Saturday, 14 November 2009

The Broken Horse

A few months ago I read a little book by Jack Brainard. In the book is a chapter titled 'What is a "broke" horse?'. It's a nice book that I enjoyed reading, but that one particular chapter made a big impression on me because I realised that the horse he was describing there was the horse that I want. This broke horse does all this work willingly, happily ties up while Jack has coffee with his mates, and then goes and does a load more work. Then the next day he takes out a lady who hasn't been on a horse in years on two hour ride around the farm, and then he goes on to be ridden by one of Jack's friends in a parade, and so on and so on.

Jack goes on to say that, 'you too can ride a broke horse and he doesn't have to be a futurity winner to be a great horse. You can still be riding him when he's 20 and enjoying every minute of it. All of this, because he was trained properly with some consideration.'

It made me realise how much time we spend working and riding unbroken horses. It's just so much more fun riding broke ones. I think this fact has got a bit lost in all the modern day discussions around what kind of 'relationship' we want between us and our horses. In the end for me, it just comes down to when I ask my horse to do something, I want him to do it how I want it done, willingly, now. If that's not happening and he's not happy with it, then somewhere along the line, I reckon I've left a bit of a hole in the training. I've left my horse asking questions that I need to give him answers too, and that is where my work needs to begin.

It's just so nice to have horses around the place that are happy to get on with the job.