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How to Softly Break a Wild Horse

By Brennan Bennett | Updated August 11, 2017

Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images

Items you will need

  • Timothy hay

  • Alfalfa

  • Oats

  • Barn

  • Stall

  • Hackamore

  • Corral

  • Rope

  • Glove

  • Horse blanket

  • Saddle

  • Cinch strap

  • Long whip shaft

  • Plastic bag

  • Horse brush

Softly breaking in a horse is no easy task. It takes time, dedication, patience and most of all, compassion. It is important to understand the concept of fear—if you aggravate or scare the animal, it will not respond well. Be prepared to be bucked, kicked or even bitten at first. Wild horses have an innate fight or flight response. Use compassion and connection to bridge the gap of master and beast, until the animal learns to respond positively to your presence.

Gaining Its Trust


Direct your horse to a smaller stall in the barn. Gently make physical contact using Timothy hay, alfalfa or a bucket of oats as a gesture of goodwill. Remain calm and do not make any sudden movements.


Attach a hackamore. Attach a rope to the hackamore. Put on a pair of gloves to prevent rope burn. Lead the horse to the corral. Do not wrap the rope around your hand. Be ready to drop the rope if the horse becomes skittish.


Attach a plastic bag to the end of a long whip shaft. Use the plastic bag as a noise maker to keep the horse's attention while running the horse in circles in alternating directions until it is physically worn out. Do not frighten the horse, just keep its attention by shaking the bag in its visual range. Repeat daily until the horse is noticeably comfortable with you attaching the hackamore in the stall.


Attach a horse blanket with a cinch strap. Tie down all loose ends. Continue training the horse on the rope.


Strap on a lightweight saddle, but do not get on. Increase the horse's protein intake alongside the workouts, as you add more weight to the horse's back.


Brush and clean the horse at the end of the workouts. Look for ways to emotionally bond with the horse in order to give it a sense of security with you, the owner.

Riding the Horse


Mount the saddle outside in the corral, with a hackamore, not a bridle, attached.


Keep the reins tight; assert control. Use the same verbal commands as you did when training the horse on the rope. Keep your stirrups and legs tight on the horse's waist. Calmly reassure the horse with verbal commands and physical gestures of compassion.


Start with slow walking commands. Spend as much time on the saddle as you can. Take your horse on a trail ride.

Photo Credits

  • Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images