Am I unqualified because of my age? - The Horse Forum

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post #1 of 21 Old 09-14-2010, 11:30 PM Thread Starter
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Am I unqualified because of my age?

I'm young, and I've only been riding since I was 13 (almost 6 years). I am a good rider and I understand horses. I've trained several successfully, and I even got paid giving riding lessons last year. I've worked with all kinds of horses and worked in all kinds of places. Most the people I talk to think I'm very knowledgeable. I offer training to the public, but I never claim to be anything I'm not and I never take on tasks that are too much for me. I try to hide my age and experience (as far as how many years) because people typically give me a weird look when they find out how young I am and that I haven't really been in the bizz that long. Don't get me wrong, I can almost always get the job done, but I am constantly learning new things from other people and I am open to any and everything. My question is this: should I stop offering my service to people? Is there such a thing as "too young to train"?
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post #2 of 21 Old 09-14-2010, 11:45 PM
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I don't think 19 is too young to train if you know what your doing and do it well.
I think you need to be honest and up front if someone is looking to you to train their horse. I would rather choose someone who is honest and young (and knows it) upposed to someone who would lie to save the 'weird' looks.
To me experience is what you can do, not how you say you can do it. So if someone asks about how long you've been riding, and how long you've been training, you can let them know an give them refences.
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post #3 of 21 Old 09-15-2010, 06:46 AM
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I think it depends a lot on what you train and the horse. I'm positive 19 years old can start a horse and put good foundation on it, as well as help with refreshing, basic wtc (if horse is not a tough case), etc. I'm also positive it's a good enough age to give lessons to beginners in the discipline you are good at.

Now what I personally run into with young trainers (and I'm talking from the student prospective) they don't know how to teach more advanced students as well as often lack knowledge on how to deal with the difficult horse (not the one bucking or rearing, but say one having difficulties to canter, or collect, or come on bit). They may be awesome riders (no doubt on that), but when it comes to the student rider they can't really help or explain for example how to bring horse from forehead, of how to sit canter, etc.
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post #4 of 21 Old 09-15-2010, 11:56 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Feets View Post
I'm young, and I've only been riding since I was 13 (almost 6 years). I am a good rider and I understand horses. I've trained several successfully, and I even got paid giving riding lessons last year. I've worked with all kinds of horses and worked in all kinds of places. Most the people I talk to think I'm very knowledgeable. I offer training to the public, but I never claim to be anything I'm not and I never take on tasks that are too much for me. I try to hide my age and experience (as far as how many years) because people typically give me a weird look when they find out how young I am and that I haven't really been in the bizz that long. Don't get me wrong, I can almost always get the job done, but I am constantly learning new things from other people and I am open to any and everything. My question is this: should I stop offering my service to people? Is there such a thing as "too young to train"?
Age makes no difference. Trainers build their name by reflecting how well trained the horses that they train are, by doing well in the show ring, by doing well and having successful students. You can be very successful even at a young age. I have met some absolutely incredible young riders who are or have gotten paid for their riding. No reason why you couldn't.

The riding world is constantly judging you as a rider. Horse owners and riders want to be the best, they work to have the best, they want to be able to do well and succeed(sp). If you identify yourself as a trainer or something who offers such services, you will be put out in the spotline a lot more than me or another "regular" rider/horse owner.

I would imagine it would be a hard position to be in, because you're going to ditch a lot of comments and remarks from those who don't like you, or have something against your training. There might not be anything wrong with what you're doing, but it's the title and position you're holding. If you don't already, you'll have to build a thick skin.
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post #5 of 21 Old 09-15-2010, 12:19 PM
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I think experience is much much much more important then age. HOwever continuously ride every kind of horse you can to get experience on various types.

To give a horse your heart guarantees a love that will last forever undamageable
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post #6 of 21 Old 09-15-2010, 12:24 PM
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You didn't mention anything about having a resume or list of references from past students or clients. If you don't already have one, give serious thought to putting something together.

Of course, be sure that the people you are using for references agree to it first.

As for a resume, list any personal successes/wins you have had as a competitor (the show/circuit, class/division, and placement) along with clinics with other trainers that you have attended or audited.

Consider also creating some business cards. They don't have to be glossy, embossed, or fancy - just something with your basic contact information as well as what services you are able to offer.

"Parelli horsemanship is just like painting by the numbers. You need absolutely no skill. You just put this color here and this color there, and when you're done, you have ... a mess no one wants." mp
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post #7 of 21 Old 09-15-2010, 12:51 PM
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I personally don't think that age is an issue as much as experience is. I was training horses full time by the age of 19, and I had only been riding since I was 13, like you. But I didn't have the luxury of riding lessons like some people do. But, by the time I reached 19, I was one of the best riders in my division competing against riders who had been riding their entire lives. I had to train my first horse and re-train my second horse, but apparently I done a good job with both so people started coming to me. Different people learn at different rates and to different degrees. Some people can ride for 6 years and learn next to nothing, whereas others can ride for the same 6 years and be a much more advanced rider. If some one asks what your experience is, be honest about it. There is nothing worse than a dishonest trainer of any age, so always be honest. Just like you get a reputation for being a good trainer/rider, you will also get a reputation of being honest/dishonest, and you would benefit more from the honest reputation! And don't be too proud to tell an owner that you don't think you can handle their horse, and set your own rules about what type of horse you will and won't take on. I know several trainers that will not accept a horse if it has been to a trainer before them. They will only take horses that have never been trained in anyway, they want a blank slate to start with. To me it doesn't matter, I start as if every horse has a blank slate anyway, especially if the horse is a problem horse, I just start them over.

Good luck and happy riding!
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post #8 of 21 Old 09-15-2010, 02:39 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kitten_Val View Post
Now what I personally run into with young trainers (and I'm talking from the student prospective) they don't know how to teach more advanced students as well as often lack knowledge on how to deal with the difficult horse (not the one bucking or rearing, but say one having difficulties to canter, or collect, or come on bit). They may be awesome riders (no doubt on that), but when it comes to the student rider they can't really help or explain for example how to bring horse from forehead, of how to sit canter, etc.
I know exactly what you mean. A lot of young trainers don't even know what those sorts of things mean. I know what they are, and I know how to tell if a horse isn't round, collected, on the aids, etc. I'm still in the process of learning exactly how to teach a horse to get that way (which is why I don't offer people to train their horse to do these things). I've never taken consistent formal lessons (I've literally had two formal lessons my whole life, and they were four years apart from each other and completely different) but I have observed professional trainers and riders and learned that way.

Working with your horse should be like dancing: Someone must lead, but you must both work together to accomplish what you want.
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post #9 of 21 Old 09-15-2010, 08:09 PM
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19 is certainly not too young. I started helping my Dad with customer horses (he would do the training and I would just add miles, ride around town, etc) when I was about 12 or 13, I began starting horses on my own when I was 14 and was training for other people by the time I was 16 (not a lot of horses, but a few here and there). Now, at 26, I am a full time, professional trainer. I am still learning some of the finer points of getting the most out of a horse as I can from my Dad (thankfully he is still around and happy to teach me) but I can turn out a pretty nice, calm, balanced horse. You would probably be surprised at how many people are ecstatic if they get a horse back from the trainer and they can get on, walk/trot/lope, stop, back up, and turn without bucking, running off, rearing, etc.

There will be people with reservations about your ability due to your age, but the best advertisement is word of mouth. Train a horse for someone and if they like it, they will tell 3 people. Those 3 people will tell 10 more people and for every owner you satisfy, you'll have 2 more hearing about it and calling you.

Always remember that feeling of looking at a big, open country over the ears of a good horse, seeing a new trail unwind ahead of you, and that ever-spectacular view from the top of the ridge!!! Follow my training blog: http://robertsontraining.blogspot.com/
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post #10 of 21 Old 09-15-2010, 10:58 PM
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Whether you are training horses or starting any kind of a business, many people will not take a young person seriously. I started my first business at 16 and I am well familiar with this issue.

References are important. When you have success with clients, encourage them to spread the word about you. Written testimonials are good too.

Slowly the word will spread and you will build up a clientele of repeat and referred customers-the best kind.

Don't advertise your age but don't lie when asked. Be confident and you will inspire confidence in you.

Good luck!
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