I get a lot of inquiries regarding training, and many of the potential clients want to know how long it will take me to train a horse for them, be it for trail or the horse show ring. This will be a series that will be done in a few parts.
When told that I am not sure how long it will take, then some of these clients look else where for a trainer that will tell them what they want to hear. While I realize that some of them want to budget for training, there are others that want me to be train a horse that is going to win for them in a designated amount of time that they seem to think is realistic.
There are several factors that I take into consideration before I take a horse into the barn.
1) The general conditioning of the horse when they arrive. I always tell a client that I can start to train the horse if he is conditioned properly before he shows up. I do understand that some owners do not have a facility that they can work out of so I always offer them a lower conditioning rate for the first month. Also I have to mention here that what I may consider proper conditioning, may not be what the owner considers to be proper. So before the horse is brought into the barn, I will provide the owner with a conditioning schedule, that is providing they have the facilities to work the horse.
2) What kind of behavior does the horse exhibit when he arrives. I personally like to give them a week of light work so that they can start to settle into a general routine. There have been many horses that have come my way that took longer to settle in and exhibited some bad habits that had to be dealt with before we consider putting that horse to serious work.
3) Is the horse a mare, stallion or gelding. We have a saying here, when a stallion comes into the barn on Thursday, his brain will arrive on Monday.(Sometimes his mind just gets lost in the mail!)
4) Am I starting this horse under saddle, if so there again conditioning is important. If the horse is here to be started and is in good condition, then I will be on that horse at the end of the first week after he settles in. If the horse is not conditioned, them there will be a 30 day conditioning period.
5) If the horse is here to be trained to go into the show ring, then a lot depends on the horses mentality when they get here. If they are not mature enough to handle the training required to go into the show ring, then we will take it a lot slower.
I have always been a firm believer in moving at the horses pace and not the owners, and I make this very clear from the beginning. If the horse is not happy then no one is going to be happy.
I have had owners in the past offer to pay me more to achieve their goals, but it is not really up to me how fast we proceed.
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