The Horse For Writers – Part One

If you do not own a horse, or have relatives or friends that own horses, than writing about them can be pretty tough – and easy to get wrong. And as a horse person myself, let me just say, it kinda drives us horse people crazy when details are wrong in books. (*cough, cough* it’s a muzzle, not a snout! *cough*)

So, here I’m going to lay down the horsey basics so that you don’t have any horse nuts knocking down your door and strangling you when you don’t get it right.


The Build

Below are two pictures I have written on, pointing out what the different parts of the horse are called.

horse points1

horse points2

The Head

Horses have three different head profiles depending on their build and breed.







The convex profile is unique to only the Kladruby breed.



This isn’t really a profile, but a nose shape, but it is very similar to the convex profile and you don’t want to get the two mixed up. ‘Teacup’ is the term used for the Arabian muzzle, that is part of the dished profile. (see above picture)


The Sound

Horses make six distinct sounds.

Neigh – the neigh is a loud call used to keep in touch with a horse that’s far away, especially if the other horse is out of sight. It is also used by mares and foals to call to each other. The neigh is also called a whinny.

Nicker – the nicker is a low rumbling sound in the horse’s throat. It’s their way of saying ‘hello’ or as a sound of excitement and happiness when you bring them their favorite feed.

Blow – a sort of huff of air pushed from the nostrils. Long blows are like sighs and a short huff is a sound of alarm. It usually puts other horses on alert.

Snort – a snort is exactly what it’s called – a loud snort. It’s a loud blow with a rippling sound. Snorts are air being forced quickly from the nose. It either means the horse is excited, restless, or they have dust in their nose.

Squeal – this sound is mostly used by mares, a loud, high-pitched sound. When used by adults, it is the horse saying ‘go away’, but when used by foals, it is just them playing.

Roar or bellow – you don’t ever, ever want to hear a horse bellow. That means the horse is angry and about to fight. It’s usually used by stallions fighting.

Some Points to Remember

  • Horses don’t have fur – they have hair
  • The nose isn’t a snout. It’s a muzzle
  • Horses aren’t mature until they are at least three years old
  • A baby horse is called a foal
  • A baby girl horse is called a filly
  • A baby boy horse is called a colt
  • An adult boy horse is called a stallion
  • An adult girl horse is called a mare
  • A gelding is when a boy horse is castrated
  • Horses aren’t taught to carry a rider until three years old – unless they are a Thoroughbred. Then they are taught at age two
  • Near side, is the horse’s left side
  • Off side is the horse’s right side
  • Horses can’t breath through their mouths
  • Some horses spook if it’s super windy

That’s all for now! Next post, I’ll be showing you some colors and types.

(NOTE: all pictures used, unless noted, are not mine. They were found on the internet to only be used for reference in this post. The first two pictures were modified for the purpose of this post.)

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