I am always amazed at what horse people will spend their money on. Just walk into a tack store and you will see everything you could ever imagine being sold. But getting people to spend money on training is like pulling teeth. So why do you need a trainer? You’re doing just fine on your own….right??
Good trainers have put a lot of time and effort into learning as much as they can about the art that is horse training. This experience is invaluable. Trainers often times are able to recognize problems as soon as they occur. The sooner you are able to address a problem the better. The longer it is left alone, the larger it becomes. “Problems” in horses usually start as something very small that the rider may not even notice, but over time develop into something larger. If a problem does occur, a trainer will be able to help you work through them in a way that will prevent frustration in both the horse and rider. So many “problems” in horses (bucking, rearing, bolting, spooking. etc) could have been prevented if they had been addressed immediately.
A good trainer will be able to ensure that you and your horse stay on the right path and they will guide you a long the way. They can give suggestions on how to improve something and give you exercises to work on. They will help you set goals. When you have specific goals, your progress becomes much more tangible. This ensures that you do not get stuck in one spot, but are continuously improving. There is always, always something that can be improved upon and you will never be done learning. Don’t settle for where you are. Find a trainer who will continuously push you to be better.
I’m sure you’ve heard the saying “an once of prevention is worth a pound of cure”. Well that applies to horses as well. I’ve seen people spend hundreds of dollars on things like supplements, chiropractic work, and massage therapy. Now I’m not saying these things don’t work, and sometimes they are necessary, but often times the problems you are trying to fix could have been prevented by good training. A horse that is trained to properly care itself (ie “on the bit in self carriage”) will be physically healthier. This leads to increased longevity and decreases physically problems. My horse is 22 years old and is healthier than most 10 year old horses I see because he was taught from a young age how to carry himself properly.
When we are working with our horses on our own all the time it can be easy to let things slide a little. However over time this can lead to bad habits or behavioral problems. Working with a trainer and having someone asses your work will help keep you honest and keep you on the right track. With someone else’s help, it will be easier to address problems as soon as they occur rather than waiting until they become bigger and more difficult to correct. A trainer can also ensure that you stay on the right path despite the time and work that it takes. It can be tempting to try different gizmos and gadgets to achieve quick results. A good trainer knows that horse training is an art form and you can’t rush art. They can help keep you honest in your work. Having a trainer watch you ride regularly will also help prevent you from slipping into bad habits such as looking down instead of forward or letting or leg get out of position, etc.
It can be very easy to get frustrated. Horse training is an ever evolving art form and it takes many years to master. You are going to have set backs along the way. A good trainer will help you work through those difficult times and encourage you to be better. A good trainer will always challenge you to improve. There is always more to learn. The best riders are constantly taking lessons and trying to improve themselves. They understand that the best way to show their love for their horses is to learn as much as they can and become the best that they can. This is a life long journey. You are never done learning.
So who needs to be working with a trainer? Everyone!! Even trainers work with other trainers to improve themselves. There is no one who knows everything and we can all learn from others. Don’t ever settle for where you are in your riding. Constantly challenge yourself to step out of your comfort zone and to learn something new. Never stop trying to improve.
To learn more about how to achieve a better relationship with your horse, visit our website or blog, where we feature information about French Classical Dressage training, as well as care and maintenance of the horse!