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How to become a horse/riding trainer?

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  • Anybody know any good colt starters

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    04-18-2013, 02:01 PM
  #11
Yearling
I did the start from the bottom and worked my way up. Rode everything anybody would put me on, listened to anyone who wanted to teach me something. Got a job at a barn cleaning stalls and feeding, moved up to exercising the lesson horses. Then helped with riding the show horses, then training. Long hours, hard a$$ work. But at the time I loved it.
Moved to a different barn training my own clientel, starting colts, dealing with problems. Got used and abused so to speak. Burned out fast. I went from loving it to hating it. Dealing with people, having to get on bronky colts. Now I don't train anything but my own. And I am finally starting to like riding again. Its a hard way to barely make a living. But it has its moments
Id work with a trainer like your doing and work up from their. People will get to know you through others. Word of mouth is a big thing in the horse industry, it will make or break you.
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    04-18-2013, 09:16 PM
  #12
Weanling
Quote:
Originally Posted by Palomine    
We start young horses. Most training barns do for that matter, and turn out finished horses every day. Not sure where you got idea that "colt starters" don't turn out finished horses, but you are wrong.
I've worked for a couple different high level show trainers and they for the most part refuse to start horses, not that they are incapable, they just don't want to take the risk of first rides if they don't have to. May be it's just in our area, but a horse usually spends about 60-90 days with a colt starter before a finish trainer will accept the horse into training. I know only of one starter locally that is able to take a horse from first ride to placing in the ribbons in serious reining competitions. There are also about 10 "colt starters" to every qualified trainer in our area, many of the "starters" are nothing more than bronc busters(I myself would have fit that description in my late teens). I may have misspoke reflecting what the local norm is here.

To the OP: I could not agree more with everything SlideStop said! I tried to be a trainer for a while in my late teens early 20's, I went about it all wrong, and I had to quit because I made one mistake and ended up breaking my arm(instead of the horse). That break cost $5,000 in medical bills, I did not have insurance. I couldn't work while healing, it was financially devastating, if my parents hadn't supported me during that time I'm not sure what I would have done. After my arm had mended I discovered how emotionally devastating it had been, I had lost all of my confidence in riding. I kept working with horses, barn managing at a show barn, but I quit riding completely for 2 years, and still have confidence issues when riding, ten years later.

During the years working at the show barns I seen the other things Slide mentioned. The trainers would actually hate certain horses, and yet have to ride them anyway, which usually ended badly for the horse. A lot of the students and riders were major divas causing big headaches, fights, meltdowns, ect. All of which the lead trainer would have to deal with. The icing on the cake was that the students and boarders were often late or behind with payments and would regularly argue to get their bills reduced. The second trainer I worked for was extremely talented, had TONS of experience, and still barely made ends meet, with the help of her husband's veterinary practice.

If you think that training really is your calling, I stand by what everyone has said here about getting horse experience of every kind possible, showing, classroom, riding apprenticing, barn managing, anything you can do with a horse. It may seem like a dream job, but it can also be a nightmare, consider it carefully before you make any final decisions, and life changes,your dream can change too.
     
    04-18-2013, 10:57 PM
  #13
Green Broke
Quote:
Originally Posted by Palomine    
And no matter how much you show yourself, if you want to have good customer base, you need to have the skills to train and show many horses, of all attitudes and abilities. Plus good business skills for that matter.

The networks developed by going to college can be invaluable, particularly for someone that doesn't come from background in horses, where they showed at higher levels.

And can also help weed out what disciplines one is interested in, as Western, H/J, Saddleseat and Dressage are all available.

Focus can be on training horses, riding instruction, barn management, or specialize in broodmare/foals. Last time I looked, I think Lexington had 30+ programs, from AA to PhD.
Thanks for the reply and the suggestions of programs :)
Quote:
Originally Posted by SlideStop    
I say go to school for something other then horses! Teaching, nurse, become a police officer or whatever floats your boat for a few reasons.

1. Turning a hobby into a job is the fastest way to ruin something that should be enjoyable. I work right now at a barn teaching, managing, riding/training new horses, and the whole 9 yards! There are days when I just DON'T want to get up and teach X amount of lessons, ride the spook and spinner, make schedules and tell people what to do. I just want to ENJOY being at the barn, not turn it into something I MUST do.

2. Every single local trainer I come upon is just "getting by". It really not a salary you can raise a family on or support your hobbies (ie, your horse). Get ready for LONG hours in the cold/heat working for CRAZY "horse people" with an equally crazy horse.

3. Injury, whether it's over time (arthritis) or something acute (leg fracture) or even a psychological thing (very bad accident). Whatever the circumstances are, what if you cannot work any longer?


You can still be a horse trainer and a riding instructor, but I wouldn't recommend it as a main source of income. I'm in nursing school now and one of my goals is to do a little training and instructing on the side. I really enjoy teaching and riding, but I never want to feel like my hobby is something I HAVE to do. It totally sucks the fun right out of something to be enjoyed.
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Yeah, I see where you're coming from for sure. I'm taking some classes in psychology and counseling next year so I'm going to see where that takes me as well. I could always pick one (or both) and then I'd have something else to fall back on if the thing I picked didn't work out or whatever.
Quote:
Originally Posted by albertaeventer    
If you really want to train/coach, I would get a good job that is decent paying and flexible, then train or coach on the side. Like many already said, it is very difficult to make a living in the horse industry. There are several informative threads over in the Equine Careers and Education forum if you haven't checked those out yet.

I wouldn't recommend going to college university for equine stuff unless you have a LOT of money and a few years to burn. Everything learned there can be obtained through an internship or working students placements, and in all honesty you don't really come out any farther ahead compared to the next person.

I've done both sides of what you want to do, I've trained and coached. Training was great, if it could stay just me and the horse, I would probably still be doing it. You have to be excellent at dealing with people and really love it though, and that's where I lack, I am great with people when I want to be, but I just don't really want to put in that effort, the customer service side is not my thing. And good trainers will train the horses AND the riders. Coaching I really enjoyed, but I enjoy just going to the barn and riding my horse more, on my own time. I don't want to be stuck there working and answering to others, I found that doesn't really work for me, and even with the money it wasn't worth it to me. I THOUGHT that's what I wanted to do with my life 10 years ago, training and coaching, and I got an equine science degree and put in a good effort for about 8 years, but things change. It wasn't fun anymore, and working for not much pay was taking it's toll on me, I was barely making enough to scrape by. Getting a newer car or saving for a house was not doable at all on that wage. Training and coaching are 2 things I could fall back on anytime if I wanted to get back into the industry, part or full time, someday that might happen, but right now that's not what I want to do. I want to have fun and enjoy my time at the barn and with my horses. I want things to be on my terms.

Whatever you decide to do, make sure you have a backup plan if the horse thing doesn't pan out. You might get sick/hurt, lose interest or just decide to try something different later on, you really never do know! I sure wish I had planned ahead better!! It's absolutely crucial to have a backup plan, I can not stress that enough. I was stuck working minimum wage jobs after I got out of the horse industry, because my equine science degree doesn't transfer over to anything else. And neither will coaching/training/working in a barn translate over on a resume. Something to keep in mind. I ended up having to go back to school before I could break into a different career, and had I planned better from the start I would have accounted for something like this down the road. You could get a degree, then try the training/coaching thing, if it doesn't pan out at least you have your degree to fall back on. Or do training/coaching on the side, lots of options for sure. But don't limit yourself, as no one knows what will happen in the future!

Good luck with whatever you decide to do:)
Thanks for sharing your experiences, it's much appreciated
Quote:
Originally Posted by cowgirl4753    
I did the start from the bottom and worked my way up. Rode everything anybody would put me on, listened to anyone who wanted to teach me something. Got a job at a barn cleaning stalls and feeding, moved up to exercising the lesson horses. Then helped with riding the show horses, then training. Long hours, hard a$$ work. But at the time I loved it.
Moved to a different barn training my own clientel, starting colts, dealing with problems. Got used and abused so to speak. Burned out fast. I went from loving it to hating it. Dealing with people, having to get on bronky colts. Now I don't train anything but my own. And I am finally starting to like riding again. Its a hard way to barely make a living. But it has its moments
Id work with a trainer like your doing and work up from their. People will get to know you through others. Word of mouth is a big thing in the horse industry, it will make or break you.
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Sounds like you had a great experience! I'm going to talk to my coach next time we have a good conversation about if she knows any trainers I could follow around. She knows almost every horse person in our area so she'd have a lot of people that I could talk to. So I might follow someone around for a while and see. That'd get me more of an idea of what I'm thinking about.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fargosgirl    
To the OP: I could not agree more with everything SlideStop said! I tried to be a trainer for a while in my late teens early 20's, I went about it all wrong, and I had to quit because I made one mistake and ended up breaking my arm(instead of the horse). That break cost $5,000 in medical bills, I did not have insurance. I couldn't work while healing, it was financially devastating, if my parents hadn't supported me during that time I'm not sure what I would have done. After my arm had mended I discovered how emotionally devastating it had been, I had lost all of my confidence in riding. I kept working with horses, barn managing at a show barn, but I quit riding completely for 2 years, and still have confidence issues when riding, ten years later.

During the years working at the show barns I seen the other things Slide mentioned. The trainers would actually hate certain horses, and yet have to ride them anyway, which usually ended badly for the horse. A lot of the students and riders were major divas causing big headaches, fights, meltdowns, ect. All of which the lead trainer would have to deal with. The icing on the cake was that the students and boarders were often late or behind with payments and would regularly argue to get their bills reduced. The second trainer I worked for was extremely talented, had TONS of experience, and still barely made ends meet, with the help of her husband's veterinary practice.

If you think that training really is your calling, I stand by what everyone has said here about getting horse experience of every kind possible, showing, classroom, riding apprenticing, barn managing, anything you can do with a horse. It may seem like a dream job, but it can also be a nightmare, consider it carefully before you make any final decisions, and life changes,your dream can change too.
Yeah I get where you're coming from for sure. I have had my eye on having something to do with psychology for a while and people have told me I should be a counselor so I'm thinking I'll study equine stuff and psychology and something I'm sure will ring in my ear or I'll find something that isn't either, who knows! I have a LOT of time to figure it out since I'm not even graduated yet so lol

I'm going to be taking a riding course very soon and I'll be taking psychology classes next year so that'll also help me I'm thinking :)


Thanks for all the replies everyone!!
     
    04-18-2013, 11:09 PM
  #14
Green Broke
My experience has been mainly western, cow horse, reining, cutters and a little bit of ropers.
In my experience, if you send your colt off to a horse show trainer that specifically deals with a certain event the trainer does not do the colt starting. The colt starter, assistant or assistant trainer starts your colt. This is all dependent on how large the barn is and how many people are working under the trainer as to who actually does it.
The people just starting out as trainers or specify themselves as colt starters are the ones who start the colts. And there is a market for just colt starters. I think that if you stick to one event or start limiting yourself you better be able to show and win otherwise you won't have much of a clientele.
Some people just need someone to put a couple, 30, 60, 90 days on and they can take it from there and those make a living doing it. I also know of a few guys that do a lot of day work cowboying that take horses who just need some outside time and show them a job.(of course that is supplementing the day wages they are already getting) The horses already have been started but need a job to apply the training to and get used to being outside of an arena and riding alone to make sense to what they learned already and further the training, get a little gentler and handier by being around cattle, working pens maybe at the sale yard or feed lot and some roping.

There are opportunities, you have to know who your possible clients are in your area that you plan to work in and find your niche. Hopefully through hard work, talent and word of mouth you can build a clientele that can support you.
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    04-19-2013, 12:10 AM
  #15
Foal
I agree with the posters who are telling you to go to university for something else. Get a useful degree in something that will make you money. It does not sound very romantic, but it is practical and you'll be able to have horses. Nursing, engineering, economics, medical school, vet school, whatever. Get a biology degree specializing in animal behaviour, be a psychologist specializing in behavioural neuroscience. But maybe take a year off after high school and be a working student. Just one year. Work for the best trainer you can find, do a show season, go to Florida, whatever. Find out all about how that is. If you like it, be a working student again during the summers. A lot of people who love horses, love riding, love training, etc. find day to day stable work to be hell and can't escape it fast enough. Some people are scared away by the financial realities of running stables or training/lesson businesses (seriously, ask people about their net/gross income and expenses). Some people find that this work day in and day out drains the joy out of horses and they might not even have time to pursue their personal riding goals.

Of course, other people love it more than anything and nothing makes them happier than an equestrian career. But you do not want to be stuck and burned out with nothing else going for you at 30 because it's much harder to go back to university for a new degree than to get a good one in the first place. Horses will always be there, but it is a hard place to make a living. Which can seem fine when you're 25, but suddenly you're not 25 anymore and you would like to buy a house and it would be really nice to go to Berlin and you need a retirement account. Or you might want to buy a really fancy horse.

Aside from being a working student in between semesters, you can always get certified and teach or train on weekends.
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    04-19-2013, 10:11 AM
  #16
Yearling
Quote:
Originally Posted by plomme    
I agree with the posters who are telling you to go to university for something else. Get a useful degree in something that will make you money. It does not sound very romantic, but it is practical and you'll be able to have horses. Nursing, engineering, economics, medical school, vet school, whatever. Get a biology degree specializing in animal behaviour, be a psychologist specializing in behavioural neuroscience. But maybe take a year off after high school and be a working student. Just one year. Work for the best trainer you can find, do a show season, go to Florida, whatever. Find out all about how that is. If you like it, be a working student again during the summers. A lot of people who love horses, love riding, love training, etc. find day to day stable work to be hell and can't escape it fast enough. Some people are scared away by the financial realities of running stables or training/lesson businesses (seriously, ask people about their net/gross income and expenses). Some people find that this work day in and day out drains the joy out of horses and they might not even have time to pursue their personal riding goals.

Of course, other people love it more than anything and nothing makes them happier than an equestrian career. But you do not want to be stuck and burned out with nothing else going for you at 30 because it's much harder to go back to university for a new degree than to get a good one in the first place. Horses will always be there, but it is a hard place to make a living. Which can seem fine when you're 25, but suddenly you're not 25 anymore and you would like to buy a house and it would be really nice to go to Berlin and you need a retirement account. Or you might want to buy a really fancy horse.

Aside from being a working student in between semesters, you can always get certified and teach or train on weekends.
Very well put!
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    04-19-2013, 06:02 PM
  #17
Weanling
Quote:

Yeah I get where you're coming from for sure. I have had my eye on having something to do with psychology for a while and people have told me I should be a counselor so I'm thinking I'll study equine stuff and psychology and something I'm sure will ring in my ear or I'll find something that isn't either, who knows! I have a LOT of time to figure it out since I'm not even graduated yet so lol

I'm going to be taking a riding course very soon and I'll be taking psychology classes next year so that'll also help me I'm thinking :)


Thanks for all the replies everyone!!
Since you are interested in psychology, I'd suggest you pursue your goals with horses, and in the field of psychology. There is actually a big market for equine therapy. Physical therapy, counseling troubled youth, Autistic children have been known to respond really well to horses, as well as various other emotion disorders, I just read an article about horses being used to help soldiers with PTSD, just to name a few ways you could combine your interests.

You would be working with very different class of horse, usually extremely gentle calm horses, and while there are personality issues to deal with in any job, your pay check won't depend completely on keeping temperamental clients happy with you and their horse.
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    04-19-2013, 06:12 PM
  #18
Green Broke
^^ agreed!!! Look up EAGALA, PATH, and American Hippotherapy Association. They are jobs that would allow you to incorporate horses into them (well, not so much PATH).
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    04-19-2013, 11:52 PM
  #19
Weanling
Quote:
Originally Posted by SlideStop    
^^ agreed!!! Look up EAGALA, PATH, and American Hippotherapy Association. They are jobs that would allow you to incorporate horses into them (well, not so much PATH).
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How does PATH not incorporate horses with their jobs/training...? Just a little confused by that, since it's the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship :)
     
    04-21-2013, 01:11 AM
  #20
Green Broke
Because you can become a psychologist, then do EAP. You can be a PT/OT/Speech therapist and do hippotherapy. There aren't any educational requirements or prerequisite to be a TR instructor. Anyone can just go out and study the guidelines and become path certified. Meanwhile EAP (at least one side of it) and hippotherapy require you to be a therapist of some sort. The whole goal is having something to fall back on. You can practice PT/OT/ST and psych in the real world. TR, no so much. Unless you go for special ed. PATH couldn't hurt though, but it doesn't require you to be a professional.
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