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Educating the horse owner on important steps for picking the right horse trainer.
I understand when it comes to finding a trainer for your horse, this can be stressful and time-consuming. Below is a list of what you should look for in a potential trainer.
Find a Potential Horse Trainer, Ask Questions and Visit His or Her Facility
After you have found the name of an advertised trainer, call him or her and ask a lot of questions. Don’t just read what the advertisement says or take his or her word for it.
Ask them questions like,
- How many years experience do you have?
- What type of disciplines do you ride/train?
- What types of training methods do you use in the round pen when starting a colt under saddle?
- How long do you spend training the horse each day?
- How long does it usually take to have a solid foundation on a horse, where he or she is safe enough for me to ride?
- Do you have a training contract?
- What does your feed program consist of?
- Can I come out and watch you train someone else’s horse?
- If you take my horse, can I watch you train him or her? and
- What is the cost of training?
Schedule a time when you can visit the trainer in person and watch him or her work with someone else’s horse. This is a good idea because, for one, you get to talk to the trainer’s face to face and two, you can decide for yourself if you think the training facility is safe, productive and clean.
You can also witness how he or she interacts with the horses. If the trainer hesitates or sounds like he or she does not want you to show up at the facility, do not proceed! This tells me the trainer is trying to hide something, so don’t waste your time with this person.
Move on to the next trainer. A good trainer will be open and invite you to his or her place. This person will not hide anything from you and actually, encourage you to visit.
When you are at the trainer’s facility, have him or her show you around. Take a careful look at all the horses in training. Are they groomed? Do they look healthy and happy? Is the facility safe and clean? Would you feel comfortable having your horse at that facility?
The Horse Training Contract and All Costs Involved
While you are talking to the potential trainer, ask if he or she trains with a contract and ask to see a copy. You should never take your horse to someone who does not train under a contract. The point of a contract is to show you,
- Exactly what things cost
- What is and is not included in the set cost of training
- How the trainer bills and when those bills are sent out
- What the goals and intentions of the trainer are
- What your legal rights are as an owner and
- What the trainer’s legal rights are.
Make sure to read the contract thoroughly and don’t be afraid to ask questions. If you do not understand what some of the items in the contract mean, ask.
How the Trainer Conducts Business and Compare the Costs
Look for a professional who trains horses full-time. Someone who trains horses as his or her sole source of income is usually more thorough than someone who trains on a “part-time” basis.
A person who trains this full-time is usually good enough at what he or she does and is bringing in enough horses, that he or she does not need a “job” to pay bills. These trainers are also able to spend more time with each individual horse while giving the horses appropriate care and attention.
A full-time trainer will usually do a better job with your horse because he or she knows that if things are done half-cocked, you will be unhappy and not recommend this person to other people. A person who trains horses “part-time” usually cannot spend the appropriate time needed with each individual horse.
This person has a “job” because he or she knows they either cannot make a living as a full-time horse trainer or does not want to. This person has a limit on how much time he or she can spend with the horses in training because his or her primary job comes first.
Because the trainer cannot devote the appropriate amount of attention needed for each horse this can cause important training issues to slip under the rug. Though sometimes, a person who trains horses “part-time,” can be as good as someone who does it full-time. To differentiate between the two, make sure to ask a lot of questions.
When comparing prices of different trainers remember, sometimes you get what you pay for. Don’t just go with the person who has the lowest rates, especially if you have compared the costs of several trainers and this person is considerably cheaper than the others. A trainer who considerably cheaper than his or her competition tells me several things.
this trainer is just starting in this business and does not have the experience and/or
he or she does not have the resources, knowledge or facilities in order to train a horse correctly and safely.
On the other hand, a trainer who is extremely higher than his or her competition, tells me he or she thinks highly of him or herself, so this trainer needs to charge outrageous amounts.
Again this goes back to asking questions and feeling a person out on what they know. The more professional and honest the potential trainer is, the better things will be for both parties involved.
You Be the Judge About the Potential Trainer
Ultimately, the choice of who trains your horse is up to you. Follow what your heart, head, and gut tells you. If you do not feel comfortable around this trainer and do not feel his or her facility is safe for your horse, move on to the next trainer.
You need to be 100% sure you can trust your horse’s safety and well-being in the hands of this trainer. If you are honest with yourself about your goal and intentions, the right trainer will be honest with you.