Translation For Horse & Other Horse-Related Words

There is a multitude of words derived from ‘horse’ and ‘cow’ in different languages. And it seems very unfair that despite the usefulness of cattle a variety of cow-related insults have developed, whereas many of the horse-related words are complimentary! A good example is the Spanish word ‘caballero’ which literally translates as ‘horseman’, but these days is more understood to mean ‘gentleman’. By comparison 'cowboy' is sometimes unfortunately used in a context that has absolutely nothing to do with cattle or the men who work them - instead inferring someone is incompetent or shifty.

I would like to add more horse-related words to the following lists so if you can suggest any additions or corrections (via the customer enquiries page) I’d very much appreciate it. As a thank-you, you'll be entered into the 'handy person' prize draw.

The books 'Life as an Australian Horseman' & 'Million Acre Masterpiece' contains hundreds of images, most of which include stock horses working and resting. The images are accompanied by interesting captions full of authentic, reliable information. 'A Million Acre Masterpiece' has a handy glossary explaining many of the quirky words and expressions that are used almost exclusively on these huge cattle stations, and 'Life as an Australian Horseman' has an extra chapter of special bronco branding images, which includes photographs of bronco horses in action.

The Origin of Horse-Related Words

  • 'Equus' — Classical Latin. Hence the words equine, equestrian, equitation etc.
  • 'Caballus' — common Latin (slang) for horse of poor quality, i.e. a nag. Caballus turned into Italian 'cavallo', Spanish 'caballo', French 'cheval', and horse-related English words such as 'cavalry'.
  • 'Hippos' — Greek. Hence the words 'hippopotamus' - which means 'river horse', and 'hippodrome' - horse racecourse or track (as there was at ancient Olympia more than 2,000 years ago).

Words for ‘Horse’ in Other Languages

Word for Horse Language & Country
(le) ‘cheval’ French (France)
(o) ‘cavalo’ Portuguese (Portugal and Brazil)
(il) ‘cavallo’ Italian (Italy)
(el) ‘cavall’ Catalan (Spain and southern France)
(el) ‘caballo’ Spanish (Spain, Argentina, Mexico)
‘pferd’ German (Germany)
‘paard’ Flemish (Belgium)
‘paard’ Dutch (Netherlands)
‘perd’ Afrikaans (South Africa)
‘hevonen’ Finnish (Finland)
‘häst’ Swedish (Sweden)
‘hest’ Danish (Denmark) & Norwegian (Norway)
‘hestur’ Icelandic (Iceland)
‘lò’ Hungarian (Hungary)
‘cal’ Romanian (Romania)
‘kòn’ Polish (Poland)
‘kon’ (koHb) Belarusian (Belarus) & Russian (Russia)
‘konj’ (koHb) Macedonian (Macedonia), Serbian (Serbia), Croatian (Croatia), Bosnian (Bosnia) & Slovenian (Slovenia)
‘kon’ (koH) Bulgarian (Bulgaria)
‘kin’ (kiHb) Ukrainian (Ukraine)
‘beygir’ Turkish (Turkey)
‘capall’ Irish (Ireland); also 'eoch' (Irish - Gaelic)
‘ceffyl’ Welsh (Wales)
‘cuddy’ Scottish (Scotland)
‘yarraman’ Aboriginal (Australia); Barkly Tableland region of NT

For more information on horses in Australia, refer to Horses »

Other Horse-related Words Used on Cattle Stations (Ranches)

Person who looks after the station mustering horses that are currently being used each day:

  • ‘horsetailer’ — Australia
  • ‘wrangler’ — U.S.
  • ‘petisero’ — Argentina (young boy who looks after horses)
  • ‘caverango’ — Some South American countries (Spanish speaking)
  • ‘remudero’ — Mexico (not a direct translation; it is Spanish for a young boy who looks after horses)

The mob of horses currently in use by the stockmen:

  • ‘horse plant’ — Australia
  • ‘caviata/caviada’, ‘cavvy’ and ‘remuda’ — U.S.
  • ‘remuda’ — Canada
  • ‘tropilla’ — Argentina (group of horses used for work)
  • ‘caballada’, ‘cavallard’ (band of saddle horses) — part of South America (Spanish speaking countries)

The horses (usually 3 or 4) being used on a rotational basis by each individual stockman:

  • ‘string’ — Australia
  • ‘string’ and ‘bunch’ — U.S.

Person who trains young horses so they are able to be ridden:

  • ‘horse breaker’ — Australia
  • ‘bronco buster’ — U.S.
  • ‘domador’ — Argentina
  • 'amansador de cavalos' — Brazil
  • 'arrendador' and 'domador (de caballos)' — Mexico
  • 'dresseur' — French

Wild horses and untrained horses:

  • ‘brumby’ — Australia
  • ‘mustang’ — U.S. ('Mustang' is thought to derive from the Mexican Spanish word 'mestengo')
  • 'bronco' — U.S.
  • 'cimarron' — American Spanish found in southern U.S., eg Texas, and Mexico. 'Cimarron' means wild, unbroken, untamed; and is used to refer to all livestock; such as horses, cattle, sheep, pigs etc.
  • ‘bronco’ — Mexico. And 'caballo bruto sin rienda' (horse without reins that can't be ridden)
  • ‘potro’ — Argentina
  • ‘mesteno’ — some Spanish-speaking South American countries. (Mesteno basically means 'stray livestock'.)

Saddle (seat or chair on a horse):

  • 'saddle' — English - Australia, England, U.S., Canada
  • 'sella' — Italian
  • 'silla' — Spanish ('silla de montar')
  • 'sela' — Portuguese (Portugal & Brazil)
  • 'selle' — French ('une selle')
  • 'sattel' — German
  • 'sal' — Norwegian
  • 'sedlo' — Serbian, Croatian, Slovenian
  • 'sadul' — Estonian
  • 'sadel' — Swedish
  • 'sadel' — Danish
  • 'zadel' — Dutch
  • 'saal' — Afrikaans
  • 'montura' — Argentina (more conventional type of leather saddle)
  • 'recado' — Argentina - used in the bush to ride horses; but very different to the standard leather saddle used in Australia, U.S. & Britain
  • 'nyeveg' — Hungarian

To saddle a horse (ready for riding):

  • 'saddle' or 'saddle up' — English - Australia
  • 'tack up' & 'saddle up' — England
  • 'sallare' — Italian
  • 'satteln' — German
  • 'ensillar' — Spanish
  • 'encilhar' — Portuguese (Portugal)
  • 'selar' — Brazilian Portuguese
  • 'ensellement' — French
  • 'sadla' — Swedish

Saddlery (bridles, saddles, girths, stirrups - the whole outfit that goes on a riding horse):

  • 'tack' — southern Australia & horse show circuit (not northern inland), Britain

Girth:

  • 'girth' — Australia & England
  • 'cinch' — U.S. & Canada
  • 'cincha' — Spain

Bridle:

  • 'bride' — French/Francais
  • 'brida' — Spanish/Espanol
  • 'briglia' — Italian/Italiano
  • 'breidel' — Dutch/Nederlands
  • 'bridao' — Brazilian Portuguese/Portugues Brasileiro
  • 'bidsel' — Danish/Dansk
  • 'betsel' — Swedish/Svenska
  • 'bissel' — Norwegian/Norsk
  • 'beisli' — Icelandic/Islenska
  • 'uzda' — Polish/Polski; Slovenian/Slovenski; Czech/Cesky; Croatian/Hrvatski; Serbian
  • 'yular' — Turkish
  • 'kantar' — Hungarian/Magyar
  • 'zaumzeug' — German/Deutsch
  • 'srian' — Scottish gaelic
  • 'ffrwyn' — Welsh (ffrwyno — to bridle)
  • 'toom' — Afrikaans 

Blinkers (commonly used in horse racing): 

  • 'blinders' - America

Halter:

  • 'halter' — Australia & England
  • 'cabresto' — Spain
  • 'redea' — Brazilian Portuguese

Lungeing (an extra-long rein or rope that is used to exercise horses in a circular pattern):

  • 'lungeing' — Australia, New Zealand, United Kingdom
  • 'longeing' — United States ('longeing' is the original [French] spelling)

Saddle cloth (cloth which placed between the horses back and the saddle):

  • 'saddle cloth' — in northern Australia it is the rectangular cloth placed between the horse & saddle to absorb sweat, keep the saddle dry and clean, and help prevent it pinching the horse. On large cattle stations, saddle cloths are usually just a length of the traditional blue, yellow and red check pure wool cut straight from a complete bolt of cloth, and folded in half (with no edging). In the U.S., a 'saddle cloth' is more for cosmetic purposes — it's a piece of cloth that is decorative and often very fancy, placed on top of the saddle blanket (below).
  • 'saddle blanket' or 'saddle pad' — terms sometimes used instead of 'saddle cloth', especially in southern Australia. However more often the term 'saddle blanket' or 'saddle pad' is used to refer to a much thicker pad that is meant to protect the horses back from injury due to an imperfectly fitting saddle, or because the horse is older or not in good condition (i.e. the horse has a bony back, which needs protecting). A thicker pad is also very practical when a rider has a number of different horses to ride and only one saddle, as is the case on large cattle stations. A thinner saddle cloth is usually used underneath the saddle blanket or saddle pad, as it's much easier to wash regularly. The term 'saddle blanket' is commonly used in America also.
  • 'numnah' — the term for a shaped saddle pad used in the U.K., and the Australian show circuit. The pad is shaped to follow the outline of the saddle, rather than being a large rectangle (so it looks a lot neater and there are no corners flapping about). Sheepskin numnahs are commonly used with dressage and show jumping saddles, in Australia as well as the U.K.
  • 'baxeiro' — Brazil

Saddle maker:

  • 'saddler' — Australian & British English
  • 'saalmaker' — Afrikaans, South Africa
  • 'seleiro' — Brazilian Portuguese

Horse rug:

  • 'horse rug' — Australian. A large blanket that is put onto a horse and fastened with straps around the legs and neck. Horse rugs are used to keep a horse warm in colder climates, and/or to keep the horse's winter coat shorter (even in mild climates) so they don't look as hairy in the show ring. Horse rugs are never used on large cattle stations — except by those who regularly enters campdrafts, who are fussy about the appearance of their campdrafting horses.
  • 'horse blanket' — U.K., USA (same as a 'horse rug', as above).

Horse gaits:

  • Second gear:
    • ‘trot’ — Australia, England
    • ‘jog’ — U.S.
  • Third gear:
    • ‘canter’ — Australia, England
    • ‘lope’ — U.S.

Enclosed building to house horses:

  • 'stable' — English - Australia, Britain
  • 'ecurie' — French ('une ecurie')
  • 'establo' — Spanish
  • 'estabulo' — Brazilian

Horsefloat (carries two or three horses and is towed behind a vehicle):

  • ‘horse float’ — Australia (A 'gooseneck' horsefloat connects onto the towing vehicle's chassis just behind the cab, and will carry a lot more horses)

  • 'horse box' — England

  • ‘horse trailer’ — U.S., Canada, Argentina

  • 'trailer para cavalos' — Brazilian

Words for ‘rodeo’ and horse sports:

  • ‘rodeo’ — Australia (pronounced ‘row-DAY-oh’ in southern Australia and ‘ro-dee-oh’ in northern Australia, as it is pronounced in the U.S.)
  • ‘rodeo’ — U.S. & Canada
  • ‘charreada’ — Mexico (similar to rodeos but event rules and details are a bit different). Participants are 'charros', the traditional horsemen/stockmen of Mexico.
  • ‘jineteada’ — Argentina (similar to rodeos but event rules and details are a bit different)
  • 'rodeio' — Brazil

Standard basic Australian horse (equine) terms:

  • 'mare' — adult female horse (breeding age) ('une jument' — French)
  • 'stallion' — adult male horse (breeding age) ('un etalon' — French)
  • 'gelding' — adult male horse that has been castrated (testicles removed — so geldings cannot breed, and they do not fight with other males or fuss over mares, as most stallions do. So geldings are usually much steadier to ride and easier to manage.)
  • 'filly' — young female horse (equivalent to a teenager/early 20s)
  • 'colt' — young male horse (on cattle stations, all young horses that are around breaking-in age are referred to as 'colts', whether they are female or male)
  • 'foal' — baby horse (too young to ride or breed) ('un poulain' — French)
  • 'nag' — old horse (usually not in good condition — bony)

For hundreds of beautiful photographs of Australian stock horses at work on the world's largest cattle stations, see the unique books 'Life as an Australian Horseman' & A Million Acre Masterpiece'.

Please note: Information on these translation pages is protected by copyright laws, like the rest of the website.

Many hours of work have been spent compiling these pages of translations, cross checking as much as possible, to ensure accuracy. But because I am not a linguistics expert all words & meanings translated here should be cross checked with other sources before being quoted, because I am not able to guarantee there are no errors.

© Copyright Fiona Lake

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