Horse Industry Terminology

Posted in: Horse Care, Ranch Life

There are very few things in this world that I hold as pet peeves.  The list is becoming shorter, the older I get.  I’m realizing, people will do what people will do, and people will be who they are and there’s no point in me being bothered by it.  But, as someone who’s spent the majority of her life in the horse business there are a couple little things that irk me. Maybe it makes me a snob. Maybe not, but I hear them all the time, said by people who should probably know better.

Let’s start with the for sale ad we’ve all seen:

Pretty, 2010 gray gelding out of WDX Nukem and Streakin Iron (I’ll use one of my own horses as an example). Has 70 rides, has been used in the branding pen and has been used to flag and start other colts. Gentle,  unflappable. Dam is a money winner in the barrel racing/rodeo pen. Sire is used on the ranch and will eat cow for lunch. This horse will be huge- is already almost 16h at the hips. $3000.

The trouble with this ad, or speaking this way, is that a colt or filly cannot COME OUT OF a stallion. Therefore it’s considered to be SIRED by the stallion, and is OUT of the mare.

The ad should correctly read:

Pretty,  2010 gray colt by WDX Nukem out of Streakin Iron.

See the difference?

The second thing I’d like to point out is the use of half-sibling (half -brother / half – sister).  A mare (short of embryo transfers, which for most of us are cost prohibitive), can only have one baby per year. The stud on the other hand can have many.

That said, when I’m referring to horses from our breeding program (or any program I may know) as half -siblings, I do so in the following way:

Dino, Cisco, Daisy, Nutter Butter, Louie, Maytag, Rival, and Covergirl, are paternal, half -siblings. They have the same sire.

I can also say that Daisy, Nutter Butter, and Louie are full siblings  – same sire and dam.

Further, Dino, Gump, and Festus are half – brothers. I don’t need to specify how, because when I say half -brothers we know they have the same mother.   Someone else versed in industry lingo, if you will, would know by my omission of “paternal” that they’re maternal siblings, so I’d need not specify that.

So please, for the love of all things horses, let’s brush up on these two not-so-minor-details-of-description and help spread the word to those who may not know, or who do know but just don’t take the time to say or write it correctly.

Together, we can all make a difference.

Happy Trails!


Posted in: Horse Care, Ranch Life

About Jenn Zeller

Jenn Zeller is the creative mind and boss lady behind The South Dakota Cowgirl. She is an aspiring horsewoman, photographer, brilliant social media strategist and lover of all things western. After a brief career in the investment world to support her horse habit (and satisfy her...

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