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Thinking of being a trainer.

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    03-09-2012, 10:39 AM
Well it's like I said, I'm not opening myself up to train people's horses for another 2-3 years (could be more, even) and my trainer told me to gain perspective from others.

I'm planning to go to school in Tulsa, which has a very nice, high-class riding barn that I'm sure has at least one dressage rider somewhere. I think my trainer also has some kind of connection with the people who run it. If she does, then I'm going to see if she can help me set up some kind of "internship" over there for a little bit like I sorta have here. I just don't have to pay for it or whatever here because I've been riding here since I was nine, so they watched me grow up basically. I'm getting a good start as it is, and while I do need more years in riding experience, I'm the type of person who loves horses so much that I'll do whatever I can. And I've got lots of new-found ambition.

I personally don't know of any rescues. All I really know of is the barn I ride at, the Arabian ranch up the road, and that barn in Tulsa I mentioned. My trainer could probably point me a couple of directions though when I do move.
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    03-09-2012, 07:50 PM
Ok - so I started breaking horses at age 13.

By the time I was 17 I had started about half a dozen horses under saddle...

I also had had my skull fractured twice
more than 6 broken ribs
four broken fingers
four broken toes

As I continued to start horses and work with problem horses in college, I worked for some medium sized breeding farms and gained a lot of experience. I also gained....
two more fractures to my skull
a broken arm
a hairline facture of my hip
more broken ribs, fingers, and toes
permanent scars on both hands from rope burns

I gave up training horses in my 20s when I became a mother. I was simply going to pay someone else to do my training for me... but could never find soemone who actually knew more about horses than I did. So I trained for myself, just not others.

At 35, while starting a horse for my daughter, I got bucked off and crushed my spine. Now, at 42, I can't work at all, I live on so many pain killers that I can no longer drive. Hopefuly this summer I will have full reconstructive surgery which although it will keep me from riding for at least a year, might bring me back to functional.

So I ask you this - is it worth it? Honestly, if you are good enough, train your own, but don't take on someone else's problem. It is not worth it. The pay sucks and it is not worth your health.

I quit one job when the owner of the stallion I was riding didn't like that I was having trouble with a trot canter transition. The stallion had not been ridden in over four years and was really rusty. So the owner chased the horse with whip WITH ME STILL ON THE HORSE BAREBACK... that's where I got my broken arm.

Here is the mare who broke my back at an event two weeks before the accident. We are the middle horse and rider.

    03-09-2012, 08:26 PM
Is it worth it? For me, yes. Why? Because I love horses. Riding my own horse, I fell off, broke my tailbone, was paralyzed in the middle of a pasture for about 10 minutes or so (not entirely sure), crawled over two 6 foot fences, then hid my idiot accident from my parents for 3 days and limped around for about 2 months. I was only 12.

I know there's a lot of pain in your own equines alone. I know there's a chance I could fall off, the horse could land a foot in the middle of my back, and ruin my life. I know I can fall of land wrong or hit a fence, and have a broken neck - in which case I have a huge chance of being dead.

But I'm looking for a "paid hobby," slash second job. Will I get hurt? Yes. But it's why I'm going to learn as much ground working skills as possible. It's why I'm going to put my head in the books and my boots in the stirrups. I'm determined, and if I'm good, then I'd rather be the person training a horse than let a good horse become a broken equine. I'm not going to take on everyone and their brother's horse. I do plan to be a 1-horse-at-a-time trainer, as it is a hobby and I will have other work that will come first - just as my own horse (that I'll eventually own) will be. I don't plan to be rich, and I don't plan to be famous. I'm not looking to be a horse whisperer. Truthfully, I might not train for anyone else at all after I finally get my own horse. I don't know.

I will create my own contract stating that the owner leave me and the horse be when training, or the contract will be broken so I don't face your incident. I came up with this already because the one time I did train for pay as a kid, I trained a mini-pony. I was teaching him manners on the halter, because he liked to bite. When I bopped him gently on the nose with the end of a cotton lead rope for taking a chunk out of my leg, the owner yelled at me to train the horse or to get lost. Uhm... So yes, I can see that.

I'm also planning to take 50% pay before I start. So if I fail for any reason, my time and effort wasn't wasted, or if the owner tries to jerk me around - well, my time and effort wasn't completely wasted.

I know this journey will be a very difficult one, and I'll have some one horse rodeos, but I have fun riding horses that aren't perfect. I like the rush, and I've been lucky thus far. I love horses so much, I honestly believe I'd jump in front of a train for one, even if it'd just tried to kill me. I live and breathe equines, even when I'm no where near them.

Thank you so much for sharing your side and your story, yadlim. I actually kind of admire what bits I've read from you around the site thus far. You're very sensible.

I want this, I want it bad. I think I can do it. I'm willing to try and I have people willing to teach. I'm willing to listen to fellow horsemen on this site. I'm willing to read books, watch shows, and look into the views of the famed horsemen and women.
    03-09-2012, 08:29 PM
Kewl - then learn everythign you can and go for it.

I just wanted to make sure you understood the downside.

I have yet to be able to stop training... just ask my daughter who I am supervising as she startes her new horse.
    03-09-2012, 08:37 PM
:) I understand. I understand that horse riding no matter what horse you mount can be fun or disastrous. I also know that no two horses are alike, like snowflakes. Pretty snowflakes.

I hope you'll be around to give me your experience whenever I have a question.
    03-09-2012, 08:55 PM
I will always answer a question with my best knowledge. Not everyone likes that. But if I can help, I will.

First and foremost, I always suggest you start by hugging a horse!!
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    03-09-2012, 08:59 PM
Yup! Hugged one today. :)
    03-09-2012, 09:06 PM
Lucky!!! I don't get to hug mine until Sunday!!!!!
    03-10-2012, 04:08 PM
My buck fifty on horse training. (It it is bit more than two cents worth…)
First and foremost, you have to love what you are doing more than your health. If you are like me, that is not a problem. Here is some of what has been floating about my head since I started reading this thread.


This is a subject that you have to work out with the horse owner. But you need to have what you are comfortable in mind before you start talking. There are pros and cons in the many different ways of getting paid.

One way to do it is to set the price for teaching a certain skill, for instance halter breaking a baby, or w/t/c on an unstarted colt. If you are going to do this, make sure that you have it in writing what the exact end of the contract is. Make sure your definition of w/t/c is the same as the clients definition. I like this one and used to use it usually for specific things – getting an untouched stud ready to go into a showmanship class, halter breaking a two month old, etc.

There is also payment per session. This is one I used to do a lot. That way if we had a great day and learned everything I wanted to in ten minutes, we were done and walk away for the day. Conversely if the horse is having a stubborn day, you have the opportunity to out patience him and the owner does not freak out because the two of you are standing there staring at each other for two hours not apparently doing anything.

There is also payment by the hour. I hate this, because I always get screwed. I have been using Natural Horsemanship long before it became popular. When others trainers at the same stable were cranking out something that could w/t/c in two weeks, I was spending four months to get a horse who never once bucked. I like to take whatever time it takes to get from point A to point B and I hate having someone time me while we are getting there.


Most owners who turn to a trainer have a reason they have come to a trainer – it usually is that they are somehow over their heads. Sometimes they have the skills to do it themselves but don’t have time. Sometimes they don’t have the skills and the horse needs training. Sometimes the owner needs skills and the horse is fine.

I don’t do the latter – I don’t have the right people skills.

If the owner just doesn’t have the time, they can be a pain in the rear. They will want things done their way and only their way. Sometimes they are open to new ideas, and sometimes not. If you agree with how they work with horses, this can be a fantastic set up for a young trainer. If you don’t, get out quick.

I have had owners who “knew more than I did” take whips to horses, specifically stallions, that I was riding bareback. The first time I didn’t get hurt, the second time I did. He was also very angry at me that three weeks after starting a five year stallion under saddle, he was not ready for a Class A show ring.

Owners who just need help with a horse and know it, these are usually the ones I liked to work with, they were open to new ideas and ready to learn along with their horse.

No matter why the horse needs to be worked, put it in writing the methods you will be using. If you are going to rough bronc a horse into submission, put it in writing. If you are going to take your time and use a constant give and take of natural horsemanship, put it in writing. If you are dealing with someone who does not understand that this is a thousand pound animal who may have to be occasionally disciplined, put it in writing.


Many times, especially with the owner who needs help, it is at least partially due to a feed issue. Make sure that you can change what the horse is being fed, and put it in writing.

So, good luck, take care, and always have someone there when you are training. Never train when you are the only person there.
    03-11-2012, 11:50 AM
Thank you one billion times for your wise words, Yadlim. I really honestly appreciate the input you're giving me. I'll be keeping all of this in mind when I start working for other people. I'm even going to write in the contract that I'll write a receipt for every payment made and keep a copy of it for myself.

I'm going to talk a little to my ex-co-worker who has about 20+ years of experience in training. She gentles horses, and they're always a real pleasure to ride. She's got some good horse advice, I just feel like a pain in the butt with all the questions. :P

I'm going to save your post in my laptop, if that's okay with you, so I can have it later down the road.

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