The removal of individuals from a population is called culling, and does not suggest killing the animal in question. Typically, culls are castrated or they and their offspring are unable to be registered.
This is a basic glossary of equestrian terms that includes both technical terminology and jargon developed over the centuries for horses and other equidae, as well as various horse-related concepts. Where noted, some terms are used only in American English (US), only in British English (UK), or are regional to a particular part of the world, such as Australia (AU).
Assassin was a Thoroughbred racehorse that won the 1782 Epsom Derby. His breeder, Lord Egremont, won the Derby for the first time with Assassin. Assassin raced until he was a five-year-old and was retired to Egremont's stud in Petworth. He was not a successful sire.
Horses play a large role in the daily and national life of the Mongols; it is traditionally said that "A Mongol without a horse is like a bird without the wings." Elizabeth Kimball Kendall, who travelled through Mongolia in 1911, observed, "To appreciate the Mongol you must see him on horseback,—and indeed you rarely see him otherwise, for he does not put foot to ground if he can help it. The Mongol without his pony is only half a Mongol, but with his pony he is as good as two men. It is a fine sight to see him tearing over the plain, loose bridle, easy seat, much like the Western cowboy, but with less sprawl.".