Questions about hiring a horse training
I have decide to hire a trainer for my gelding. I have contacted a couple that look promising and will soon be going to meet them in person and check out their facilities. Both trainers use natural horsemanship methods, so I know that we agree on that. This will be just to get my horse trained for pleasure and trail riding not for showing.
I have never had to hire a trainer before and would appreciate any advice on questions I should ask or things that I should look for when there. Obviously, I will be looking at the condition of the horses that are already there and the condition of the facility itself. I have also requested to watch a training session.
I do not know anyone personally that has used these trainers and they did offer to provide references, but we all know that they are not going to give me the name of someone who was unhappy with the training.
How can I make sure that my boy is going to be well taken care of and safe?
You're on the right track about setting up appointments where you can watch the trainer. Just judge how the other horses look such as condition and even attitude. You might even want to visit your top two choices multiple times. Talk the other customers or people you see while you are at the barn.
Once you think you know which one you are going with, drop in unexpectedly, or an hour earlier than your appointment ;)
Good lord, I meant hiring a horse TRAINER. Where is my brain???
Like Eliz said, you are definately doing it right by setting up appointments. And you might not want to judge completely on the look of the farm, either. The trainer that has worked wonders for my horses had a huge barn and indoor arena, but all of the stalls are just little wooden planks. There is only about 6 of them, and one is an indoor run in for a big pasture full of horses. She has a beautiful property but it isn't anything high-end.
If I would have walked in there first impression I might not have wanted to go. But she is an amazing trainer (of natural horsemanship) and her horses are very well broke. I was pretty impressed. But my mother already brought my sister to take lessons there, so I wasn't going into all of this blind.
Good luck with your search for a trainer.
Our trainer is really just getting started in our area, but she has actually trained horses for several years in England. (Her hubby was stationed there while in the military.) While her current facilities are nicer than my own, they are still far from high end - she is building them up as she has the money. She does excellent work - natural horsemanship, of course - and it hasn't taken her long to build up a loyal clientelle at all - she came recommended to us by another horsey friend that she had done some training for.
As far as I am concerned, references from friends and other horsey acquaintences is the best way to find a trainer - if you can do it that way!
Where are you in VA, and what training are you looking for? I am in NOVA, and my BO is fabulous.
I always pay attention to the condition of the trainers horses and get references from other horse owners they have worked with. Also look at the way they train and work with other horses and ask if they are willing to help you learn new techniques if your training/ handling styles differ. I agree with ButtInTheDirt about overlooking barn conditions, I've known some great trainers with not so great barns! lol
Get lots of references! There are a lot of good trainers out there and even more that shouldn't call themselves trainers. Be sure to ask to see a horse they are working that is at the same stage in training as your gelding and that you would like to see that horse worked fresh. I think it's important to see how they handle the sometimes not as easy beginnings as well as an example of their finishing work. Ask from who/where/how they learned to train horses. As far as setting an appt or just show up is kind of a toss-up for me. I'd give a general idea, "How would sometime Thursday afternoon be?" and if you choose that trainer, once your horse is there do lots of drop ins!
Touchstone Farm Quarter Horses - Madison, Virginia
Have you heard anything about them?
Thank you everyone for the advice. I do know not to be taken in by a fancy looking facility. (Although I can't help but drool over some of the barns that I have been in.) When I said condition of the facility, I meant stuff like poo piling up in the stalls, nails sticking out or other things that might be hazardous to my horse. At first I was excited about getting some professional training on my boy, but now, I already miss him and I haven't even picked a trainer yet. :(
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