How to pick the right trainer and maintain a good relationship with them:
The best advice I got while writing a book was to make sure the description matched the content of the book. “People don’t write bad reviews because they didn’t like the book,” they said, “people write bad reviews when they expected to get something different.”
Expectation and assumption make up a tremendous portion of most dissatisfied customer’s reason for complaint. So as you’re picking your next trainer, here are some ways to assure you get the most out of your experience.
1- have an idea of what you want to achieve in training. Are you looking to show? To trail ride? To rehab your horse? Do you want a firm trainer? A nice trainer? One that pushes or one that is gentle? One who specializes in fearful riders? The success of your results depend greatly on the trainer you select. If you don’t know what you want, you will be unable to be happy with the results, and it would be easy to pick the wrong person for you.
2- watch their work. Don’t just watch their social media, watch them teach and ride horses. See which horses are beginning training and which are finishing, and how they look. Many trainers know all the right words to say, but don’t produce the results to prove it. Or, conversely, they don’t know what to say and aren’t great communicators but get excellent results. Keep a discerning eye and ear out.
3- discuss your wants and needs with the trainer. tell them what you want, and ask what they do. Find out what time frame they can expect, discuss costs and what the training includes. Discuss your role and expectations for you to be involved and to what level. Find out what the horses lifestyle will be while in training – turnout or stall? What will they be eating? How often will they be worked? Don’t ever make assumptions, as assumptions are the mother of resentment.
4- once you’ve found a trainer, maintain an open line of communication. Ask how your horse is doing in specific ways. Ask what’s needed. If you have a concern or issue, voice it. I can’t tell you how many silent resentments drug on into full blown issues that could have been cleared up quite easily with a conversation. Trainers are not mind readers- if something is bothering you, say so. It can either be fixed, or your expectation adjusted. Either way, bring it up and air it out.
5- do your own work. Work on your riding, your communication, and learning. Do everything you can be to be a better person for your horse. My favorite students are not the ones who ride the best, but the ones who aren’t afraid to work at improving themselves. These are the ones I’d bend over backwards for. The ones who are looking for a horse to be perfect for them without changing themselves are less likely to be satisfied with the training.