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Horsegirl4

Be Coming A Horse Trainer

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Ok so I need some advice on my new career choice. I LOVE horses and have been training my personal ones for 11+ yrs. I have extensive knowledge on getting them trained and things like that. I guess I'm not your typical young adult as I'd rather be cleaning the stable and training horses more then hanging with friends. I only use natural horsemanship, and I follow Clinton Anderson ONLY! His methods work wonders for me and my horses. I was going to be a large animal vet (mainly for horses) but I found after I had to put my oldest down I just couldn't do it and not cry. I know kind of lame but that's where I'm at. Heck, I even cry when it happens on tv on those animal cop shows. Even though I know it's for the best. I find great joy in teaching a horse and watching them get it.

My deal is would it be a wise career move on my part? I know the hours are tough and days are long but I'm use to that so it's no big deal.

What would a trainer charge for a horse to train for a month? $300? $400?

I like stock horses. Would it be ok to work with them mainly? You know QH, paint, appy that type of thing.

I think it would be good for me to be a horse trainer but I would love advice or opinions.

Thanks

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First thing, do NOT, I repeat NOT ever allow yourself to be mired into just 1 trainer or clinician's methods. No matter how many horses you have trained in the past, no single method of training will ever be a "one size fits all". Ever.

Instead, read up on *all* the big name clinicians out there, study their methods and the differences in their methods. Use what works for the horse in front of you and file away the rest.

And on the Vet part?

It's OK to cry. Actually, having a Vet that *doesn't* give a rip is a FAR WORSE thing than one who cares. The ones who care are the ones most in need, in my opinion.

Trainers here, for colt starting, generally charge around $500 to $600 month including board. For the "specialty" trainers, like cutting, reined cow horse, etc. type of stuff, they charge more. Some trainers charge per ride, some per day. I've known some people who got upset when a trainer said they would take their horse, barely halter broke, for 30 days and got maybe 10 rides on the horse. As I said, the horse was barely halter broke, not really foot broke, not trailer broke, never been sacked out or saddled. In 30 days, the horse was leading well, working on free lunge line work, loading easily, easy to trim, standing tied, standing for mounting and dismounting and in 10 rides, was W/T/C in both directions and riding out of the arena/round pen. I thought that was a good job for 30 days. The owners thought the trainer should have put 30 RIDES on the horse, regardless of how long she had the horse. For $500, even if it took 2 months. So make sure your clients know exactly what they will be getting for their money.

And good luck!

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Hey there, since I don't really know what your situation is, your horsemanship experience, etc....its hard for me to say 'YES! be a horse trainer!' or 'NO terrible idea!' I can tell you about my experiences. I went to college, got a degree and then decided that Id rather ride horses all day. I too was a fan of Clinton's so I went to work for him for 2 years. 2 of the most grueling years of my life but I learned a lot. After awhile I decided that I really wanted to learn how to train reining horses so I spent the next 2 years working for some really good reining trainers. I wanted to be really good, the BEST so I made some pretty huge sacrafices to learn from these guys. I didnt hardly date anyone during these 4 years. While I worked at Clinton's I didnt date anyone, didn't go out, didn't have friends, and didnt do anything besides train horses. While I earned a little more freedom during the time I spent learning from reining horse trainers, I was still intensely focused on horse training and nothing else. I didn't make a lot of money so I couldnt buy a lot and often had to rely on my parents for money. I was literally living from paycheck to paycheck. It also took a real toll on my body. Past injuries, plus the regular wear and tear one gets from riding up to 15 horses a day, and other rigorous farm chores means that I am now experiencing chronic aches and pains that I shouldnt be experiencing til my 40's.(I am 27) My dad told me the other day that I walk like John Wayne!! Thanks dad. This experience all took some other tolls on me that I simply cannot discuss here. Was this journey to becoming a horse trainer worth it? For me.....yes. I love to ride and cannot imagine doing anything else. I cannot replace the absolute thrill I get from teaching a young horse something new. I have seen dozens and dozens of assistant trainers come and go. Each one thought they had the drive and passion to make it and then, after finding out the true nature of the business, either couldn't or didn't want to continue. I used to roll my eyes when and eager young man or woman would approach me at a clinic or expo and say something to the effect of 'I have what it takes! I love horses, I just want to ride all day, Ill work harder than anyone else to succeed, etc etc'. I rarely believed them. Sure enough, a couple of months later, the eager new assistant would be gone. I dont want to discourage you but you should know....its a tough gig and you truly have to eat, sleep, breathe horses if you want to be successful. So thats the path I took anyway. I am not sure if you were interested in the whole assistant trainer thing or not....just wanted to share my experiences.

If you are ready to start training now, Im sure you could find a lot of work giving lessons, helping kids, and training and showing horses. Its not bad money and can be really fun. A word of advice.....when you use phrases like I ONLY use these methods or I ONLY follow this trainer.....It says to me and possibly potential clients that you have a limited view on horse training and are not willing to work with an open mind. I ride with anyone and everyone who will put up with me. EVERYONE HAS SOMETHING TO TEACH YOU. I was lucky to work for some fantastic and successful trainers. But I have also learned a thing or two from some terrible trainers. Like what not to do! LOL I am done being an assistant trainer but I am constantly on the phone with other trainers asking if I can ride with them for a few days or take a few lessons from them. I know more than a few top NRHA trainers who are the exact same way. They get on the phone with other trainers ask them questions or they load up some horses and go ride at someone elses barn to get more knowledge. Clinton Anderson does this more than possibly anyone on the planet. Almost to the point of annoyance. Check out his bio and you will find that he didnt just work for one trainer. He has also flown out great trainers like Andrea Fapanni and Shawn Flarida to learn their programs. He NEVER stops asking questions.

I am now on my own with my own training/clinic business. I take a small number of horses in for training and travel my area teaching clinics and giving demonstrations. I really love my job. I get to do something I love all day everyday. I call my own hours but I often work just as hard as I did as an assistant. The difference now? Im working for myself. Will I ever make it as big as my ex boss? Probably not and I wouldnt want to as I have seen first hand that that kind of success has a price. But I actually am doing quite well.

If you want to specialize in one discipline or breed you certainly can but remember that early in your career you shouldnt be too picky. I know a lot of reining horse trainers that, early in their careers, took in roping or pleasure horses or whatever else came to their door. Once they gained some success and had some good clients, they were able to pick and choose a little more. With this economy you are sure to struggle a little as does everyone else in just about any profession. But if you're good, you can still become successful.

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Oh I'm sorry if it seemed like I listen or tie myself to one

trainer. I didn't mean that. I like several and I use all their teachings I just use Clinton's more. Also I'm always wanting to learn new things. I'm not trying to say I Only like so and so. Sorry again if it came across that way.

As far as dating and friends. I don't date never have and my friend list is down to 2 now lol. But I know I have a ton of time on my hands and i'd like to help people with their horses. Thanks for that advice I will definatly look and follow by example that's for sure.

I also eat, sleep and breath horses now and I forever will. I use to work at a theraputic riding school and I was always the first one there (6am) and the last one to leave (7pm) and that was after the owners left. I think I was 13 I'm now 21. At home I go outside at maybe 7 am and don't come back in til dark. So I'm pretty sure I'm cut out for it.

Edited by Horsegirl4

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A friend of mine, local trainer here, starting training at about 12 years old. She got a Mustang filly and did all the training on her and then started on other people's horses. At 17, after graduation, she moved over here and volunteered as a "host" at the BLM wild horse corrals. She stayed there 3-4 months and made money by starting colts for people.

At age 20, she used money she had saved from training horses and put a down payment on the 160 acres with the triple wide mfg'd home on it that she's on now. She saved and built an indoor round pen and some stalls, a big outdoor arena, etc. I think she's 23 or 24 now and has been supporting herself for quite a few years as a trainer.

But she rides. A lot. Like over 1000 horses to date so far, and likely considerably more now. She might spend 12-14 hours a day in the summer working with horses. She's had multiple injuries, and no health insurance. Investing in different saddles for different horses and different disciplines, plus all sorts of bits and bridles and halters and hobbles and pads and blankets and feeders ... the list goes on and on!

So be prepared it's not only TIME consuming but BUDGET consuming!

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I am 20 years old, and up until about a year ago, I thought I KNEW I was going to be a trainer. That was what everything revolved around, I was still going to college, and my college work was in a different field of study (thats the most logical back up plan), I worked for a trainer (while keeping my ammy status) and went to shows almost every weekend in the summer.

Everyone told me I needed to go to college, even if I graduated and went straight back to riding, they said I NEEDED to go to college and get a non-horse related degree, business or something, so I went to college, and I actually did get into it and decided I did actually want to be a Dr, and kind of put the training dream on the back burner. Well long story short, I am no longer pre-med, but I have also realized that there is no way in H*LL that I would want to be a trainer now.

Like you, I had my own horses that I was riding and bringing along, and I was showing, and MY dream was to have a reining barn and to teach Non-Pros and youths and maintain their horses. Probably mostly AQHA with some NRHA. So I had a pretty specific direction I was headed to. But after spending considerable time showing and being behind the scenes, I realized that while I THRIVED on showing, and I LOVED helping people, and I know that I would have LOVED being a trainer, it isn't a logical choice unless you have some other way to support yourself.

You may love being outside all day and everyday putting in long and tough hours now, but what about 40 years from now? 50 years from now? What about when the un-thinkable happens and you get seriously hurt breaking a rank 2 year old and your 60 and you have no way to support yourself now?

Also what kind of riding/training would you be doing? Specialized or just breaking colts. Being specialized would bring in more per month, and you would probably be riding nicer horses, but the pressure is higher and you are expected to really know your stuff.

Honestly my advice to you, is too go to college, even if its just to get an AA degree at a community college. Get a job, even if its only 25 or 30 hours a week, and maybe have 2 or 3 or even 4 horses to be training and working with on the side. Do that for a couple years, get an education and a back up plan, and think about the far, far, far future. There is no retirement or benefits for horse trainers, they just keep on working forever. There also is no job security for horse trainers, what happens when the economy tanks and no one brings in horses for training anymore?

There is a lot to think about.

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Ok so I need some advice on my new career choice. I LOVE horses and have been training my personal ones for 11+ yrs. I have extensive knowledge on getting them trained and things like that. I guess I'm not your typical young adult as I'd rather be cleaning the stable and training horses more then hanging with friends. I only use natural horsemanship, and I follow Clinton Anderson ONLY! His methods work wonders for me and my horses. I was going to be a large animal vet (mainly for horses) but I found after I had to put my oldest down I just couldn't do it and not cry. I know kind of lame but that's where I'm at. Heck, I even cry when it happens on tv on those animal cop shows. Even though I know it's for the best. I find great joy in teaching a horse and watching them get it.

My deal is would it be a wise career move on my part? I know the hours are tough and days are long but I'm use to that so it's no big deal.

What would a trainer charge for a horse to train for a month? $300? $400?

I like stock horses. Would it be ok to work with them mainly? You know QH, paint, appy that type of thing.

I think it would be good for me to be a horse trainer but I would love advice or opinions.

Thanks

I don't know, I would like my trainer to have accomplished something, even if they dont do it anymore. Have you ever competed at a high level? Were you successful? Do you just want to break colts? if so you are charging WAY too much (unless that includes board at your facility). when you said you trained your horses, well, what have they accomplished?

If you don't plan on competing (and following NH I assume you dont) I wouldn't limit yourself to stock horses, take whatever you can get. Honestly stock horses are pretty easy to work with, if they are bred well they can practically break themselves - are UP training more sensitive breeds?

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Ok I do have my vet assistants certificate. I got that when I was 16. I'm in the process of getting my AA degree in journalisum.

I realize life as a trainer is tough and not glamerous. But I feel that's what my calling is. It may seem odd but I graduated high school at 15 yrs old I had my GED in my had with some of the highest scores in my state. I did most of my schooling from the back of a horse (literally, had the school book and notebook with me).

I have started a couple of horses before my recent was my little sisters way high strung pinto Arab (whose 99.5% Arab). I got her saddled and started in a week, she's had the winter off and she's still as smooth as glass for my sister.

I have trained abused horses, semi-wild ones, stallions, and more. So this definatly not a passing fancy.

As for the horses I've trainer. One is now a 4h horse for a little girl, one is a pleasure/trail mount for an older lady and the other 2 are my own. One is my trail/pleasure/jumper and one (who is now deceased) was a high level gaming then my trail horse once she got older. The rest I trained when I worked at the theraputic center, they are all still helping the disabled children and adults.

But with that said I really do apperciate your guys input.

Edited by Horsegirl4

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Two things. Ok, more than two.

Get a degree. A business degree will be helpful no matter what you get into, but if you do end up training horses for a living it will be VERY handy.

Get an apprenticeship. Work for a trainer (or more than one) and learn things from the ground up.

Get your name out there showing in some fashion. If you want to stick to NH training (not focusing on a specific discipline) then take horses you have trained to a local Extreme Cowboy race. In other words, put your money where your mouth is and showcase what you can do.

Learn from everyone and everything you do. You can learn from an idiot who ruins a horse, even if all you learn is what NOT to do.

Bumper

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Have you considered going to college and getting an equestrian degree? Colleges like Findlay have equestrian teams and offer majors such as Equine business and Western riding(or something like that). Findlay has some great instructors and over the summer you can intern for some really great trainers. Its a way for you to get your feet wet, decide if its something you really want to do and it looks great on your resume. And even if you do it and decide horse training is not for you, you still got a degree. Even if its a horse degree and degree is still a degree. I have a BFA and it makes me feel good to know that if tomorrow I got injured and couldnt ride any more, I have that degree to fall back on.

And take it from someone who KNOWS....No matter how prepared, or tough you think you are, realize you have NO idea what its actually like til you do it. And it is always gonna be tougher than you thought. I have heard the same speech a thousand times. Its not about toughness its about finding out whats right for you and only you can decide whether or not this it your path. I know some really TOUGH, passionate people who tried it and decided they didnt want to be a trainer after all. Absolutely no shame in that.

Oh and glad to hear that you do in fact have an open mind and use other methods. Thats rule number one in becoming a successful horse trainer.

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Oh and i forgot...be prepared to be broke, living hand to mouth, and working other "real" jobs until you make a name for yourself. Say, 10-15 yrs or so? Maybe 20?

[smiley Wavey]

Bumper

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Oh and i forgot...be prepared to be broke, living hand to mouth, and working other "real" jobs until you make a name for yourself. Say, 10-15 yrs or so? Maybe 20?

[smiley Wavey]

Bumper

Or forever!

[Not Worthy]

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You sound very young and sound like you are ready to hang out your shingle.

NOT.

You need years more experience and need to work with a ton of horses before you are ready to call yourself a trainer.

Like Bumper said, apprentice and get out there in the show ring and get a name for yourself. If nobody recognizes your name, you are just another back-yard trainer who will find herself ill-equipped to handle a business or build a solid reputation in the community.

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I am a vet student, I bawled when I put my old mare down, I cry when I am present putting close clients animals down and I can't see that stopping anytime soon. That is no reason to not pursue veterinary medicine. The many other bonus' seriously outweigh the negatives.

Do what you love, but make sure you have the training, legal back up, and credentials to support yourself.

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