Horse and Tack Parts

“Horse Parts” (or Tack Parts) is when you take some time during the lesson to review parts.

Why teach horse and tack parts:

  • practical benefits
    • helps them understand your instructions (“hand over the withers,” “hold the pommel,” etc.)
    • helps them communicate with you more effectively (“my foot!” vs. “my foot fell out of the stirrup”)
    • is necessary for horse care (telling the vet where the horse is hurt, caring for the tack, etc.)
  • therapeutic benefits
    • helps work on short and long term memory
    • helps work on focus
    • opportunity to stretch

When to teach horse and tack parts:

  • after warmups, incorporating stretches (reach forward to touch the mane/crest, turn left to touch the tail, turn right to touch the tail, bring both hands back to touch the hips)
  • during the lesson, to give riders a breather or break
  • at the end of the lesson, as part of cool down

How to teach and review horse and tack parts:

  • Point to the part and say it. Ask them to repeat the word. Have them stretch or point to it.
  • Ask them to identify the horse/tack part that you point to.
  • Ask them to point to the horse/tack part that you identify.
  • Take turns – first you say, “Where is the _________?” for them to point to, then they quiz you – incorporate the volunteers!
  • Have them clip clothespins to the parts (obviously only parts that are clippable, like mane, stirrup leather, etc.) – clothespins can even have the word written on them. Or put the clips on the right places, have the rider take them off while riding for warmups, then put them back on in the right places.
  • Have a poster of a horse on the wall that they can reach from horseback or use after the lesson. Put labels of the parts on the horse.

Sayings to remember horse and tack parts:

Name puns for tack parts

  • Cantle = so you can’t fall off
  • Pommel = where your palm goes
  • Seat = where your seat goes
  • Bit = horse bites the bit
  • Cheekpiece = runs down the cheek
  • Throat latch = the latch that goes around the throat
  • Brow band = like a headband for the brow
  • Crown piece = where the crown would sit
  • Keeper = keeps the extra leather
  • Flap = the flap flaps

Relate tack parts to body parts (for tactile riders):

  • Seat in the Saddle
  • Feet in the Stirrups
  • Hands on the Reins
  • Legs at the Girth


Name puns for horse parts

  • Poll = north pole
  • Dock = tail goes into the rear like a boar into a dock
  • Barrel = belly shaped like a barrel
  • Cannon bone = straight like a cannon, shoots the hoof out
  • Crest = like a mountain crest
  • Flank = where the hairs grow in separate directions, flank out
  • Forelock = the lock of hair on their forehead
  • Fetlock = lock of hair near the fet (foot)

The different parts on the hind leg from the foreleg are:

  • The forearm replaces the gaskin
  • The stifle replaces the shoulder
  • The hock replaces the knee (it’s the backward knee!)

What games do you play to remember horse and tack parts? And what fun methods do you use to help your riders remember the names?


  • folks at my barn


Note: This is not professional advice, this is a blog. I am not liable for what you do with or how you use this information. The activities explained in this blog may not be fit for every rider, riding instructor, or riding center depending on their current condition and resources. Use your best personal judgement!

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