We’re speaking the same language, right?

I’ve said it before, and I will say it again, I love Australians.  In college, I was lucky enough to work at a summer camp in Nevada City.   The staff was composed of half Californians, and half foreigners from English speaking countries.  I worked in the barn (naturally) along with one or two Australians.  This is where I learned how to speak the language of Horsey Australian.  

In the camp’s barn, we spent a lot of time trying to figure out what eachother was talking about.  Some words I recognized from horse books, but I’d never heard said out loud .  Now I’m lucky enough to have a fantastic groom from Australia working for me.  Nel has been in California for a little while so she has gotten accustomed to the difference in the way we talk about horse things.  However, since I love  Australians, I find myself parroting back some of the Australian terms for things when I’m talking to her.

Nel helped me make a list of translations for horse words in Australian and Californian.  Let’s face it, I have to say Californian instead of American English because we’ve got our own dialect out here on the left coast.  Before I get to the list, I want to share some of the stumpers that I’ve encountered when talking about horses with Australians.

Numnah (AUS)= fluffy pad (CA)

This one took days for me to figure out. Australians basically pronounce this as “loosen.” Lucerne (AUS) = Alfalfa (CA)

Float boots (AUS) = Shipping boots (CA)



And then there are the different types of mounts you might ride:Clumper (AUS) = Draft Cross (CA)

Hack (AUS) = Horse (over 15h) (CA) 

Galloway (AUS) = Hony (CA). Is it a small horse or a large pony?  This distinction is for mounts between 14 and 15 hands.  It’s a mount I always seem to be in the market for, but is hard to find.

Ponies are ponies in all the world.  This mount is 14.2 hands or shorter.  Ponies are smart, they walk on bridges instead of running through water.

Here is the rest of the list that Nel and I made:


Australian Term        Californian Term 

  • bib                         bra, shoulder guard 
  • breaking in         breaking, starting
  • clumper               draft cross
  • feed bin               feed tub
  • float                      horse trailer
  • float boots          shipping boots
  • galloway              hony, large pony, small horse
  • hack                      horse
  • Head collar         halter
  • hogged mane     roached name
  • joddies                 breeches
  • jodphur boots   paddock boots
  • jump wings        standards
  • jumper                 sweatshirt
  • lucerne                alfalfa
  • long boots          tall boots
  • near side            left side
  • numnah             fluffy pad
  • off side               right side
  • paddock             pasture
  • rain scald           rain rot 
  • rake                     fork
  • roller                  surcingle
  • round yard       round pen
  • rug                      blanket
  • saddle cloth     saddle pad
  • skinny hood     sleazy
  • stable                 stall
  • stalls                  tie rack
  • stock saddle     Australian saddle 
  • tack box             track trunk
  • ute                       SUV
  • wind sucking    cribbing
  • witches hat        cone  

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