Medical Definition of Hippophobia
Hippophobia: An abnormal and persistent fear of horses. Sufferers of this fear experience undue anxiety even when a horse is known to be gentle and well trained. They usually avoid horses entirely rather than risk being kicked, bitten or thrown. They may also fear other hoofed animals such as ponies, donkeys and mules.
This type of phobia may be triggered by a fall from a horse (which is probably why it is said that, after a fall from a horse, one should get right back on).
"Hippophobia" is derived from the Greek "hippos" (horse) and "phobos" fear. "Hippos" has given us the English word "hippodrome," the oval-shaped racecourses in ancient Greece and Rome where horse and chariot races took place. "Hippodrome" can also refer to any building or arena of the present or past designed for circuses, games and other entertainments.
An alternate name for fear of horses is "equinophobia," a hybrid word (one that is composed of roots from different languages). It is derived from the Latin "equus" (horse) and Greek "phobos" (fear). "Equus" also gives us the English words "equoid" and "equine" (resembling a horse). Talipes equinovarus is the common form of clubfoot in which the heel is elevated (like a horse's) and turned inward.
Last Editorial Review: 6/14/2012
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