How To break A horse For Riding- How Long Does It Take?

The connection between horse and rider is just something exceptional, but it still doesn’t happen automatically. Not every horse is conditioned to allow you to ride him, and some may require a lot of practice until they’re able to saddle. If you’re searching for a way to break a horse, here are a few practical techniques and steps you could take to get it done.

The most significant distinction between a horse that is ridden all the time versus one who declines to ride is typically only a question of familiarity. A young horse, of course, won’t be as accustomed to the thought of having a rider on his back. You ought to progressively expose the horse to the basic concepts, rather than expecting that they can suddenly take them up and start galloping into the sunset.

Please do not believe everything you see in the movies concerning riding a horse. It is not possible for you to just jump onto a wild stallion’s back and run away, very much unharmed.

So if you are a novice, be warned! This practice is not typical

If this is your first time breaking a horse, safety should always come first for the sake of all lives involved. Horses have prey instincts even as gentle as they are, which can be dangerous even for predators.

If you are not prepared to contain misbehaviors, you should allow a professional horse handler to assist you in the challenging yet rewarding experience of breaking a horse. Having noted that point, let’s forge ahead into the article.

You Should Know;

A horse that has never been ridden or trained is “unbroken.” In other words, it is not tamed or used to been ridden on. As such, unbroken horses, those that are too young for training or brumbies (wild horses), should never be left in the care of riders who are beginners’.

What is Horse Breaking?

Breaking a horse involves taming or conditioning by humans to get a horse to let himself be harnessed or ridden. What’s wrong with this term?  It’s an unfriendly one that implies that “force” is used to break the spirit of a horse.  Old legends have it that you’re going to be knocked off when you hit a horse for the first time; now and then and again, before the task is completed.

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A well-broken horse, however, means that the horse has been conditioned and is capable of executing responsibilities.

Breaking A Horse For The First Time

Aside from patience, strategy, knowledge, and time to build on trust, you’ll need these to tack up your horse:

  • Headgear as bridles, hackamores, and halters,
  • Saddle
  • Lead ropes
  • Helmet for the rider
  • Safety Stirrups or boots with a one-inch heel

Most experts prefer to break a horse in a round pen, but otherwise, enclosed space like an arena or small paddock can help secure the free-spirited equine in place.


Step by Step Approach

Step 1:

Gain Trust by building a relationship

When you want to break a horse, the first thing you must do is establish a level of trust with the horse because the horse needs to feel safe and relaxed in his environment and with the people who will be working with him. You do this by approaching the horse or moving towards it. However, the key here is to know when to retreat or back off. You must understand that it is in the horse’s instinct to get fearful when you approach it.

Step 2:

Pressure and Release

Consider this a negative reinforcement, For instance, a leash on a dog. Encourage and guide the animal using the leash and release it when it does the right thing or moves in the right direction.  It is crucial to remember that you should raise the “pressure” in the most sustainable manner imaginable.

You can also adjust the “release’ when the response is going how you intended. Note that it must be timed perfectly:

  • An attempt or effort to move can equal to a slight release
  • An improvement in a response warrants development in the release
  • Release to the maximum when the answer is mentally and physically correct

Let’s relate this to the horse. Maybe he or she doesn’t want to join you in the trailer. Don’t pressure the horse. Instead, hang on to the cord. Slowly relax the hold to acknowledge any effort. Relax absolutely until the objective is accomplished. Nevertheless, whatever the variation of this strategy you want, the principle remains the same: the pressure motivates the animal; however, it benefits from the release.

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Step 3:

Reward Orientation

Science has shown that horses are intelligent. When you break a horse, think of your breed as a four-year-old boy, because scientists believe they have the same brainpower. In other words, your horse will perform basic tasks and, much like a child, react with consequences or rewards. When your kid does the right thing, you owe your kid a new gift or sweets, don’t you? Rewards are among the most straightforward approaches to break a horse.

Now, the dilemma is, what kind of incentive will a horse take into account? One thing you ought to learn is that it doesn’t have to be food. Besides, animal specialists encourage the use of safety measures when providing treats to horses.

You’d have to study your horse to understand what he wants; sometimes horses tend to want any of the following;

  • Mingling with another horse
  • A munch on carrots or apples
  • Taking a break in the pasture
  • Getting groomed or praised

It may even be as necessary as removing the negative reinforcement. Whatever kind of incentive that offers satisfaction to the Horse, it is essential to carry it out right away. Preferably right after a well-completed task, so the horse knows the connection.

Step 4:


It’s normal for horses to be afraid. Yet how often does your horse get scared? Desensitization shows the Horse how to get used to what they’re scared of. Horses are driven as an indication of this. So at the end of the day, you must appear calm, pleasant, informed, and consistent in your instructions to the horse.

Horses are afraid-to-death of these things. Prove your Horse wrong.

Whatever object you choose, here are the necessary steps:

  • Stand at the end of the line and hold the doomed object. Your horse is going to fall back naturally. When he stops, reward the little effort.
  • Display the source of the doom again, push it halfway forward. Bring it up to the face, and if it reacts positively, lower the item down or move it a little further.
  • Don’t make slow, scary movements; this looks dodgy. Try to stay calm and let the object touch the head or the back of the horse. Let him know it and work your way up.

Step 5:

Start Bridle And Saddle Training

You can experiment with bit styles at this level. Only be cautious not to use a limiting piece of it. The usage of treats or incentives is also going to help you at this point. As for the saddles, you should use the saddle pads first. Replace this with a real saddle when you feel your horse is ready.

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Step 6:

Begin The Actual Ride

When the Horse is accustomed to gear, you will experiment with placing the weight on his back. You will achieve so by lying across the horses’ back by holding your foot in a stirrup. When he’s okay with that, carry on swinging your leg over and sitting on his back. Don’t panic if he doesn’t like it right away. It could take days for your Horse to feel confident with you riding on his back.

How Long Does It Take To Break A Horse?

Breaking a horse can be a very complex and challenging experience, since every horse is unique, much as every human is. Now below, we’re going to address the question, but you have to realize that not all of them would happen within this time frame, which doesn’t suggest you can give up or be harder on your horse. Let the trainer follow the procedure. That’s why it’s a smart idea to conduct a lot of homework on the trainer to make sure they’re the right person for the job and should have a strong track record.

There is no one answer, but on average, it would be 60 days. There have been horse breaking results that go as little as one week, but usually, the first 30 days to get the horse on board then add instructions the next 30 days. If you are sending him to the trainer, it is recommended that you should expect it done in a minimum of 2 months but look at 90 days if possible.


Even though we’re all thinking that horses are meant to be ridden, don’t confuse it for a right on your end. Horses need to learn how to ride almost as much as you intend to learn how to ride. Be tender and caring in your efforts to build up confidence. And if you can get this right, you’ll have gotten a buddy for as long as you have that horse.

So if you must break a horse, learn how to do it right.