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Dead Broke






When I arrived in the US over 30 years ago I spoke English...or so I thought.

It turned out that there were many words and American expressions I had never heard.

I have gotten used to lots of them, but there is one in particular that to this day does not sit right with me.

I had brought my Arabian stallion *Ghazni with me and started a small breeding program. A few years later I had a gelding for sale. I vividly remember a phone call inquiring about said gelding.

"Is he broke?" the man on the phone wanted to know.

Broke? Broken? As in broken bone? What was he asking?

"No", I said, feeling slightly uncomfortable "There is nothing wrong with him."

The man laughed and explained to me that "Broke" just meant "saddle trained".

Later I found out that "Broke " is a word that has many nuances and differences.

There is obviously the basic term "broke", but then I found out that there is also

"green broke",

"halter broke",

"fancy broke",

"cowboy broke"

"handy broke"

"child broke"

even "husband broke" and finally

"dead broke'.

This is just a small selection, the list actually goes on!

Since I am a writer, words and the use of them have always been important to me. I still find it disturbing how a word, that has no positive meaning in the English language whatsoever can be used to advertise a horse.

Can you think of a positive use of the word broke or broken ?

Nothing that is broken ever increases in value, as far as I know.

Think of

broken spirit

broken will

broken dreams,

broken promises,

broken bones,

broken homes,

broken hearts and even saying that one is "broke" is not a happy thing to announce, especially not "dead broke".


So why are we still using this term to describe the training level of a horse?

What does is say about the way we think about and hold our horses in our hearts? About they way we think of training a horse? Does something actually get broken? Their spirit?

Is it really just a meaningless figure of speech?


We don't talk that way about any other species. Dogs are trained, not broken.

Elephants, camels, cows, birds, dolphins....any other animal is trained. No one says "my dog is broke for hunting".....




Now lets rewrite this lovely quote a little, shall we?


"Don't speak negatively about your horse, even as a joke.

Your horse doesn't know the difference. Words are energy and cast spells, that's why it is called spelling. Change the way you speak about your horse and you can change your horse. What you are not changing you are also choosing.


Let's be more mindful of the language we use to describe the training level of our horses! What do you think? Is it time to change this?


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