How do you know a trainer is good? - The Horse Forum

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post #1 of 21 Old 05-04-2011, 04:56 PM Thread Starter
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How do you know a trainer is good?

As a beginner I cannot point out the red flags when being trained or when looking for a trainer. So how do you know if your trainer is teaching you correctly?

I am inquiring about a trainer in my area and I've sent her an email so that she can train me to ride. So how can I tell that she is a good rider?

You tell me!
Saskia Tau Equestrian Training

"All we see or seem, is but a dream within a dream..."
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post #2 of 21 Old 05-04-2011, 05:32 PM
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I've had some nasty expierences with bad trainers, so you definitely want to keep an out for some key warnings.

Here are a few things to look for,

Good trainer:

*clean barn
*well cared for horses
*patient
*knowledgeable
*Encouraging, but not coddling when instructing. You want someone who will help you improve, not say you're perfect, or make you feel worthless.
*safe environment
*others seem happy with them

Bad trainer:

*dirty barn
*dangerous environment
*puts you down, or screams and rants often. Or they coddle you and treat you like a complete baby.
*horses that don't look health or well cared for
*horse seemed frightened of the trainer
*Has the 'I'm right because I said so, I don't need a reason' attitude.
*others don't seem happy, or seem afraid of the trainer


Also you have to see how you get along with the trainer, and if the two of you click. I had one trainer who was abusive to horses and students, and I got trapped with her for 1 year under unfortunate circumstances. Then I was with a trainer who knew his stuff, but he was so aggrogant, and never hadanything nice to say. Or if he did it was followed by a big, but. I got sick of being torn apart no matter how hard I tried so I went to a new trainer. She's been fantastic! She helped me retrain my horse, and has taught me so much. She got my horse and I jumping up to around 4', when before I couldn't get around a 2'6" class without getting bucked off. It all depends on how you feel about the trainer. Just be honest with yourself.

As for the one you emailed, she looks pretty good! You can't tell for sure what she's like by a website, but the horses in the pictures look good, and the riders seem happy and look like she's done a good job with them. Nothing stands out as glaringly wrong. Definitely see how it goes and then go from there.

<3 Dallas, Dakota, and Shaymus <3
RIP Shaymus 8/16/13
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post #3 of 21 Old 05-04-2011, 05:38 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks Hunter :) great advice! She has videos of a couple of competitions she's been in at the bottom of the home page. I can't tell if she's a good rider or not though.

And those experiences sound TERRIBLE! Right now I'm not too sure about a particular barn. They clean a lot but theres tons of flies but I guess that's normal for a place that hold over 30 different horses and animals. Plus they have like 5 dogs that are loose on the property and the other day when I was watching a lesson the dog ran after the horse ad jumped up at it's face. Luckily the horse didn't budge but I'm sure he was a little bit tense and nervous. Trainers ignore me at the moment but I guess only time will tell. I researched online for Saskia and found her. I hope that she falls under the good trainer category! I will just have to find out later.

"All we see or seem, is but a dream within a dream..."

Last edited by Moonstruck; 05-04-2011 at 05:40 PM.
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post #4 of 21 Old 05-04-2011, 05:50 PM
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To add to the advise, you need to know what discipline you want to train for so that you get a trainer that will focus on it. If you want to ride Western Pleasure, reining, cutting, jumping, dressage, or simply trail ride, then each trainer will have different approaches.

I'm not arguing with you, I'm just explaining why I'm right.

Nothing sucks more than that moment during an argument when you realize you're wrong.


It's not always what you say but what they hear.
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post #5 of 21 Old 05-04-2011, 06:57 PM Thread Starter
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Well I am thinking about eventing. But I'm like GREEN. Not even broke green. I'm a complete newbie. So I don't know what I want, since I haven't actually tried anything yet.
If I wanted to find a trainer to focus on eventing, I wouldn't be able to find it in Miami. I've checked already.

"All we see or seem, is but a dream within a dream..."
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post #6 of 21 Old 05-05-2011, 07:01 AM
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I have 2 things I judge the trainer on:

1) I and my horse are both progressing (and yes, with the good trainer you will noticeably progress )

2) Trainer doesn't use any gadgets on horse just to fix an issue (especially if the rider is not experienced)

"Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass: it's about learning to dance in the rain..."

"When we are no longer able to change a situation - we are challenged to change ourselves."

"How people treat you is their karma; how you react is yours."
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post #7 of 21 Old 05-05-2011, 07:03 AM
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Oh, yes, Hunter put it nicely too. However I went to couple trainers with all "good barn" features (plus recommendations) and we didn't progress a bit with my horse. So you really want to find the one, which will work for you! (and not always in fancy barn )

"Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass: it's about learning to dance in the rain..."

"When we are no longer able to change a situation - we are challenged to change ourselves."

"How people treat you is their karma; how you react is yours."
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post #8 of 21 Old 05-05-2011, 09:56 AM
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You have to remember what works for someone else might not work for you.

Just because Suzy said a certain barn is perfect for her, do not feel bad if you go there and that barn does not feel like the right fit for you.


Now to contradict that, when totally novice and just starting out, start your search for a barn by asking around and listening to what people say AND to what people do not say.
People are far less likely to say 'do not go to that barn, it sucks' than they are to hum and haw and avoid the subject.
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post #9 of 21 Old 05-05-2011, 11:02 AM
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I agree about the health and life of the horses, but just because someone has a fancy schmancy barn doesn't mean they are the best trainer. Look at a barn from the horses perspective, do they have a clean stall, access to water and good quality food? They could care less about the bells & whistles lol

Also a good trainer will know other techniques even if (s)he chooses not to use them. There are a lot of ways to do things, so if you explain how you did things in the past that are differently, the trainer can explain why that is ineffective and instead to use their way and SHOW you the difference so you can see. Rather than just saying I'm right they are wrong.
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post #10 of 21 Old 05-05-2011, 11:11 AM
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I would add that a good trainer doesn't make you fight against your horse... I got one once, nope, twice, and though we sure made progress (we managed to canter about properly, which was hard since he is a trotter and I am not a very good rider) on some points, but everything was made by pushing-pulling, my horse was nervous and ifghting to avoid my hands and legs, he tried to run away from me when I went to take him out of his field or stall, he looked awfully apprehensive when he saw the saddle... And in the second lesson he broke his bit. I swear he did it... Because the man was saying to pull pull pull and the horse just couldn't bear it anymore, he broke it in the middle of a gallop. Fortunately he is really mild and sweet, and I only had to seat deeply in my saddle, relax and say "aaooo" and he broke to a walk. The guy said "oh my, the lesson's over I guess", so I guessed, and he said I should buy a tougher bit because mine was for the babies and my horse was no baby any more and it wa shigh time that he worked seriously (mine was in a kind of soft plastic and I didn't have any other... so I bought another one, the same but in stainless metal. I didn't use it often though), I never got any lesson with that man any more, I stopped riding like he claimed I had to, and thought about simple exercises to get my horse balanced, calm and energetic without having to fight. I even ended up riding bitless because he is more comfortable and I am far more focused and efficient without a bit.

I had other trainers though and they were just fantastic: they respected my point of view, we could talk, they took the time to explain everything, they first let you know the attitude they'd like to see, then let you try and do it on your own and just watch you, and they guide you towards the best way to help your horse do the exercise. I really appreciated because each step forward was made in a positive way, and the horse was taught to do things, not forced to, anyway my horse was happy to go to these lessons while he was really unhappy to go with the first man. SO I draw my lesson from that, a good trainer should also consider that he is training a couple, a pair, a team, and should not think that having one fighting vs the other will help...
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