How did you become a trainer? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 8 Old 04-04-2010, 05:21 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Washington
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How did you become a trainer?

How did you start training horses? Did you do the college thing? Apprentice under a trainer? Grow up with horses and got all your experiance on your ranch? Whats your job with horses atm; are you a BO and training? Or just training your own horses or/also clients horses? Do you teach lessons? Tell me your stories
Im wanting to see if im on the right path to become the trainer I want to be. Ive known how to ride but the last 4 years I got alot of training experiance and teaching lessons to kids from my old trainer/BO. Ive now out grown my old trainer. Soooo Im reading and doing as much research online until I move so I can take lessons and hopefully apprentice *crosses fingers* with a dressage trainer.
Oh! Also what do you train? English,dressage, western? Jumping? How did you know THATS what you wanted to do? My passion is dressage but I love jumping so many options! I dont know what to try or do first! >_<
Any advice is appreciated.

From east to west a travlin gypsy found her prancing pony for now their hearts run as one...into the north
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post #2 of 8 Old 04-05-2010, 04:17 PM
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Florida
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I grew up taking lessons, mostly hunters, but also wp. I was a working student by age 11, and worked hard at it until my work was exercising horses instead of cleaning stalls. As a teenager, my trainer did a lot of retraining cases and had me work with her on many of the horses. I started barrel racing at 16, and worked with many branches of western performance into my early 20s. I am a college graduate, but nothing to do with horses. I have gone to school for equine sports massage therapy and saddle fitting. I have also worked extensively with a trainer who specializes in physical balance of the horse and taught clinics per her request.

I have worked and competed in many disciplines, but don't feel I can claim any as my own. My main market is serious problem horses. I work with all breeds and types simply on the basis that they are a horse, and help them to work through their people problems. Many of the horses come after they have failed with traditional methods. I've had failed dressage horses, ex-racers, the horse auction mental case, ex rodeo bucking broncs, bolters, and the typical back yard neurotic just to name a few. I also work with dangerous horses, simple vices, etc.

Most of my experience came from just that....experience. It came from making mistakes, learning from my sins, and growing up in a family that takes in anything with a problem had something to do with it I'm sure. I've tried getting out of the business many times, thinking that since I rarely compete, I have no place here, yet someone was always needing a bit of help and I realized that my place is the inbetween ground when a little bit of filling in holes is what is needed before they can go onto a successful show career. I've never advertised myself as a trainer, people only find me by word of mouth.

I do teach lessons, its a requirement of having a horse in training with me. I also work with some kids and do some local shows to get them started comfortably. As I mentioned before, I never really chose what I wanted to do, it just kept choosing me. I've had a lot of exceptional trainers along the way that all seemed to be pushing me in this direction. (hmm, wonder if I should take it personally that they kept throwing me to the difficult horses.....)
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post #3 of 8 Old 04-05-2010, 04:32 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Washington
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Thanks for sharing! So do you do the equine therapy as your main job then training horses on the side? Or the other way around? Ive been told that as a trainer you should have a second income. For example I knew this chiropractor who trained and taught lessons. But then ive also been told I shouldnt train horses and I should just train dogs. Well thats a little insulting...

From east to west a travlin gypsy found her prancing pony for now their hearts run as one...into the north
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post #4 of 8 Old 04-06-2010, 12:00 AM
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Western North Carolina
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Nice topic travelingypsy. I'm in a similar predicament. With the end of my college career fast approaching, my future is hazy. All I really know is that I want to work with horses, however I'm so scared that the industry will chew me up and spit me out before I have a chance to find the place/barn i'm supposed to be.
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post #5 of 8 Old 04-06-2010, 12:25 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Washington
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I know what you mean. In my area there isnt a lot of 'horse-support', reason why I joined this forum a while back. Even though its not the same as having better coaching,show groups or just trail buddies...
But im trying so hard to get out and move to my own place where I can start working my horses, take lessons and not having to worry about BO's ect.

No reason not to try, eh? And if this career path doesnt work out you can always try new things. Do you have an outline of what you are wanting to do or start off with? Training wise, i guess.

From east to west a travlin gypsy found her prancing pony for now their hearts run as one...into the north
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post #6 of 8 Old 04-06-2010, 01:39 AM
Join Date: May 2009
Location: CO
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Well, I was practically 'born' on a horse, so I've been around them for a long time. After having taken lessons for a few years (already knew how to ride, but had a trainer to help me begin refining things). When I turned 10, my trainer and my parents helped me find a new horse; we had decided to find a green one, as I had been through quite a few 'older been there done that horses' already. My trainer was there every step of the way, and the green Morgan cross turned out to be a pretty decent all around horse-anyone could get on and ride; did he have a few gliches, that NOW with the experience I have may not have been there? Sure, but that was 20 years ago already, and I've learned a lot more between now and then. I have trained horses for pretty much everything; pleasure, to trail riding, to dressage, although I really prefer doing initial training on a horse; and I love working with previously abused, neglected, or unhandled horses.

I never did go to college to 'become' a horse trainer, though...maybe sometime in the future I may get a certificate, but to be honest, I don't think you "need" a paper proving that you know how to work with a horse; the best trainers I've worked and learned with and from, have not always been certified...much the same as in the dog grooming world; the best groomers I've worked with and learned from had never gone to school for it, but learned by watching, and doing. With horses I've found the best 'teacher' is the horse himself; you can learn all you want about behavior from books, but that doesn't mean all of that knowledge will work on every single horse...same with different methods; I'm not the kind of person who feels "one" method is the only method to train a horse with...well, I take it back Consistancy is THE method, but how you are consistant is going to be different.

"The ideal horseman has the courage of a lion, the patience of a saint, and the hands of a woman..."

Last edited by mom2pride; 04-06-2010 at 01:42 AM.
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post #7 of 8 Old 04-06-2010, 07:50 AM
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Florida
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I manage a barn as a steady source of income. My business is completely on the side of that, although I do tend to find myself helping people at the other barn regularly. I only practice massage regularly on my own horses, although I have done some others on the side for clients and friends. The knowledge is valuable in training though. Understanding how the body works and what muscle issues trigger which symptoms make typical problems like lead issues, extension issues, or collection issues much easier to understand and correct from the inside out. Not to mention that the more extreme issues are almost always related to some type of imbalance.

I agree with Mom2Pride about many certifications. Yes, there are definately some desirable credentials out there in the upper levels, but I've met plenty of "certified" people that really didn't measure up. I've also met plenty of amazing horsemen that have never taken a test.

Whenever you are working with horses, you are always going to look back and think "if only I'd known this 10 yrs ago". I'm positive that I will be saying that 10 years from now. When I was actually looking for a career, I wasn't looking in horses. I'd done it forever, its hard work, 24/7, hurt yourself and everything still has to get done, huge expenses if you have lesson horses, business expenses, etc. It turns out thats just what kept finding me. If you are good at what you do, your horses will be your greatsest advertisement.
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post #8 of 8 Old 04-06-2010, 09:14 AM
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: ontario, canada
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I was born into a horse family and at age 12 I was given 2 yearlings by my father. In those days me being so light we broke them right away and yes I rode yearlings back then.. My dad would hold them and I was put on one and he lead me until we were sure he wouldn't buck too hard and then I was turned loose.
By the time I was 15 or so I had the best trained horses among all my riding friends.
I have never looked back and have been turning out good horses for over 50 years.
I do not take lessons, I go on instinct, what seems to get through to the horses and my confidence in my own ability.
I also trained dogs, taught obedience classes , produced animals for a number of TV shows, ran a dog sled team for many years.
My life is horses and I spend at least an hour every single day with my boys.
I never stop training a horse/practicing his skills and fine tuning but usually I make a pretty good horse in 2 years.
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