Rural Heritage Draft Dictionary

Our online alphabetical list of “drafty” words and their meanings.
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abreast. A multiple hitch in which the animals work side by side.

Albany cutter. A style of sleigh originating in Albany, New York, and characterized by having curved sides; also known as a swell-body cutter.

artificial insemination (AI). A procedure in which semen is collected from a stallion and manually deposited into the mare's uterus.

arbalete/arblest. A unicorn hitch.

ascarids. Roundworms.

ass. A member of the species Equus asinus, or a donkey.

balling gun. A device for placing a large pill, or bolus, down an animal's throat through its mouth.

base narrow. Conformation in which the legs are close together when viewed from the front or back.

bean. Secretions that have hardened in the cavity at the end of a horse's penis.

blacksmith. A person who shapes iron with a forge, anvil and hammer and who may or may not be a farrier.

block. Injection of a short-acting local anesthetic near a nerve or into a joint.

blow. To breath hard.

bolus. A large, usually oval, pill given to a large animal.

bobsled. A two-runner sled used for hauling logs out of the woods; also called a bob, dray, yarding sled, or double ripper.

borium. Tungsten carbide welded to the bottom of horse shoes to increase traction and reduce wear; Horse Borium is the trade name for borium manufactured
by Snoody.

bots. The larvae of the bot fly, which migrate and attach to the inside of the horse's stomach and the first part of its small intestine.

bow yoke. A neck yoke for oxen.

breakover. The way the toe of a hoof moves during locomotion.

breeching. A harness strap around an animal's hindquarters to help hold back the load while going downhill.

brichen. Breeching.

burro. A donkey of mid-size and of wild decent.

BVSc. A graduate of a European, Australian, or New Zealand veterinary college.

calk. Sharply pointed piece of iron projecting downward from a shoe to keep a draft animal from slipping on ice or packed snow.

camped out. Standing with the forelegs placed well in front (camped out in front) or hind legs placed well behind (camped out behind).

cast. Lying in such a position, usually too close to a wall or fence, that the horse cannot get its legs underneath itself to stand.

cheek teeth. Molars.

chestnut. The raised pad of hairless skin on the inner surface of a horse's leg.

chuck wagon. A kitchen wagon used for hauling food (or chuck) and preparing meals on the trail.

clevis. A C-shaped piece of hardware with a removable bolt running through it, used to repair a chain, connect two chains together or, when attached to a sled or other implement, to provide a place to hitch a team; also called shackle.

club foot . A horse's hoof that is abnormally upright.

Coggins test. A blood test that looks for indications that a horse has equine infectious anemia (EIA, or Swamp Fever).

colic. Abdominal pain.

conformation. Body build.

congenital. Present at birth, usually referring to abnormalities that may or may not
be inherited.

coronary band. Soft tissue around the top of a horse's hoof from which the
hoof grows.

cow hocked. A conformational defect in which the legs bend inward at the hocks, resulting in hocks that are close together.

cow kick. Present at birth, usually referring to abnormalities that may or may not
be inherited.

cresty neck. A prominent and thick top portion of the neck from which a horse's mane grows.

cribbing. An addictive action in which a horse grasps the edge of a board in its teeth, sharply bends its neck, sucks in air and makes a grunting noise.

crossbow. A unicorn hitch.

crossbreed. The mating of two animals of different breeds; offspring resulting from such a mating.

cross ties. Two ties fastened to parallel walls or posts that attach to each side of a halter to hold an animal in place.

cryptorchid. A male in which one testicle not descended into the scrotum.

cutter. A light passenger sleigh typically pulled by a single horse.

Cushing's disease. A disease of horses caused by a pituitary tumor producing hormones that affect metabolism and hair growth, as well as other hormone
producing organs.

DMV. A graduate of a French-speaking veterinary college in Canada.

docked tail. A tail that has been shortened by the removal of a portion of the tail bones; also called a bobbed tail.

dog. A grappling device used to hold a log for ground skidding.

dolly wheels. A set of small wheels under the tongue of a mowing machine or other device to help carry the machine's weight and thus reduce fatigue on the animals.

donkey. A domesticated animal of the species Equus asinus.

double ripper. A bobsled.

doubletree. A unit consisting of an evener and two singletrees.

draft. The act of pulling a vehicle or load; an animal used for pulling.

draft horse. Any horse used for doing work.

Drill Tech. Brand name for borium manufactured by Hartwell with a high brass
content for improved strength, applied to the bottoms of shoes to increase traction and reduce wear.

drover. An ox teamster.

DVM. A graduate of an American veterinary college (except for the University of Pennsylvania) or of an English-speaking veterinary college in Canada.

ear tooth. Misplaced tooth tissue in the bone at the base of a horse's ear.

easy keeper. An animal that easily maintains its proper weight.

EPSM. Equine polysaccharide storage myopathy; also known as EPSSM
and PSSM.

ergot. The raised pad of hairless skin on the back of a horse's fetlock.

equalizer. An evener.

evener. A device used to even out the load between teams hitched abreast.

extension. A long-strided gait produced when a horse increases extension of its
leg joints.

far. The off animal in a team.

farrier. A blacksmith who shapes and fits horseshoes.

feather/feathering. The long, often flowing hairs growing on the lower legs of
some horses.

filly. A baby female horse.

flare. An outward bend of the side of the hoof, usually the outer side.

flat shoe. A shoe without traction devices.

floating. Rasping down sharp points (hooks) on the horse's molars.

foal. A baby horse.

foal heat. A mare's first heat cycle after foaling, usually occurring at about one
week post-foaling.

foal heat diarrhea. Diarrhea in a nursing foal during the mare's foal heat.

forging. Striking the bottom of the front shoe with hind shoe.

founder. Sinking of the coffin bone caused by laminitis.

gall. A sore spot resulting from harsh or ill-fitting harness; also to cause such a
sore spot.

ganting. Limiting the water intake of a pulling horse so it will meet the weight requirements of its class.

gee. Command used to direct draft animals to turn right.

gelding. A castrated male horse or donkey; the act of castrating.

girth. The body's circumference behind the forelegs.

goad. A carved flexible hardwood stick, about 4 feet long, used to drive oxen.

grab hook. A hook at the end of a chain that slips around or "grabs" into the chain to adjust the chain's length.

grade. A mixed breed horse, often of unknown ancestry.

greasy heel. Scratches.

ground skidding. Pulling one or more logs along the ground with a chain or cable.

guttural pouch. The air-filled pouch in the horse's head that cools the blood to the brain during exercise.

hackamore. A bitless bridle.

hand. A unit of measure, equal to 4 inches (the width of a man's hand) used to describe a horse's height as measured from the ground to the withers.

handy. Description of oxen that are responsive in the yoke.

haw. Command used to direct draft animals to turn left.

hay belly. Pot belly due to the consumption of poor quality forage.

headland. A strip of unplowed ground at the ends of the furrows, usually near a fence or field border.

head yoke. A yoke that attaches oxen at their heads, rather than at the withers; also called a horn yoke.

heaves. An allergic lung disease of horses and mules; also called chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or broken wind.

hinny.The offspring of a male horse (stallion) and a female donkey (jennet).

hitch point. The point at which a team and its load connect.

hood. The driver of a hoodlum wagon.

hoodlum wagon. The bed wagon in a cow camp, which carried bedrolls and spare saddles to relieve the chuckwagon of these items.

hooks. The sharp points that grow on the inside of a horse's lower molars and the outside of the upper molars and that must be regularly floated.

hooligan wagon. The chip wagon, used to haul camp fuel for a chuck wagon in timberless areas.

horn yoke. A head yoke.

horn balls point. Horn knobs.

horn knobs.Brass balls placed over the tips of an ox's horns to keep it from goring other animals or to decorate an animal to be exhibited in public; also called
ox balls.

horse mule. A male mule more than one year old.

imprinting. The natural bonding process by which a newborn animal learns to recognize its mother, or to accept and trust a human or other animal.

imprint training. The process of teaching a newborn foal to accept being handled by people; also called imprinting.

inherited. Caused by genes and therefore capable of being passed on to offspring.

interfere. To strike the hoof or shoe of one leg against the opposite leg or the leg of another team mate while walking.

jack. An ungelded donkey.

jackass. An ungelded donkey.

jennet. A female donkey.

jenny. A female donkey.

john. A male mule; a gelded donkey.

Kimball cutter. A Portland cutter; also known as a Kimball sleigh.

laminitis. Inflammation of the laminae of the hoof that can lead to rotation and sinking of the coffin bone, a condition known as founder.

leaders. The lead team.

lead team. The first team in a multiple hitch; also called leaders.

log boat. A long sled used for skidding logs in wet places.

longear. Collective term for the group of equines that includes donkeys, mules,
and hinnies.

lizard. A Y-shaped sled, often made from the crotch of a tree, on which the front end of a log rests for skidding; also called a crazy drag, go-devil or snow snake.

mare. An adult female horse.

mare mule. A female mule more than one year old.

molly mule. A female mule.

mule. The offspring of a male donkey (jack) and a female horse (mare).

multiple hitch. More than two animals hitched together.

MVSc. A graduate of a European, Australian, or New Zealand veterinary college.

navicular bone. The bone within the suspensory ligaments in the hoof.

navicular disease. A painful lameness caused by the degeneration of the
navicular bone.

near. Same as nigh.

neck yoke. For horses, a bar hanging in front of a team for the purpose of attaching an implement or wagon tongue; for oxen, a yoke that attaches a team at the withers, rather than at their heads; also called a bow yoke, shoulder yoke, or withers yoke.

nigh. Collective term for the group of equines that includes donkeys, mules,
and hinnies.

off. The animal hitched on the team's right side; also called far.

ox. A castrated bull that has been trained for work and is at least four years old.

ox balls. Horn knobs.

oxen. More than one ox.

parrot mouth. Having the lower jaw shorter than the upper jaw.

pitman. On a mowing machine, the arm connecting the gears to the sicklebar.

PMU farm. Pregnant mare urine farm, where mares produce female hormones used to treat post menopausal women.

pneumonia. Inflammation of the lungs.

pole. Wooden (or sometimes metal) beam attached to the front of a wagon or other implement to which a team is hitched; also called a tongue.

pole team. Wheel team.

Portland cutter.. A style of sleigh originating in Portland, Maine, and characterized by its square body; also known as a Kimball sleigh after the name of its designers.

postillion. The person who guides a team pulling a carriage, especially one without a driver, while riding on the near horse.

postmortem examination. Autopsy performed on animals; also called necropsy.

Potomac horse fever (PHF). An infection involving fever and diarrhea caused by rickettsial organisms that are carried by fresh water snails.

pressure quicking. Pain and lameness caused by driving a nail too close to sensitive tissue while shoeing a horse, mule or ox.

probiotic. Wheel team.

proud flesh. A tumor-like growth of normal tissue in a healing wound, most commonly occurring on a horse's lower legs.

pung. A box sleigh used in New England and typically pulled by a single horse.

quarter crack. A crack occurring on the side of a horse's hoof.

quicking. Pain, bleeding, lameness and sometimes infection caused by driving a nail into sensitive tissue while shoeing a horse, mule, or ox.

ridgeling. A cryptorchid.

riding plow. A plow on which the operator rides while plowing.

ringbone. A bony proliferation involving the pastern joints caused by degenerative joint disease.

road founder. Laminitis caused by repeated concussion on hard surfaces.

roaring. The respiratory sound caused by laryngeal hemiplegia.

running W. A set of ropes and pulleys used to retain an unruly animal that tends to run away; as the animal bolts, the teamster pulls the ropes and the animal's front feet are pulled out from under it.

scoot. A rough-built sled with two solid runners, used in winter in northern areas to haul firewood, small logs, maple sap tanks and other farm or logging supplies.

scours. Diarrhea.

Scotch bottom. A style of over-sized horseshoe often used for show draft horses.

scratches. An irritation of the skin of a horse's lower legs having many causes, most often bacterial; also called dermatitis verrucosa or greasy heel.

shafts. A pair of pole-like units used to attach a single horse to a vehicle
or implement.

shipping fever. Bacterial pneumonia associated with the stress and confinement of long-distance transport.

shivers. A mechanical lameness of the hind legs associated with abnormal
hiking of the affected leg, a condition that progresses to cause overall muscle atrophy and weakness.

sickle hocked. A conformational defect in which the hocks bend more than
is normal.

sidebone. Ossification of the cartilages of the hoof.

singletree. A device for attaching a single animal to the trace chains.

skidding. Pulling logs along the ground or on a scoot, as opposed to using a logging cart.

sled. A horse-drawn vehicle equipped with runners instead of wheels.

sleighe. A device for attaching a single animal to the trace chains.

slip hook. A hook at the end of a chain that is wrapped around a log and tightens as the chain slips through the hook when the team leans into the yoke.

smegma. A build-up of greasy, irritating material in a stallion's sheath.

snow roller. A huge wooden roller used to pack down a snow-covered road.

span. A pair of animals used together.

stallion. An uncastrated adult male horse.

stallion mule. An ungelded male mule; also called a stud mule.

stay chains. A set of chains used to keep an evener straight.

steer. A castrated bull that may or may not be trained to work and is less than four years old.

stocking up. An uncastrated adult male horse.

stone boat. A flat, sled-like vehicle with no pole, and no runners so boulders may easily be rolled onto it.

strangles. Infection of the respiratory passages and lymph nodes of the head by Streptococcus equi.

stretcher. An evener.

stringhalt. A mechanical lameness of the hind legs in which the horse picks up the affected leg abnormally high so the hoof almost hits the bottom of the abdomen.

stud. A stallion used for breeding; a metal device put into a horseshoe to
improve traction.

stud mule. An ungelded male mule; also called a stallion mule.

sulky plow. Single-bottom riding plow.

swamp fever. Equine infectious anemia.

sweet feed. sweet feed.

sweeney. Atrophy of the shoulder muscles.

swingletree. A singletree.

sweet feed. A mix of grains and molasses; also called textured feed.

swell-body cutter. An Albany cutter.

tandem. A team in which the animals are hitched one behind the other.

team. Usually a pair of animals hitched together; sometimes also used to refer to a multiple hitch.

teamster. A person who controls draft animals.

tetanus. Painful and often lethal muscle spasms caused by toxins produced by Clostridium tetani bacteria.

thills. Shafts.

thrush. A bacterial infection of the frog of the hoof.

tongue (of a wagon). Same as pole.

tongue stop. A device on a pole that prevents the pole from running through the yoke of a team hitched to the implement, helping to hold the load and allowing the team to back up a heavy wagon or cart.

trace. A strap, chain, or rope running from the hame (or breast collar) to
the singletree.

traction shoe. A horseshoe with traction devices such as studs, calks, Drill-Tek
or borium.

tripletree. A unit for hitching three horses consisting of a 3-horse evener and
a doubletree.

tug. The short strap and buckle by which the trace attaches to the hame (or breast collar); also the loop that supports a shaf.

tying up. Massive muscle damage during or after work; also called azoturia, black water, Monday morning disease, setfast or exertional rhabdomyolysis.

twitch. A device used to calm a skittish horse or mule; also the act of pulling a log out of the forest to a landing or gathering placer.

unicorn. A 3-horse hitch with two on the wheel and one out front.

unthrifty. Having poor body condition; also called a poor doer.

VMD. A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania veterinary college.

walking plow. A plow the operator controls with two handles while walking
behind it.

wheelers. Pole team.

wheel team. In a multiple hitch, the team closest to the vehicle or implement, and the only ones attached to the load by the pole; also called wheelers, pole team, or butt team.

whiffletree. Singletree.

white line disease. A fungal infection of the hoof wall.

yearling. An animal between 1 and 2 years of age.

yoke. A carved wooden beam with bows and iron hardware that is used to harness ox power; the act of placing such a device on an ox or oxen; a pair of oxen wearing a yoke.

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This Draft Dictionary is a work in progress. If you would like to see a specific word added, please email

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