Trivia Challenge: ‘Dead Broke’?

Answer the questions, then check at bottom for the key. For more fun and interesting information about horses and horsemanship, read H&R’s ‘The Ride’ newsletter. (Not getting it? Sign up below.)

Illustration by Navah Rae Adams

1. True or false: A ‘dead broke’ horse is one that didn’t survive breaking and training.

T / F

2. A horse’s ‘off side’ is his:

A) right side.

B) left side.

C) wild side.

3. A horse that has ‘sulled up’ is:

A. overfed and sluggish.

B. tense and resistant.

C. silly and playful.

4. On which leg is a right-lead lope departure initiated?

A) right front

B) right hind

C) left hind

HOW’D YOU DO? (Answers below.)

1. F is correct. Not only did a dead-broke horse survive training, he did so with flying colors, plus has enough mileage on him to be exceptionally reliable. More predictable than the average horse and extremely responsive to cues, a dead-broke horse is the ideal mount for a child or adult beginner.

2. A is correct. A horse’s near side is the side nearest to you when you’re leading him, saddling him, mounting him, doctoring him—in other words, his left side. So off side is the horseman’s term for his other side—his right. Why is the left—and not the right–the near side? Because back in the day, when horses were used in battle, a right-handed soldier (most of them) carried his sword on his left side to facilitate drawing it out of its scabbard. That, in turn, meant the soldier’s unencumbered right leg could swing easily over the horse’s back during mounting—if he mounted from the horse’s left side.

3. B is correct. To “sull,” derived from the word sullen, means to refuse to advance. A sulled-up horse is frozen in a tense mental state, often brought on by rough, forceful handling that creates fear and anxiety. Skilled horsemanship is needed to return such a horse to a normal, responsive state.

4. C is correct. The lope, a three-beat gait, begins with a hind leg. For the right-lead lope, the left hind leg hits the ground first, followed by the right hind and left fore together, followed by the leading right front leg, followed by a moment of suspension in the air.

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