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.
Yearlings may be further defined by sex, using the term "colt" to describe any male horse under age four, and filly for any female under four.
Generally, the training of yearlings consists of basic gentling on the ground; most are too young to be ridden or driven. Yearlings are often full of energy and quite unpredictable. Even though they are not fully mature, they are heavier and stronger than a human and require knowledgeable handling. Many colts who are not going to be used as breeding stallions are gelded at this age—in part to improve their behavior.
Under ideal conditions, a yearling will have already been trained as a suckling or weanling foal to lead, to have its hooves handled, to be groomed, clipped, blanketed and loaded into a horse trailer. If these tasks have not been accomplished, the yearling year is a time they are often done, in part to get the horse used to human handling before it reaches its full adult strength.
Other than basic gentling, training and management of yearlings has many areas of dispute, mainly because some yearlings look very mature and strong, even though they do not yet have the skeletal structure to support hard work. Yearlings grow at different rates and some horse breeds mature faster than others. For example, some people teach longeing or roundpenning to yearlings, others avoid it, arguing that work in small circles stresses the joints of the young horse, which are still "soft," and not fully developed. Thoroughbred and American Quarter Horse race horses are often "backed", or put under saddle, during the autumn of their yearling year, after the age of 18 months, though the riders are generally very light in weight and the young horses are not actually raced at this age. Likewise, some draft horse breeds and yearling Standardbreds are introduced to a harness and the concept of pulling an object, though they are not asked to handle any significant amount of weight. Conversely, trainers of breeds such as the Lipizzan do not even consider putting a young horse under saddle until it is four years old.
Some breeding farms tend to leave yearlings alone to grow in pastures and natural settings, others keep them stabled and condition them intensively for show or sale. For business purposes, the yearling year is considered a good time for breeders to sell young horses. One of the most famous horse auctions in the world is the Keeneland yearling sale in Kentucky, where young Thoroughbred yearlings are put up for sale to the highest bidder, generally selling for prices in the five and six figures, but sometimes bringing prices in the millions.
The world of halter exhibition is another area of controversy. Because larger, more mature yearlings place better in halter (or in-hand) classes at horse shows, and hence sell sooner and for better prices, there is a temptation to over-feed young horses and provide supplemental products, such as steroids, to promote rapid growth. Such practices may have long-term health implications for the future athletic career of the young animal and may put it at risk for growth disorders.
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.
Tack is equipment or accessories equipped on horses and other equines 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. Equipping a horse is often referred to as tacking up. A room to store such equipment, usually near or in a stable, is a tack room.
A horse show is a judged exhibition of horses and ponies. Many different horse breeds and equestrian disciplines hold competitions worldwide, from local to the international levels. Most horse shows run from one to three days, sometimes longer for major, all-breed events or national and international championships in a given discipline or breed. Most shows consist of a series of different performances, called classes, wherein a group of horses with similar training or characteristics compete against one another for awards and, often, prize money.
A filly is a female horse that is too young to be called a mare. There are two specific definitions in use:
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 polo pony is the term used for a horse used in the game of polo. They may be of any breed or combination of breeds, though many have a significant amount of Thoroughbred breeding. They are called "ponies", but that is a reference to their agile type rather than their size; almost all are horse-sized. They require considerable training and ongoing conditioning, and because each rider requires several horses in a single match, this can be a considerable expense. For competition, polo ponies have their manes roached and tails braided so that there is no danger of being tangled in the mallet.
Horse training refers to a variety of practices that teach horses to perform certain behaviors when commanded to do so by humans. Horses are trained to be manageable by humans for everyday care as well as for equestrian activities from horse racing to therapeutic horseback riding for people with disabilities.
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.
Sky Beauty was a thoroughbred horse who won the 1993 Triple Tiara of Thoroughbred Racing. As of 2018, she was the last filly to win this title.
The Fasig-Tipton Company, Inc. is an auction house for Thoroughbred and Standardbred horses founded in 1898. It is the oldest auction company of its kind in North America. The company has offices in Lexington, Kentucky, Elkton, Maryland, Grand Prairie, Texas, Saratoga Springs, New York, and Ocala, Florida. In 2008, Fasig-Tipton Co. was purchased by Synergy Investments Ltd., a Dubai-based company headed by Abdulla Al Habbai. Of the 13 Triple Crown winners, two of the three which were offered at public auction were sold at Fasig-Tipton: 2015 winner American Pharoah, sold at the 2013 Fasig-Tipton Saratoga Sale and 1975 Seattle Slew, sold at the 1973 Fasig-Tipton July Sale in Kentucky.
Halter is a type of horse show class where horses are shown "in hand," meaning that they are led, not ridden, and are judged on their conformation and suitability as breeding stock. Depending on breed and geographic region, such events may be called "Halter," "In-Hand," "Breeding," "Model," or "Conformation" classes.
The Thoroughbred is a horse breed best known for its use in horse racing. Although the word thoroughbred is sometimes used to refer to any breed of purebred horse, it technically refers only to the Thoroughbred breed. Thoroughbreds are considered "hot-blooded" horses that are known for their agility, speed, and spirit.
Keeneland Sales is an American Thoroughbred auction house in Lexington, Kentucky founded in 1935 as a nonprofit racing/auction entity on 147 acres of farmland west of Lexington, which had been owned by Jack O. Keene. A division of Keeneland Association, Inc., it holds three annual horse auctions that attract buyers from around the globe:
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).
Snaafi Dancer is a Thoroughbred racehorse who was the first yearling to sell for more than US$10 million.
Thoroughbred valuation is the art of determining the value or potential value of a Thoroughbred horse, particularly of race horses.
Poco Pine (1954–1974) was an American Quarter Horse stallion and breeding stallion. He earned 50 Grand Championships in his showing career and after his death was inducted into the American Quarter Horse Association's AQHA Hall of Fame in 2010. Two of his descendants have also been inducted into the AQHA Hall of Fame. 37 of his offspring earned an AQHA Championship during their own showing careers.
Right Tack (1966–1985) was an Irish-bred, British-trained Thoroughbred racehorse and sire. In a career that lasted from June 1968 to October 1969 he ran twelve times, winning eight races and finishing second three times. As a two-year-old he won his last five races included the Middle Park Stakes and was rated the second-best British colt of his generation. In the following year he became the first horse to win both the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket and the Irish 2000 Guineas at the Curragh. After being retired from racing he stood as a breeding stallion in Ireland and Australia.
Eternal Sun (1958–1985) was an American Quarter Horse foaled in 1958. He was a Quarter Horse race horse and an American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA) show horse who competed in cutting and halter classes. He earned numerous AQHA awards throughout his career, including an AQHA Championship. He was also a sire of 908 foals, many of whom are themselves AQHA award earners and race horses. He was inducted into the Michigan Quarter Horse Association Hall of Fame in 1989, later followed by his daughter, Eternal Linda. He died at the age of 27 in 1985 on Harold Howard's farm.