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Horse Glossary

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  • Rabies - Usually fatal virus disease of warm-blooded animals causing paralysis, convulsions, and inability to swallow; usually spread by bites from infected animals.
  • Race sulky - Light two-wheeled vehicle used in Standardbred racing.
  • Rack - Racking in the world today includes both the slow rack, and the fast rack. The gaits used are the rack and the stepping pace. In both the rear of the horse provides the most of the forward motion and support while the front end does little pulling. Both have an even four beat cadence without any head shake. In the slow rack the feet are picked up one foot at a time with the front end moving up and down with little forward extension. The fast rack or stepping pace is performed by picking up the feet like a pace, but holding the front foot up for an extra half step. The front feet are picked up and held in the up position for a split second then lowered as the other front foot is picked up meeting at a point near knee high. This means the front end is not supported at all some of the time. However, the horse gives a very smooth ride because the rear foot is up under the horse far enough to support its center of gravity at that moment. A horse doing a fast rack will seem low in the rear because of the extra reach under the horse.
  • Rail - The fenceline, as in a "rail" class. Also, Western term for a flat class.
  • Rating - Means of classifying the size of a show, sometimes done beforehand according to prizes offered, and sometimes after according to number of entries.
  • Reabsorb - Possible absorption of an early embryo back into the mare's system.
  • Rearing - A bad habit in a horse, of raising up on his hind legs when he is being led or ridden. An extremely dangerous habit that should be dealt with by a professional only.
  • Reata - A braided leather rope; coiled and fastened to a Western saddle.
  • Red roan - A mixture of red and white hairs all over a horse's body, with red, black, or flaxen mane and tail.
  • Refinement - Quality appearance, indicating good breeding.
  • Registered - A horse of purebred parents that have numbered certificates with a particular breed organization.
  • Rein-back - To back up; a two-beat diagonal gait in reverse.
  • Rein - The long strap that passes from the bit to the riders hands, by which the rider maintains control of the horse. Calcutts supply and can make any type of reins including plain, rubbered, plaited, laced, webbing or split in black or brown.
  • Renvers - Haunches-out. The opposite movement to travers, with the tail instead of the head to the wall.
  • Respiration - Normal adult respiration rate varies among horses but is usually twelve to fifteen breaths per minute. One breath consists of an inhalation and an exhalation.
  • Retained placenta - Afterbirth that has not been expelled in first three hours after foaling.
  • Rhino - Short for rhinopneumonitis.
  • Rhinopneumonitis - Herpes, a viral disease of horse causing respiratory problems ("snots") in young and abortion in pregnant mares.
  • Rigging - On a saddle, straps that connect the cinch and the saddle tree.
  • Ring bone - Arthritis of coffin joint and/or pastern joint causing excessive bone growth.
  • Ring sour - A poor attitude in a horse who does not enjoy working in an arena and looks for ways to leave the arena or quit working.
  • Roached A mane or tail that has been clipped to the skin.
  • Roan - A horse color resulting from a mixture of white and black or white and red hairs all over the body.
  • Roaring - A breathing disorder.
  • Rolling - Horse lying down and rolling over, may be normal or result of pain; possible sign of colic.
  • Romal - A leather quirt, attached to braided leather or rawhide reins, or "closed" reins.
  • Rompun - Brand of xylazine, an analgesic sedative mixture used as a painkiller, pre-anesthetic, etc.
  • Rope - A running noose. To catch a cow with the noose.
  • Rowel - A small wheel with points, attached to the shank of a spur.
  • Rug - Horse blanket, most times describing winter blankets.
  • Ruminant - Animal with four-chambered stomach (cow, sheep, goat, deer).
  • Run - A long, narrow fenced-in area usually attached to a stall.
  • Runners - Leather loops which slide up and down and are used to keep the straps of a bridle in place.
  • Running walk - Like the flat foot walk, the running is a four-beat gait in which each foot is picked up and set down in an even cadence. The rear end movement should be smooth and close to the ground without any snap or pop. Each stride should reach forward and slide in as it is set down, over striding the track of the front foot. The head shake is in time with the rear feet and should be smooth. The tail should set still and flow. The flat foot walk and the running walk have the same general movements and look alike in many ways. In a true flat foot walk at least one front foot is touching at all times, and as a flat foot walk is pushed faster, the front end of the horse will leave the ground for a split second each step. At that point it has become a running walk.

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