Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: Tehachapi Mountains, CA
I started taking lessons after I had my 1/2 Arab mare started by a local trainer. He did such a good job with her that I had to start lessons just to ride her, LOL. That started my horsemanship journey and ended up with me showing. I NEVER wanted to show and had no interest AT ALL in it. However, my trainer had a group to a local show & he wanted me to go, too; I did, but went, kicking & screaming, LOL. HATED all of it except the "natural trail" class. My horse and I did a few trail trials and then local ranch horse versatility shows which I LOVED! Especially the cow classes!! Dang FUN! The adrenaline you get when working a cow .. nothing like it. We also did some cowboy races which were a blast, too!
The ranch horse versatility shows lead to reined cowhorse. With the reined cowhorse shows & associations, I've found people who are, for the most part, concerned with their horses & horsemanship and are friendly and accepting of newcomers - even one riding a 1/2 Arab mare who was not built to do that. The trainers I've worked with treat you respectfully and help you achieve your goals - even when you did not have a clue or a horse they would consider appropriate for the discipline, LOL. And I have met the best of friends through cowhorse, many who have offered a number of times to help me out in various ways (not connected to horses) even when it is a HUGE inconvenience for them. All this is why I keep with cowhorse.
I don't ride with a barn. My horses are at home and I trailer out to various trainers. I do not have just one trainer. Given constraints on my time, where various trainers are and have (such as cows; need access to cows!) it works for me to be able to ride with different trainers who are available the times I am. Although I do tend to stick to one cowhorse trainer & my local trainer, but will clinic with others. The trainers I ride with have no problem with me riding with other trainers (and usually encourage it - the cowhorse guys all know each other so know I can benefit from riding with them all), although I know some of the cowhorse trainers will not allow you to ride with others if you are lessoning with them.
I agree with those who say to go with the one you feel the most comfortable with. If/when you outgrow a trainer, find another one. Keep growing. As far as English or Western, it doesn’t really matter. Go with what you have or try something new. Or not. It really makes no never mind. The goal is to have fun and advance your skills with your horse.