08-02-2012, 07:05 PM
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I have to agree with Paradise. Although there are definitely more bad than good 'backyard trainers', just because someone's prices are lower than $80 an hour or they aren't extremely well known does not make them a bad trainer. Different people need different types of training, and sometimes it just isn't necessary to pay that much for a big-name trainer if you're just looking for someone who is willing to help you strengthen your skills and get in tune with your horse- not go win national shows.
We give riding lessons where I work, and I'm an assistant instructor. The barn charges $35 per lesson for a group of 3-5 riders. While I'll admit right now that we are not the place to go to if you're looking to ride fancy $10,000 horses and learn how to jump four foot fences or execute the perfect piaffe, we are perfectly capable of teaching SAFE, CORRECT riding that is based off of balance, thought, and communication- not training aids, whips, and mouth hauling. None of our instructors are world time champions and none of our horses are worth more than a few thousand dollars, but that doesn't make us no good.
Before coming to the farm where I now work and take lessons, I went to another supposively 'higher quality' farm that charged $50 per group lesson and $65 for a private. Honestly though? I learned less there in a year of lessons than I did at this farm. They didnt teach me how to tack up, didn't teach me how to lead or cool out a horse, didn't teach me how to seek contact...the list goes on. And they had exactly the same type of horses we do. Retrained OTTBs, former ranch horses, all arounders. And if you wanted to hang around and watch or spend some time with the horses or some friends, you might as well forget it. Where I am now its pretty much a family atmosphere. You're always welcome and someone is always willing to teach you something or give you advice. I don't know about you guys but I'd much rather the personable, knowledgable trainer for $35.
OP, shop around a bit. Find someone who's teaching style you like, and go from there. Sit in on a few lessons if you can, ask them questions. You'll find someone! :)