What Does It Mean When a Horse Is Green

What Does It Mean When a Horse Is Green

If you have heard the term green to describe a horse or a pony, you may have been left a bit confused— especially because the horse didn’t look tinged green at all!

This is actually a term that describes the confidence and experience level of a horse, rather than its physical characteristics. A green horse can be more work than a horse that has sufficient experience, but with the right training, you can change this.

Read on to learn more about what green horses are, and how you can train one to become a confident equine partner for its rider! 

What Is a Green Horse?

A green horse refers to a horse that lacks the experience and confidence of its more experienced counterparts. This is usually used to describe a young horse, whose age is keeping it from having that experience. A green horse will typically have just started under saddle, or maybe has not even started this sort of training yet. They will be broke, but still not finished for novice or even intermediate riders at this time. Horses that have not been finished for a particular use or purpose can also be called green horses. 

What Is a Finished Horse?

Now that you know what a green horse means, another term might have stuck in your mind, and this is a finished horse. If you are not familiar with the meaning of a finished horse, this is a horse that has completed its training successfully in one particular equine discipline. For instance, a horse can be finished in dressage, or it can be finished in roping. However, these are not going to be the same kind of horse! A finished dressage horse is certainly different from a finished roping horse. 

Having a Handle On a Horse

It is important to have a good handle on a horse, a green horse included. This means that the horse will have had a solid amount of training and has a sound mind and knowledge of what is expected by its rider. A horse that has a good handle, or that you have a good handle on, will follow the orders of a rider without question and with ease. This horse will understand hand cues, leg cues, and rein directions easily. They will also be consistent, though the exact characteristics of a horse with a good handle can vary based on the equine purpose of the horse.

How to Train Your Green Horse

If you are not a horse trainer and do not have experience with training horses, you may need the help of a trainer to teach your green horse. However, there are a few things that you should do when you first begin riding your green horse. A green horse should have gone through some on the ground training first, before a rider ever gets in the saddle. You will first need to go through some basics, and you will also need to get your green horse to accept a rider. Otherwise, your horse will not be ready to learn about a rider’s expectations!

Once your green horse has the experience to accept a rider and let you up into the saddle, you can begin to practice some of the on the ground basics it should have been taught first. For instance, you can have them walk forward a little and practice whoa or halting suddenly. You should also practice having the horse yield to your leg so that you can direct it left or right, in the direction that you want to go. Horses are very intelligent creatures, and your horse should pick up on this fast! 

Frequently Asked Questions

What is green broke horse?

A green broke horse is a term you might have heard around the barn! This term refers to a horse that has just barely started under saddle. For example, a green broke horse may have just learned to accept a rider, and have completed a few rides with this rider, or with others. They are still learning and being trained to be a good partner for a rider! 

What to do with a green horse?

When you have a green horse, you do not need to break the horse’s spirit like people used to try to do— you can train your horse to be a good partner without those methods. When you start riding a green horse, you should direct the horse to transfer the basics that it learned on the ground to under saddle work. For instance, mount and then ask the horse to walk forward a few steps and then whoa or stop. You should also train the horse to yield to your leg. These are some great starting points to train your horse and get it used to a rider’s expectations.

What does green mean for a pony?

If you have heard a pony being described as being green, this means that the pony is lacking in experience. Green is another way to say new in some situations. The pony is usually lacking in experience because of its young age. Green ponies may also not have the confidence or understanding of what is being asked of it by a trainer or rider. However, every horse starts out as a green pony, and it is more than possible to train a green pony to be an experienced and confident horse for a rider! 

Are there any green horses?

When a horse is referred to as being green, it means that they do not have a lot of experience or confidence. This is not a coloring that horses can come in! That being said, when it comes to green horses, there are plenty of green horses out there. Any horse can be a green horse, if it does not have experience or has not been trained to take a rider or work with a rider’s expectations. Usually, a horse is green when it is young, but there can be cases where an older horse has never gotten the experience so is still green.