More About Breaking-In

Breaking-in (Approx 8 weeks).

The Abderry Breaking-In syllabus has developed from 30 years experience introducing NZ horses to their ridden careers. Established in 1984, Abderry has been involved in the education of thousands of horses.  If you want your horses to develop into calm, trusting and confident horses then “we’re on the same page”!

Attention To Detail

We pride ourselves in paying attention to detail and using down to earth common sense.  If the horse is not progressing as confidently as it should we are always asking the question “What’s up dude?” “What part of this step are you having trouble with?”  We pay attention to the message they’re trying to tell us.  We don’t smother them with over handling but  respect their space and allow them to be independently confident.  We understand how important they are to you.


We stay in communication with you during the education process so you have clarity of what is being done and why.  We allow for the horses to have individual personalities and it’s important that we follow through by making sure you understand any challenges your horse encounters. We welcome your participation in the education process and will ensure that your visits coincide with the time your horse is being worked

Unless there is an emergency, your permission will be sought before vet, physiotherapist or chiropractor charge is made to your account.  Likewise we will let you know if there are any other problems or changes that are going to affect the overall cost of the education programme. 

If there is something that you should know about your horse, especially if it’s something that could be unpalatable we won’t hide this from you.  We won’t tell you something because we think it’s what you want to hear, we’ll show you “warts and all” because it’s important that you know what’s actually going on.

We will ask you lots of questions about your horse before it comes to Abderry.  Questions about it’s attitude, way of going or experience, what it’s found easy or difficult.  Your input gives us a clear idea of what might be worrying for your horse and therefore how we can tailor a work programme that develops his talents and minimises his stress.  We are constantly on the look-out for changes in behaviour such as weaving, pawing, pacing or if the horse suddenly develops a “mouth like iron”. We read these as clear signs of the horse saying “I’m having trouble here”.

Education/ Training Methods

We don’t use force.
We don't molly coddle either.
Kindness is not a weakness.
Fair, firm & friendly, but never familiar.
We work on & encourage mutual respect.
We want happy horses.
We don’t let them develop bad manners because we’re clear on our pressure and release signals teaching them a consistent way of getting good and not so good results for themselves.
We don't move onto the next step until your horse is ready

The Team

Naturally the Abderry team has changed over the last 30 years but by industry standards we have a very low staff turn over rate so the team has always been experienced in working with young and potentially excitable horses. 

We are proud to say that previous team members have included Paul O’Brien (NZ 3-Day Event Team Sydney Olympics 2000), Fiona Fraser (Ready Teddy’s groom for Blyth Tait), Joanna Norseworthy (Des Lowe’s right hand girl for many years), Vanessa Lush (mother of rising S J star Laura Lush) Clyde MacLean (owner of  Maltese Cat Polo Ponies), Pepe Ewen of Ewen Equine Management and Sola Laurence-Bade of Solequine
  • Essential pre-requisites for joining the team are:
  1. To show a genuine interest in learning to “read” the horses and
  2. The importance of respecting the horses as individuals who when they aren’t going as desired are usually saying “I can’t” as opposed to “I won’t”.
The Care

It is really important that your horses are comfortable and happy in their work because when they’re happy they're easy to work with and we don't live dangerously!  We know that to be comfortable and happy we have to pay daily attention and take particular notice of the balance of their feet.  The foot is designed to be a shock absorber, if it’s not properly balanced & level & under the limb, somewhere higher up the leg joints and/or tendons will be working overtime and may sustain an injury that could affect the horse’s entire career.

The work and diet for each horse is determined by it’s level of fitness, body condition, and energy levels.  All horses at Abderry on a work programme have their diets supplemented by “The Hanley Formula”.  Included are magnesium, salt and a myco-toxin binder.

The end result

Our aim is to produce calm, happy, confident horses at the end of our Breaking-In programme.  We charge on a flat fee basis to give your horse “as long as it takes” to complete it’s education.
At the end of the process, you’ll be shown (either in person or via video) your horse working confidently under rider in trot and canter around our open 600m track.  Your horse will be in self carriage, & used to being ridden with light hands.
Our aim at the end of this first stage of training is for your horse to be able to balance itself under the rider without leaning on the reins.
Breaking-In Pre-Race Training Facilities