I had the same dream as a young adult, but the decisions I made caused my life to take a different path. At the time, I was devastated. But I'm very happy not being a trainer/professional. I like not having to view dressage, riding, and horses as my main source of income.
Couple of things:
As a trainer/professional, you'll be your own marketing department. Are you a good sales person? Because you'll live or die by how well you can sell yourself to potential clients, investors, owners, and stables.
You'll also need to be very adept in securing outside sources of investment. I believe this is still mostly done through arse kissing the rich people. Are you willing to set aside your principles in order to smooze the people who can buy you that imported warmblood?
In addition, you need to be financially savvy. College courses in business management would be highly beneficial with this. Specifically, courses in finance.
Management classes would also help you when you get to the point of running a stable (even a small one). It also helps by showing barn owners that you have passed courses that deal with managing a business when you are seeking your own barn to work out of.
You should also have documented proof of experience, or courses in nutrition, biomechanics, biology, reproduction in horses, etc.
Being a professional trai er means you are your business, and you have to run it as a business. I have seen extremely great riders and trainers who couldn't make it because they either weren't good with selling themselves, or weren't on top of the financial side, or refused to arse kiss to get the money they would have needed (or to get the client who had the horse that was great). It's not just about how well you ride. It's all those other annoying factors that will make or break you. Its all about how well you can play the game.
I think it's fantastic you have this goal, and you absolutely have to go for it! But don't ever forget that you are your main product - you have to make your product as desirable to have as possible. Which means you need to be well rounded on all facets of the horse industry (nutrition, training, teaching, sales, reproduction, management, legal rights and liabilities, marketing, etc). Many people think that just because they ride well, they can succeed in the horse world. Unless you come pre-gifted with loads of money, then it takes far more than just skill on a horse to actually succeed.
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