You are searching for a new horse for trail riding and are suddenly overwhelmed with the number of terms you hear—green broke, green horse, finished horse, broke horse. What do these terms mean, and how do you know which is the right horse?
One of the most common descriptors used for horses is a green horse versus an experienced horse. Understanding these terms can be very helpful when buying a horse, so you know what to expect with your new horse.
If you are shopping for a new horse, consider asking an experienced rider or trainer to accompany you and help you assess the horse. Having a professional opinion can help you better evaluate the horse and their suitability for you.
What Does “Green Horse” Mean?
"Green" is a broad term in the equine community for both horse and rider and refers to experience level. A green horse is a horse with very little training. Young inexperienced horses are green. The term green is a bit subjective. There is a wide range of green horses—some have been started under saddle while others have never had a rider on their back, and it is important to know the difference.
Other Terminology Associated With Green Horses
There are different levels of green horses, and it's helpful to understand the various degrees when looking at a new horse. If you are unsure of the exact level of training a horse has, ask your trainer to come with you to look at and evaluate the horse.
Halter training is one of the first steps in the training process for young horses. Halter broke generally means the horse can be safely caught, haltered, and led. This process can be done with foals and is the first step in training young inexperienced horses. It is also essential for general horse care, as grooming, farrier work, or veterinarian visits are challenging with limited control over the horse's movements.
A green-broke horse is an inexperienced mount that’s been started under saddle. They have been introduced to the saddle, mounted, and have a general understanding of reins and leg aids. These horses have minimum training and need time, patience, and work to understand more subtle cues and become well-trained horses.
Green broke horses need an experienced rider or trainer and are not generally a good idea for novice riders without support. Training horses requires help from a professional horse trainer. If you are working with an untrained horse, learn more about the natural training process, Parelli Program, and gain the support of world-renowned trainers through our Savvy Membership.
What Are The Benefits Of Getting A Green Horse?
If green horses take extensive time, knowledge, and training, why do people buy them? Young inexperienced horses can offer some amazing benefits and opportunities compared to a well-trained horse.
Green Horses Are Usually Cheaper Than Well-Broke Horses
Green horses are more budget-friendly than seasoned horses if you are an experienced rider or willing to spend time building your skills. Many people in the horse world don't want to put a lot of work into training a new horse and will look for experienced horses. Additionally, green horses often have lovely personalities and unrealized talent.
Green Horses Have Few Bad Habits To Break
Many bad habits and vices are developed over time and can be challenging and time-consuming to change in older horses. If you consider an older lesson horse, they have likely been given heavy leg aids by children learning to ride and might disregard your leg cues. Retraining sensitivity to the leg will take time. Starting with an untrained horse allows you to shape their positive habits and build trust with them.
Green Horses Are Often Young
The term green does not refer to a specific age, but most of the time, these are young horses. A young horse could easily be with you for over twenty years. A green horse is a good place to start if you want a life-long relationship with your equine partner.
Building a Relationship with A Green Horse
You can build an incredible relationship and partnership built on trust with any horse. But, training any horse takes a lot of practice, energy, and emotional commitment. This means you will spend a lot of time with your horse, building a relationship, overcoming obstacles, and encountering new challenges. These experiences help build a stronger relationship between you and your horse.
Tips on Dealing With and Training a Green Horse
Training a young inexperienced horse takes patience and commitment. Unless you are an experienced rider, training should be done with a professional trainer or under the guidance of a trainer.
Regardless of your horse's level of experience, green broke, or halter broke, most of the natural horsemanship equine community agrees you should start with groundwork. Groundwork lays the foundation of your relationship with your horse, establishes you as the leader, and builds trust in a safe way. In natural horsemanship, groundwork is done with a lead rope, lunge line, and a carrot stick. Depending on the horse, many trainers will spend several weeks on groundwork before introducing the saddle. You can also revisit this foundation when learning new skills or encountering issues in the saddle.
Are You Ready For A Green Horse?
Purchasing a green horse may feel intimidating, but there are a lot of benefits. It's essential to evaluate yourself, your commitment, riding skills, and available time before choosing an inexperienced mount. If you have the experience, support, and patience, buying an untrained horse can be the start of an incredible partnership.
If you have an inexperienced horse looking for support, our Savvy Horse Membership has taught thousands of horse lovers worldwide to train their horses. Pat's system teaches real horse savvy on the ground and while riding and is a proven pathway to achieving your horsemanship goals and dreams.