Tips to become a trainer
(If this thread is in the wrong category, please let me know. I'm still the day-old around here and even more-so feeling my way about the forum.)
So I'm interested in becoming a trainer. I've watched excessive amounts of seminars, videos, read articles and instruction guides. However, what I lack is experience. I was told to go to a trainer in my local area and sort of "shadow" them, learning as I work. What I don't want to do is go get some yearling or weanling and work the "trial and error," only to find myself in over my head and with this horse that will probably go to the unknown from auctions.
My trick: I don't know how to find a local trainer! I work at a livery stable but the owner is still a little shaky about my assisting in the training of her yearlings, despite the fact that I have showed talent in riding and working with the "problem horses" from the herd.
I have noticed one small "ranch" with several horses, foals, and even cattle, goats, and chickens. Otherwise there is nothing of the sort in my area. I'm not sure how I should approach the owner/foreman, or if I even should. I have checked multiple job listings, talked to friends with horses, to no avail. I do have family who boards horses, but they don't need any extra hands at this moment.
So I'd like to get some opinions. Should I follow the aforementioned advice and work under a weathered trainer or get a horse of my own and "experiment"? I'd prefer the former, but if someone has been in a similar situation I'd love to hear from you!
The reason I ask is that a friend of mine, Paige, and I aspire to start our own Equine Rescue. We've seen many decrepit horses go uncared for by the authorities (one even being a Curly horse, who has foundered so bad he stands all day in a river, thinks he's a cow, and is matted to the point a co-worker of mine thought he was a Bison!). We wish to make a change in this pattern and help those horses in need; however, I need to first get some training experience, which I know I'm going to need to rehabilitate any animals that pass through our facility.
There is a difference between needing extra hands or accepting free extra hands. Could you volunteer somewhere instead for a while?
Thats a nice idea you have...good luck!
The best thing I ever did was give an old trainer an extra hand breaking young horses. I think thats the way to go! I learned so much about horses, and about life in general. The guy used to be a stunt man in movies and was soo interesting to talk to.
Before you can be of any value to these horses from a training point of view, you will need to get experience with a large number of horses.
Working with and training a single horse will never expose you to enough situations to be able to deal with different issues that come up.
My suggestion is to go and work for a horse breaker or horse trainer with a good reputation in your local area. The more horses you can work with the better.
Get the education first and you will be a greater help to the horses you are trying to help.
However, this is not the style of "training" I'm interested in (while it is starting somewhere). Given that it's a must for horses. The closest person I know who breaks horses is in Alabama (me being in Illinois).
My issue is approaching local horseman to ask if they need the help, the ones that I don't know personally. As a matter of fact, I don't know if I should approach and say, "Hey, just stopping by to see if you need any extra help so I can learn how to train horses."
What I don't want to do, by any means, is buy an ill-trained horse to "trail and error," risking ruining the horse or scarring it for life because when it comes to 'extreme' horse training, I have no experience.
When I started doing what you are wanting to do, I had six years of horse experience, however was only 15 at the time. Having owned four horses and worked with/took lessons under five riding instructors over that time.
I just ended buying a horse who needed training, asked a lot of questions and worked with him. Then a thin horse who needed food and training was given to me. And pretty much by accident I started.
I have gotten in and out of it as different life spans call for different amounts of time to devote. But for the last 5-6 years I have taken in 20 or so horses a year who are deemed problem children and given away or horses who have been neglected and require food, time and love. Right now I actually have a waiting list of four horses to come in when I can re-home a few that I have ready here. There is a HUGE need for this in my book, it has never made money but can break even which makes it possible for me to continue to do.
If you have the room look around and find a horse to start with, ask a lot of questions, I am continuing to learn daily. You will not be "great" right away, you will learn something new form every horse and every new situation that horse offers, you will look dumb, fall, be kicked, bit, ran over, bucked off and bruised for a long while in the beginning depending on the horses you bring in. But if you stick with it, always be open to learning new things and ask ask ask and if you have the physical and mental make-up to be a horse trainer it will happen.
You can look at my website and see what I've been doing to see where I am coming from.
All this said assuming you do already own your own horse and care for it at your home? If you do not have your own horse, START THERE and put this all on hold for several years. And if you do not have a place at your home for a horse requiring training or if you haven't rented out your own facility I would also put this on hold.
Lasty, choose an easy horse to train - do not go grabbing the first un-broke 2 year old you can find or wild Mustang from a rescue.
I'd say look for a different stable. I worked in "trail riding" stable and frankly didn't get any experience there as a "trainer" (except I have to give dewormer every 8 weeks). Very well may be yours are different, but whatever is around here is pretty useless to get real training experience.
Look for the real trainers - those who know how to ride, how to train, and take horses in training (and have recommendations). You can look for student position in place like that. Several bans in my area are happy to take working students in. Also try to take as many lessons as possible. I don't know what's your riding level/experience, but the more different horses you ride - the better rider (and trainer!) you'll be.
What kitten said.
Try to find a working student position with an established, well known trainer who has a good reputation.
You can't learn to train just by owning a horse. Each horse is different, and you need a toolbox of varied skills in order to handle them correctly. In order to get that varied toolbox of skills, you need to learn from a knowledgeable professional.
Just because you might be able to half-ass train your own horse, does not make you a trainer.
Good luck. You seem to have realistic goals in mind.
I don't know if there is anything like this around you but where I'm from we have a few community colleges that actually train you to train all sorts of horses. This fall I'm going to one of them and will be given I believe two or three horses to start, then next spring I'll be given two or three more though younger than the first set, then next semester I'll be interning with someone who actually trains horses for a living in whatever discipline I want to get into. I'll also be specializing at least two of those horses including my own in what ever discipline I like.
Before I looked into that since there is nobody around me (except the trainer I'm working with to train my filly) I volunteered at a local horse rescue and dealt with a few of their problem horses, rode them, took care of them. Learned a whole lot of things from doing that. I would watch the trainers that came in to work with the problem horses and every year they take in a group of yearlings and two year olds to start them so that was interesting. Happened to learn a lot about the work and managing people to so it was very interesting and I'm glad I did it.
Anyway Good luck!
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