The Name Of A Horse…

What is a baby horse?  This is one of those great questions that flies around a lot because it’s so often confused! Here’s the true and definitive rundown of the main horse designations

  • A baby horse of any gender from birth until it is one year old (or with some breeds like the Thoroughbred, until midnight on December 1 of it’s birth year, regardless of the actual birth date) is called a foal.


  • filly is a female horse under the age of 4. (In racing, the age cutoff for the filly designation can be 5 years old.) After which they are designated as a mare. The mare status is not upon reaching estrus as often believed. (generally the rule reflects the time when the filly stops growing)
What Do You Call A Baby Horse Image.  Arabian Filly in Mallorca Spain


  • The male version of this is a colt. ("Coltand "foal" are very commonly used interchangably, which despite being common, is actually incorrect)
The Complete Horse Foal_ex

  • A foal of any gender between the time it is weaned until it becomes a Yearling is called a Weanling. (They may be referred to as a weanling filly or weanling colt)
The Complete Horse Weanling Fillies_ex


  • Foals become Yearlings when they reach their first birthday (or on January 1 in the case of Thoroughbreds and other breeds with this rule). Following that they are referred to as 2 Year Old Colt/Filly, 3 Year Old Colt/Filly and so-on. (Or simply just 2 Year Old, 3 Year Old and so on.) Again, this terminology is founded in Throughbreds so to designate racing class and eligibility, but it is the accepted norm across breeds.
The Complete Horse Yearling Horses_ex


  • A male horse that is castrated is called a gelding.


  • An uncastrated horse that has reached breeding age is called a stallion.
Leslie Goodyear PRE Andalusian stallion Orgulloso BV_ex


  • An uncastrated horse that is specifically being used as a breeding horse, or “standing at stud” may also be called a stud. Stud and stallion are often used interchangably - generally the designation seems to be delineated by discipline, though most breeds refer to recognized male breeding horses as stallions.
The Complete Horse Friesian Stallion Sape 381_ex

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