Broke vs. Gentle Horses

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Today, I’d like to share with you something that’s been on my mind — Broke vs. Gentle horses.


To me a broke horse goes where I want, when I want, at the speed I want. They’re soft in the face, the ribs, and they’re willing. That does not, however make them gentle. Quite a few well trained performance horses aren’t anything anyone would want to trust with their child. I.e., they’re not gentle.


A gentle horse on the other hand is a horse that may be dull (not always), and is certainly not bothered by outside stimulus. They’re the steady eddies of the world – the ones we want babysitting our kids.


The two are not always mutually exclusive — you can have a gentle horse that isn’t broke, and a broke horse that’s not gentle. You can also have a gentle horse on the ground, that’s still not suitable for kids to ride. And you can have a horse that’s not gentle on the ground, but when you’re on their back, they instantly become more confident.


There’s nothing wrong with a well-trained horse that isn’t gentle, and there’s nothing wrong with a gentle horse that isn’t fancy broke.

There’s nothing wrong with a well-trained horse that isn’t gentle, and there’s nothing wrong with a gentle horse that isn’t fancy broke.



Let’s use my big, soggy 5yo mare, Luna as an example. She is super kind, very laid back, and doesn’t care about too much. However, her education is lacking. She’s got maybe 75 rides and is just now learning the things. In another 100 rides, she should be safe for anyone.

Luna, my gentle, green-broke horse.



On the other hand, my open horse, Avie, is very gentle and kind on the ground. He’s got a big motor, isn’t afraid to use it, and is super sensitive to any sort of “let’s go fast” idea. He’s not suitable for an inexperienced rider.

Avie, my open, pro-rodeo horse.



The point I’m trying to make is this: broke vs. gentle horses are often confused. I’d prefer to have a gentle horse to start when it comes to training one. They make our job easier than one that we have to get gentle to climb on.


The point I’m trying to make is this: gentle and broke are often confused. I’d prefer to have a gentle horse to start when it comes to training one — they make our job easier than one that we have to get gentle to climb on.


In an ideal world every horse would be both broke and gentle, but unfortunately we don’t live in an ideal world.


Food for thought!

7 thoughts on “Broke vs. Gentle Horses

  1. Very true statements. The broke gentle horse is a wonderful thing though truly broke and gentle are not common. I have been blessed with more than my share of amazing horses.

  2. I agree however I had the opposite my soggy mare was not safe for i experienced riders but ny show mare was. The are all different.

  3. Good points. But of you get broke (better yet, trained) AND gentle, you have one worth their weight in gold. I have had the honor of having 2 of them. I still morn their passing 30, and 8, years ago.

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