1.When did you start training horses?
First you have to define the word "train". Technically, every horse you interact with you're teaching them something -good, bad, or indifferent. I started taking lessons in the 4th grade and somewhere in high school my trainer started giving me more and more green horses to ride. I started training horses professionally (meaning it's my main source of income) about 5 or 6 years ago.
2. What was you first experiance working with a horse like?
There wasn't a specific "this is my first horse" experience. I rode a lot of horses for my trainer growing up, some greener then others. I do remember one TB she put me on... we had walked around the ring for a few minutes before she came down and said, oh by the way, this horse doesn't know how to stop or really steer!! Looking back I'm wondering what she was thinking putting me in a giant ring on something that basically wasn't broke!!
3. Is it harder to train older or younger horses?
Depends on the horse. On one hand when you start a younger horse you start fresh so you don't have to deal with the bad habits someone else put into that horse. At the same time, I think it's easier to teach a horse a 2nd job rather then a 1st one. Plus, you usually don't have to deal with all of the baby stuff (bucking, spooking, etc) that you would on something younger and they're usually a little more focused and used to working when they're older. But it all comes down to which individual horse is more capable (physically and mentally) of learning.
4. What made you wan to train horses? Necesity, or maybe a job oppertunity?
Haha, my BO needed a trainer and offered me the position. I almost said no! I was supposed to move in about 6 mo but I needed a temp job in the meantime. I loved my job so much I changed my mind and decided to stay. Now 5 years later I won't let my husband move because I absolutely love my job and I'm not leaving!
5. What is the hardest thing you have ever taught a horse?
Tough question. I don't think there's a black and white answer, I think a lot of things offer their own challenges. I had to break a little shetland pony that was hard because she was so small and so wiggly! And she bucked. Working with a problem horse that's had a lot of people take away their trust is hard. I think training a horse to do a mediocre job isn't too hard. But teaching a horse to do something WELL is hard. Lots of horses can jump. Lots of horses can jump around an ok course. It's hard to teach a horse to jump very very well and have a flawless round.
6. Whats the most rewarding thing about training?
I train a lot of ponies. I get a particular amount of satisfaction watching my past ponies win in the show ring with their kids. THAT's cool. But really, every tiny bit of progress you make is amazing! The first time your horse softens their jaw, the first time they get the concept of moving off your leg, finally getting a lead change, jumping through a difficult combination, going to a first show and having your horse not freak out, going to a show and actually winning! A trainer once said to me, "Why do we love training horses? Because we are making art." I LOVE that quote. It's like taking a lump of clay and creating something beautiful out of it. It's amazing.
7. Do you plan to go professional in doing training.
according to USEF I am.
8. How long does it take to train a green horse? Or does it depend on the horse?
Depends on what you mean by train and how green it is to start with. And the horse of course. A good 30 days undersaddle will often get you a green broke horse. I had someone drop off a broke pony for 30 d to teach him to jump. It was a hard core 30 days and by the end of it he was trotting into tiny crossbar courses. But I think it take about a year to take something that's green broke and teach it to jump a nice 2"3 course with lead changes. It also depends on how smart, athletic, and willing a horse is. Some take longer then others. Just like people!
9. Any other comments about training you think are important?
NEVER STOP LEARNING! You will NEVER get to a point where you know enough. I know an absolutely amazing trainer who's been doing grand prixs for over 20 years and she still reads every magazine/book, attends clinics, watches videos, etc. She's incredible and she's still learning! Someone once said to me, read and learn everything you possibly can, then put it through your "BS filter". Put whatever works into your 'training toolbox'. What doesn't? Remember it anyways and try it on a horse when nothing else works.