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  • Writer's pictureMarilyn Bassett-Coffey

“Broke?” or “Not Broke?” ...that is the question.

" cannot overstate the importance of RELATIONSHIP and COMMUNICATION with your four legged partners."


The other day someone asked me, “How do you define a horse that is ‘broke’ and a horse that is ‘not yet broke?’”

Here is one way to explain:

When a horse is broke to ride, it possesses the ability to trust, hear, listen, and attempt interpretation of the rider’s requests freely. There is a feeling of connection between the two (that may be stronger from one rider to another). The submission of the horse’s power is not demanded with no other choice but to submit. Instead the horse is free to choose, and chooses trust!

An “unbroke” / “green” / “not broke” horse is a horse that is still learning self balance as well as accommodating the rider’s balance. He/she is still learning to hear and listen to the most basic aids, and still yet is more prone to possibly make a mistake in interpretation of the rider’s requests. And as for trust? The green horse’s instincts are at *more risk* of jeopardizing the connection to the rider if the horse feels unsafe.

Does this make a “not broke“ horse bad? Absolutely not! But it does go to show how much time one must spend to earn the trust / relationship / connection of a “green” horse, and that you CANNOT put in a “one size fits all” “cookie cutter” “calculated calendar dates” expectation! For some horses it’s an easy choice! Especially if they have never had to fear for their life before (in the care of humans). For other horses, if any relationship has been put under strain or has been completely shattered, then the time table for “how long till my horse is broke to ride” just got a lot more fuzzy.

So interestingly enough... the "broke horse" has a "bond with the rider." And the "not broke horse" has relationship issues and therefor the communication is "broken." Little odd no? That the term "broke" should almost be switched?

Whether you just trail ride or compete every other weekend, you cannot overstate the importance of RELATIONSHIP and COMMUNICATION with your four legged partners.

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