Finding the right trainer for your horse can be a nightmare. Stories about horse owners that have been taken advantage of or had their horses ruined by supposed horse trainers are plentiful. It’s understandable why horse owners hesitate to send their beloved animal off for training.
How do you rule out a poor trainer and how do you know a trainer is right for your horse? After all, some of the training horror stories are not perpetrated by complete strangers but people the owners may have known for years. If a friend is already a risk, then sending your horse to a complete stranger is even more of a gamble.
Unfortunately there are no sure fire ways to guarantee that you won’t get burned. However, there are a few safety precautions that you can take to ensure that your horse will have a safe productive stint with the right trainer.
First, take time to evaluate your goals. This will help you to narrow the list of perspective trainers by focusing on those that specialize in what you want to accomplish with your horse. For instance, if you want to barrel race you don’t want to send your horse to a trainer that specializes in Western Pleasure. You eventually want your horse to go fast!
Most people find trainers by word of mouth. Ask for recommendations from horse people you know and respect. Ask them to elaborate on why they recommend a certain trainer. See if they can recommend anyone else who has had a good experience with the trainer. Talk to those people as well.
When you have narrowed down your list of perspective trainers, then it’s time to develop your list of interview questions. Write your questions down so that you can stay focused when you’re talking to the trainer. Also make notes and write down their answers.
Ask the trainer about their background and how they think. Ask for references. Where did they learn how to train? How long have they been training? What is their greatest training accomplishment? What is their philosophy on training and disciplining a horse? How do they determine a horse may not be suited for what the owner is wanting?
Ask about their management of the facility and the horses. Ask about their feed and turnout schedules. Ask if trainer will be the only one handling the horse. If an employee will be working with the horse what are their qualifications? What is their healthcare regime? Who is their vet and farrier?
Last, ask about their expectation of clients. Do they require appointments for you to come see your horse? If they do require an appointment what is their reason? Are there only certain hours you can come to visit your horse? Is so what are they and why do they allow owners to come only during those particular hours? How do they want client communication handled? What are their usual goals for their clients in regards to their horses?
There are no guarantees when it comes to picking the perfect trainer. If you do the research and ask the right questions however you can better your chances at finding the right trainer for your horse.