Choosing a horse trainer is an important, and deeply personal decision.
The first thing is to decide what it is that you want to work on in your horse education. Do you want to learn to train your own horse, or start from the ground up? Are you interested in learning on your own, or do you prefer to work with an instructor? Decide what your ultimate goal is as a rider and whether you’re a beginner or advanced. Understanding what you want will help you choose a trainer.
Training should NEVER involve endangering the people or the horse. Further, if the technique does not lead to a positive education for the rider or the horse, then it is useless.
It is our belief that training the horse to ride and respond correctly to cues from the handler is the correct path to short, and long term success.
Finding a good trainer also involves observing the horses the trainer is working with. You can tell from a horse’s condition, physically and mentally, if the trainer is legitimately in it for the horses’ benefit, as well as the clients’ benefit. You can tell how much a horse trusts the handler by just watching as they work together. In many ways horses can read people better than humans can, and if you see what the horse is saying with his body language and actions, you will know if you have found a good trainer. There have been some big name trainers that were later found to be abusive, and the proof was in the horse.
When you first interview a trainer, ask questions to find out if you agree with his or her methods. For example, if you are not a rider who uses spurs you may not want to hire a trainer who relies heavily on spurs instead of a trainer using his or her leg to cue the horse. Or if you know your horse is going to need a lot of ground work and the trainer does not focus on that, you know that trainer is not going to be the right trainer for you. It may be good to talk to other boarders in the barn in which that particular trainer is working out of, or talk to other clients who take lessons from that trainer, to ask for their recommendations.
Finding the right trainer can just a hard as finding the right horse. Trainers come in all shapes and sizes: American, Dutch or German. They may be talkative, reserved, confidant, arrogant, fun, or a mixture of many or all of those. Searching for one cares about your improvement, as opposed to only the paycheck, can be difficult to find. And while many trainers may know correct technique, it can take a lot of effort to actually help someone get it right.
We encourage you to find a trainer that will push you to be better; that will force you out of your comfort zone and tell you the harsh truths that may be needed. In addition if the trainer rides themselves, they have had many of the problems you have, therefore can more easily recognize your faults and help you fix them.
Finding a trainer is a very personal decision. There are a lot of men and women that are good trainers, but may not have a personality to mesh with you or your child. You want to have someone that you’re comfortable with, that you can communicate with, and can give you the type of feedback that you need to encourage you to get better in the discipline that you have chosen. Finding people in those particular disciplines can be tough, but its well worth it, especially if you found someone that communicates at a level that you’re comfortable with and that gives you the right kind of feedback.