Last Updated on January 8, 2022
If you are looking at taking on a new horse, you might see some advertised as green or green broke. Let’s take a look at what green broke means and find out if a green broke horse is the right one for you!
What Is The Definition Of Green Broke?
It will come as no surprise to you that horses are not born knowing how to carry a human rider! Wearing tack and having the weight of a person on their back is a very unnatural thing for a horse. They have to be carefully trained to learn how to be ridden.
The process of training a horse how to carry a rider is called breaking in. This might sound like it is a horrible process, but modern training methods are very kind and gentle! The word ‘broke‘ comes from centuries ago, when it was thought necessary to break a horse’s spirit for them to carry a rider.
When a horse is described as green broken, it has nothing to do with its color! The word green is used to describe things that are inexperienced or novice, with little experience. A green broke horse is one that has learned to accept a rider, but may not have much further experience or training.
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What Does It Mean When A Horse Is Green Broke?
If a horse is green broke, it will have been trained to accept a rider on its back. It may also understand basic commands, such as halt, walk on, and turning.
However, a green broke horse is still at a very early stage of its training. It may be nervous, hesitant, and get easily confused. It is vital that a green broke horse is carefully trained to continue its education.
A horse that is green broke will have undergone a lot of training to get to this stage. It may only be at the point where it can carry a rider and accept basic commands, but this is a long process!
How Is Green Breaking Done?
Training a horse normally starts with halter breaking. This means that the horse learns firstly to accept wearing a halter, then to be led in hand. Being halter broken means the trainer can then teach the horse commands from the ground, such as walk-on and halt.
Once the horse is halter broken, it must be desensitized to accept being touched all over its body. This is normally done by grooming the horse and applying pressure with the hands. The horse should also be comfortable with people moving around his body.
The next stage is to teach the horse how to accept wearing tack. This should be done very gradually, to avoid scaring the horse. Once the horse will stand comfortably whilst wearing tack then the trainer can start working with it on the ground.
Groundwork involves teaching the horse to obey certain commands without carrying a rider. He will learn to turn or halt when pressure is applied to the reins and move forward at a voice command. This helps the horse to interpret the rider’s commands when he is backed.
Backing A Horse
The backing is the next stage of breaking in a horse. This is the point where a horse learns to carry the weight of a rider. Backing a horse is a crucial stage in the process, and should not be done until the horse is completely confident with all the initial stages of breaking in.
When backing a horse, the rider will firstly lay across the saddle to get the horse used to its weight. This means the rider can gently slip to the ground if the horse becomes spooked. As the horse gets accustomed to carrying this weight, the rider will gradually move into a sitting position.
When the horse first carries a rider, it is normal to continue to have a handler on the ground to give directions to the horse. The rider and handler will work together to teach the horse how to accept basic commands from the rider.
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How To Train A Green Broke Horse
If you are considering buying a green broke horse, it is important that you understand that this is a big commitment. Although the horse has undergone basic training, a lot of time and effort is needed to continue his education.
The initial training, when you take on a green, broke horse is to reinforce his previous training. Learn to work with him on the ground, making sure you understand each other’s body language and reactions. He will need time to learn your commands and to figure out what you want from him.
Once you are comfortable with each other and have a good working relationship, you can take your training to the next level. With a friend to assist, mount your horse and give him time to relax. If he feels happy and confident, ask your friend to lead him around the paddock or arena.
At this point, you can start to reinforce the commands you taught him on the ground. For example, apply gentle pressure to the reins to ask him to halt, using your voice command at the same time. If he does not respond, the handler on the ground can also ask him to come to a stop.
When working with a green broke horse you will need to teach him many commands, and this can take a long time. He must also learn to accept new experiences, such as different environments and hazards such as traffic. Putting in the time and effort at this stage will reward you with a happy and confident riding horse.
So, as we have learned, green broke means that a horse has been trained to accept a rider sat on his back. It may understand very basic commands, and should not be scared of carrying a rider. A green broke horse needs a lot of further training to become a versatile riding horse.
We’d love to hear your thoughts – have you ever bought a horse that was green broke? Or maybe you’ve broken in your own horse and have a few questions? Leave a comment below and we’ll get back to you!
Kate Chalmers is a qualified veterinary nurse who has specialized in horse care for the vast majority of her career. She has been around horses since she was a child, starting out riding ponies and helping out at the local stables before going on to college to study Horse Care & Management. She has backed and trained many horses during her lifetime and competed in various equestrian sports at different levels.
After Kate qualified as a veterinary nurse, she provided nursing care to the patients of a large equine veterinary hospital for many years. She then went on to teach horse care and veterinary nursing at one of the top colleges in the country. This has led to an in-depth knowledge of the care needs of horses and their various medical ailments, as well as a life-long passion for educating horse owners on how to provide the best possible care for their four-legged friends.
Kate Chalmers BSc (Hons) CVN, Dip AVN (Equine) Dip HE CVN EVN VN A1 PGCE