One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
The highest part of a horse's back, lying at the base of the neck above the shoulders. The height of a horse is measured to the withers.
- ‘The hands of an intermediate rider move only about six to eight inches in front of the horse's withers in a short crest release.’
- ‘Horses are measured from the bottom of the hoof to the withers, or the shoulders.’
- ‘He spun it around with his tongue as she threw the saddle high up on his withers, pulling it back so none of his hairs were in the wrong direction.’
- ‘El Condor Pasa, age seven, and End Sweep, 11, died in July after respectively suffering intestinal torsion and fractured withers.’
- ‘He has very strange withers and no saddle fits him right.’
- ‘He stood behind a huge black stallion and looked over the horse's withers.’
- ‘As you approach the center of the circle, swing your primary line so that it is behind the horse's withers.’
- ‘A necropsy later revealed he had fractured his spine behind the withers.’
- ‘Horses differ greatly in their oral cavity, and that difference is not proportional to height at the withers.’
- ‘His slender build, and even more slender hunger lines, made him look taller than he really was: just a head taller than his horse's withers.’
- ‘The majority is most likely above the size of 14.2 hands, measured at the withers, qualifying them actually as horses.’
- ‘I start at the top of his neck (side without his mane showing) and move down his withers and along his back.’
- ‘Depending on the horse's comfort level, I might want to start on the shoulder and move up to the withers.’
- ‘Females stand, on average, 23 to 25 inches at the withers (shoulders).’
- ‘He leapt the distance that separated him and the gang's leader, grabbing the horse's withers as the animal reared.’
- ‘Then she began to lightly rub the bareback pad on Thundering Glory's neck, slowly moving to his withers, then down his front leg.’
- ‘He was astride a pegasi - a black horse with wings sprouting from its withers - and rode along in silence.’
- ‘If you stand alongside the shoulder of a horse that wants to fight with you and grab a chunk of mane right at his withers, you can stay alongside him quietly while he backs up, spins, or goes up in front and he can't hurt you.’
- ‘She was then tossed across a horse's withers and cried out involuntarily as her belly slammed into the horse's back.’
- ‘Expertly he ran a soothing hand up the gelding's broad face and caressed one ear, tweaking it familiarly before running his hand down the horse's neck from the poll to the withers, then back up to the head again.’
Early 16th century: apparently a reduced form of widersome, from obsolete wither- ‘against, contrary’ (as the part that resists the strain of the collar) + a second element of obscure origin.
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