Glossary of Equine Terms – D

Daisy Cutter to Dun

Daisy Clipper: Term describing a horse with a ground-hugging action.

Dales Pony: One of the nine breeds of horse or pony native to the British Isles. Originating from the Pennines, from Derbyshire to the Scottish border.

Dam: A horse’s female parent.

Dartmoor Pony: One of the nine breeds of horse or pony native to the British Isles. Originating in the Dartmoor region of southwest England.

Deep Going: Term used to describe ground that is wet or soft, into which the hooves sink.

Depth of Girth: The measurement from the wither to the elbow. A horse with a generous measurement between these points is said to have a “good depth of girth”.

Desert Horse: Term used to describe horses bred in dry, desert conditions, or horses descended from such horses. Examples are Arabian and Akhal Teke.

Diagonals: The horses legs move in pairs at the trot, called diagonals. The left diagonal is when the left foreleg and right hindleg move, the right diagonal is when the right foreleg and the left hindleg move. When on a circle, the rider rises as the outside foreleg moves forward.

Dipped Back: An usually hollow back between the withers and the croup. Often occurs in old age. (See also Sway Back)

Dished Face: The concave head profile seen in breeds such as the Arabian.

Dishing: A faulty action, where the toe of the foreleg is thrown outward in a circular movement with each stride.

Distemper: Highly contagious disease caused by the bacteria Streptococcus Equi. More commonly known as Strangles.

Disunited: Canter in which the horse’s legs are out of sequence.

Dock: The bony part of the tail, from which the hair grows.

Docking: Amputation of the dock for the sake of appearance. (Illegal in the UK)

Dutch Warmblood: Popular sport horse derived from the breeding of French, German and English horses with native Dutch horses. Bred originally as a carriage horse, but has evolved into a versatile horse which excels at many equestrian sports, including dressage, showjumping and eventing. See also Warmblood.

Dorsal Stripe: A continuous stripe of black or brown hair from neck to tail. Seen in horses of “primitive” breeding, such as the Exmoor and the Norwegian Fjord and is often seen in dun-colored horses. (Also called Eel Stripe)

Double Bridle: Traditional English bridle with two bits (snaffle and curb) giving the rider a greater degree of control than a single bit.

Draft Horse: A term applied to any horse used for hauling vehicles or loads, but most usually associated with the heavy breeds.

Draw Rein: A rein which attaches to the girth at one end, passes through the rings of the bit and back to the rider’s hands. Used to increase control and give a better head position, but is difficult to use correctly and is very easy to abuse.

Dressage: (i) The art of training the horse so that he is totally obedient and responvie to the rider, as well as supple and agile in his performance. (ii)Competetive sport which, by a series of set tests, seeks to judge the horse’s natural movement and level of training against an ideal.

Dropped or Drop Noseband: Noseband which buckles beneath the bit to prevent the horse from opening its mouth to “take hold of” the bit and ignore the riders rein aids.

Dryland Distemper: Disease, also known as Pigeon Fever, which causes abcesses on the chest and belly.

Dun: Coat color. Yellow or sandy colored body with black points. Also has a dorsal strip.

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