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View Full Version : Why is success in the show ring suddenly the only measure of a rider/trainer?



LudgerFan
Dec. 1, 2009, 12:19 AM
Do people completely discount the excellent riders, trainers, instructors, horsemen/women out there that (for various reasons) have not had extensive opportunities to show and therefore limited show records?

I know plenty of pros who are very successful in the show ring that I would not let NEAR my horses. Can people not recognize that a good rider is a good rider, and a great trainer a great trainer, despite what their show record may be? Why is the show ring the only standard?

I'm curious...

juststartingout
Dec. 1, 2009, 12:24 AM
well said.... unfortunately, people want "objective" measures and this is the only one that seems to exist....

Linny
Dec. 1, 2009, 12:32 AM
There are many fine horsemen that don't spend all year on the circuit. Of course unless you happen into their barn and discover them, or get introduced to them some other way, you'd never know about them.
Shows are the proof of the pudding. Until they are out there in front of people demonstrating the skills of their horses or riders, they are sometimes hard to find.

LudgerFan
Dec. 1, 2009, 12:47 AM
See, I don't consider shows to be the proof of the pudding. The proof of the pudding is a rider that consistently improves the horse on a daily basis, both on the flat and over fences. It's the horseman that perpetually keeps the horse's best interest at heart first and foremost, the one that never loses their temper and always has the right tools in their toolbelt to deal with issues without always resorting to gadgetry. It's someone with vast amounts of knowledge that is able to convey the knowledge to others so they can also reap the benefits.

What I find sad is that a rider/trainer can possess all these things, and for whatever reason (lack of finances as a junior rider, family obligations, etc.) cannot claim extensive success in the show ring, and are commonly passed over in favor of those of much lesser ability/knowledge but good show records...

Kinsella
Dec. 1, 2009, 01:03 AM
I also wouldn't send my horse to 90% of the trainers on the circuit. Some because I don't like the way they treat their horses, some because of the way they treat their clients, and most because of they way they are WAY out of my price range. I'd love to find one of those "undiscovered" gems out there to give my mare to, but alas, I don't have the time to search, so she'll continue to be very happy doing way less than she should be...

klmck63
Dec. 1, 2009, 01:16 AM
See, I don't consider shows to be the proof of the pudding. The proof of the pudding is a rider that consistently improves the horse on a daily basis, both on the flat and over fences. It's the horseman that perpetually keeps the horse's best interest at heart first and foremost, the one that never loses their temper and always has the right tools in their toolbelt to deal with issues without always resorting to gadgetry. It's someone with vast amounts of knowledge that is able to convey the knowledge to others so they can also reap the benefits.

What I find sad is that a rider/trainer can possess all these things, and for whatever reason (lack of finances as a junior rider, family obligations, etc.) cannot claim extensive success in the show ring, and are commonly passed over in favor of those of much lesser ability/knowledge but good show records...

That's all fine and dandy, no really, it is. All of the qualities you've mentioned are fantastic ones. But the fact of the matter is what someone already mentioned. If they don't show, how are you supposed to find them? Sure, you might happen across them while selling a horse or see an ad online or something, but it's sure not as accessible as heading to a show and watching all the trainers and their students all at once.

Furthermore, if your goal is the show ring, it doesn't really make sense to set yourself up with a trainer that doesn't have extensive show experience. No matter their lovely methods and technique or experience as a horseman or woman, they aren't going to have the same ability to guide you through the whole show process as someone who shows extensively or did show extensively in their younger years. The show ring might not be the only standard of merit, but for people who want to show it's obviously a large consideration, although obviously not the only consideration.

The ideal trainer, to me, anyways, would have all of the above, extensive show experience and impeccable horsemanship. I went to the trouble of finding one. Everyone I know went to the trouble of finding one. Obviously, some people don't. Or, the people who don't might not have the same list of priorities as myself. Or maybe they haven't been educated about horsemanship in the same way I have. Either way, I think it's unfair to say that in general people would not recognize a good rider or trainer as one, if their show record does not display it.

Atypical
Dec. 1, 2009, 01:35 AM
I find it unfortunate as well, in many ways because I'm in that boat. I'm a 'good' trainer (I'd like to believe anyway lol), but I don't show very much. I'm not good in the show ring, period. I don't like it, I don't particularly aspire to do it, but I know its a necessary part of being a trainer. It DOES make advertising a wee bit tricky.

tBHj
Dec. 1, 2009, 02:54 AM
Show ring success means nothing to me. There are plenty of talented & skilled riders/trainers that either don't have the interest or $$$ to go to shows.

Just because you don't have big $$$ or know the right people/have big $$$ clients doesn't mean you arn't as good as the ones that do.

Everyone is so caught up on names.

goeslikestink
Dec. 1, 2009, 06:18 AM
Show ring success means nothing to me. There are plenty of talented & skilled riders/trainers that either don't have the interest or $$$ to go to shows.

Just because you don't have big $$$ or know the right people/have big $$$ clients doesn't mean you arn't as good as the ones that do.

Everyone is so caught up on names.

agrree matey, bnt trianers arnt the be all and end all
what matters is each person with ther horse enjoys what ever they can afford to and keep the horse safe and well as the horse is thy partner in anything equine and one cant acheive anything unless it has a horse to do it on

goals -and aims - small steps make a huge ladder - each step is a goal and each ladder is something we aim for
but most of all we tried - win or lose we won becuase we learnt something every time out so its a win win

copper1
Dec. 1, 2009, 07:23 AM
Shows are like advertisments. It is tough to have a fantastic product but no one knows about it because it isn't advertised. Shows are not the be all and end all but are a place to advertise (by performance) what your" product " can do.

hellerkm
Dec. 1, 2009, 07:28 AM
My mother is BY far one of the best trainers I know,she is an awesome horsewoman, has that natural instinct and can train with the best of them ( and NO I am not clouded in my judgement I have trained with many OTHER trainers and spent years on the circuit watching and listening) but growing up she trained kids with less money and they did the local circuit, it was NEVER about winning ribbons it was about learning to ride YOUR horse and how to care for it and how to move to the next level instead of staying at a lower level just to win some big ribbon at the end of the year.
I think it is a personal CHOICE for the TRAINER, some people don't care if they are a BNT they just do what they love because they love it, they are not looking for the recognition from others they want to share their knowledge with the people who happen to stumble upon them, my mother has produced kids who have gone on to vet school, run large lesson programs and another who married a vet and now runs a awesome breeding program, all of the things these people are doing NOW are directly related to their experiences as kids in our barn. To my mom that is her measure of success! My mom also has her own successful breeding program, and each year her babies win awards and move on to great show homes, for her these quiet accomplishments are what matters.
But unless you see her ad in the yellow pages or follow breeding in PA your not likely to run across her, and for her thats ok.

Strictly Classical
Dec. 1, 2009, 07:39 AM
LudgerFan wrote: "See, I don't consider shows to be the proof of the pudding. The proof of the pudding is a rider that consistently improves the horse on a daily basis, both on the flat and over fences. It's the horseman that perpetually keeps the horse's best interest at heart first and foremost, the one that never loses their temper and always has the right tools in their toolbelt to deal with issues without always resorting to gadgetry. It's someone with vast amounts of knowledge that is able to convey the knowledge to others so they can also reap the benefits.

What I find sad is that a rider/trainer can possess all these things, and for whatever reason (lack of finances as a junior rider, family obligations, etc.) cannot claim extensive success in the show ring, and are commonly passed over in favor of those of much lesser ability/knowledge but good show records..."

I love this post! I am right there with you LF. To me, the horse, the way it is handeled, trained, and ridden is the PROOF IN THE PUDDING. I could care less about show record. I am a cross over from the dressage ring. Frankly, I am sick to death of all the things that are wrong with the show world - irregardless of discipline. I personally know trainers, on both sides of the fence, who are sick and tired of what is being pinned in the show ring today.

If you think of it this way, when you go show you are judged against what ever and who ever decides to show up that day. Your competitors could truly be the best of the best, or the worst. A judge's job is to simply place what he/she sees in front of him/her on that given day in that given class. It is still a subjective opinion, even in dressage. Yes, I know there are "standards" that their judgements are to be made against, but I don't think I've ever heard of any rider being turned away (not pinned) because their riding and horsemanship didn't meet the established standard.

Personally, I think it one's decision should be made about a trainer, etc. based on what is most important to them. If feeding a purely human ego in a quest for greatness and glory in the show ring is what fuels them, then by all means seek out the "competition" trainer.

If your horse, and its ethical treatment, correct training, and physical and mental preservation are the most important to you - then perhaps you should seek the sort of trainer you so eloquently described!

I know a handful (a small handful) of dressage trainers who fit to a T the description you posted. They are one that I would willingly leave my horse with. Actually there are 3 that I know personally that I would trust implicitly. All three have trained ad ridden to the FEI levels. Out of those three, one no longer actively shows. One periodically shows with great results. A third is at the top of her game nationally and internationally, and is a regular contributor to Dressage Today, and is aligned with some of the BEST trainers in this country.

LG - you rock! Keep on questioning and seeking the BEST for your HORSE who is your FAITHFUL friend and who relies on YOU to provide him with the BEST in care, treatment, training, and yes, love.

sweetpea
Dec. 1, 2009, 08:34 AM
I understand there is alot of people just burned out with showing , but for some like me I see it differently. Maybe it is the amount of showing some have done, like to much, or maybe some injustices have happened. But her is my take.

SHowing does many things- As to how solid the training is.

What a horse can do at home may not accomplish at a show. With some of the top trainers shows are easier than home training--- at least in our barn!!!!

There is a basic truth that a Famous Trainer said to me" The hardest thing about Showing " is "You cannot create what goes on in the showring but in the showring"

At shows you learn if you observe in a non - critical attitude that horse's are dynamic. They put up with our mistakes all kinds of weather and our nerves.

Now you can be the best rider, trainer, barn help , whatever but understanding that when that beautiful horse steps in the ring you need to remember in the back of your head --- it is not all about you as the rider.

Chances are the majority of riders have help along the way. Maybe not like a full service barn , but maybe you did.

Where would I be with my ever so dedicated blacksmith??
How about the unrecognized trainer that drills you about your equitation.
There is so much than the Tailored Sportsman and Navy Jacket.

And since I know what it takes , my hat DOES go off to our Barn & Trainer cause you know their riders when they show.


Showing means different things to all people. WHen it all comes together understress and a new environment than I personally think it is beautiful.

I use my shows as goals. After I come back I usually have something new to work on , because some issues you can't fix at the shows.

DOes showing have an ugly side -- yeah it does -
Mama Rose always said " You don't to look twice at the dead skunk to know it probaly stinks, hold your nose and move on"

rwh
Dec. 1, 2009, 09:24 AM
While I do agree that showing should not be the be all and end all of riding, I wonder if the big show barns you are critiquing are as cruel as you make them out to be. In my experience (limited, I will admit), the care at these barns is exceptional and the horses are happy, even if the grooms are in charge of daily care and the owners show with silly year-end goals in mind.

fordtraktor
Dec. 1, 2009, 09:37 AM
There is definitely a place for these trainers. I don't think that if you are good with horses and people that you will have a hard time carving out a niche through word of mouth and referrals from other trainers.

I never had the money to do the As as anything other than a working student on green horses. But I learned the skills, and set up shop pretty easily, with local parents approaching me to ask if I would work with their kids. They told other parents, and voila, I had a business with as many kids as my lesson horses could support. I also had a substantial number of adult ammies with fear issues who liked my encouraging but no-pressure style. Most of my horses in training came from owners who had watched me grow up on the local circuit or referrals from trainers who didn't want to work with their problems. Again, it filled up my card, which is all a beginning trainer can ask.

Of course a lot of trainers are great with horses but don't have the people skills to keep their clients. I cannot stress how important it is to KEEP clients -- by creating a fun, no stress, no drama environment with reasonable costs and plenty of opportunity to grow. This is the missing link for most low-level trainers -- there's a little too much crazy in the mix. Same can be said for lots of A circuit trainers as well, but people will put up with it a bit longer for a big name.

magnolia73
Dec. 1, 2009, 09:46 AM
I think if your goal is to show/have a winning show horse, you need a trainer for whom that is a priority. You need someone with the mass of clientelle so that you can get to shows. Sometimes geography is not your friend and you end up with someone less than stellar.

For me, hiring a trainer, I like to know who someone has worked with and learned from, and that the person continually educates themself. A stint with George Morris or Anne Kursinski or Denny Emerson impresses me far more than having won champion somewhere. I also like to know if they have relevant experience- as an owner of an OTTB trying to be made into a packer hunter, I'd rather have someone used to working with greenies and nervous novice riders than someone who has spent 25 years winning Grand Prixs on $750,000 horses.

That said- I think long term competitive success- where you consistently have top riders and top horses speaks positively of a program. If you can continually produce winners, you are doing something right. It's the trainers who once won the greens at Devon or once took a kid to the Maclays - and use that as their marketing device- that I am most leary of. You get a lot of people, particularly locally.... that get a lot of advertising mileage out of a green ribbon at Devon. :lol:

Ozone
Dec. 1, 2009, 10:31 AM
Do people completely discount the excellent riders, trainers, instructors, horsemen/women out there that (for various reasons) have not had extensive opportunities to show and therefore limited show records?

...

YES, people DO completely discount the excellent horses/riders/trainers that have no show record.

NO Money, No Recognition! That really is the bottom line - really, that's it. Sad but true. It was made this way by horse people, just escalting over time.

KristieBee
Dec. 1, 2009, 10:44 AM
I also wouldn't send my horse to 90% of the trainers on the circuit. Some because I don't like the way they treat their horses, some because of the way they treat their clients, and most because of they way they are WAY out of my price range. I'd love to find one of those "undiscovered" gems out there to give my mare to, but alas, I don't have the time to search, so she'll continue to be very happy doing way less than she should be...


If you're in California, I know an undiscovered gem. :)

grandprixjump
Dec. 1, 2009, 11:25 AM
I moved to MS to reopen a farm here, they used to have a full barn of boarders at around $4** a month, I have been here 6 months now and haven't had $hi_. I'm a decent rider and trainer (starting thru level 6/7 competition), only have my own horse now, so people have only seen me riding a "hand-full" horse. The economy here, is so bad, the high end barn, has lowered their prices to keep boarders. I can find nothing online to indicate this farm has a bad reputation, but not getting any follow thru, on website hits.
How can a decent trainer, new to the area, and almost no funding get known? Even the local shows here are 3 hours or more away.
I even tried putting on schooling shows, and can't get people to come.

And even if I did come across a Grand Prix horse, for example, to really care for that horse and they have a long life, you would only compete them once a month. So people looking for riders see you ONCE IN A WHILE, but see the BNR's on 3 or more horses EVERY WEEK. How can an up and coming compete with that?

Moesha
Dec. 1, 2009, 11:40 AM
See, I don't consider shows to be the proof of the pudding. The proof of the pudding is a rider that consistently improves the horse on a daily basis, both on the flat and over fences. It's the horseman that perpetually keeps the horse's best interest at heart first and foremost, the one that never loses their temper and always has the right tools in their toolbelt to deal with issues without always resorting to gadgetry. It's someone with vast amounts of knowledge that is able to convey the knowledge to others so they can also reap the benefits.

What I find sad is that a rider/trainer can possess all these things, and for whatever reason (lack of finances as a junior rider, family obligations, etc.) cannot claim extensive success in the show ring, and are commonly passed over in favor of those of much lesser ability/knowledge but good show records...


In the H/J world showing is the goal, so of course those trainers out there with successful barns are the ones people notice, it is a community based on reputation and results. Of course there are some amazing trainers out there who don't show or do not have the show record, of course there are but with so many trainers to choose from and people wanting to show, most people who want to show are going to go to a trainer/barn that does? And you assertion that just because people have success showing means they result to gagetry is the other end of the pendulum you are trying to stop.

Sadly a picture is worth a thousand words, more than ever in our society and out of sight out of mind, if people don't know anything about you then how can you expect them to trust you or come find you? I agree it is a tough situation, not sure what the answer is, better marketing? Advertising? It is a business after all whether you want to teach at home or spend time on the road week after week, you have to run your business the best way to promote it and be successful.

Many riders are sad to leave trainers they have learned so much from, but if they want to show and there trainer wants to stay home and only teach then the programs are not compatible, not that no one wants to ride with that trainer because they don't show it is because they show they choose another trainer.

toomanyponies
Dec. 1, 2009, 12:14 PM
Dont forget a trainer also builds their business on their students successes. If you dont show yourself as a trainer but are a good rider, good horse manager, and a good horse preparer, AND a good trainer, you will have a LOT of success. Sure, you may have a horse or two that needs to show prior to its owners showing it but you can always get another pro to help you out (choose carefully!!) or suck it up and do it yourself.

Some of the best trainers out there dont show themselves but run show barns - think Don Stewart, Karen Healey, Missy Clark, Stacia Klein Madden. Yes they ride/used to show, and have riders employed but their reputation is based on their students successes not their personal successes.

RugBug
Dec. 1, 2009, 12:21 PM
Many riders are sad to leave trainers they have learned so much from, but if they want to show and there trainer wants to stay home and only teach then the programs are not compatible, not that no one wants to ride with that trainer because they don't show it is because they show they choose another trainer.

Exactly. Wanting to show and be successful isn't evil, but it does lead you to look for a trainer that knows the show world. If a trainer is good but doesn't show enough to get their name out to the showing crowd, or show enough to satisfy potential clients desire, they aren't going to get those clients.

Personally, I'd like the best of both worlds: The excellent trainer/horseman that goes to shows but doesn't live on the road who is affordable for an average person's budget. I might as well put my pjs on and go back to bed because I'm pretty much dreaming.

Hauwse
Dec. 1, 2009, 12:35 PM
Personally I think there is a paradox that exists today as far as trainers go.

I know of more than a few trainers that I would put right up there with GM and his peers.

I know one trainer who has not changed his prices for lessons since the late 60's, has forgotten more about horses than most of us can hope to learn in a lifetime, can sit and tell you stories about all the great riders and horses from the past because he worked, rode, trained with them all, still develops phenomenal horses, can step on any track and pick that diamond in the rough still standing in a stall, has had more than his fair share of personal and student success, has gifted horses, board, and show fees to students because he believes in them, and yet is still overlooked because as an industry we have a 5 minute attention span, and for the most part if a trainer of his caliber does not make a point of staying in the spot light he becomes an also ran very quickly.

The modern trainer can only legitimize them-selfs through personal or client success, and more than likely sprinkled with a ton of client butt-kissing.

The paradox is that these same trainers we all wish we could find are out there, but most of us could not handle being their students because they are old school, and focused on the horse. They will be the ones who, God forbid, yell at you in a lesson, tell you you are not ready for 1.5M classes yet, tell you that your new green horse needs time with a pro on it to help with the training of the horse, warn you that if you don't put your horses care before your personal desires then you need to find a new barn, etc. They simply just don't mix well with the modern client.

I recently had a chat with the "60's price trainer", and he is hanging up his training irons for good because he just cannot stand the path the industry is on, and just does not feel like there is a place for him in the industry anymore as a trainer.

findeight
Dec. 1, 2009, 12:45 PM
Yeah, there are alot of JAWS on the circuits with questionable technique-if not outright lack thereof. But just because someone is a big name, that does not automatically mean they are an abusive jerk.

There are just as many that are no good that are not well known. Being unknown does not automatically mean one is so very much better then the known trainers and that they are NOT an abusive jerk.

If I want to show and do not have a trailer, I am going to need somebody in my area...that shows. I have to find them...at the shows. That is just the way it is.

This hits me as another "that's no fair" thread with vast generalizations condemning large segments of the horse world. IME, about 50% of trainers, big and small, known and unknown, don't deserve to hang out a shingle.

There are ways to break in but it requires total commitment, frequent relocation, good networking and communication skills and a willingness to put in days and weeks and months on the road starting at the bottom-along with not owning your own horse, can't afford it timewise let alone off what you will be making.
Not sitting back pointing fingers and whining it's no fair.

Very few, if any, of even the biggest names started with deep pockets and their own business, they built themselves and their name from scratch.

hntrjmprpro45
Dec. 1, 2009, 12:52 PM
I would agree with the OP to an extent. I am in a similar but slightly different situation. I ride/show young horses about 95%of the time. So when I do show, its on very inexperienced horses and it can sometimes be frustrating because even on your best day of riding, young horses often perform inconsistently. As a trainer I have gained a bit of a reputation for starting young horses (which is fine) but I have a harder time getting more finished (or close to finished) horses because I don't normally compete in the higher divisions. Plus its hard to find trainers that start horses undersaddle so I have become "that person". I know its not an insult to my riding skills (in fact its kind of a compliment) but it is frustrating not getting the nicer/less green horses to show on.

PNWjumper
Dec. 1, 2009, 12:54 PM
I know of more than a few trainers that I would put right up there with GM and his peers.

I know one trainer who has not changed his prices for lessons since the late 60's, has forgotten more about horses than most of us can hope to learn in a lifetime, can sit and tell you stories about all the great riders and horses from the past because he worked, rode, trained with them all, still develops phenomenal horses, can step on any track and pick that diamond in the rough still standing in a stall, has had more than his fair share of personal and student success, has gifted horses, board, and show fees to students because he believes in them, and yet is still overlooked because as an industry we have a 5 minute attention span, and for the most part if a trainer of his caliber does not make a point of staying in the spot light he becomes an also ran very quickly.

I know a trainer that fits this exact description. The man is the most genius person I have ever come across in the horse world. I was lucky enough to train with him for 20 years and wish I could still ride with him. He's forgotten more about horses than most brilliant trainers have ever known. And he has an absolutely magical hand and seat. But he never cared about the shows. He showed a little when I was a kid (and did some big stuff), but then turned his focus to developing the horses and kids. He was a STRICT but fair trainer and never skipped a single step in getting you into the show ring (which means he was SLOW compared to a lot of the trainers these days). Most people on the circuit don't know who he is or what he's capable of doing because he doesn't "put himself out there." He also taught in such a way that he taught kids to bring up and create their own horses. I will forever be grateful that I had the opportunity to ride with him and have always been bothered by the fact that he'll never be revered on the show circuit like he should be because he didn't share in the glory of his riders' winnings.

With that being said, how else would you propose recognizing trainers? Every whack job out there has a disciple or two, and great riders CAN come from not-so-great trainers. So without student or self accomplishment in the show ring it's hard to judge a great trainer other than the old "I know it when I see it" definition.

War Admiral
Dec. 1, 2009, 12:55 PM
I was really, REALLY lucky to find a trainer of the type Kinsella describes. She and her students rarely show the rateds, but they do get out and compete EVERY weekend on several alternative circuits, a lot of which use the same venues. Her top juniors, one of whom will be showing my baby greenie next year, are pretty much equivalent in riding ability to, say, the lower half of the Bates equitation rankings. I SERIOUSLY lucked out! :yes:

Trixie
Dec. 1, 2009, 12:59 PM
I wouldn't say it's the ONLY measure of a rider or trainer... but I would say it's the clearest standard for comparison in a sport that does not have a written standard. Our only criteria for a "professional" is someone that takes money for riding and training - there is nothing regarding skill. We don't even have minimum qualifications for the professional tag, other than monetary.

Therefore, show ring success at least gives us a basis for comparison, at least among those who are likely to be our peers.

sptraining
Dec. 1, 2009, 02:47 PM
I wouldn't say it's the ONLY measure of a rider or trainer... but I would say it's the clearest standard for comparison in a sport that does not have a written standard. Our only criteria for a "professional" is someone that takes money for riding and training - there is nothing regarding skill. We don't even have minimum qualifications for the professional tag, other than monetary.

Therefore, show ring success at least gives us a basis for comparison, at least among those who are likely to be our peers.

Yup! Also what works for one person, may not work for another. There are some general 'techniques' which most horse people would agree are incorrect but there are a lot of paths to the same destination.

I also agree with findeight that there are a lot of 'professionals' that should find a living doing something else. Unfortunately it comes back to a lack of national standard or certification (like a college degree for training horses). USEF is trying with their new certification program and I hope that they start hosting their symposiums on the West side of the country. There are a lot of people who need/want to go who just can't make it to Buffalo or Texas (like me!).

Go Fish
Dec. 1, 2009, 03:01 PM
Yeah, there are alot of JAWS on the circuits with questionable technique-if not outright lack thereof. But just because someone is a big name, that does not automatically mean they are an abusive jerk.

There are just as many that are no good that are not well known. Being unknown does not automatically mean one is so very much better then the known trainers and that they are NOT an abusive jerk.

If I want to show and do not have a trailer, I am going to need somebody in my area...that shows. I have to find them...at the shows. That is just the way it is.

This hits me as another "that's no fair" thread with vast generalizations condemning large segments of the horse world. IME, about 50% of trainers, big and small, known and unknown, don't deserve to hang out a shingle.

There are ways to break in but it requires total commitment, frequent relocation, good networking and communication skills and a willingness to put in days and weeks and months on the road starting at the bottom-along with not owning your own horse, can't afford it timewise let alone off what you will be making.
Not sitting back pointing fingers and whining it's no fair.

Very few, if any, of even the biggest names started with deep pockets and their own business, they built themselves and their name from scratch.

Thank you.

grandprixjump
Dec. 1, 2009, 05:51 PM
Very few, if any, of even the biggest names started with deep pockets and their own business, they built themselves and their name from scratch.

BUT!!!! The current BIGGEST names mostly started when a GREAT GRAND PRIX Horse (Olympic Star or Extreme Hopeful) cost less then 100k and a good jumper was in the area of $5k. So more people were willing to give rides to up and comings, unlike today, where a horse that can cross an "X" with a beginner rider in tow is $50k. I was in FL when "The Natural" sold, and everyone thought $1.2 Million was crazy for the cost of him...That was what 20 years or so ago?

And I don't think most of the people are saying the up and comings DON'T want to show, just it's so cost prohibitive that they have to pick and choose what shows to go to... THUS not being seen EVERY WEEK...

Ben and Me
Dec. 1, 2009, 11:10 PM
This is the Chronicle of the Horse Bulletin board. If you have ever looked at a copy of the Chronicle, a huge percentage of it is horse show results. Therefore, it seems pretty obvious to me that people that read the Chronicle and many of the people that post on this bulletin board are interested in horse shows...and if you're going to be spending all that money to go to a horse show, you probably want results....not at any cost (for most folks, I'd hope) but you certainly want someone who is experienced with the scene.

For example, if your goal is to show at Maclay finals, you aren't going to seek out someone to train you who is excellent at starting babies. Doesn't mean you don't admire them, but their success isn't equitable with what you want to achieve.

If you go to another bulletin board that centers more on pleasure riding, or even to the Off Course forum, I'm sure you'll find plenty of people who don't measure their self-worth with (or show any interest in) horse show results.

In other words, the HJ forum on this bulletin board isn't exactly a balanced sample of horse people in general.

LudgerFan
Dec. 2, 2009, 12:27 AM
This is the Chronicle of the Horse Bulletin board. If you have ever looked at a copy of the Chronicle, a huge percentage of it is horse show results. Therefore, it seems pretty obvious to me that people that read the Chronicle and many of the people that post on this bulletin board are interested in horse shows...and if you're going to be spending all that money to go to a horse show, you probably want results....not at any cost (for most folks, I'd hope) but you certainly want someone who is experienced with the scene.

For example, if your goal is to show at Maclay finals, you aren't going to seek out someone to train you who is excellent at starting babies. Doesn't mean you don't admire them, but their success isn't equitable with what you want to achieve.

If you go to another bulletin board that centers more on pleasure riding, or even to the Off Course forum, I'm sure you'll find plenty of people who don't measure their self-worth with (or show any interest in) horse show results.

In other words, the HJ forum on this bulletin board isn't exactly a balanced sample of horse people in general.

Wow. A bit condescending, don't you think? So lack of an extensive show record = pleasure rider? Funny that some of the best riders I know don't have the funds to show much, but train with incredible diligence and intensity. Despite their many talents, the younger ones in particular do find it difficult to attract a decent client base as show ring success is seemingly the only accepted "proof" of horsemanship. I find it sad... and I can only imagine how frustrating it must be for them.

Fortunately, I am not looking for a trainer. I AM a trainer, thankfully with plenty of show experience and success, although the majority of it was back in the late 80's and early 90's...back when it was actually somewhat affordable. :cry:

tBHj
Dec. 2, 2009, 12:52 AM
To the ones that are saying just because a horse does well at home doesn't mean they will do well at a show...

There are other options to get horses 'off the farm' besides horse shows. Schooling dates, clinics, trail rides with friends ect.

Blue Star
Dec. 2, 2009, 03:20 AM
...some of the BNTs not only started back when it was more affordable to more people, but they "lucked" onto one or two really wealthy riding families who could afford the best of everything. If you can spend millions on a hunter, chances are you will get better ribbons than the $20K packer other trainers put in the same class. And then people see your uber-wealthy rider having success and you attract more riders and so it goes...and how many BNTs are training at high end barns built for them by their wealthy clients? Better show results and nicer facilities attract more of the same...wealthy families able to buy the best...it is no accident that the same horses win or place in the same finals multiple times under different riders with the same trainer...$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$.

If success in the show ring is your goal, in general you better have the money to spend on the proven winner and train with the BNT who does all the big circuits....BIG money.

If your goal is to be a wonderful rider and horseman or woman, that may or may NOT include show success.

meupatdoes
Dec. 2, 2009, 06:44 AM
That's all fine and dandy, no really, it is. All of the qualities you've mentioned are fantastic ones. But the fact of the matter is what someone already mentioned. If they don't show, how are you supposed to find them? Sure, you might happen across them while selling a horse or see an ad online or something, but it's sure not as accessible as heading to a show and watching all the trainers and their students all at once.


You find them through word of mouth: vets, farriers, COTH, etc.
(Side note: If you ever need to move a horse IMMEDIATELY, call your vet and ask them which of their clients has stalls.)

Then you have to have a good enough eye to notice things like whether all the horses come to the front of their stalls to say hi when someone walks down the aisle, instead of whether or not there are matching show trunks in front of each stall; to watch the riding at that barn and evaluate how the horses in the program are doing given their age and history, instead of whether or not there is an army of grooms to tack them up; to watch a lesson and diagnose the issues and see whether the training there stacks up, instead of seeing if the jumps are fancy; to notice little things like whether the saddles being used fit the horses, instead of whether or not everyone is riding in big name brands, and so on.

Basically you develop a high standard of knowledge and horsemanship in your own endeavors to the point that you can notice the "little" details like this at a glance. Then you won't be as dependent on factors like show results to tell you whether someone is good.

Ben and Me
Dec. 2, 2009, 07:38 AM
]So lack of an extensive show record = pleasure rider?

I did not say that. I said that if you want to seek out a more balanced sampling of folks who value horsemanship over horse show results (and don't use horsemanship as a means to an end) then you'll probably have better luck at a different board, since this board isn't a representative sampling of the horse world as a whole. This is a board sponsored by a horse show results magazine, for people who compete at hunter/jumper shows.

I was never able to show that much (and I can't afford to ride at all now--or at least not at a level that makes it worthwhile to me--since I'm in grad school), so I'm certainly not saying that people who don't horse show every weekend are losers or something like that. I was never one of those people!

What I am saying is that many people who do want to go to big shows are going to seek out people who have been there, done that--if you're going to be paying all that money for someone to train you, you probably want someone who is experienced. People want to find someone who can not only talk the talk, but can also walk the walk.

I realize that that is unfortunate for the new folks that are trying to break into the industry. My suggestion for them would be to build up a following competing at local shows, and then slowly move the best of those riders up to the As. That is basically what my trainer when I was a junior did.

I also think you're putting way too much of a negative connotation on the term "pleasure rider." If you don't compete regularly, then you are, by definition, riding for pleasure. Pleasure rider doesn't necessarily equate with a weekend warrior.

Trixie
Dec. 2, 2009, 10:21 AM
Wow. A bit condescending, don't you think? So lack of an extensive show record = pleasure rider? Funny that some of the best riders I know don't have the funds to show much, but train with incredible diligence and intensity.

I think you read that incorrectly – it was a statement, not a judgment. Most of the folks on this segment of this BB are show riders or aspiring show riders. Many of the sports in this industry are based on competition, and if one seeks to be successful in competition, one goes to a trainer that IS.

That isn’t to say there aren’t plenty of competent trainers out there that can’t or don’t show. It’s only to say that they’re harder to find – I’m less inclined to go seeking out a trainer who I’ve never heard of when there are 15 trainers with excellent reputations, excellent results, and who want my business right here.

Further, when I see these people out at shows - I'm not just seeing their show "results" - I'm seeing them at the gate, in the schooling ring, getting an idea of how they teach, how their students respond, and how they treat the animals in their care. Because they're out there, I'm getting a little bit of a preview of what to expect if I were to train with them.

mvp
Dec. 2, 2009, 10:46 AM
You don't need to go to shows or sit glued to the rail to find a good trainer.

Here's what I do. First, I don't check my budget, common sense, ethics or free will at the barn door. If I see something done to horses or people I don't like, I take note. Usually I can figure out if that's common in the trainer's barn, a once in a while thing, or likely to be done to me and my animal. If I'm not sure, I politely ask or explain what I want and evaluate the trainer's reaction.

I can tell a lot by the bits I see on the collections of bridles in a tack room.

I can tell a lot by watching the trainer teach a single lesson.

I learn more if the student is at my level or above.

I learn plenty if I watch the trainer help the kid or newbie tack up the school horse.

I can tell something about what kind of horsemen they are by looking at how the stalls are bedded, the hay they feed and by a question about T/O schedules and practices.

At a show, watch the trainer with a few students in the schooling ring, and after the round. How do those warm-ups and post-game analyses go? Do they seem to be about optimizing performance? Does each horse and rider team get advice tailored to them? Does the horse or rider seem to walk away with a plan for the future?

With trainers, the "product" you are buying is not one horse's performance on a given day, but the process that got them there. Study that.

Moesha
Dec. 2, 2009, 11:28 AM
This is the Chronicle of the Horse Bulletin board. If you have ever looked at a copy of the Chronicle, a huge percentage of it is horse show results. Therefore, it seems pretty obvious to me that people that read the Chronicle and many of the people that post on this bulletin board are interested in horse shows...and if you're going to be spending all that money to go to a horse show, you probably want results....not at any cost (for most folks, I'd hope) but you certainly want someone who is experienced with the scene.

For example, if your goal is to show at Maclay finals, you aren't going to seek out someone to train you who is excellent at starting babies. Doesn't mean you don't admire them, but their success isn't equitable with what you want to achieve.

If you go to another bulletin board that centers more on pleasure riding, or even to the Off Course forum, I'm sure you'll find plenty of people who don't measure their self-worth with (or show any interest in) horse show results.

In other words, the HJ forum on this bulletin board isn't exactly a balanced sample of horse people in general.

Great post!

Moesha
Dec. 2, 2009, 11:32 AM
[QUOTE=mvp;4532685]
At a show, watch the trainer with a few students in the schooling ring, and after the round. How do those warm-ups and post-game analyses go? Do they seem to be about optimizing performance? Does each horse and rider team get advice tailored to them? Does the horse or rider seem to walk away with a plan for the future?

.[/QUOTE

So very important, good day or bad the training and coaching at the show and attidude and future outlook ( even if we mean the next weekend) are so important in looking for a trainer. Of course it is not just ribbons, but generally speaking the good trainers produce consistent riders and happy horses who are successful.

Tamara in TN
Dec. 2, 2009, 11:37 AM
I recently had a chat with the "60's price trainer", and he is hanging up his training irons for good because he just cannot stand the path the industry is on, and just does not feel like there is a place for him in the industry anymore as a trainer.


Uncle Terry on Rec Equestrian said once that the good old trainers slip away and die, while people who can't find their horse's butt with both hands, sell the shine on the boot, to people who know less than they do...

he was right....and he was talking about spade bit trainers at the time... :(

klmck63
Dec. 2, 2009, 12:06 PM
You find them through word of mouth: vets, farriers, COTH, etc.
(Side note: If you ever need to move a horse IMMEDIATELY, call your vet and ask them which of their clients has stalls.)

Then you have to have a good enough eye to notice things like whether all the horses come to the front of their stalls to say hi when someone walks down the aisle, instead of whether or not there are matching show trunks in front of each stall; to watch the riding at that barn and evaluate how the horses in the program are doing given their age and history, instead of whether or not there is an army of grooms to tack them up; to watch a lesson and diagnose the issues and see whether the training there stacks up, instead of seeing if the jumps are fancy; to notice little things like whether the saddles being used fit the horses, instead of whether or not everyone is riding in big name brands, and so on.

Basically you develop a high standard of knowledge and horsemanship in your own endeavors to the point that you can notice the "little" details like this at a glance. Then you won't be as dependent on factors like show results to tell you whether someone is good.

If you read the rest of my post, you would see that I actually did go to the trouble of finding myself a trainer with great horsemanship skills. I took a look at the stalls, the bedding, the feed, the bits and saddles in the tack room, the quality of the footing, the turnout situation, asked about adjustability of feed, asked about routine, was pleased to see lots of happy, healthy horses playing and eating outside, saw interesting lessons being run, riders of all levels riding safely in well fitting tack on appropriate levels of horses, etc. etc.

The thing is, I found myself a trainer with all of this as well as years of successful show experience behind her. I took into consideration her show record (past and recent) because she has already gone where I want to go.

Please don't assume that just because I said trainers with good horsemanship skills are difficult to find that I didn't take the time to find one.

Oh, and to LudgerFan- I don't think offense was meant by the pleasure rider comment. A pleasure rider isn't just someone who trail rides or anything like that. If you don't train to compete, then you train because you want to, or for pleasure. IMO

findeight
Dec. 2, 2009, 01:41 PM
I was not necessarily talking about starting from scratch and becoming the next GP BNR...I meant making a living training and teaching...and there are many levels that you CAN work into from the bottom.

But you generally have to go to work for somebody else to develop the contacts and networking skills necessary. May not end up being exactly where you thought you would end up but you can establish a nice business.

My point is that I have listened to and have read alot of complaining about how hard it is...and when things that can be done are pointed out, many do not want to make those steps-you know, relocate and work for somebody else. Depends how bad you want it how much you are willing to sacrifice to get there.

hntrjmprpro45
Dec. 2, 2009, 01:59 PM
On the subject of "making it as a trainer", here is my opinion... There are more or less 3 basic routes of becoming successful (nice barn, nice horses, lots of clients and yes most likely showing)...

1- be blessed with LOTS of money from the beginning and be able to buy your facilities, horses, go to expensive shows etc. (Somewhat instant gratification)

2- work for someone who has tons of money and a good reputation. Ride their horses, work with their clients at their facilities and branch off once you have your own reputation. (takes several years but is a great jumpstart to a business)

3- start your own business (probably with not a lot of money) and work your way up. Build your own reputation, gain your own clients, train/sell your own horses. Showing would be very important in this situation as you would need a way to more or less prove that you can produce nice horses/riders. (the slowest method but probably the most rewarding)

As for showing, it is a measure of success because at least in the hunter/jumper industry (which is the topic of this forum) showing is a major goal for most riders. Therefor, show experience is a must for trainers to gain clients. Its not going to kill you if you don't do a lot of shows but it is vitally important in this industry. It would be somewhat like training race horses without racing them. Sure you can produce fast horses, well managed, etc, but if you don't race them then people probably won't be as interested in you as a trainer if what they are looking for is racing.

I think a good trainer should have at least some (several years) experience of decent showing (some A rated, some local, does not have to be WEF) as well as some clients who have shown.

foursocks
Dec. 2, 2009, 04:25 PM
It seems to me that people have a range of ways of judging trainers, depending on their own particular interests, experience and needs.

My trainer is not all that interested in showing- he sticks to the local circuit, and coaches a high school and a university team. He trains my horse and I, however, for my goals- which are (eventually) to be competitive in the rated jumper divisions. He knows how to prep us, and when finances are less tight he will send me to the shows to meet up with a BNT who is a friend and who he trusts to give me the sort of coaching we need.

I have a few very good friends with whom I ride who aren't as interested in showing as I am. He trains them with the same commitment and skill- and they try just as hard as I do to develop themselves and their horses. Of course he and others judge his abilities by what his students who do show win- it is a sport, after all. But they also can very easily see the rock-solid foundation he gives his kids, they can see the polish he helps give his equitation riders, and the eye he has for picking out a high-class hunter prospect. They can listen to him teach and see him get the best out of horse and rider.

If he went to more shows, he would be better known but as it is he has never advertised, and has an over-full schedule of teaching, clinics and course designing gigs. He is, in fact, well known and liked and respected by horsemen of all levels. I grew up on the circuit in a top show barn and I place him right next to the trainers I had as a junior. He is not a miracle worker, but he is a really, really good trainer who is also a wonderful person. He is not alone, there are plenty more trainer out there like him, one just has to know how to recognize them.

It is easy to look at the insular little world of the top circuits and think that is all there is, but there is a lot more diversity than the OP seems to think out there. I'd sure as hell show more if I had the money- thank you, Mom and Dad or giving me that opportunity all those years ago! But showing or not, I know what a good trainer is- that just comes from experience in the horse world in general. And those who don't know how to judge a good or bad trainer can be found at any facility- from the very top of the trees show barn to the barn that caters to those who may want to improve their skills but not in the show ring.

Marcella
Dec. 3, 2009, 01:05 AM
I wonder if this just has more to do with what people want...you see the riders that want ribbons make the news. However, I know quite a few successful and excellent horseman that have made a great living on just sticking close to home, doing a few local shows, but otherwise making sure people learn horsemanship. Those people do not make any news even though they are the ones that turn out the future horseman (kids that start in lessons, but end up in college and vet school, or become trainers themselves, etc.).