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.


Kate said...

"Trained properly with consideration" - that's the challenge! Nice post!

June said...

Yes, those horses are worth their weight in gold. They are a joy to have around.

But I get a lot of fun from working with the less well "broke" horses and getting them to the stage where they are "broke".

rifruffian said...

Can everyone do justice to a broke horse ? No, I don't think so. Its a good combo that goes the best.

As to all these modern day discussions about the the horse/handler relationship.....they seem mostly to revolve around what is considered cruel, or humane.....the idea of a final functional result disappears in the convoluted debate.

Too true though, lots of us are riding around on horses that are less than well broke, accepting less than the best from ourselves and the horse.

It takes due diligence and a certain amount of time to achieve something better.

Glenatron said...

I think there is a sweet spot for most riders in terms of horse training, kind of a cut-off for what they can ride comfortably. Those of us who are really into the training side may find themselves happy to push on that but I guess a lot of people just want a well broke horse they can enjoy riding and from what I can tell the two things missing from a lot of training and instruction in the UK even still are how to complete (or in many cases how to start) the training of a horse like that and how to ride a horse that is not terribly well started.

It seems to me the combination of those two leads to most of the problems confronting the majority of british riders.

rifruffian said...

uh huh....lots of people want a broke horse, and lots of such peeps are unable to train a horse to that stage.
So, they might buy.
But how many want to pay the money that represents the time, knowledge and maintenance invested in the horse during this training time...?
Not so many !

Di said...

Hi Tom, I'm reading your book and have just found your blog. It makes perfect sense to me! I'm sure that I will learn a lot and enjoy following.

Tom said...

Thank you all for your comments, and welcome to you Di.