What Does It Mean When a Horse Is Green

What Does It Mean When a Horse Is Green

Last updated on March 20th, 2023 at 07:34 pm

What Does It Mean When a Horse Is Green?

When a horse is described as a green horse that means that it’s training level is really low, either it hasn’t been trained at all, or it is in the very early stages of training. Green broke training usually refers to halter training, lead training, bridle training, saddle training and basic riding training like go, stop, turn and stand. Specialty training is usually something that happens after a horse is no longer 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. Green horses can be more work than horses that have 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. Green horses will typically have been started on the ground or a little bit under saddle, or maybe they have not even started any training yet. They can 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, although green usually means unbroke.

What Does It Mean When a Horse Is Green

What about a Green Rider?

Likewise, a green rider refers to a novice or entry-level rider that is still getting their basic training around horses. A green rider should be taking lessons from someone who is more experienced and also have all of their safety and beginner gear ready to go. We have an article HERE about beginner equipment.

Green riders should also not be using green horses when they are learning the basics of horsemanship. Not only should a green rider get lessons from an experienced rider, they should also be using an experienced horse referred to as a schooling horse or a well broke horse. An experienced rider will help the new rider learn everything that they need to know.

An experienced rider will also be able to help you understand barn etiquette and safety which is paramount for new riders. A well broke horse really helps with this too, it helps new riders make mistakes and learn without hurting the horses training. A well broke horse is critical to the process.

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. 

It is also important to note that certain people only want a solid horse for trail riding or weekend riding, they may not be looking to compete or enter a discipline. Having said that you still want to make sure your horse gets as much experience and training as it can so it is safe. Young horses need repetition and consistency, even if they are only going to do trail rides.

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.

In the horse world, it is really important for you to have a handle on your horse when it is around other horses and other people. As a horse owner you need to take responsibility for your horse and make sure it is properly trained and you are respectful around others. Sometimes horse owners forget to think about other people and other horses when they are in the barn, the arena or unloading. An untrained horse, or even a well trained horse still needs its owner to be attentive and respectful.

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. It would help if you also practiced 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 a 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 Age is a Green Horse?

Technically a green horse has nothing to do with age, but rather everything to do with the amount of training that horse has received. How broke a horse is, meaning how well it is trained and how easy it is to ride is more important.

Having said that usually when you are speaking about a green horse you are talking about a younger horse, usually under 5, that has not yet been fully trained, or hasn’t started its training at all. Depending on the breed and the type of training a horse is going to receive there are various level of “greenness” that a horse will be classified as.

When you are considering buying a horse or leasing a horse one of the questions you will want to ask is, “how green is the horse, or how much training has it received?” This will especially be true if you are thinking about competing or using this horse for some purpose other than just a weekend ride here and there.

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.