Looking back on a summer of riding, were there things that you wish were different? Do you wish your show results were better? Did you not quite get to your goal of jumping 3′? Are you still uncomfortable riding out on the trail? Maybe it’s time for your horse to go “back to school.”Sending a horse to a trainer for schooling requires a good deal of trust, since your horse’s care and well-being will be in the trainer’s (and often a new barn’s) hands. If you’re planning to send your horse away for training, make sure your horse will be safe and that the training will be a positive experience. Here are some factors you’ll want to consider.
Find an Experienced Trainer
When choosing a trainer, look for one who is experienced and who trains horses full-time. A person who has made training their career will take their work seriously, and likely have plenty of success to show with the horses that they have previously trained. When someone trains full-time, you know that their focus and energy are on the horses in their care and their progress. Additionally, for a full-time trainer, training horses is a profession, so the operation is more likely to be managed professionally.
Make Sure the Training Facilities are Safe
Before you agree to send your horse to a trainer, visit the training facility. Ask plenty of questions, such as how much time your horse will be spending in a stall and whether he will have access to turnout. Look for standard safety issues, such as the quality of arena footing, and the condition of paddock fences. Make sure horse stalls are designed to provide adequate room for your horse to move around.
Additionally, analyze the condition of the other horses on the property. Do they appear to be well-fed and in good physical condition? Look for hoof issues, low body weight and the presence of saddle or girth rubs, all of which could signify that the horses aren’t receiving quite enough attention or care.
Hire a Trainer With Similar Training Methods and Approaches
When you send your horse away for training, it is important that the trainer you choose is someone who shares your same training methods and approaches. In order for training to be a success, both you and the trainer need to agree on the desired outcome and what training methods are acceptable to get there. You will also need to find a trainer who shares your view on horse care, and who will keep your horse in good health.
Everything might look great at a facility, but you should still check references on the trainer. Call each reference and talk with them about their experience with the trainer. Ask them what they sent their horse to the trainer to learn, how long the horse was in training, what the results were, and whether they encountered any issues.
Sending your horse away for training is a big decision. In addition to following the above tips, be sure to fully read the training contract and ask any questions you may have before signing the agreement.