What Horse Ads Really Mean

I’m not looking for another horse but I still love to browse the ads. I find it particularly amusing to try to read in-between the lines and figure out what the seller really means.

Here are some of the “code” words and how they can be translated! Not all mine, but gleaned from the Internet.

Enjoy! And Caveat Emptor.

  • Husband Horse: Large horse that can walk and trot, preferably behind another horse. Not broke to canter, but neither is the husband.
  • Event Horse: No brakes, not great steering, but goes over (or through) almost anything.
  • Dressage Horse: Slow, over bent, much too large for its petite rider.
  • 16.2 Plus: 15.3 on a good day, right before he’s been shod
  • Great Feet: Too bad about the bowed tendon and the back problems.
  • Bomb Proof: Too dumb to spook.
  • Three-Gaited: Trip, stumble, fall.
  • Five-Gaited: Trip, stumble, fall, spin, and bolt.
  • Spirited: Certifiably insane.
  • High Strung: Certifiably insane.
  • Needs Experienced Rider: Certifiably insane.
  • Athletic: Certifiably insane, and capable of proving it in a heartbeat.
  • Ready for Training: Certifiably insane, but hasn’t killed/maimed anyone yet.
  • Mature: Older than rocks.
  • Good Schooling Horse: Older than rocks.
  • Trail broke: Never make it in western pleasure, too slow for gymkhana, can’t do dressage, isn’t broke to drive, won’t jump and too ugly to show at halter.
  • Lots of Chrome: Dumber than dirt, spookier than anything, not particularly athletic.
  • Loves People: Prefers them lightly seasoned & sauteed in molasses.
  • Loads of Potential: No one’s been able to get him to actually DO anything yet despite the fact that he’s now 10.
  • Prospect: I’m sure you can find something he’d be good at even though we couldn’t.
  • Dead Broke: Nearly dead.
  • Big Trot: Hasn’t learned to canter under saddle.
  • Nicely Started: Lunges, but we don’t have enough insurance to ride him yet.
  • Home Bred: We didn’t know that our 2 year old stud would breed with all the mares in the field.
  • Typey: We think he looks like either a TB or a QH depending on the angle.
  • Bold: Can’t stop him.
  • Good Mover: Hasn’t fallen down recently.
  • Always Sound: Of course we haven’t ridden him in a year but he looks great out in the field.
  • Should Mature Over 16h: currently 14 hands, dam is 14.2, sire is 15.3 hands, every horse in pedigree back 18 generations is under 16 hands, but *this* horse will defy his DNA and grow.
  • Still Growing: Well, he’s getting fatter even if he topped out at 14.2 1/2
  • Not Marish: Unless she’s in season and that only happens six or seven times a year.
  • Well Mannered: Hasn’t stepped on, run over, bit, or kicked anyone for a week.
  • Professionally Trained: We couldn’t do anything with him so we sent him to the girl down the street for a month.
  • Could go Prelim: He jumped out of the pasture once and that was a really big fence.
  • Recently Vetted: Someone else found something really wrong with this horse.
  • For Sale Due to Lack of Time: Rider cannot afford to spend anymore time in the hospital.
  • Vet Check Welcome: Please pay for us to find out what the !@#$ is wrong with him!
  • Anyone Can Ride: Except for us. That’s why we’re selling him.
  • Can be Pushy on the Ground: Knocked over and stomped on his last caretaker then took a chunk out of her arm.
  • Very Experienced Competitor: We’ve used him up and now need someone to fund his retirement.
  • Needs “Some” Maintenance: He’s a great horse to ride but needs weekly Adequan and Legend, hock injections every six months, corrective shoeing and a host of other supplements.
  • “Confirmed” Second Level: Did some leg yields once when we were trying to ride by the gate.
  • Working Well in Double Bridle: Anything less and you’re off to the races.
  • Just Imported: We paid a boat-load of money for him and can’t stand riding him.
  • School Master: Older than dirt and starting to show some soundness issues.
  • Push Button: Just make sure you know which buttons NOT to push as then it gets scary.
  • Potential to Move Up: My trainer and I couldn’t get him to the next level but maybe you’ll have better luck.
  • Barn Favorite: Everyone loves to feed him carrots, but no one wants to buy him.

5 thoughts on “What Horse Ads Really Mean

  1. Thats scary, we find homes for exracehorses and use some of your terms… I especially liked the ‘husband horse’ one. A lot of truth to that.
    Remember Me Rescue Foundation is our 501(c)3 and we take in unwanted horses to retrain for new careers.

    1. My OTTB was described as a potential husband horse. I used to joke that only applied to husbands who were jockeys! Sure, I’ve met a few horses that lived up to the hype, but more than once I swear the ad was written in code :).

  2. I love decoding the language.
    I am a big provider of “Husband Horses” who actually do have all three gaits smooth and elegant and can jump nicely. They are calmer and slower than your average first field foxhunter would like, so that’s how I sell ’em. I find it’s often the husbands who have an inflated view of their skills. Maybe I should list them as BABYSITTERS. That’s what I always needed, and that’s what husbands need, too, whether or not they will admit it.

    1. I could have used one of those for my husband! I do know that some ads accurately represent the horses being sold. It’s just that the frustration of showing up to find many small lame horses sticks in my mind as the overwhelmingly most common experience!

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