Why are horses called nags?

The name nag for a horse initially referred to a horse trained for riding and dates back to the fourteenth century, but it is possibly older. Although an equivalent Dutch phrase was in use at the time, it is uncertain if the English name was taken from the Dutch; instead, both terms are likely to have come from an unidentified source.

What is a nag?

In the English language, Nag was a reference to a tiny riding horse. A similar word exists in the Dutch language. Horses were rarely utilized for pleasure reasons centuries ago, save by the very wealthy, and even then, some did not ride for pleasure. Horses served a function, whether they were carriage horses, battle horses, or field horses; they pulled, plowed, packed, and transported. 

Because separate riders rode other workhorses for specialized purposes, a horse for riding had to be identified by a name other than “a riding horse.” Nag ultimately became a slang word for an elderly or worn-out horse. These riders were on horses that had been “ridden hard” and had aged poorly.

In some cases, it simply meant an old pleasure horse. Pleasure horses were occasionally lavished with attention, but they were rarely treated and carriage horses, which were used for work and show and presentation in the town. Nags may be generally ill-tempered and, as a result of health issues or poor care and treatment, may be pretty demanding; thus, the practice of referring to someone who is constantly ill-tempered and demanding as an “old nag.”

The Correct Terminology

There are several names for each type of horse that you may be unfamiliar with. We don’t mean the breed, but the names indicate whether the dog is an adult female or a newborn boy. Words like gelding and yearling can be found across the site to describe gender. If any of these words are unfamiliar or unclear to you, we want to clarify them so that you can understand a horse’s information correctly.

People of all ages and genders use numerous words, and it might not be obvious. Therefore we want to spell it out and precisely.

Foal – A male or female horse under the age of one year is referred to as a foal (can be either gelded or not gelded). This is the generic word for a newborn horse before it is classified into gendered terms like the ones below.

Colt – A male horse that is less than four years old, is called a colt. In thoroughbred racing terminology, a male horse older than two but under four has not been castrated.

Filly – A female horse under four who is not yet old enough to be a mare. The age range varies by country and racing federations in the United States and the United Kingdom state that fillies can be up to five years old.

Yearling – A horse older than a foal but not quite old enough to be a colt or filly. A yearling is a horse that is one year old, as the name implies. They are considered a yearling until their second birthday.

Weanling – A weanling, often known as a ‘weaner,’ is a horse that is usually between half a year and a year old. When they no longer rely on their mother’s milk and are given a healthy diet, they are classified as weanling.

Juvenile – A juvenile horse can cross over into the colt/filly group but is often under two years old.

Mare – A mare is a female horse older than three years old (4 or older). However, like many other terminologies, the racing industry has multiple meanings and considers a mare above the age of four (5 or older).

Stallion – An adult male horse that has not been castrated, indicating the existence of testosterone. Stallions have a muscular and powerful look as a result of this.

(Full) Horse – An adult male horse

Gelding – A gelding is a stallion that has been castrated, which means he can no longer reproduce or inseminate. When a horse is gelded, its hormone levels are also buffered, acting calmer and more regulated.

Broodmare – A broodmare is a female horse above three and is kept for breeding reasons.

Stud – These are high-quality uncastrated stallions that are sought for breeding.

Sire – If a stud has progeny, the male horse is referred to as a Sire (a horse’s father) in this context.

Dam – If a mare has children, the female horse is referred to as a dam (a horse’s mother) in this context.

Obtain – A Stallion’s offspring

Rig/Ridgling – An uncastrated stallion or colt.

Aged – this word refers to a horse that is more than 15 years old.

When it comes to recognizing the type of horse, you should now be familiar with all equine-related lingo. This will be extremely helpful in identifying which horses are on our site as well, providing you a solid sense of what sorts of horses are appropriate for your needs.


Horses are given various names depending on their gender and age; in this case, nag refers to a young horse trained to ride.

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