Book Review: The Horseman’s Illustrated

Horse & Rider, April 2001

The Horseman’s Illustrated Dictionary offers a lively look at horse-world lingo. On 214 pages, noted equine author/researcher Steven D. Price clearly defines more than l,000 horse-related words and veterinary terms, from “above the bit” to “zebra dun.”

Entries are organized alphabetically, so it’s easy to look up a word or expression you heard at a show, during a lesson, or while gabbing with your barn buddies. Sketches and photos further clarify a smattering of definitions.

This reference is also filled with interesting tidbits on breeds, training methods, and events. I was especially intrigued by the horse-word derivations. Did you know that the term canter was coined in Geoffrey Chaucer’s medieval literary work, The Canterbury Tales? Or that the word gymkhana is Hindu for “ball house”?

A handy back-of-book section gives you contact information for breed and sport associations, equine-related Web sites, and horse-goods retailers.

Most equine dictionaries are dry, exhaustive texts, but not this one. This reference isn’t quite as extensive as others I’ve seen, but it includes important horse-related terms and phrases. Price knows his stuff. You’ll enjoy his guide to horse-speak, whether you’re a novice or a seasoned pro.

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