We break in a lot of things. Things like our boots and our tack. Through time, they become better as we use them. But one thing we shouldn't be breaking is our horses.
The term breaking a horse is one of the most common ways for horse people (and non-horse people) to describe the act of training a horse to be ridden. But knowing where that term comes from, it isn't quite the best way to describe our training approaches anymore...
In the past, horsemen would get a horse started under saddle by using force and fear. They would push their horses to the point where they had no more fight in them. In their mind, this would mean that their wild spirit was broken and that they were now fit to ride.
The problem with this mentality (other than it being abusive) is that it creates a dictator relationship. The horse is told and made to do what is asked. They become like robots without personality. They're just doing what is asked of them to avoid more punishment.
Today, we understand the benefits of having a partnership with our horses. We train them by creating a foundation full of trust and respect. Now, there is a communication and understanding beginning to form between horse and rider. The horse's spirit isn't broken, in fact it's encouraged. Their spirit is what makes horses so special anyway.
So since our methods of starting a horse under saddle (along with the other aspects of training) are approached differently now, the term of breaking a horse shouldn't be used anymore.
Hopefully, as things progress, this term will disappear from our vocabulary.
I hope you all had a wonderful Easter weekend! As always, thank you for reading Pure Horse Sense.
Until next time, happy riding!