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Horse Riding Terms for Beginners

November 29, 2021

Only at C Lazy U Ranch can you experience the authentic thrill and freedom of the West as you escape by horseback into 8,500 acres of untouched, jaw-dropping, natural American beauty. Whether you’re a seasoned rider, just starting out, or looking for a little refresher, C Lazy U has the perfect horseback riding experience — and perfect horse — waiting to sweep you back into a simpler time. 

If you are a novice in the equestrian world, certain ranch words or phrases can come across as confusing — but it’s our goal to make you as comfortable on the ranch as a practiced cowboy, so we’ve compiled this list of basic horse riding terms to help you prepare for your first ride.

Woman riding horse

Glossary of Basic Riding Terminology

Horse Terms

  • Equine — A term referring to a horse, or anything relating to horses
  • Foal — A young horse, especially a newborn or a horse under a year old. C Lazy U’s current foal, Remi, just celebrated his first birthday! 
  • Mare — A female horse over the age of four.
  • Stallion — A male horse over the age of four.

Types of Gait

  • Gait — The term for the speed and movement of a horse.  
  • Trot — A type of gait faster than a walk, where the horse moves its diagonally opposite pairs of legs together. 
  • Lope — Also known as the Western Canter, a lope is a gait between a trot and a gallop, consisting of three beats. 
  • Gallop — The fastest gait of a horse, featuring a stride where all four of the horse’s legs are off the ground at once. 

Gear (Tack) Terms

  • Tack — Equipment used for the riding or training of horses. 
  • Saddle — A piece of tack that acts as a rider’s seat.
  • Bit — The metal part of the bridle that is placed in the horse’s mouth to allow the rider to control the horse.
  • Bridle — A piece of tack consisting of straps that are worn over the horse’s head. The bridle connects to the bit and the reins. 
  • Rein —  A long strap or rope that a rider uses to control (or “rein”) a horse.
  • Stirrup — A ring or loop extending down from the saddle to support a rider’s foot while mounting or riding a horse.
  • Shoe — A U-shaped piece of metal that is nailed or glued to a horse’s hooves to protect them from damage or injury.   
Kid getting on horse
The kids mount up for a horseback trail ride during their dude ranch family vacation, led by our experienced wranglers and assisted by their counselors.

Itching to Get in the Saddle?

Ready for more? Our list of Beginner Horseback Riding Tips will have you ready to mount up! At C Lazy U Ranch, you’ll find a horseback riding experience for any age or skill level, all year-round. Our team of world-class wranglers pairs each rider with one of our over 200 horses in order to ensure the best fit for riding ability as well as personality. If you can’t wait to ride out into the West, start planning your stay or contact us today! 

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From the Horse's Mouth

It was absolutely wonderful! We had Harper as a wrangler a couple times and Olivia once, and they were so encouraging and kind, and, I felt, thoughtful, both about the trails they took us on and about our fit/comfort level with the horses. We all felt like Amy did a perfect job matching us with our horses, and under the wranglers' instruction/guidance, we even had fun trying out trotting and loping!

~ Jen O., 09-16-2021

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