Test your horse IQ with this equine quiz

Terrell Williams/For the Capital Press Bill Holloway and other members of the Southern Idaho Draft Horse and Mule Association give rides at the annual Thousand Springs Festival west of Wendell, Idaho.

1. What is equitation?

2. What is a fetlock?

3. What are skid boots?

4. What are a farrier’s clenches?

5. One of the most famous paintings by Charles M. Russell depicts the calamity of a bucking horse and rider smashing through the morning camp. What is the title of this 1908 painting?

6. At what age should the average horse have a full set of permanent teeth?

7. What are gut sounds, and what do they mean?

8. What is a Leopard Appaloosa?

9. When is the Kentucky Derby? (Bonus question: What horse won this year?)

10. In horse racing, what is a “win bet?”

11. What is a rowel?

12. At the National Finals Rodeo starting the first week of December in Las Vegas, what are the seven events? (What might be considered the eighth event on the final night?)

13. What is the meaning of a red ribbon tied to a horse’s tail?

14. What boot company, started in El Paso, Texas, in 1912 by the son of Italian immigrants, now has 780 employees and produces 3,100 pairs of boots a day?

15. What is bolting feed?

16. What are eggbutts, French links and bridoons?

17. Complete this old rhyming adage: “Never a bronc that couldn’t ____, and never a cowboy that couldn’t ____.”

18. What are girth galls?

19. What is the poll?

20. What 1944 movie about a difficult horse turned into a champion starred Elizabeth Taylor and Mickey Rooney?

BONUS QUESTION: What do you call a pony that won’t do anything you ask?


1. Equitation is another word for horsemanship, which is riding skill, especially with regard to form and control.

2. A fetlock is the lower leg joint above the foot.

3. Skid boots (also called sliding boots) are gear that strap around the fetlocks to protect those joints during sliding stops and other reining moves.

4. Clenches are the shoeing nail ends that are cut off, bent over and squeezed down against the hoof wall to secure the shoe.

5. This C.M. Russell painting is titled, “Bronc to Breakfast.” (A similar, later Russell painting is called, “Camp Cook’s Troubles.”)

6. A full set of permanent teeth arrives at 4 1/2 to five years of age.

7. Gut sounds are the gurgling of digestion, heard by listening with a stethoscope or even the naked ear pressed against the horse’s barrel just behind the last rib. These sounds indicate the stomach and intestines are in normal working condition. A horse with no gut sounds may be a horse in trouble with colic or other digestive problems.

8. A Leopard Appaloosa has white body hair covered all over with dark spots.

9. The Kentucky Derby is held on the first Saturday in May, won this year by Nyquist.

10. A win bet is a wager that a horse will finish only in first place.

11. A rowel is the pointed wheel of a spur. The length, shape and number of rowels determine the spur’s severity.

12. The seven NFR events are bareback bronc riding, steer wrestling, tie-down roping, saddle bronc riding, team roping, barrel racing and bull riding. Take a bonus point for knowing the clowns’ bull fighting competition at the end (the 10th night) of the rodeo.

13. Used mostly in trail riding, a red ribbon is a warning sign to keep your distance because this horse will kick when crowded.

14. Tony Lama (1887-1974) founded the legendary Tony Lama boot company. A cobbler by trade, he served in the U.S. Army making boots for soldiers, then earned a reputation throughout the Southwest for making top quality custom boots. Some of his original company employees were his six children.

15. Bolting feed is when a horse eats too fast because of being overly hungry, or anxious about another horse taking the food away, or simply having too much nervous anxiety. When a horse bolts his feed, he doesn’t chew it thoroughly, which may result in intestinal blockage.

16. These are three types of the snaffle bit, which is a milder, non-leverage bit.

17. “Never a bronc that couldn’t be rode, and never a cowboy that couldn’t be throwed.”

18. Girth galls are saddle sores made by dirty or poor fitting cinches, saddle pads and saddles.

19. The poll is the highest portion of a horse’s head, behind its ears.

20. That movie classic was National Velvet.

Bonus answer: A recalcitrant little equine is called a “neigh sayer.”

(Sources: The Horseman’s Illustrated Dictionary, The Horse Lover’s Bible and the internet.)


16 to 20: Top Hand

11 to 15: Seasoned Buckaroo

6 to 10: Weekend Wrangler

5 or less: Tenderfoot

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