30 Days Does Not Make a Well Broke Horse, Folks (Neither will 90, if you were wondering): What Trainers and Horses Need YOU to KNow

If we could only make this truth fully understood in the horse world, how much time and trouble would horses, buyers, owners and trainers save?

Fewer horses would be mishandled, misunderstood and exchanged. Trainers would keep their reputations intact. Owners/Buyers would realize it is “they” would need continual training and seek it out. . .

We’d all hold hands and sing “We Are The World,” but I am off-track now.


Some years ago, I sent my 8 year old Arabian mare to a friend to start undersaddle. She had her one year. Weather and time meant this friend put about 120 days of work into Champagne. At the end when she came back to me, Raven took her into a few classes at a show, and the pair did well. When she came back, she was a well started, sensible mare suitable for a solid intermediate rider. My expectations were met. They were fair. The trainer did a lovely job. The expectations on my horse were reasonable. Success.

When you take an un-started horse to a trainer, thirty days is not enough. The bare minimum should be 90 days. Longer is better. Sure, it costs money. Horses cost a fortune, and there is no way around that. Of course, make sure you select an honest trainer with a track record of putting the time you’re paying for into the horse. Ideally, visit the trainer and taking lessons once it is possible on the horse you have in training, as well.  30 days is not enough to the vast majority of horse owners to step in and continue with success with the horse. You’re setting the horse up for failure, and you’re setting the trainer up for a bad reputation, as you’ve taken the horse out of training too soon, will set the horse back and blame the “bad trainer” for your failure. The only fault will be your own, though.

What your horse and trainer can do together after 30, 60 and 90 days are not what you and your horse can do together, necessarily. Since you sought out a trainer, you’re not one. It means you need to be super engaged in the process with your horse, actively in lessons and seeking to learn yourself if you want to recreate the success you’re seeing unfold with your horse in training.

The expectation of a 90 day horse is that they now have a solid foundation of the basics. What those basics actually are will vary on the horse, age and trainer, but regardless, you do not have a finished horse, friends. You do not “USUALLY” have a beginner safe horse, either. The expectation that you could is unfair to the horse and the industry, really. Additionally, the horse will also not necessarily retain All of what he learns, unless you continue to work with the horse with a similar skill set and method regularly. So if you aren’t continuing your own education, you’re doing to undo what the horse has actually learned.

I see it so often:

  • horse has 30 days
  • owner can’t ride horse
  • owner says horse and trainer are bad
  • Sells horse
  • Horse ends up in a bad situation
  • Trainer is maligned, even though the trainer told the owner the horse would need longer
  • Owner never takes lessons
  • Buys another horse and starts an unkind cycle of horse exchange looking for a unicorn

The owner may eventually get a well broke horse that has, whether they know it or not, had years of training and good handling. The changes are that owner will undo some of that good training, though, as the person never bothered to seek out “training” for his/her self, but that is another blog, another story.

The moral? Be fair to your horse and your trainer.

  1. Give the horse what he needs to get a solid start.
  2. Good horses deserve good riders, so “train” yourself, so that you’re knowledgeable enough to work with your horse effectively.
  3. Understand a well rounded, well trained horse takes years to develop, and they are worth the investment
  4. Good training isn’t quick. Good trainers aren’t cheap.


For some sheets on 30-60-90 days of training from another blog, visit here




19 thoughts on “30 Days Does Not Make a Well Broke Horse, Folks (Neither will 90, if you were wondering): What Trainers and Horses Need YOU to KNow

  1. There are two things I have learned in a lifetime of training horses… One, you can’t educate the public… And two, you can’t educate the public. People are willfully ignorant .

    1. Horse people always have advice and whether you want to hear it or not, or whether it’s good advice or not, they’re going to tell you, and most horse people on the receiving end, don’t want to hear it. Might be where that problem stems from

  2. 3/27/2019
    Thanks Susan Doctor, I saw you in several of the Rancho Murieta arenas last October as you worked your way to the final CD World Final awards platform. Well done!
    I’m just starting to work on my CD Dream with my big Appaloosa gelding…we are both well into retirement ages, but starting from the grass roots to be able to enjoy the remainder of our partnership together at its “soft feel” best. Dreams have no age or time limits…but it often requires more determination & dedication to achieve the sweet rewards! Cath In WA

  3. Yes! Thank you for this information. I have always hated those ads that promote 30 days! Some trainers are at fault for this, as well.

  4. This is absolutely true. As owners most want a horse you can ride once a month and the horse still be that same horse next month. When the horse isn’t we blame everyone for our laziness and the horse usually pays the price. If this is you get a stick horse.

  5. I agree with everything in this article. It’s not bad horses……it’s ignorant and unaccountable people to blame for “bad horses”!

    1. I used to get calls from people who wanted their horse trained in 30 days. I quickly learned that first question for me to ask was “is he halter broke?”. So many times the answer was “no.”

  6. I have started my fair share as did my Dad and Grandad and some horses were for other people. The problem is trainers are hungry. Long before you start working on that colt through a saddle on your good old go to horse and take the person for a ride. Talk about how beautiful the sky is, how blue the water is… you will have an understanding of the needs of this person quickly. I have sold a lot of good horses that way with the folks colt thrown in to boot.

  7. A lot of people take 10 lessons on a bomb proof quarter horse, and they think they are amazing riders. I don’t know how to tell people that they don’t really know how much they don’t know. Heck, I was that kid. bought a mare with 90 days when I was about 17, and had only ridden well broke horses. Some of them had problems, and did work with a trainer (who never should have let me buy this horse). After the accident, I had 6 weeks where my horse went to the trainer(a new one) and I went to physical therapy (tore my knee ligaments) when I was allowed to ride again, she started me from a walk and taught me how to teach a horse. I was stupid, I was lucky to be alive, and it was probably the best thing that happened to my riding, because I discovered that I had a lot to learn.

  8. Well, it has been my experience that, there are many trainers who can do more with horse in 30 days, than others can do in Three Months!
    To prove My point; One might consider the Various “Mustang Training Challenges” across the country, and the results these trainers get with Absolutely Wild Mustangs.
    I think the allotted time for some challenges is 100 days. Some trainers can be on a Horses back walking and trotting in two to three hours. Training and communication are synonymous. If one does not understand the signals in the horses communication one is not going too get far in a training program.

    I would ask. In the relationship with a Wild Horse which comes first training or Trust?

  9. We sent my daughters horse for 30 days of training after 2 years of solid ground manners. My daughter was the person on the horses back for 27 of the 30 days about 2 hours a day. She is an intermediate rider with natural talent. It worked for her horse because that initial training was just a foundation as we knew she would need to ride him almost everyday and continue to train him herself her way with a strict margin for error. He since has turned into a great horse 2 years later I still call him green would not let a beginner on him unsupervised or in a controlled situation. He has never given a reason to not trust Him but dead broke beginner horse come from thousands of miles not just training hours. I did have my son to ride him along side of me this summer my sons first ride and he was excellent so we are getting to a well trained horse.

  10. There are exceptions to every rule. I bought an AQHA Foundation bred yearling 8 years ago. I was nearly 60 and hadn’t ridden in 22 years. Took her to a great trainer and he had a stop, back and wtc on her in 30 days.
    I absolutely love her willingness and sweet attitude….been riding her for years now!

  11. Owners need time with their trainer and their horse to understand what the trainer has done. Riders often can’t do what their horse has been taught and in a short time most of the training has dissipated. Goodbye money spent! I’ve always allowed two years for my horse to really partner up with me.

  12. I thoroughly enjoyed your post on the importance of time and patience in horse training. It’s clear that building a well-broke horse takes more than just a set number of days or weeks. It’s an ongoing journey that requires understanding, consistency, and dedication. One aspect to consider, which wasn’t mentioned in your post, is recognizing and addressing the individual needs of each horse. Some horses might be more prone to becoming “hot” during training, and understanding how to manage and calm a hot horse can be a valuable skill for trainers and riders alike. Keep up the great work in advocating for the welfare of these magnificent animals!

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