View Full Version : For the Pros: When did you know you wanted to be a trainer and/or instructor?

Crown Royal
Feb. 25, 2012, 07:46 PM
Just out of curiousity. Did you turn pro as soon as you aged out of the juniors? Or were you an amateur for a while before you decided you wanted to be a professional? Are horses your main/only job, or are they a side job? Do you train horses, instruct riders, or both?

Feb. 26, 2012, 02:23 AM
I am not a pro and wouldn't want to be one. I have one horse who is an "only child." I love to devote all of my time and resources to her. I wouldn't enjoy riding several "other peoples" horses per day and trying to get "quick results" which is probably what most successful trainers need to be able to do. On the other hand. I think I would love teaching- so long as I didn't need to deal with parent's who had unreasonable expectations. So overall, I would be a lousy pro.

Feb. 26, 2012, 02:30 AM
I am a young pro, turned at 20. Really the only reason I turned pro so soon was because I was riding/training for other people. I now train and teach lessons. Horses right now are my only job, I would like to get a second job to help support myself with a little cushion. But I spend so much time at the barn and then doing online college right now having another job is just not feasible.
edit to add: I have wanted to go pro and train since I was a kid. Honestly can't imagine doing anything else with my life.

Feb. 26, 2012, 02:57 AM
Did you turn pro as soon as you aged out of the juniors? I was.. 26 I believe. July(ish) of 2006.

Or were you an amateur for a while before you decided you wanted to be a professional? I was an amateur first. After my junior years, I went to/graduated from college, worked in Washington, DC as an intern (where I met my husband), got married, had a baby, won two regional adult medal finals (2005) and then actually turned professional out of necessity. I was riding some horses for other people (for free at that time, obviously) and we had moved to Indiana for my husband to go to law school.. and my daughter was really young. I started out going to the barn to ride after my daughter went to sleep at night. The more I rode, the more people wanted me to teach them what I was doing to fix their horses.. and the burden of childcare for my daughter while my husband was absorbed in law school without any income became too much. And so I turned pro. I wont really say that I thought much about it at the time, but I probably figured that when my husband graduated, we'd move away from here and I'd get my amateur status back. Long story short, my business here grew, and my husband found a job he loved, and so we stayed. Its been a good fit for me. I really enjoy what I do, and I say all the time that not many people are lucky enough to do what they love most for a living. I am grateful for that opportunity.

Are horses your main/only job, or are they a side job? Other than Mommy, its my only job. I work about an 8 hour day 6 days per week. Other time is devoted to family and training for triathlons. (my amateur sport!)

Do you train horses, instruct riders, or both? Both.

Feb. 26, 2012, 08:37 AM
I always new I wanted to work with horses. I started out managing show barns working my way up to bigger barns over the course of ten years. I always had plenty of horses to ride and train. I had the ability to improve what I was working with and people could see that. Often I rode the horses the Trainers didn't want to because they were too crazy or not good enough. I would turn them into nice horses that they could then sell and make money on. I started to get it at that point.
I observed alot and realized how many mistakes the Trainer I was working for was making with his clients: Ill suited matches, buying crippled horses, lack of training techniques, questionable teaching skills, poor forsight, lack of ambition....there were alot of things that had me wondering how he could be as successful as he was when I could see so much more.
I gained alot of confidence then and started helping a young girl that had a bad pony that I was training. She and her pony got alot better giving me confidence in my teaching abilities.
I started my own business buying and selling horses and sold a pony to the biggest stable in my area with a prominent Trainer. I don't remember how much time went by but I got a call that the pony I sold them wasn't going so well and their Trainer pretty much hated it. I offered to fix the pony and I spent the next nine months undoing what was done to the pony who was now a hot, tense ball of fire. Well that pony turned into a true champion and went on to compete very successfully for years.
After or during the time I was fixing that situation I was offered a job working as a Trainer developing my own clientelle at that same facility as the owner of that pony was the barn owner. I worked there for 8 years and had alot of success with kids and adults. I actually had a student win third overall at the pony finals one year and another won a huge equitation final which won me a 750 dollar Trainer award.... Those were good times!
Anyway thats how I morphed into becoming a Trainer and I am still going strong 25 years into it. Although I am blessed to do what I love I have never had the ability to own my own facility so I have had to move locations a few times which is a real hardship on a business. I am currently in a very small facility with some fantastic people and life is good.

Feb. 26, 2012, 07:58 PM
Did you turn pro as soon as you aged out of the juniors? Or were you an amateur for a while before you decided you wanted to be a professional?
I stayed an amateur until I was finished with college, then turned pro. I was a working student in high school and had gotten the chance to teach and coach a little at shows through that, so I went into college knowing I wanted to turn pro afterwards.

Are horses your main/only job, or are they a side job?
Did the horses full-time (while living with my parents) for a long time, but finally gave in to reality and took a second job at a law firm. So I do 4-5 days at the farm and 3 at the office in a normal week.

Do you train horses, instruct riders, or both?
Primarily teach. I rode a lot more when I did the horses full-time, but financial stability is a better feeling than riding a lot. ;)

Crown Royal
Feb. 26, 2012, 09:28 PM
Love hearing everyone's responses...please keep them coming. :)

Feb. 27, 2012, 01:18 AM
I knew this was what I wanted to do - but wasnt sure it would work for me. When I got out of college in the 70's I ran a training and lesson program and had a lot fun. But I knew I wouldnt be a big trainer - I didnt have the show experiece. I knew my small program wouldnt provide the income for the kind of life I wanted. So after a few yrs, I stopped training and got a good corporate job that allowed me to continue riding and showing on the side.

Fast forward 30 yrs, I retired and moved to the country. Now I teach our local Pony club riders to jump and its a lot of fun. We have a great group of riders and I feel like Im making a difference helping them learn to improve their skills.

So yes, I always knew this was what I wanted to do - but it had to go on hold while my life took over.

Feb. 27, 2012, 02:51 AM
I changed my status a few years into being an ammy. I enjoy teaching and helping other people with their horses. I don't like "having a business". I've worked as an assistant, but I enjoy the most freelancing, so-to-speak, and working with a few independent horse owners. I have a few beginners which are a fun challenge. I also substitute teach K-12 a few days a week which helps keep the other side of my brain active. I may finish my teaching credential, but I'd rather be outside with the horses. I tried a desk job for a few years and the sedentary lifestyle just doesn't suit me.

I love bringing along young horses. My "lifetime goal" is to develop a program that teaches young people how to train horses.