Do you talk about ‘breaking’ horses? Just this week a client told me how she had sent her horse “to the breaker’s“.
In the UK when I lived there, it was common to send your horse “to be broken in“.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t really want a broken horse…
It seems to me that many people just aren’t thinking about what their words actually mean, when they talk about breaking horses in for instance.
Obviously we realise where these terms originated. In past times horses were used more as tools of the trade, who had a job to do. Time was of the essence when it came to breaking horses in. And, perhaps there was a lack of enlightenment or understanding when it came to seeing the horse as another being, that had feelings and opinions.
But haven’t times changed? Don’t we know better now? Surely by now we would rather work with the horse, gain a mutual understanding, and educate rather than force compliance?
You might think this is semantics. It’s only language, right? Only a word?
But words carry energy, positive or negative. They carry associations, and expectations.
The dictionary definition of the word break, is,
to smash, split, or divide into parts violently;
reduce to pieces or fragments
And the definition of broken is
reduced to fragments;
fractured, not functioning properly;
out of working order.
So, I ask again, do you really want a ‘broken’ horse?
What I think people mean when they use these terms relating to horses, is that they want a horse that is:
- used to saddles
- able to walk, trot, canter
- happy to have a rider on its back.
Why not just say that?
The words we use matter. To me, there’s no real defense. It doesn’t matter that it’s the history or culture where you are. It doesn’t matter that the people available to you call themselves ‘breakers’ and advertise themselves as breaking horses. That doesn’t mean you have to.
The only way things change, is when we change them. Start thinking about the words you use. Pick a different word.
One drop of water causes a ripple in the ocean.
Ask for – or advertise yourself as – a horse educator, a starter, or just a trainer. Someone who will work WITH the horse, listen to them, explain things patiently to them, help them understand what is being asked of them.
You might just find you start to attract people with the same opinions and feelings about horses.
Are you ready to make a change?
Keep connecting with your horses,
Are you frustrated or worried that you can’t figure out what’s going on with your horse? Grab my free 6 page pdf, ‘What’s wrong with my horse‘ for more insights.
Trisha Wren has been an equine professional for most of her adult life. She rode, competed, and taught Western Riding for 15 years in Scotland, then horse and rider bio-mechanics in New Zealand and Australia for 10 years. She’s been a full time horse communicator and healer since April 2016, and also runs regular Animal Communication online workshops. Find out more about Trisha here.