I once read something that said if you want to be a horse trainer, then your job isn't to train horses, it is to give the client what they want. Unfortunately, this has become a trend in the horse industry that isn't in the best interest of the horse. The horse is a product of the consistent release of pressure, making obedience and cosmetic affect the goal of many training programs.
I personally have never sent a horse off for training, but I have taken horses in for training. My barn is in my back yard, so could you call me a back yard trainer? Call me what you will. If someone hands me a horse and says I want him walking, trotting, and cantering with headset and good on trails in x amount of time, I would refuse. That is not what I do, I take the horses in after they have failed that type of training program, the horses that have decided that the deal people have given them isn't quite worth it. Quite often, they come with aggression issues, bucking issues, bolting, extreme fear, extreme lack of respect, etc as well as injured people under their belt.
I was at a trainer friends a month or so ago that showed me a horse that he had in for training, it was a young gelding that had tossed his owner a few times, so his job was to teach him not to. So, they got on him, and rode him out, made it hard, they taught it not to buck. When I looked at the horse, I saw a topline that was in horrible shape, a saddle that did not fit at all, a snarling lip and chomping teeth with ears pinned back. I had no question at all why the horse had been bucking, but they were hired to do a job and thats what they did in a short amount of time. In the best interest of the long term performance of the horse? No, not at all, but definately what is accepted and actually promoted across ignorant horse owners.
I recently had a horse come in to me that is going home soon. The horse had come in at 5 yrs old, with multiple throwings of his riders, including hospital trips and surgeries. He's owned by a young family that did have the impression that a good horse will walk, trot, canter and steer without question of its rider. However, these people also noticed that their horse was "grumpy" and the cookie cutter dvds as well as the trainer they were working with weren't fixing. As I was working with the horse, the people came out regularly. What she noticed was he was suddenly curious about people, wanting to work, no longer biting or kicking on the ground and enjoying riding. Could I have brought him in for 30 days and taught him not to buck? Sure, but it wouldn't have been in his best interest. Instead, he stayed for 90 days, learned to trust people, learned how to cope with issues and accept corrections, learned the basics of self carriage and how to work with the rider, and how to actually enjoy his job at the same time his owners were learning to communicate with him. His owner even said that her main concern was that he stopped bucking, she never realized that the bucking wasn't him being bad, but him being defensive about his insecurities, all the holes left in his initial training.
Its sad, so often horses are made to conform to our time restrictions, our idea of what a horse should act and look like. "If its head up, teach it to flex and keep its head down". This softness is promoted by many trainers, including NH, but is it actually good for the horse? No. Horses have become an object, a mere prop in our every day life. If it doesn't do something correctly, its a bad horse, without consideration that it may be (and usually is) the person causing the problem.
Ok, so I got off track a bit. So, I am a backyard trainer, I despise showing, my husband and I take care of every horse in our barn ourselves, and I am the only endorsed trainer by a nationally known trainer that works with NH as well as classical dressage and specifically behavioral and physical problems. I have found that I can't take the clients expectations for their horse in the time expected for the horse to achieve 90% of the time because it is not in the best interest of the horse. However, I do my job, I teach the horse and I teach the owner every step of the way. I encourage people who have me work with their horses meet with me at least once a week, they get a list of books to read in the mean time about horse behavior and horses physical needs as well as exercises to strengthen their abilities as a rider even when they aren't out here. Can I pump out trained horses in a short amount of time? No, not at all, and I refuse to try to. I tell people right off the bat that if they want something completely obedient with no opinion just for their own pleasure, then they should go buy a 4-wheeler. Unfortunately, I highly doubt that the horse industry will ever put the horses best interest first besides what they see as necessities through the human eye. Poor riding and rapid, physically manipulative training is encouraged through poor judges and showing systems that set the standard for the equine athlete. The sooner we achive that image, the soon we achieve success. Sorry about my rambling.