Preparing for Hippology

Tack ID Extravaganza 2016The word "hippology" means "study of the horse" - so it's a very broad content area. Hippology is PRACTICAL knowledge for the most part.  Horse Bowl questions, 4H horse books, other horse books, etc. are very helpful

Identification of Horse Related Items

This is PRACTICAL knowledge. Besides just knowing the definition of something, know what things look like & how they work. Match pictures with descriptions & vice versa

Following is a breakdown using categories for studying. Look at ALL difficulty levels, even if you are a junior.  Start with the most basic things in each category & build from there.  Do not worry if you cannot get to everything or know everything. Start with what you know & work on learning new things! Once you learn the common names, start working on the scientific names & more technical information. 


  • ID the parts of the horse
  • ID the bones (juniors, start with the main bones) -- bones/joints of legs, vertebrae sections (cervical, etc.)
  • Know the different body systems, their functions & parts (central nervous system, circulatory system, etc.
  • Major muscle, ligament, tendon names & functions
  • Descriptive terms -- example distal, proximal, etc.


  • ID a horse breed from a picture
  • Learn misc. info connected with breeds - foundation sires, other names, general height, use, terms (ex "cowy" is used sometimes talking about Quarter Horses)
  • For each breed - learn average height, weight, country of origin, main uses, color/markings
  • Registration terms -- grade, crossbred, purebred, pedigree, etc.
  • Terms for types of horses - light horse, bloodstock, broomtail, cob, etc.


  • ID basic colors - black, brown, chestnut, bay, white ID color variations - gray, roan, palomino, pinto, dun ID color dilutions - cremello, perlino, etc.
  • ID face & leg markings
  • Body markings - dapples, ermine spots, etc.
  • Color patterns - Paint/Pinto patterns, Appaloosa patterns, Dun factors


  • ID conformation faults (check the terms & look for pictures/drawings of the different faults)
  • Know problems caused by different conformation faults
  • Know good vs faulty conformation
  • Other terms listed in this section-- balance, soundness, etc.


  • ID the parts of the digestive tract, functions & capacity/size
  • Terms found in this section --- mastication, peristalsis, etc.


  • Causes, symptoms & treatment of major diseases
  • Vaccinations - which ones are needed (which disease are they for) - how often given
  • Types of immunizations (IV, IM, Sub-Q) & locations where given
  • Terms - chronic, acute, etc.


  • ID different horse activities/events & sports from a description and/or a picture
    • Examples - rodeo events, racing, polo, types of driving events/classes,
  • ID Western & English events/activities, etc.
  • ID Locations that are "connected" with a sport --- example pictures of dressage arena, racetrack, etc.
  • Terms, definitions, abbreviations (ex. USDF = United Stated Dressage Federation)
  • Event specific info -- (dressage arena letters, etc.)


  • ID types of external parasites - life cycles, etc.
    • Where do they feed on a horse (location - head, legs, etc.?)
    • What are symptoms/treatments of infestation?
    • Do they transmit diseases - if so, what?
    • Prevention methods - think practical


  • Terms: forage, roughage, concentrates legumes, grass, etc.
  • ID common grasses & legumes (pictures or actual plants)
  • ID common grains (pictures, actual grains)
    • Methods grains can be processed (rolled, crimped, etc.) & ways hay can be baled (small, large, round, etc.)
  • Recognize good/bad hay & grain (presence of mold, etc.)
  • ID common poisonous plants - descriptions (written, picture, actual plant), problems they cause, symptoms & treatments
  • General feeding guidelines - How much do you feed per day/how do you measure it? (ex. think exact measurements - how many pounds of hay/grain per day does a horse need instead of how many "flakes", "scoops/coffee cans"
  • How to read a feed tag
  • Common supplements - why used


  • What are the 5 nutrients - water, carbohydrates/energy, vitamins, minerals, protein
  • What does each do?, how much is needed by a horse?, what is a good source of that nutrient?, etc.
  • Main Vitamins/Minerals - main job of each & where does horse get it
  • Other terms -- TDN, amino acids, etc.


  • ID parts of the foot (internal bones, external parts of hoof)
  • ID parts of a horseshoe
  • ID farrier tools - know uses
  • ID common types of horseshoes - know uses,
  • Know difference between front & hind shoes, horse/mule shoe, therapeutic/corrective
  • Horseshoe sizes & misc. items -- clips, caulks, pads, etc.
  • Reasons for shoeing/trimming
  • Terms - farrier, blacksmith, etc. How often to trim/shoe


  • ID gaits from description and/or a picture
  • Know gaits specific to certain breeds (Tennessee Walker, Peruvian Paso, etc.)
  • ID traveling defects from description and/or pictures --- example - forging, interfering, etc.
  • Natural/acquired gaits
  • How many beats for each gait


  • Natural vs. artificial aids - seat, hand, leg position
  • Terms -- side pass, bearing/leading rein, etc.


  • Terms - genetics, genotype/phenotype, gene, chromosome, allele, dominant/recessive, etc.
  • Genetic diseases - which breed are they found in, etc.
  • "Lethal genes" -- Foal dies at birth or before if, the horse is homozygous for that gene


  • ID common grooming tools & their uses
  • ID Types of clips (body clip, trace, hunter, etc.)


  • TPR - what is a normal temperature, pulse, and respiration for a horse? How do you measure it & where?
  • ID types of wounds - descriptions, causes, treatments
  • ID types of bandages & when they are used
  • Types of injections (IM/IV/Sub-Q) & locations where given
  • Body Condition scoring (ID pictures of different scored horses)
  • Colic - signs/symptoms, causes/treatments, types
  • Founder, Navicular, thrush, abscess, etc. - signs/symptoms, causes/treatment
  • First aid for common situations
  • What would you include in an equine first aid kit?
  • ID pictures of different health problems (bowed tendon, founder, etc.)


  • Scientific name for horse (Equus caballus)
  • Evolution stages (Eohippus, etc.)
    • Names, size, number of toes front/back, etc.


  • ID types - names
    • Where are they found? What damage do they cause? Which age are horses affected?
  • Life cycles of the parasites
  • Prevention methods
  • Types of wormers - names, how administered, etc.
  • Terms - anthelmintic, etc.


  • Terms - what do balance, action, conformation mean? Essential/less-essential points
  • Breed/sex characteristics


  • ID equipment needed for horse & rider
  • ID types of jumping obstacles (oxer, cavaletti, etc.)
  • Understand the difference between jumper and hunter classes
  • Terms - bascule, cavaletti, etc.


  • ID Types of knots & their uses
  • Know different types of brands
  • Misc. terms


  • ID pack saddles
  • ID pack equipment
  • ID pack hitches
  • Terms - manta, panniers, etc.


  • Length of gestation period, length of heat/estrus - how often
  • Definitions - mare/stallion/gelding/colt/filly/foal, etc.
  • ID stallion & mare reproductive system parts


  • ID safe/unsafe practices, situations & conditions from descriptions and/or pictures
  • Fire safety
  • Riding safety - tack, equipment, etc. General safety rules
  • Helmet fitting


  • ID types of fencing
  • ID types of barns (styles) & other shelters
  • ID Types of stalls - box, tie
  • ID misc. equipment, etc. (hot walker, wash rack, auto waterer, etc.) Stall/arena sizes, types of gates/stall doors
  • ID Types of bedding
  • Types of insurance
  • Pasture management


  • ID saddle types, uses & parts both Western & English
  • ID bridles - parts, uses both Western & English
  • ID bits -- curb vs snaffle
  • ID harness parts
  • ID misc. equipment -- martingales, boots, blankets, etc.


  • How many of which type (incisors, molars, canines, wolf teeth) for foal, mare, stallion - be able to ID type of tooth when shown a picture
  • When (at what age) do different teeth erupt?
  • ID terms - cups, hooks, incisor, molar, centrals, intermediates, corners
  • Dental problems - causes & treatments
  • Floating - why
  • ID Dental equipment (speculum, etc.)


  • ID types of trailers & hitches
  • What documents are needed for travel?
  • Safe/unsafe methods of travel (safety chains, etc.)
  • Trailer checklist
  • How to choose trailer/truck combo (tow capacity, etc.)


  • Positive vs negative reinforcement


  • Terms - blemish vs unsoundness
  • Location, description, causes, problems caused, treatments if any