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Important Questions to Ask Your Horse Trainer


horse training1. How long does training my horse take?

Though a good trainer won't limit themselves to a set time period, they should be able to give you a time frame and be willing to keep you updated. Owners must remember that every horse is different and what you're expecting to have them trained to do, combined with their personality, will affect how long it takes them to learn. You will want to lean towards someone who can give you a general idea but makes no hard promises.

2. Why does my horse (insert bad habit here)?

A good trainer will never attempt to diagnose a horse over the phone. They may ask questions and draw a hypothesis, but a good trainer knows that until they get their hands on the horse and begin to work with them there is no guarantee that their hypothesis is correct. Avoid trainers that diagnose without looking at the horse and consider trainers that ask a lot of questions but still ask to see and work with the horse before giving a definitive answer.

3. How will my horse be cared for?

How will your horse be treated while they are receiving their training? Will they be boarded off the premises? How is their food and board being handled? How often is someone around to check on them and care for them? These are all questions that you will want to have answered so that you are sure your horse will be receiving the best care possible. If you can, getting a tour of their facilities is always recommended.

4. What breeds and riding disciplines are you trained in?

No one trainer is proficient in every breed and riding discipline, so you are going to want to find someone that is used to dealing with your breed of horse and will have a similar training style as what you're used to so the horse adjusts more easily to you after being trained.

5. Do you offer training and post-training support?

One of the things you want to be sure your trainer offers is a chance for you to not only watch the occasional lesson, but to work with your horse so that you're learning the cues and signals that your horse will be learning and you can both avoid "culture shock" when your horse gets home and doesn't know what you're telling him to do. Your trainer should also update you regularly (every week or two) with verifiable results of your horses' progress. They should also be willing to answer occasional questions from you once the horse goes home. Remember, however, your trainer is busy and not a "tech support" individual. Unless you're paying them to answer your questions day and night once your horse returns home, try to limit phone calls to emergency things only.

6. Will many people be working with my horse?

If your horse is headed to a bigger farm, there may be a number of people in addition to your trainer, that work with them. There may be students learning horsemanship that will work with your horse and other staff members. Make sure you know and are comfortable with this before leaving your horse there.

7. What tack will you be using?

This is both for your benefit and the horses. If you're an experience owner and know the difference in the harshness of some bits or would prefer your horse be trained for Western as opposed to English riding, you should know ahead of time what tack your trainer will use so you can buy the same to use at home.

8. Do you have a contract?

This is becoming more and more common in all lines of work and is a good thing for both owner and trainer as it outlines what exactly is expected, the price and a variety of other terms. If your trainer is a small trainer and doesn't have their own, consider having one drawn up that you can both agree on.

9. Make sure you understand the insurance and your liability.

If your trainer doesn't have insurance that covers injuries, consider getting some for yourself. It is always better to be safe than to be sorry.



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