Thursday, May 6, 2010

Selecting a Horse Trainer or Riding Instructor

A lot of people are hanging out Horse Trainer or Riding Instructor shingles these days. Like my Pa used to always say “Let the Buyer Beware” means you are responsible for who you pick or pay for these services, so take some care and make sure you are picking a good, honest and competent trainer or instructor. The two are not mutually inclusive. Some good riders and instructors are not good horse trainers and vice versa.

Visit the trainer/instructor’s facility. Are the horses well cared for? Is the general property clean? Does the trainer/instructor do most of the work, or is it regulated to apprentices? Sad as it is I have seen training facilities where horses are standing in water or deep mud; have ringworm (fungus); stalls full of manure; high levels of general disrepair; really dirty stock tanks; horses looking wormy; and/or feet not having been trimmed in half a year. A person would have to think really hard about committing themselves to a place like this.

Watch the trainer/instructor train or teach. If they won’t let you watch, or what they call “audit” a class, then just go away. Is he/she patient with horses and/or students? If the trainer is riding how is the horse responding? Is the trainer/instructor rough with the horse? Is the trainer/instructor making excuses for his/her poor horsemanship or the horse’s “bad” behavior?

Do your research. Talk to people in riding clubs and tack stores. Ask for recommendations. And asking a novice and new student of this trainer/instructor won’t get you the most accurate advice. Any trainer or instructor should let you, the prospective client, audit (watch) a lesson or training session to see if that trainer or instructor is a good match for you and what you expect.

Beware the trainer/instructor that tries to sell you a horse. Especially if they are making some excuse like “That horse will be alright, nothing anything but wet blankets won’t fix”. I’ve seen trainer’s buy a horse on Thursday and try to sell him on Saturday tell the prospective buyer that he’d been working this horse for several months,....”Oh, it’ll be a great roping horse”,...etc. If you are about to buy a horse a pre-purchase exam by a competent Veterinarian would be a good idea.

Back to the saying “Let the Buyer beware”. Seek your own knowledge through all manner of sources: books, DVD’s, TV shows such as on the RFD channel and above all seek training from recognized trainers. The one I would recommend the most would be Craig Cameron – seek link on this site. There are other good one’s like Ken McNabb and Pat Parelli.....many others as well. Links to these trainers also on this site. I know a lot of people don’t have the resources, meaning time and money, to use professional trainers – hence why I am doing this site (plus it keeps me out of trouble).

Pick up a Horse Magazine and look for articles, ads and web sites, and, seek a local expert who can help mentor you.

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