If you’re thinking about becoming a horse trainer, there’s no doubt you probably love horses. Few people think about getting involved in horse training unless they already have experience around these animals and have a considerable amount of compassion for them. There’s an understanding and bond between humans and horses that have been around throughout history.
Horse trainers are among some of the happiest as far as career workers are concerned. They love their jobs and most of them are happy with their choice. If this is the case, why wouldn’t you want to be a horse trainer? Loving the idea and wanting to be a horse trainer, however, tells you very little about how to do it. This article will shed some light on that.
What Is a Horse Trainer?
A horse trainer is exactly what the title describes. A horse trainer is the instructor who works with the horses and prepares them for shows, races or for riders. These are people who understand the horse, who can read their personalities, dispositions and will be able to predict their behavior. Additionally, they can curb bad conduct and encourage good behavior. If a horse has behavioral problems, it is up to the trainer to be able to rectify them.
Horse trainers also have a responsibility to the horses when it comes to gear. If a horse is only just learning its job, it may not be used to the saddle or other equipment it needs to carry the loads that will be expected of it. So, the trainer needs to have the tools and skillset to be able to help them acclimate in the best way possible. Likewise, it is up to the trainer to teach the horse how to ride on a variety of terrains or to perform according to its job or purpose.
Why People Need Horse Trainers
Whether someone wants a horse for riding, racing or showing, he or she does not always have the skills to handle the horse or to train it to act how they need it to. People who work with horses have a variety of different talents. Not everyone knows how to train properly. Some will need professionals to help them. When someone branches out without experience and without understanding the right methods, they aren’t going to do anything except find failure and become more frustrated over it.
Horse trainers come in and alleviate that type of stress. They should be trustworthy, helpful and be able to bond quickly with an animal to help it reach its full potential. When someone buys a horse for any purpose, they are going to spend many years and a lot of money investing in that animal. It needs to be for a purpose. The horse trainer is an invaluable member of the equestrian industry, and this role is not likely to go away.
How to Become a Horse Trainer
In order to become a horse trainer, you have to have extensive experience with horses. No matter how much you love horses or want to work with them, you will not have the skills necessary to be a trainer without former experience. A trainer with no practice will not have any real-world experience to look back on and learn from. Remember, all horses come with their own personality. Even if the breed is renowned for behaving a certain way, each horse has a unique personality and quirks. You have to know how to deal with horses on an individual level. One of the only ways to do that is to have prior experience. Some skills need experience and practice to evolve.
It is best if you work your way up. Now, if you have riding experience, training in horses or have veterinary experience, you may be a great candidate for becoming a horse trainer. Still, you want to make sure that you have all the skills necessary and will be devoted to the job.
The Skills Necessary for a Horse Trainer
Every career has certain skills that are necessary for success. Horse training is no different. The foundation has to be simple horse handling skills. You have to be comfortable working with and around horses. Training is incredibly hands-on and you have to be willing to do that. You need to know how to lead, halter, bathe, wrap, blanket and cool horses, along with other skills that come with horse handling. This isn’t a necessity, but if you have skills working with several types of horses of varying genders, breeds and ages, that helps too.
You also need to know how to groom your horse. A part of being a horse trainer means that you know the proper care and maintenance techniques. You should be familiar with their combs, brushes, hoof picks, etc. It will also benefit you and the horse if you are able to operate clippers so that you can trim hair. If you will be working in the show industry, this is more important for you. Grooming keeps your horse healthy and health is a major part of a trainer’s job.
You do not have to be a veterinarian by any means, but you should be able to recognize when something is wrong with your horse. Odds are, you are going to see injuries in your time as a trainer. Most of the time, these are going to be abrasions, leg injuries and upset stomach. You have to be able to judge if the animal needs to see a vet. Sometimes, they may only need the farmhand to take care of them. If this is the case, you still need to be able to distinguish between injuries and health. Likewise, behavioral changes indicate a problem relatively quickly. If you don’t pick up on it, it could have serious consequences on the horse.
Just like with behavioral changes, you should be able to read horses very well. All animals have certain behavioral patterns that can tell us how they are feeling, if they are afraid, aggressive or calm. With horses, you have to pay close attention to their ears. Their positioning can tell you if they are afraid or angry. As a trainer, you must know which parts of the body to look at when trying to figure out the mood of your horse.
While knowing a great deal about horses, riding and general knowledge about the animal, you also need to have great communication skills with people. As a trainer, you’re going to be working with a lot of people in the industry. You may have to work with riders, grooms, other trainers and even veterinarians. If you can’t communicate effectively, you may have a difficult time with your job.
Schooling for Horse Trainers
There is no required schooling for becoming a horse trainer. However, there are classes that you can take if you want to become a better trainer. Horsemanship, equine behavior, animal ethics, facility management and other courses are helpful when pursuing your aspirations. School is beneficial but not a requirement. When it comes to becoming a trainer, most trainers do not go to school. Instead, they tend to work their way up to trainers from the bottom. They may start out working in the stables, then cleaning and grooming the horses. Some may be apprentices first, where they work with the horses on a regular basis, exercising, grooming and feeding them.
Starting a Business
Some horse trainers may pick up jobs with organizations or ranches, but some go out on their own and start their own training business. For this, you need to have some knowledge of business, marketing and entrepreneurship. The most important part of becoming a trainer is having the practice and experience behind you, so that you know you can confidently work with horses.
While becoming a trainer does not take any official training or certification, you need to have a broad skillset and a lot of experience. The best trainers have been in the business for a long time and have enough experience to handle and train horses for whatever purpose the client needs.
As you can see, there are no legal guidelines or industry requirements when becoming a horse trainer. However, that does not mean that there aren’t standards. If you don’t have experience, most people are not going to hire you to work with their horses.
Should You Become a Horse Trainer?
By the time most people start thinking about becoming a horse trainer, they already have the background necessary to start on the journey. If you’re talented in working with horses and have done so for long enough that you think you’d make a good candidate, then knowing the skills you should have is helpful. Of course, if you don’t have experience, there is always room to learn and grow. You can start working with horses and work your way to the top.
There is no long-term schooling or any certificates that you need to receive in order to train horses. Nevertheless, people will look into your background and in order to get clients, you need a work history that allows them to trust you.