Placing your horse with a trainer may be good for your horse, but will the outcome be good for the both of you! You must select a trainer that will enhance your ability to work and learn together. In other words, make two good students that complement each other.
- Goals for you and your horse: Explore your intentions. Do you wish to compete, or ride for pleasure? This will have a bearing on the amount of cost and type of trainer.
- Age of your horse: Are you starting a young horse, or a fully trained horse? The age greatly affects the amount and type of training.
You may want a trainer that is noted for starting young horses, as a specialty. Solid, gentle and trusting handling can produce a foundation for the lifetime of riding your horse. This cannot be stressed enough.
If you have a fully trained horse and wish to enhance their training and uses, seek a trainer that will work with both of you. This way, you will learn to use the new tools they teach your horse. Consider that the age of your horse and training history will also have a bearing on the outcome. You must understand old issues your horse may have and use this as a guide to select a trainer.
- Breed and desired use for your horse: This also has a bearing on the intended abilities you wish to enhance. Be sure you find a trainer that can bring out your horse’s talents, while staying within its individual ability. Pushing a horse beyond its limits can be easily done. It takes a good trainer to recognize what talent lies within each horse.
It also takes an honest and open mind to accept a trainer’s evaluation of your horse and its ability. Don’t ever be discouraged and think your horse is not capable. Explore other uses and you may discover your horse’s true ability. In many cases, change is good for your horse, if you are not getting the desired results in a particular type of training.
- Behavioral problems and bad habits: These can be tough issues and require a trainer with fair and good judgment. Finesse always wins over force. You can be tough and be fair with the treatment of a spoiled and ill-mannered horse. Common sense and good results are what you look for in a trainer.
Also, be clear and break down the issue you have with your horse. Is it problems with ground manners? Ground manners directly relate to problems in the saddle. If your horse does not lead properly and be respectful of your space on the ground, then this directly translates to bad behavior while riding. Participation… is your horse willing and responsive to your commands? And, can you fine tune your commands into lightness of the request?
- Trainer’s reputation and does your horse’s quality match the trainer? Word of mouth is your best type of recommendation. Fancy advertisements do not completely tell the story and characteristics of a trainer’s ability. Make sure you evaluate you horse honestly. Be sure that it has the quality to be recognized by the intended trainer. A trainer should be excited and interested in training your horse.
- Communication: Be clear and set a time period for training. Preferably, 90 days. That way your trainer has a time structure to complete the training goal. Check regularly – verbally or in person, on the progress. I recommend â€˜in person’ at regular intervals to monitor progress.
- Finish with lessons for you and your horse: Be sure you have the tools to communicate with your horse, once your trainer has reached the training goal.
Remember that training should be a positive and growing experience in the partnership with your horse!
Merriewold Morgans, Horse Trainer