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Definitions of My Personal "Horse Talk"

Updated on September 28, 2018
Ellison Hartley profile image

Ellison is a professional horse trainer and riding instructor. She runs a summer camp program and offers kids a safe introduction to horses.

I Have Developed My Own Lingo Over The Years

These aren't the sort of things I'm talking about though, not general horse lingo, like green, or chrome, but the weird lingo that I myself use. Some of it I can tell you where it came from. In other words, I know how I picked it up. Others, not so much. These terms are things that you might hear me say in the barn, and look at me like I have three heads.

My students learn to understand my figures of speech!
My students learn to understand my figures of speech! | Source

"Knock Em' Off Real Quick"

This is not what it sounds like. It does not, in fact, mean knock someone off of the horse, and do it quickly. Knock em' off real quick actually means to groom the horse and tack it up as fast as possible.

This is one of the ones that I know where I got it. When I was a working student, there were many horses to be worked each day. There was a list on a chalkboard, with the horse's name's, whether they were going to jump or do flatwork that day, and a number representing what order they'd work in. If someone besides the trainer was going to ride the horse, that would be written on the board as well.

It was basically an assembly line of me tacking up one horse handing it to the trainer. Then going to get another horse and getting it ready. Then the trainer would come back with the horse he left on, take the new one, I'd cool that one out and put it away. Then get another one. Repeat that process all morning as efficiently as possible until all the horses were ridden.

At some point in time, someone must have said knock them mud off them and tack them up real quick... so, since we were running like a well-oiled machine, we even had to shorten that up, and that is how the term "knock em off real quick" was born.

This is an old picture of me watching students warm up at a show, it has taken me many years to come up with all these weird vocabulary slang terms of mine!
This is an old picture of me watching students warm up at a show, it has taken me many years to come up with all these weird vocabulary slang terms of mine! | Source

"Go Ahead and Pop On ( insert horse name here)"

No idea why I say this. Maybe someone said it to me at some point and I just don't remember. This one is a little easier to guess. When I say go ahead and pop on, that means to get on and ride.

Yes, I could just as easily say "Go ride(insert horse name here)" but for some reason, I say "go ahead and pop on". It has a nice ring to it if I do say so myself.

While we are talking about popping...

"Go Pop That (Insert Type of Jump Here)"

When I say "go pop on" a certain horse, that means to go get on and ride it. When I say to "Go Pop" that followed by the type of jump, that means I want you to go jump over that particular jump.

Yes, I could just as easily say "Go jump the Crossrail" or "Go jump the vertical"....I just don't okay!

Had to include this picture of my main man, Kemerton, looks like he is expressing his opinion on my horse talk!
Had to include this picture of my main man, Kemerton, looks like he is expressing his opinion on my horse talk! | Source

"Lame As A Two Dollar Bill"

I really don't know what a two dollar bill has to do with a horse being lame. I have no clue. I picked this up from the farrier I had for years, the best farrier ever, may he rest in peace.

"Lame as a two dollar bill" I picked up from him. I remember him saying that since I was a kid, and I just picked it up one day and I'm carrying it on for him now that he is gone.

A horse that is "lame as a two dollar bill" is a horse that is super lame, like three-legged lame, not riding him today, but him back in the stall kind of lame.

He also had another description for a lame horse he sometimes used which was that the horse was "dog a$% " lame, seeing as this isn't appropriate for children and I primarily teach children, I don't say this one during lesson hours.

"That Horse Is Common"

Another one I learned from our former farrier. He referred to any horse that was rude or pushy, pretty much any horse that he didn't like as common. Tater had the same sixth horse sense that I have, so if he didn't like a horse and it got called "common" by him, I knew it wasn't a great horse. He taught me much of my sixth sense about horses, so if he called a horse "common", I knew he didn't like it.

This is our former farrier, one of the biggest heroes in my horse world! He taught my a lot of the sixth sense I have for horses, and to never give up on doing what I love, as well as some weird horse lingo!
This is our former farrier, one of the biggest heroes in my horse world! He taught my a lot of the sixth sense I have for horses, and to never give up on doing what I love, as well as some weird horse lingo! | Source

" Suck It Up Buttercup"

This is one of my all time favorites, that I also learned from Tater. Anytime I complained or whined about anything his response was "suck it up buttercup".

So now, I say the same thing to my students. When they complain in lessons or whine about what horse they are assigned. Pretty much anytime they act dissatisfied and don't want to do something is an appropriate time for me to say "suck it up buttercup".

I can assure you that all of these kids have heard "suck it up buttercup" a time or two..or maybe three.
I can assure you that all of these kids have heard "suck it up buttercup" a time or two..or maybe three. | Source

" Needs More Motor"

This means the horse needs to move more forward. I don't recall ever hearing another trainer say this. It makes perfect sense though, the horses motor is in the back pushing them forward.

So when I see a lazy horse not working hard with its hind end and heavy on the front end, I have been known to say"needs more motor". Makes perfect sense right?! I think so!

" Push Em' Through"

This is something you will hear me say a lot of the time when teaching my more advanced students. The ones who are learning about how to get the horse to collect and how to ride their horse in a frame.

This goes along with the "needs more motor". Meaning the energy comes from the hind end, then makes the back come up, then all that momentum comes through the reins. Then lifts the horse's neck up and then his head will go down into a frame.

So "push em through" goes right along with "needs more motor". Those two are like peas and carrots.

My more advanced students hear "need more motor" and "push em through" quite often!
My more advanced students hear "need more motor" and "push em through" quite often! | Source

" Get After Em"

When I tell a ride to " get after em' " it means to step it up and not let the horse get away with whatever it is doing. Maybe being too lazy, or crooked, stopping at a jump. " Get after em" means correct the horse. So specifically it can mean different things in different situations.

Molly isn't a bad horse. Just has her lazy and stubborn moments, Her riders hear :get after her" often.
Molly isn't a bad horse. Just has her lazy and stubborn moments, Her riders hear :get after her" often. | Source

To Sum It All Up

I will admit, that I have my own, personal weird horse vocabulary. Some of which I picked up from other people...some of it just came out of my mouth one day!

Horses have a way of affecting us in all kinds of ways, even our vocabulary! A life with horses is well worth picking up a weird vocabulary for!

Had to include this cute picture of Molly, looks like she is begging me not to tell the kids to "get after her!"
Had to include this cute picture of Molly, looks like she is begging me not to tell the kids to "get after her!" | Source

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