How do you become an assistant trainer? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 5 Old 12-30-2013, 11:05 PM Thread Starter
Green Broke
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Outside of Oklahoma City
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How do you become an assistant trainer?

I'd like to train horses on my own someday, and I'd like to work under somebody first for a while. I've already got a bunch of experience, but I'm not just gonna hop out in the world without a bunch of real training.

I'd like to maybe work a year or two under one person and then go to someone else to broaden my knowledge base.
Questions I have:
How do I go about asking a trainer if I can work under them?
Will I have time to have a part time-ish job to get money?
Can I get my own clientele while working through a trainer?
Stupid question, but do i like live on property with them or just drive over every so often? Lol
When I'm ready to leave or start off on my own, is it just like quitting any regular job??

Be wary of the horse with a sense of humour. - Pam Brown
MangoRoX87 is offline  
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post #2 of 5 Old 12-31-2013, 02:43 AM
Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: Montreal, QC, Canada
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I can't say I know for certain because I haven't done this and have no experience with training or trainers (though I'd love to learn some day too), I can imagine a lot of that would depend on the trainer.

I'm sure if they're nice enough people then just straight up explaining yourself and asking them should suffice. As for meeting clientele, that's how it's done! You just need to get your name out there. Even if the trainer doesn't refer some clients to you for you to do for yourself, simply having people see you regularly will get them to think of you next time someone asks about a trainer.

I would imagine that if you're working as an apprentice of sorts you won't be paid by the trainer, so I would look for a part time job to keep money coming in.

Live-in versus stopping by will really depend on what the trainer wants, so that's something you'll have to ask them.

Maybe get a few names in your area, call them up and ask them those questions, get an idea of who you can work under and then pick one and go for it!

"If you act like you've only got fifteen minutes, it will take all day. Act like you've got all day, it will take fifteen minutes."
-Monty Roberts
Alexandra V is offline  
post #3 of 5 Old 01-03-2014, 07:35 PM
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Texas
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My assistants are my students. They have ridden with me for multiple years. So I would suggest get with an instructor that also trains and tell them you're interest.
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post #4 of 5 Old 01-03-2014, 10:10 PM
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This is just my experience, I worked for a guy in my teens starting mustangs. When I moved to go to college I worked at a Hunter/ jumper/ dressage barn. Later it lead to a breeding manager job at a small breeding farm... Riding rope horses, finally after many other jobs, a job with a reining horse trainer..,

A lot of jobs, work hard, get good references and meet plenty of people. One job has always led to meeting people who knew of a better job. I learned as much as I could and I had to do a lot of grooming and being an assistant before getting a good assistant trainer job. ( there is a difference between being an assistant and assistant trainer)

As far as living conditions it varies between jobs. Some jobs I have had a decent three bedroom house, sometimes it was a bunkhouse living with other assistants/lopers, living in a camp trailer or have to find my own housing and driving back and forth.

Be prepared for long days and working 6-7 days a week, not including shows. Some shows I barely slept.
The pay usually sucks until you make the assistant trainer status. Even after working with a Big name trainer and going out on your own your not guaranteed a clientele. It's a tough row to hoe if you want to be a show trainer.
Plenty of horses out there to ride if your not worried about show training. But some are spoiled or rank and if you start taking those kind that is all anyone will ever bring you.
Then dealing with horse owners is the part I found difficult. I could train the horse, just not the owner.
Not to sound negative but a lot of people get weeded out.
Good luck!
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post #5 of 5 Old 01-03-2014, 11:16 PM
Join Date: Jan 2013
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Originally Posted by MangoRoX87 View Post
I'd like to maybe work a year or two under one person and then go to someone else to broaden my knowledge base.
Questions I have:
How do I go about asking a trainer if I can work under them?
Will I have time to have a part time-ish job to get money?
Can I get my own clientele while working through a trainer?
Stupid question, but do i like live on property with them or just drive over every so often? Lol
When I'm ready to leave or start off on my own, is it just like quitting any regular job??
Here's my experience with the trainer I apprenticed under:

I started off taking lessons with her and then at some point asked her if I could help her work horses and train. I would suggest doing the same as the trainer is already comfortable with you and your abilities and it's not so much of a gamble as it is taking in a stranger. I was non paid but then again I bartered with her so in exchange for helping her I got a reduced board, no extra fees, free lessons, recommendations, and she would help me train my horses and let me use her equipment.

As for clientele that will depend. I was always upfront with the trainer and asked her if it would be okay for me to take on a few clients. She always said yes. However, I always went out to a different barn and never brought the horse on her property and I only did what I felt was in my league and anything else I referred the owner to her. Worked out pretty nice because I would start the colts and she would finish them lol. And there is no job security so six months down the line you could only have one person paying you $20 for an hour ride on pookey who is an almighty terror under saddle even though you trained under "so and so".

Maybe this was just me but I practically lived with her and her family during the summer. I usually came in the morning, stayed until dinner and ate with them and went home unless I was sleeping in the barn for some reason. Other than that it's like a real job. I was there every day and whenever I couldn't be I told her. Despite what it is you should consider it a job and try to treat it as such no matter if your getting paid or what. When I went off to college I told her that most of my apprenticing would now have to be done in the summer and on breaks so I gave her fair notice before hand.

Cowchick is right 100%. During shows and breeding season I was on call at night and hardly ever slept in my bed (coupling the fact that then I would have to go to school after using a hay bale as a pillow). Long hours, rough nights, hard work but worth it! Also, unless it's a huge barn be prepared for a lot of general maintenance. About 80% of what I did was fixing stuff around the farm while a horse bitted or got used to a saddle. It might seem tedious but it's necessary.

I will say that you can start out with just pleasure horses but if you decide to go into show horses you will need to find an appropriate barn and another trainer in that discipline to give you further credit. (I was lucky to get an ex shower who could give me that credit but worked mainly pleasure horses).
Incitatus32 is offline  

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