Buying a Horse: Key Terms You Should Know

15.2 Reg. TB, sound, loads, clips, ties, blk w/ wht str, consistent 34 in drssge, auto lead chgs, rides BB, free jumps 3’6”, jumps 2’9” US, kidsafe, kind, beautiful mover, asking $5K OBO.

To the layman, the above classified ad (taken from the Glasgow Gazette) looks like a bunch of gibberish. Unless you have worked in the horse industry for a while, you might have no idea what the horse owner was advertising. You might think, “Regular horse with tuburculosis that can hear and doesn’t mind BB guns?” It doesn’t make sense. But if you know the key words related to horse sales, you might be less confused.

Since classified ads are so expensive, horse dealers and breeders try to make their advertisements as short and concise as possible. If they trigger just the right amount of interest, people will call to hear further specifications. They assume that the people looking for horses are educated and are aware what abbreviations and equine jargon mean. So unless you have a trainer helping you, finding the right horse can be rather difficult.

Instead of trying to work these things out for yourself, consult my list below of common abbreviations and shortened phrases that will make deciphering a classifed much less complicated. If at any point you are confused, don’t hesitate to call the owner and ask what he or she meant. Most breeders and dealers are always willing to work with a novice rider and to answer questions about the horse and its abilities.

REG – the horse has bee registered with the appropriate breeding association (has papers)
QH – Quarter Horse
HOT – very spirited; requires advanced rider
SOUND – no lameness issues
GNTL – gentle; can be ridden by a novice rider
LOADS – boards trailers easily and without a fuss
ARAB – Arabian (breed)
CLIPS – stands to have face, muzzle, legs, and body clipped
NR – not registered (either because the breed is unknown or the owner hasn’t filed paperwork)
SCHL HRSE – has been used or could be used as a school horse; gentle
TIES – will tie to fences or cross-ties
OTT – off-the-track Thoroughbred (has raced)
BRD – horse is branded (usually with owner’s ranch brand)
RIDES – has been worked under saddle
______ STARTS – has raced in __ races
EASY KEEPER – doesn’t require special feed, and has no trouble keeping weight on
AUTO – automatic; performs movement easily, such as with automatic lead changes
CH – chestnut (color)
STUD – stallion (has not been gelded)
BB – can be ridden bareback, or without a saddle
BR – brown
US – under saddle; with a rider
BLK – black
BOLD – slightly spirited; the horse isn’t nervous
LL – lunge-line (ex. Has been worked w/ LL)
WHT – white
BROKE – has been ridden
JMP – jumps
STR – star (marking)
M&F – mare and foal together
HUS – hunter under saddle; has been shown
USD – US dollars
END – endurance horse
EOF – equitation over fences; has been shown
BA – breeders’ association
TR – trail rides
BR – barrel-racer
LS – for lease
RESC – rescue horse
HSE – hunt seat equitation; has been shown
GLDNG – gelding (castrated)
RET – retired horse (can no longer be ridden)
’10’ – perfect
EXP – experienced rider needed
HOY – horse named ‘Horse of the Year by breeding association
AQHA – registered with American Quarter Horse Assoc.
HH – hands high (hand=4 in)
RIDES GRT – few vices; has had extensive training
TB – Thoroughbred
BM – broodmare (able to have foals)
UW – underweight horse

Remember, however, that the owners of horses can misrepresent themselves in classified ads, so never buy a horse based on what you read in the paper. You should always go see the horse before purchasing, and if possible, take a trainer with you. You should also be careful about ads that make a horse appear too perfect. All horses have vices, and an owner should be willing to share that with you before purchase.

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