Saturday, April 7, 2012

Definition of Broke

Striking up a conversation with another owner at the vet.:

Me: "Gosh,  She sure is a cute little mare."
Owner: "Thanks she sure is a sweetie."
Me: "What do you do with her?"
Owner:  "Oh, just ride her around the house sometimes, she can be a tough to ride.  But I have her son, and he is just a great little horse, very broke and I did it myself."
Me:  "Well that is just great, training a horse is a lot of work.  What do you do with him?"
Owner: "Oh yes, training is very hard, he does just great about everything until I ask him to move."
Me: " Well they never said it was easy."

And the small talk continued until he was called back for his appointment.

Why am I bringing this up?

Because his definition of "broke" absolutely floored me.

In his mind a horse is well broke is one you can saddle, and get on, and off without bodily harm. 

But is that really all there is to it?

In my mind a "broke" horse exhibits no bad or dangerous behavior and can be easily handled for everything: feeding, grooming, saddling, bathing, etc.  And is willing to move off leg, and listens to aids, and travels easily in all gaits, and does it all with minimal resistance to the rider.

A "well broke" horse does everything that a broke horse can in addition to advanced maneuvers, all on a loose rein, and can perform all these tasks and then some consistently in or out of the arena regardless of location or circumstance. 

And a "very well broke" horse will do all of the above for every rider every time.   

What got me was that he honestly thought he had a well broke horse, a horse I would maybe call green, but never broke.  

I walked away feeling very sad for both the owner and his horses.  You could see his love and commitment to his animals. But until he raises his goals and expectations, getting on and not dying is all that he will ever be able to achieve when so many wonderful things are possible.  

You can have the equine relationship of you dreams, you just must have the want to learn and the willingness to try.  

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