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Choosing the Right Trainer

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Through the years, I’ve had potential clients come into my barn and they have war stories. How the last barn manager/trainer/instructor did them wrong. Usually I consider this a warning sign. First, the person may have a chip on their shoulder. Second, she may honestly have a difficult horse that each new trainer or barn was expected to magically fix. Third, she may be the owner-expert who has never been in the trenches, trying to do their best dealing with clients, long difficult days, and the unpredictability of horses. Horses get sick or injured and sometimes, God forbid, even die, no matter how well they were managed. Most of the horse professionals I know really try to do a good job.


This is also an industry that attracts people with large egos who like to control everyone and everything. Also, many people are simply unqualified. They don’t have the experience with horses, or teaching people, or managing a business, and they are simply bad at it. A horse professional not only manages horses, but also their owners, and in many cases are also the go between for the vet and for the farrier. As a well-meaning horse owner, how can you protect yourself and find the right professional?

  1. Visit the barn. If you want to board, look around. What does the environment seem like? How do the horses behave? Does the barn owner have references of current or past clients? I run a good barn and I try hard. I am never offended by an owner “digging” deep. I understand how important the care of your horse is, and how much trust you put into the hands of the people managing the horses. Be suspicious if the owner seems aggravated by this.
  2. Watch lessons. How does the instructor address his/her students? Is the trainer respectful when coaching? Does he act like he remembers who writes the checks? Is she positive? Is the necessary criticism constructive or demeaning? Is she the horse’s advocate?
  3. If you are looking for training for your horse, watch a training session. Talk to current and past clients to get a feel for the way this person handles horses.
  4. Prize experience. How long has this person run a barn? How long has she trained? Who has he worked with? By experience, I don’t mean fancy organization degrees. I have met many a person who has graduated from a horse college or a has received an “instructor’s certificate” that I would not let teach me or touch my horse. Above all, go with your gut. Sometimes it’s not the fanciest barn or the biggest name that can give you and your horse exactly what you need.

60 thoughts on “Choosing the Right Trainer

  1. Great article

    1. Coach selection is very important.

  2. Guay colega

  3. Coach selection is very important.

  4. Important tips to keep in mind for the right trainer!

  5. Interesting information. Thanks

  6. I agree with these tips. Thanks for the information.

  7. Thank you for this valuable info. Choosing the right trainer is one of the most important decisions you’ll make for your horse.

  8. We don’t really train our horses. They are our pets.

  9. GREAT article!

  10. I think going with your gut is the most important advice here- you can pick up a lot without realizing it, and you need to be able to get along with the trainer as well.

  11. Until I read your article I would have had no idea. Very interesting!

  12. What a gorgeous horse at the top of the page!

  13. Until I read your article I would have had no idea. Very interesting

  14. This is a great article. Choosing the right trainer is definitely important.

  15. Very important tips thank you


  17. I worked with horses as a teen, it was an amazing experience.

  18. Choosing the Right Trainer

  19. Wow great article. My cousin is currently looking for a trainer for the abused horse he rescued. I will have to send this to him.

  20. I’ve always been fond of horses

  21. indeed! important!

  22. I don’t know if I can afford a good trainer right now

  23. All great ideas! Thank you

  24. great article

  25. Very good tips.

  26. If my horse is in the hands of a third party the that person has to display the right qualities

  27. a very interesting article

  28. thanks for the info this is very very important

  29. Really accurate. Thanks

  30. Choose a trainer who is kind to horse’s and knows what he is doing and not hurting them.

  31. interesting

  32. so hard to find, love this

  33. Great article, definitely something interesting.

  34. Stopping by again the second time.

    Have a great day!

  35. I liked your idea of attending a training session with the coach and see how they shape the animals. My brother’s friend has a horse he wants to train for a show, and he needs to find the right mentor. I will suggest he also talks to previous clients and find out how good the trainer is.

  36. Thanks for sharing this with us.

  37. A good trainer must create a special bond with any animal, it builds trust between the two.

  38. Great article, very informative!

  39. Great tips for finding the right professional!

  40. Follow your heart

  41. Great tips for choosing the right trainer.

  42. Coach selection is very important

  43. Choosing the right trainer is so important and these are great tips.

  44. Very interesting, thank you

  45. Great info! The horse must be as comfortable with their trainer as you would want your child to be with their caretakers.

  46. you learn something new every day

  47. Picking the right trainer is so important. I don’t do well with control freaks and neither do my horses.

  48. Horses and people, a trainer is like finding the right daycare for your child

  49. A good trainer is everything. It is like leaving your child with the best babysitter. Do your homework though.

  50. Interesting and useful information thank you

  51. Interesting

  52. Very cool.

  53. It is very important as well as Knowing every basics.

  54. I would also add, get references, see what people who actually had their horse trained there say.

  55. Neat Thanks!

  56. It’s so important

  57. thanks for the info

  58. Interesting read, thanks

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