Breaking a horse can be a very intense and complicated process as every horse is different just like every human is different and will learn things differently. Now below we answer your question but you must understand that not all will be within this timeline that doesn’t mean you should give up or be harsher on your horse. Let your trainer follow the process. That’s why it is a good idea to do a lot of research on your trainer to make sure they are humane and have a good track record.
So how long to break a horse? There is no one answer but on average I would say 60 days. I have seen as little as one week, but usually the first 30 days to get the horse on board then add instructions the second 30 days. If you are sending to trainer I would do a minimum of 2 months but look at 90 days if possible.
What Does Breaking A Horse Mean?
Breaking a horse simply means the training that goes into getting a horse that will be able to be ridden. Breaking used to mean breaking the horses wild spirit but has evolved over the years.
If a horse is broke it means it is safe to ride. They will be easier to saddle up and get on while responding to the riders instructions. This term is also called “saddle breaking”.
The training will involve simple tasks such as saddling, putting a bridle on and carrying a rider without bucking or basically freaking out. Then the trainer will work with the horse to take instructions for simple tasks like steering, stopping and walking.
What Are The Different Levels Of Broken Horses?
Unbroke: hasn’t been ridden before and is considered unrideable. May be because too young or just hasn’t been broken yet.
Green broke: has had a saddle on, been ridden only a few times, has a lot of vices, needs experienced rider and tons of work, is liable to spook/bolt,buck/kick,rear, crow hop, refuse simple situations.
Broke: can be ridden by an intermediate rider, still has a lot of vices, but not as many, has more miles, been in more situations, overall better behaved; listens to some leg, rein and vocal cues, not particularly soft or responsive, possible crow hop, bolt/spook.
Well Broke: soft mouth, listens to leg cues, rein cues and vocal, has some vices under saddle, respectful, possible spookiness to few things.
Dead Broke: no spook, buck, rear, bolt or crow hop, calm and gentle in more intense situations, beginner safe, very respectful, responsive to leg, reins and vocal cues.
What Is A Good Age To Break A Horse?
On average horses are reading to be broken by age 2 because they have matured by then and can carry a full load. You do not want to start a horse to early.
Some horse like thoroughbreds mature earlier so usually start to get broke around 18 months and racing by 2. Where quarter horses aren’t trained until 2 years of age. While draft horses and warmbloods are around 3-4 years old.
If horses are ridden to early it can damage their joints so they need to fully develop first. Up until they fully develop is the most important time get their proper nutrition. So make sure they have adequate hay, water, and proper horse grain.
How Long Does It Take To Train A Horse?
This varies quite a bit on where the horse starts from. Breaking a horse from scratch can take 4-8 weeks to get the essentials down but 90 days is a safe bet for most horses. They all have different attitudes and learn a bit differently just like a human so they need consistency to get them going in the right direction.
If a horse is already trained with the basics but you want them to do a simple task like lead changes this may only take a week or less because they know how to take instructions and you are already on the horse.
How Do You Break In A Horse?
Breaking in a horse is the same as training. It all starts with giving simple commands and starting to lunge them in a round pen. It gets more and more from there until you are putting a bridle and saddling them up. That is where the hard work begins when you actually get on the horse.
How Long To Train A Green Horse?
Green horses do take less time to train most of the time. A green horse can have a few different definitions though. One is just a horse that knows the basics so you are looking to train them in a specific field or task like barrel racing. These horses will pick up things quicker then a non-broke horse.
Another definition which is similar is where a horse is broke but just green (amateur) in another area. Like a horse that has been trained to race but is dead broke now you are looking to get them into barrel racing. These horses will be easier to train as long as they don’t have any bad habits.
How Much Does It Cost To Break A Horse?
Training a horse can be quite expensive depending on where you live in the country. Riding lessons range from $30-100 for a half hour as well which can add up quite quickly.
If you have a local trainer near by they will usually cut you a break to come over and ride the horse. If you send your horse off to the trainer then you also have to consider the board, feed, and pasture cost on top of the training.
A lot of trainers will have a bundle that is much cheaper can range anywhere from $100 a week for training to $400. Then monthly board can cost from $200-$1000 a month based on where you live. So you are looking at $600 a month to $3k+. Also remember this could only be 2-3 months total and will last the lifetime of the horse as long as you are consistent at riding afterward.
So it is a big investment but it goes a long way with the horse if you can find the right trainer that will make it well worth it for you and the horse.
If you are buying a horse make sure you ask as many questions on how it was trained and make sure you get a chance to ride it. Horses have a great memory so once they are dead broke they stay pretty much dead broke. They may need to knock some rust of by lunging them and getting on them a few times before they get their groove back but that is okay.