Tuesday, February 4, 2014

What makes a person a Trainer?


Sometimes I feel like there are few real trainers out there.

The word trainer to me is someone who has the background, experience and training themselves to be qualified.

What do you all think?
What qualification make a trainer?
Do you feel like there are too many "trainers" out there or are they all justified? 
What does the word trainer mean to you?

Other thoughts, share!!

Monday night I waited forever and ever for the round pen to lunge Henry- a rope jilling flag waver was in there and was taking her sweeeeeeet time.. eventually I gave up and cleaned his stall, filled his and Louies waters and made them both warm bran mash.

Henry got a nice turn out

I found a Mule at the barn!!

I'll hack tonight, trainer is busy so no lesson.

44 comments:

  1. I think extensive experience showing and training horses + professionalism + good teaching skills. There are all kinds of trainers, not everyone needs a trainer who's also a big R judge.

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    1. Def agree! Maybe I wish there were different levels associated with the word "trainer" lol

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  2. Ughhhh...nothing makes me crazier than someone who advertises that they offer lessons, but then it says they're been riding for just a few years. Um, then you are not experienced or knowledgeable enough to be a trainer. I've been riding 20 years, and while I might be capable of teaching beginners up/down, I would never call myself a trainer.

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  3. I agree with Lauren. There are times I hesitate to call my trainer a real trainer. She has the experience and is great (I have learned a lot from her!), but her teaching skills are lacking, as is a bit of her professionalism. As of late I've taken to books as my teachers - I really think people underestimate the use of reading materials for learning!

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    1. There are definably lots of ways to learn :)

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  4. Is it wron that your pic of the mule reminded me of Nancy?!
    *shame-faced*
    As to what makes a trainer, understanding of the animals (equine & human) and the ability to improve both - sadly just because one is great in the saddle doesn't make them qualified to teach.
    I do think some sort of training should be required, I think the UK & Ireland (not sure about other countries) have British Horse Society (I think...initials are BHS in any case) trainings and levels you study for and pass exams to obtain which cover everything from general horse husbandry and well as horsemanship - I haven't followed the courses myself but seems like a good place to start to me

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  5. To me a trainer is someone who gets results in their students... and horsemanship being what it is, it takes years to build the experience required to know enough to do it PLUS they have to be able to TEACH on top of that, which not everyone can. So they must be multi skilled :)

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  6. I consider my mom and BM my sort-of trainers, obviously I'm not paying them for it (well I am paying my BM but not for that, haha) but they both have a lot of experience and are qualified to teach me things. I feel like as long as they know what they're doing and are teaching someone properly, they could be considered trainers.

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    1. Thats cool that you have them to help you.

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  7. After a couple less-than-positive "trainer" experiences (one of which led to me taking two years off riding because I was scared spitless), I'm really big on experience, results, and understanding of and caring for horses AND people. And pretty sure I will never lesson with anyone again without having checked out their qualifications, watched them ride, and watched them teach. That said, I'm still an independent creature who listens to everything but does only what makes sense to me, even from the best of trainers. Lol!

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    1. Yeah a bad trainer can be detrimental!

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  8. I agree the term 'trainer' is thrown around too loosely in the horse field. In most jobs 'those that can't do, teach' but that really doesn't work in the horse world; you have to have at least have been able to do what you teach at some point. They need to have the ability to not only teach but assess how their instruction has been taken and clarify as needed. Plus each different specialty is a little different, but really, other than up/downers who I think most of us could soundly teach the basics at this point, its experience and common sense/ application of said knowledge that makes a good trainer.

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    1. Totally! This is why there should be more assistants!!

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  9. We are ALL trainers. Yes some people are better than others, some people have a more natural gift and far more experience. But every time we handle or ride our horses, we train them. For better or for worse. But we are all trainers.

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  10. This is a GREAT topic! A trainer understands everyone’s goals are different and works with you to create a program to achieve your goals in a realistic time frame. A trainer has a method (that works) and a plan (for you & your horse). A trainer thinks about your lesson BEFORE he/she teaches you (this is what I love about my current and most recent trainer, they always think about in advance what we’re going to work on, novel idea, right?!). For me, a trainer has had experience and success competing at a level higher than I have ridden. A trainer employs classical, respectable training methods and ensures the basics are there before teaching more advanced concepts. A trainer can get more out of my horse/ride him better than I can. I want to be able to feel a true, tangible, positive difference in my horse after he/she rides them. A trainer is positive and is able to solve problems/has lots of exercises up their sleeve. A trainer challenges you to push yourself, but doesn’t scare or intimidate or put you/your horse down. A trainer ensures you are on the right horse and safe. A trainer teaches you that the horse comes first and his/her students are considerate toward other riders and their horses. I don’t think you need years upon years upon years experience to train people, but you need to be very good at riding, have had a lot of experience riding a lot of different types of horses and communicate training principles with clarity and passion. I taught Beginner/Intermediate riders for years and it was awesome! I used the best principles from those who taught me, read A LOT about training methods/exercises, planned out my lessons and rode a lot of different types of horses (including my schoolies so I really knew what each one was about). I’d do it again in a heartbeat!

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  11. First of all, that donkey looks pissed! In eventing, you have to differentiate between trainer and coach, and I really like that distinction. Trainer = responsible for the horse's training and care. Coach = responsible for rider's knowledge. Because I don't have my horse in "full training" I put myself down as Hemie's trainer, but I list my "trainer" as coach.

    Some people are great with teaching horses, some people are great at teaching people, and I think its a fairly rare combo to find someone who does both with excellence. Additionally these skills may or may not correlate to that person's riding abilities. Some people ride great, and cant teach (human or equine), and some excellent trainers with a good eye and good communication really don't do that well themselves when competing. Interesting to read all these comments! Great discussion topic =]

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    1. See that is something I didn't know about eventing- trainer vs coach. Very cool!

      Yep it's cool to read everyone's thoughts!

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    2. I totally agree with this. My "trainer" is a wonderful horse trainer. She can give good lessons but her true skill lies with teaching horses. But training horses and teaching riders can be so very different.

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  12. There is a trainer for every rider,something to remember. So maybe its a good thing there are so many, since there are so many types of people who need someone to teach them. As long as no one is in danger or teaching things dangerously.

    Just do whats best for you and your horse and find the program that works.

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    1. True true- everyone rides for different reasons.

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    2. This^ Well all of the comments I have read so far really.

      We all do train our horses with every ride but I am not sure that that makes every one of us a trainer. We train but that isn't our profession. Just because I write doesn't mean I am a writer. A trainer in my mind can mean so many things. Interesting question.

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  13. I kind of like Karen's answer. ;) i see a trainer as someone who works with the horse and an instructor as someone who works with the rider. They aren't always interchangeable. Some people are great with horses but can't transfer those skills to teaching people. I think someone like Clinton Anderson, for example, can not only teach a horse but also present information and show riders what they should be doing in a way that makes sense. When I chose the trainer for my mare I knew she wasn't famous and didn't have years and years of experience but she did a nice demonstration with two horses of her techniques and talked me through it. She also invited me to every session and talked to me about what she was doing with my mare. I liked her manner and touch with my horse. I learned alot and she knows more than and is more confident then me, lol! I think "trainer school" would be a nice concept but there is school and certification for teachers too and let me tell you the education world is full of awful teachers.

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    1. Hahahaha amen to the education world ;)

      I think finding someone that fits your needs is awesome!

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  14. I'm with you on the trainer thing, and also feel like there are few real trainers out there. There was a post on one of the FB groups I'm part of and the girl said "me and my friend are both 15 years old, we're both trainers and looking for horses to work with". I was like...huh?

    I think a trainer is someone who's has good teaching skills and can "see" what the rider is feeling. Someone who has many years of experience in their discipline competing, working with young horses and bringing them along successfully, etc. I also think a good trainer is someone who NEVER stops learning and attends clinics, takes lessons from instructors above them, etc.

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  15. Great topic! It's so easy in the US for anyone to just claim they are a trainer. I personally chose trainers that have experience with what they're teaching but I can also see good riding traits in how their horses behave and are ridden. Big flag for me is how their students ride, if there is a group who has been riding for over a couple years and they suck... welll maybe not a good trainer. lol I like how in Europe they have the certifications (like in other comments), I wish the US had that - would save so many people from trouble!

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  16. I'm a big chicken so I expect my trainer to not only teach me but also teach my horse. A barn mate was trying a new horse that kept doing a dirty stop to a roll top. My trainer got on and made him work over it (didn't end up with the horse for obvious reasons). The training and tuning of the horse is the biggest for me when looking a trainers.

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    1. Haha yep as an adult ammy we value different things!

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  17. I agree that whenever you work with your horse, you are training him. This is something that all of us need to keep in mind. A trainer is someone who understands this concept so completely that he or she can see how the horse learns and is able to predict how present experiences will shape the horse's future behavior and health (physical, mental, and emotional). Ideally, a trainer also has longevity and the best interest of the horse at heart, although I see this as contraindicated to making money, which begs some questions about horse training as a profession. Training the horse is very complex and challenging requiring a vast skill set, knowledge, and tact, but it is nothing compared to the complexity of teaching people.

    I watched a Nature documentary about the Lippizaner stallions yesterday and the narrator said it well when he explained that it takes about six years to train a stallion and a lifetime to train the trainer.

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  18. I also wish there was some sort of "rating system" for trainers/instructors in the US. For example I teach a handful of lessons but don't consider myself a trainer. A low level instructor, sure, but not a trainer. The only thing I've trained is my own horse and anyone who frequents my blog will know how that's going ;)

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  19. Lots of people who think they are trainers, make me cringe. However, it is the students job to get educated about who they choose. Choose wisely.

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    1. YES this!! It is the students responsibility to choose!

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  20. I love the "trainers" who post on CL saying they will put time on your horse, but they won't ride problem horses, Thoroughbreds, Arabs, or draft horses. Oh, and the horse must already be broke.

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    1. lol yeah isn't the point of a trainer to help?! haha!

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  21. This is such an interesting question. Like people have said above, we are all trainers when it comes to our own horses, but I wouldn't consider myself anywhere near capable of training someone else's horse, if you know what I mean.

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