Friday, November 13, 2009

What to expect from your trainer...... Part 2

So we have covered some of the basics of what you should expect from a trainer, now it is time to discuss what your trainer has to offer you and what you have to offer the trainer. And also what your trainer can expect from you.

1) Make sure that you have a contract with your trainer that outlines what your goals are and what you see yourself being able to do with your horse. That should always be in writing. I have in the past trained a few horses without the benefit of a contract, and the owners were and I were not totally on the same page. You can always amend a contract as the horse progresses.

2) All fees should be explained at the time that the contract is signed. The owner has the right to understand what all the fees are for and the trainer has the right to expect to be paid on time. Remember, when you are late the horse still gets fed and worked. I can not tell you how many times I have gone more than 2 months with out getting paid by an owner. Do not bargain with your trainer to try to get a better rate, we do not make enough money as it is!

3)If your horse has a bad habit that he has picked up at home tell your trainer, it is nothing to be embarrassed about. Hell, our horses have bad habits, after all they are horses and it is to be expected. I hate when a client sends me a horse that has a habit such as bucking or rearing and when it happens here, they always say the same thing....."He never did that at home".

4) Trainers are not miracle workers, that is to say, do not expect too much to soon. If you are shopping around for a trainer, do not let him/her give you time lines. In this business there are no guarantees. We simply can not guarantee how long your horse will be with us and we simply can not guarantee that your horse will win in the horse show ring. Never tell your trainer that he/she better win because his job depends on it. I had that happen at a show one time and I told the client that they better find a way to get the horse home from the show because I would not tolerate that kind of attitude. Needless to say the horse won all 2 of his classes and places 2nd in the third class and won the championship

5) Let your trainer chose the shows that he/she feels would be best for you and your horse should you chose that you want to show.

6) If your trainer offers lessons as part of your contract, then take them, personally I prefer that a client take a pro-active part in the training of their horses. I want them to be involved, that way when we are at a show or the horse goes home, then the owner can continue to work the horse with some success.

7) Communicate with your trainer if there is something that you do not like, we are not mind readers just like we are not miracle workers.

8) Have realistic ideas of what your horse is capable of......let him show you what his talents are and take it from there. There is nothing that is worse than a horse that develops bad habits because he is miserable in his job.

9) If you are looking to purchase a horse with the help of your trainer, then listen to what they have to say. Do not waste the trainers time by telling your him/her that you want one type of horse and then you go off in a completely different direction and purchase something else. We prefer that you let us help you so we can find a horse that fits you!

Trainers are here to help you, so let them.


fernvalley01 said...

Well put , I particularly like the part about"what you have to offer the trainer".It is important for this to be a mutually benificial arrangement . It is after all a business.I think I am doing OK , with my trainer , the guy with the wait list is calling to see I f I have anything to send him before he fills up his bookings. He likes the way my horses are handled up to his getting them , and I like the way he trains. works well for both of us . And at least around here the good ones are hard to find. So until The CNJ/JR team head to Alberta ,I think I'll keep him

kestrel said...

Another great post! I like that you want the owner to be actively involved, I actually insist on it or I won't take the horse in. It's just not fair for the horse to be trained one way and then ridden another, and usually ends up with both horse and owner being frustrated.
Hiya FV ~~~~(mastering my wavy key!)

SFTS said...

Have you been reading my writings over the past 20 years? ;) Almost everything verbatim that you ave said in the last two posts has come out of my mouth to clients and potential clients for many years now. Good advice! :)

Our Sunlit Farm Training Blog ~ Laying The Foundation

CharlesCityCat said...


As usual, really good advice from both sides of the coin.

I am not currently working with a trainer as I don't show anymore, but sometimes I do miss it. I have had several really good ones.

CharlesCityCat said...

Is it just me, or are avatars not showing up. I really miss avatars, they were so interesting.


Anyway, I meant to say, good communication with your trainer is vitally important to being successful in whatever discipline you do.

One of the best compliments I ever had from a trainer was when I overheard a remark that my trainer made to someone who had said I was a good rider. He said, she is a good student and knows how to listen.

GoLightly said...

Great post, JR.
Funny, no threat of plagiarism.

I think a new poll might be interesting.
Rate your FIRST experience with a trainer/instructor.
Was it good or bad?
I'll start.
Mine was bad.

By the way, why would one longe with a fixed curb rein?
Talk about byeBye, nuchal ligament.
Hello, pseudo-trainers.

One can spout reams of "knowledge", without ever even coming close to getting it right.

Thank gawd for horses and their patient forgiving natures.

kestrel said...

It is true that the ability to train a horse is a talent. A lot of the old cowboys that I knew were not vocal teachers, but if you followed them around and kept your mind open they would show you the magic. The best advice I got was from an old cowboy who told me "Everybody thinks they're a good trainer. Go ask their horses. Are they calm, cheerful, obedient, loving their job? The horses will tell."

horspoor said...

Okay, I'm still too techno-challenged...I posted on the wrong one. lol

Glad you're back, and I do prefer this format. Much easier for me.

horspoor said...

Hello...I've got something I'd like to address, and get your opinion on.

We all know that Rolkur is an issue in the dressage world. I've been watching some RFDtv, and looking at some of the trainers for Western horses on there.

Rolkur seems to have crossed over to the Western disciplines. Really bothers me. All this softening, and 'bridling' your horse. Yes, your horse should be soft, your horse should be able to be bridled, but his face shouldn't be to his chest.

What do you think JR? Am I off base here, do you see this trend?

JohnieRotten said...


In my opinion, Rolkur is not nor ever will be dressage, nor is it of any use towards western horses.

I to have seen that the practice has spilled over into the western horses and I am totally discussted, (and yes I mean dis'cuss'ted, because I cuss every time I see it) with the practice. I have to admit though, I have often wondered which came first, Rolkur in the western horses or Rolkur in the dressage horses.

When I do see it, it makes me feel that the rider/trainer really has no idea of what they are doing.

There is absolutely no benefit to having a horses chin stuck to his chest.

I think that I am going to do a whole post on this matter.

horspoor said...

That would be a good post. I don't think this practice is discipline specific...I think it just gets called different things.

Anonymous said...

JR..I'm sitting her smiling. My Hubby and I decided this weekend that I'm "THAT PERSON" You know the one that everything happens to? For instance: Got a free horse that was SOUND!!! Made 3ft jumper but his owner and him didn't "bond". I took him over, pulled his shoes, gave him pasture time and let him relax. When it came time to put back into training..sat down with BO who was also the trainer. Laid out what I wanted for this horse and myself.

Found out that I couldn't ride this horse due to MY physical issues. This horses trot LIFTED you out of the saddle. My back can't take that. Sat down w/BO to go over what the plan was. BO hated this horse so we decided to put conditioning on him, show him locally and sell him.

Come to find out that BO rarely rode him and when they did it was 20 mins. Lied about training (I worked so how would I know??)

Finally had it and the barn help had a really great trainer she worked for and could get free lessons but needed a quality horse. I told her to take him, I'm not paying board and we'll split the sale.

She picked him up next day. New trainer LOVED him but said he needed conditioning and was apalled on how long "I'd been paying for training" since he didn't have any.

Sold him (not for a profit) but to a great home where he's back to being a champion adult Hunter.

I had EVERYTHING in writing and then found out BO was going around telling people I SCREWED her!!!! If she'd just ridden him and shown him like we agreed. (I was paying all show expenses) She could have had a commission on $10,000 instead of $0 and $0 for any future rides.

So I've had it in writing and still had it come back and bite my in the ass. I love this post and it just reaffirms that if I EVER get another horse..It will be an Iron Clad contract and I do plan on putting "spies" in the Barn to make sure what I'm paying for is getting done. I hate to even have to write that

horspoor said...


People are crazy. Horsepeople are especially crazy. lol Regardless of what you get in writing...people like the trainer/barn-owner you're describing will still run their mouths, and talk smack. Those types could have a feast set before them, and still snivel that they left hungry, or it wasn't to their liking. The eternal victims. Can't stand them.

horspoor said...

Okay, had to post or GL would have a coronary with me leaving it on 13. So, everybodies days going good? Raining here.

GoLightly said...

Thanks, HP.
another coronary averted.

Crazy3dayer said...

HP isn't GL high maintainance? Thank you for posting. I'd miss her posts.

PHEW!! ;0)

GoLightly said...

Um, Nooooo.
I only shower once a week.

Very low maintenance..

Save the Planet!
Bathe less!
Conserve keratin!

17th is a VERY lucky number.
I am DuE.

horspoor said...

Regarding 'if your trainer offers lessons...take them'

I wont take a horse in training anymore unless the owner/rider is willing to take lessons once their horse is going well enough. Nothing worse than sending a horse home, and the owner has no clue where the gears are. Yeah, you'd think it was universal...but nope.

All it does is cause bad stuff. Bad for the horse. Bad for the owner. Bad for the trainer. Horse is confused. Owner is unhappy or worse, scared and/or hurt. Trainer gets a bad rep.

JohnieRotten said...

I agree with you HP. Especially when you send a greenie home with the owner.

kestrel said...

Yup HP, that's the truth of it. Especially when the owner has sent the horse to be 'fixed.' If the owner won't learn enough to fix themselves, since that is where the need to fix a horse usually comes from, the problem is only going to escalate when they get home.

I really did offend one rich doctor client when I told him I could make a horse bombproof, but there was no way to make it foolproof...

horspoor said...

Well JR, got to watch a 'trainer' ride today. Drawreins, horse's head to his chest throughout the entire ride, and then getting smacked on, and yarded on with trainer's hands above her ears when he couldn't pick up the right lead. Let's see, stuff his head to his chest, make him shuffle along on the forehand, and then smack him around when he can't pick up the canter right away or to his weaker side. Freaken moron. Just makes me want to yell, "Hey! Shit for brains..." across the arena.

JohnieRotten said...

Workin on a post HP

That trainer may want to read it!

horspoor said...

JR...honey? We is waiting the next post....

Oh..another idea. What about the wannabe cowboys and their funky gear. Chinks, jiggle-bob spurs, dusters, rope halters, big honkin bits, a dick stick etc...

Trainer X said...

OHHHHH This is the Perfect post!!!!! Dang I wish all horse owners would read this!!!!! It's so dang true!!!!!

GoLightly said...

(cough, cough)

I heard a new post was up.

(lighting a campfire)