Becoming a Trainer - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 11 Old 08-09-2020, 10:14 PM Thread Starter
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Becoming a Trainer

Hey everyone. I'd love your guys input on this thought that my dad came up with and I'm considering doing.

Basically, he suggested I offer my services of doing groundwork training to other people.


The thing is, I've gotten pretty decent with my groundwork skills. I've worked with weanlings up to horses in their teens. I've worked with ones that were very hard to catch, some that were a blank slate and knew nothing, and I've worked with feral and ones that had trust issues and were abused. I've worked with horses since 2016 with a one year break in there, but have consistently worked with them now these last 2.5 years.

Through this, I've learnt each horse needs a different approach and I honestly love learning about them and what works for them and seeing their confidence grow and them blossom as they learn and enjoy time with people again.

So I'm considering offering to train other peoples horses in ground work. I wouldn't ask much in cost as I'd just be starting out as well. I was thinking about asking about $150 - $200 for a month. This would cover board and feed with a small bit extra for my time.


So, what are your guys thoughts on this? I'd love any input as well as what you think of the price and everything.


Also, I'm in Canada if that means anything.
And I don't feel I'm not ready to work with horses with anything to do with riding as I'm still working on learning a lot there myself. So all I'd be offering is ground work and help with certain behavioral issues that I can address through groundwork as I've done this with several horses already. I also have a trainer who's willing to help me out if I need it.
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post #2 of 11 Old 08-10-2020, 12:21 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SummerBliss View Post
Hey everyone. I'd love your guys input on this thought that my dad came up with and I'm considering doing.

Hi! First of all, do you mind me asking your age? Reason being, if you were to go through with this, your dad would probably be on the hook for any liability or insurance issues, if you are a minor. I don't know the laws in Canada (I'm in the US) but you'll need to look into if you need to do anything different with insurance now that you would have someone else's horse on your property and/or teaching groundwork lessons, if the person taking the lesson were to get hurt and sue you.


I know that's not a pretty topic to bring up right off the bat, but you need to make sure that you protect yourself!! For sure, you must explore the legal aspect and ALWAYS have a contract in writing.


Quote:
Originally Posted by SummerBliss View Post

The thing is, I've gotten pretty decent with my groundwork skills. I've worked with weanlings up to horses in their teens. I've worked with ones that were very hard to catch, some that were a blank slate and knew nothing, and I've worked with feral and ones that had trust issues and were abused. I've worked with horses since 2016 with a one year break in there, but have consistently worked with them now these last 2.5 years.

Curious what you have done with all these horses? Kept them for yourself? Bought them with the intent of selling? Just helped out friends for free?


Quote:
Originally Posted by SummerBliss View Post

So I'm considering offering to train other peoples horses in ground work. I wouldn't ask much in cost as I'd just be starting out as well. I was thinking about asking about $150 - $200 for a month. This would cover board and feed with a small bit extra for my time.

So, what are your guys thoughts on this? I'd love any input as well as what you think of the price and everything.

You may or may not get very many people interested for groundwork alone. Usually, when folks send their horse to a trainer, they also want the horse ridden. So first you need to figure out if there is even a market for such a thing.


Or.... would you be better off doing single groundwork lessons, rather than taking a horse for 30 days (or whatever it may be).



Quote:
Originally Posted by SummerBliss View Post

I also have a trainer who's willing to help me out if I need it.

Maybe it would be different for people that know you, but I don't know that I would be personally comfortable sending my horse to a trainer .... that has a trainer to help them. Do you know what I mean? And its not that trainers can't take lessons themselves (they should!!) but do you understand where I am going with this? If you want people to PAY you to help them with your horse, then you do need to know what you are doing.

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post #3 of 11 Old 08-10-2020, 12:54 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by beau159 View Post
Hi! First of all, do you mind me asking your age? Reason being, if you were to go through with this, your dad would probably be on the hook for any liability or insurance issues, if you are a minor. I don't know the laws in Canada (I'm in the US) but you'll need to look into if you need to do anything different with insurance now that you would have someone else's horse on your property and/or teaching groundwork lessons, if the person taking the lesson were to get hurt and sue you.


I know that's not a pretty topic to bring up right off the bat, but you need to make sure that you protect yourself!! For sure, you must explore the legal aspect and ALWAYS have a contract in writing.


Curious what you have done with all these horses? Kept them for yourself? Bought them with the intent of selling? Just helped out friends for free?


You may or may not get very many people interested for groundwork alone. Usually, when folks send their horse to a trainer, they also want the horse ridden. So first you need to figure out if there is even a market for such a thing.


Or.... would you be better off doing single groundwork lessons, rather than taking a horse for 30 days (or whatever it may be)

Maybe it would be different for people that know you, but I don't know that I would be personally comfortable sending my horse to a trainer .... that has a trainer to help them. Do you know what I mean? And its not that trainers can't take lessons themselves (they should!!) but do you understand where I am going with this? If you want people to PAY you to help them with your horse, then you do need to know what you are doing.


These are all very good points! Thanks for bringing them up.

1. I haven't thought too much about the legal aspect as it's something that was brought up last night so it's still a fairly new idea that I'm toying with. But I know I definitely would have a contract that would get signed. The rest I would have to look deeper into. Also, I am an adult. Just turned 23 yesterday. My dad just came by for a surprise visit. So he wouldn't be on the hook for anything if something were to happen.


2. As for the horses, some were personal horses, some were project horses that I resold after getting a good foundation on them and getting them "rehabbed" so to speak. At least two of them were rescue cases, and I have helped a friend or two with their own horses as well. So it's a bit of everything really.


3. I understand the ridden part is typically part of the deal as well. I can ride, so if they were to want the horse ridden and exercised as well, I could do that. I'm just not yet to the point where I could teach the horse something new under saddle. For example, I wouldn't be able to teach a horse to jump, because I myself, have not really jumped. And i do realize there might not be much of a market for it which is one reason why I posted here to see if anyone thinks this could be a good starting step or if it's not really worth attempting until I can do the ridden work too.

That is a good idea about doing groundwork lessons. I'll have to add that into consideration. And it's not like they'd have to do 30 days at a time, I was just thinking of a month as a starting point. I could lower or increase price depending on how long the horse would be with me. If it's just a week, then it'd be a quarter of the price. If it was 1.5 months, then the price would go up a bit.


4. I totally understand that. I tend to say that more out of reflex as everywhere I look, people are always telling one another "get a trainer" for every little thing. And while I am confident in my skills, I'm more saying it that I do know people who are more experienced than me who can back me up that I have support if I go into this. Like they can vouch that I do know what I'm doing. I hope that makes more sense. I'm not sure if I'm explaining it right but it's hard to form it into words what I mean.
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post #4 of 11 Old 08-10-2020, 07:11 AM
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I have a couple of random thoughts.

1. Yes, insurance! You will need it! Lots of it, LOL.

2. I personally have no problem with someone who confesses that in some circumstances they might need to consult a trainer. Honestly I appreciate that they realize they aren't the be-all-end-all of horse knowledge, and I think I would consider that a plus.

3. Can you really make it work at that cost? I know I live in an expensive city and costs vary, but where I board pasture board starts at $550 and the only services you get with that is the water trough filled and hay thrown out when it's needed. If you can board horses that cheap, maybe you should just have a boarding business. And offer to throw in groundwork as needed. Even then, I'd be sure the cost would really work for you. I'd probably charge more, although I guess it depends on what other people are charging where you live.

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post #5 of 11 Old 08-10-2020, 08:03 AM
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Happy belated birthday............

I don't mean to be a downer but I've been around the block a few times and see what "trainers" can have come through the door...

So, yes to insurance covering all aspects of what you think you want to do. Make sure it also covers you with no deductible for body injuries, remember you are now a business so different than your regular healthcare in Canada.
As soon as you take a penny your liability just went through the roof.
What happens if the horse you are "training" is injured, needs medical care or needs euthanasia while in your control and care of "training"...
What happens if the owner gets back their horse from you and it explodes and hurts them...looking straight at you if this is what you were contracted to fix/correct.
Sorry, but if my horse is going to the trainer for refresher work or because of a ground-handling issue then it probably also includes astride issues...
Not as a put down to you, but it is far different to train than to ride a docile minded horse for exercise...
I was the grunt who rode reining horses for the trainer...I warmed up/cooled down but never in a million years would I tackle some issues they needed straightened out or taught under saddle...very, very different kind of riding.
You need to have a lot of tools in your toolbox to indeed train and reach all the different temperaments you are going to be approached with...
From the rude pony to the aggressive man-killing horse outlawed off the racetrack...you could have them all.
That man-killer is/was real and was one heck of a handful I with 20 years experience needed to pull-up my britches and learn a new way to handle on the ground so he not get me...are you up to that?
I wasn't and had to learn real fast...attacking teeth, flying hooves and steam-rolling over you are no where you want to find your lacking what do I do...

That obnoxious pony was nastier with his spin and kick, then spin again and bite....lightening fast.
The man-killer was a incredible riding horse, just a huge monster to get him to the riding stage daily.
All ground-work issues. All issues you could be contracted to fix..
Are your really, truly up to that test and task??

Most people honestly can do small rude behaviors, but when you advertise for dealing with ground-work problems or to teach the untouched...all ground-work you need to know your stuff hands-down forwards, backwards and everything in between like breathing so automatic your response or you are going to get hurt and if not hurt sued for not producing what was contracted for...
Beware...
I'm sorry but based on what I've seen go through "training barns" your small exposure to nice horses just doesn't sound enough experience to start a business with, small as you intend to start out...you could be in over your head with your first contracted animal.
People who can't handle ground work issues or find a competent friend to now needing a professional... whew!!
Even youngsters mishandled, untouched or allowed to become obnoxious pests...
Oh boy...
...
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post #6 of 11 Old 08-10-2020, 08:52 AM
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I would say that there is a market for that kind of service - but you will be getting dangerous animals. Most riding instructors can help a student with run of the mill issues like diving for grass or not standing at the mounting block. But the horses who would be beyond most riding instructors would have very dangerous habits which your typical riding instructor doesn't know (or doesn't want) to fix. People who break horses for a living also teach ground manners so it would be unlikely that you would get normal green horses who just need to learn.

Maybe teach ground work lessons to people with their non-dangerous but clueless horses?

Liability and insurance still applies.

I have to say, at the price you mention I would board my horse with you - never mind the ground work. Especially if I wanted to rescue or retire a horse that I didn't need to see on a regular basis (I presume you are not close to urban centers if you can afford those prices)
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post #7 of 11 Old 08-10-2020, 10:48 AM
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I actually do know someone who does groundwork training in Canada and... she's younger than OP. As far as I know, she hasn't had any explosive/dangerous horses yet- challenging yes, but that doesn't mean it couldn't happen. However, she travels to give a training time (like lessons in a way, but she works with the horse for a scheduled amount of time). I think that has given her the control to say no to horses she is not confident with. But in training and instructing, liability is a very real thing to consider. Some people get away with things, but those who don't and do not have the right coverage can pay big time.



OP, I would start by looking around for a groundwork trainer you may be able to work under and build connections. If you are going to do this the safest way, then I'd also recommend getting the coverage that has already been suggested to you and additionally, I would recommend you work towards your instructors of beginners (IOB) license, which is both an asset to attract potential clients and helps lower your insurance rates a bit. To get your IOB, you will need to get more experience in riding - enough to be able to teach a small group wtc, circles, etc. You can find further information through your provincial equestrian association and Equine Canada.
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post #8 of 11 Old 08-10-2020, 12:01 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the feedback everyone! It's very helpful reading it all.

@ACinATX
The cost is very doable for me. I actually board at the stables in town. It's $150 to have to have 2 horses in a single paddock and board includes being able to use the roundpen, large outdoor arena, indoor arena, water, and access to a very small XC course and trails. Also, it's $100 for a large 1,200 lbs bale of high quality hay. Well, seeing as I have horses there already, board for a clients horse would only be $75 and then about $50 to go towards hay. That comes to $125. Then I added a bit extra to go towards my time spent with the horse to bump it up $150 or $200. But keep in mind, that's for a month. I can lower or raise those prices depending on how long I actually work with the horse while it's with me. So ya, I can't offer a boarding business as I'm already boarding at the stables and using them. But I've been one of their longest boarders so far and have built a good relationship with the owner that helps with the cost being a bit lower as well.


@horseloving guy
Those are all very good points! I do realize that I have been lucky so to speak to have worked with mostly good minded horses up to this point. I have worked with some that tried to kick me and one that tried to bite me because he didn't want to do anything. So I have dealt with some challenging ones, though definitely no man killers. And if I were to take on clients, I wasn't thinking of taking on every single case that came along. More like I'd take the ones I'd be able to handle. I'd do my best not to get in over my head by picking and choosing which ones I'd work with so to speak. Of course I can't be too picky, but I'd do that as a way to avoid getting in over my head before I'm ready to take on some of those really hard or even dangerous cases.
I'll definitely keep everything you said in mind as I continue to think about this and figure out what steps I should or should not take towards becoming a trainer.


@Horsef
Actually, I board myself at a stable that is located right inside town actually. It's just super affordable here as I'm in a small town. If you look at my first response above, it shows things a bit better how that works. And I'll keep everything else you've said in mind as well, thanks.


@Jolly101
That's really interesting to hear. Thanks for sharing that. As for working under another, that's something I'd love to do. However, it's not really possible where I live right now. One trainer would be willing, but his methods end up leaving horses with leaving bloody cuts where the girth goes as well as the corners of the horses mouth is always bloody everytime he works with a new horse. His horses also become very "dead" and they don't even know how to yield their HQ with a light touch. They all literally have to be body chucked in order to get them to move their butts over. They have "dead" eyes and that's not the kind of horse I want to create. Another trainer who is very well known around here, is exceedingly busy to the point you might be able to get one response from him and that's it for weeks or months at a time so it's not really possible to work under him. And anyone else just blows you off or never responds to any message or such. I do hope to move next spring/summer to somewhere I'd be more able learn from others as well as be able to participate in more horse related activities as well.
Also thanks for mentioning the IOB license. I'll definitely have to check into that as well.
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post #9 of 11 Old 08-10-2020, 01:48 PM
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I totally understand about not being able to work under someone else, especially currently. But if I were to choose out of the two you mentioned (definitely NOT the first) then the second one actually seems like he could be good if you can get in contact with him. Being so busy could indicate he is really good at what he does and secondly, he may be happy to have a helping hand if he is as busy as you say. But I'd say the best way to try and get "in" with a person like that is taking part in his business first (such as having him out for lessons or something), so that he gets to know you. And when the time is right, I would mention to him your interest in training, but you don't know where to start. He may just give advice or he could offer you an opportunity. Just a suggestion because having his name to back you up, given his popularity, could go a long way. But if you are planning on moving anyways, then this might be too long-term. Many trainers would be hesitant about taking on someone under them, who they do not know. They don't know your ability, so that don't want to risk the liabilities.
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post #10 of 11 Old 08-10-2020, 01:55 PM
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I really like @Horsef 's idea about maybe training human / horse pairs. I am always astounded at how many people own horses but seem to have no idea how to interact with them, encourage proper behavior, etc. There are people who seem like they are afraid of their horses. People who have no idea how to read a horse. Surely some of those people must be looking for someone to help them out.
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