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  1. #1
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    Jul. 15, 2005
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    Default Pros and Cons of Sending a horse out for training.

    Anyone send their horse out for a month or two (or more) training with a BNT to brush the dust off and possibly compete at a level or two higher than they normally do with you? Not talking about starting babies but established horses. Benefits? Negatives (other than costs) Do you feel it is cheating a bit since someone is helping you get your horse to where you want it to be? Just curious to know what eventers feel about this.



  2. #2
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    Oct. 22, 2001
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    Nothing wrong with it at all, assuming you have a rider you like/trust who is a good fit with your horse, and you've got the $$ to pay for it. I think for most of us trying to balance a day job with riding competitively, we don't always get enough time in the tack to fix all of horses' issues and/or to help teach something new. We've all heard the saying about green plus green equaling black and blue: particularly if you're trying to move up a level and have never done it before, or have an issue you can't quite get through, I sometimes think it makes more sense to have the horse understand the lesson clearly, rather than having the rider/horse getting into a circular set of battles. However, I do think that it makes alot of sense to come and watch the rider who is working with your horse and take a few lessons with him/her so you can help learn how to apply the tools they've helped install. There isn't some gold star for struggling through on your own, particularly if you're stuck in a place where you're not able to fix a particular issue or can't give a horse the confidence he needs or understand an issue. This is a sport/hobby - it's supposed to be fun, and I suspect that if you/your horse are stuck somewhere, you'd both appreciate having the conversation cleared up.

    There are definitely times when it may not be appropriate, but for your average amateur/young rider learning the sport, I think it can be great.



  3. #3
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    Jul. 17, 2009
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    None of the eventers I know can ever afford it.



  4. #4
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    Aug. 16, 2005
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    Sergeantsville, NJ and South Hadley, MA
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    Quote Originally Posted by PennyChrome View Post
    None of the eventers I know can ever afford it.
    Plenty of people can - otherwise BNTs would have nearly empty barns.

    That said, I certainly couldn't afford it, I work off all of my training.
    http://s21.photobucket.com/albums/b2...ncer/?start=20

    Mares are like neutrons. If there are too many in an area, you approach critical mass. And then there are explosions. Loud ones.



  5. #5
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    Jan. 5, 2006
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    Atlanta
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    It make sense to get professional training help with a horse for all the reasons GotSpots mentioned-- but it certainly doesn't have to be a BNT for it to be valuable.



  6. #6
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    Jan. 23, 2004
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    Camden, De
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    Heck if I could afford it I would do it more often! When I was starting my conn/tb as a 4yr I got launched off during a schooling just because of someone else riding stupidly. I wanted him to keep going so I sent him off to someone who came highly recommended so she could keep him going. He came back full of confidence and with a ton more skills. One event at intro and he went right to novice. It was expensive but he hacked out, schooled x-c, did basic flatwork and just got to see the world a bit more. I considered sending him out again to have a bit of work done with ditches before he got hurt. It would have helped me to know he could go around a training course with ditch and walls, trakeners and coffin complexes because he could be tricky to ride to ditches.

    I have been considering a few pro rides on my current personal horse at some competitions because he is just so sensitive at the moment and really requires that perfect ride. I feel as though I do a perfectly acceptable job and although I normally do all the training myself some horses really do need someone who doesn't make mistakes and I make plenty of them I might be able to work something where he gets a ride or two a week by a pro and then she will ride him at a show but really I have no idea how much it costs.

    I think the ideal situation is finding someone you already lesson with and then having them work with you to draw up a plan for the horse. I don't necessarily think horses need full-time training but a ride or two a week can make a world of difference along with a few confidence boosting competition runs so when the ammy owner gets on the horse already knows the job.



  7. #7
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    Jan. 16, 2002
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    West Coast of Michigan
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    I send mine to my trainer's every winter (well, going on 3 years--before that I didn't really have a regular trainer, which would explain why my 9yo horse is JUST now getting up to Training level, LOL) and it's been great:

    PROS:
    1. I don't have an indoor (or outdoor) arena, so without being at my trainer's barn I would pretty much not get to ride at all from December until April due to dark, cold, and snow.
    2. My trainer is amazing at producing horses for whom a dressage score of 25 is NORMAL. Bonnie's gotten below 30 with her a number of times, which is a big deal for a horse with a very average set of gaits.
    3. Instead of brushing off the dust/rust every spring, I have a horse that's fit and ready to go.
    4. It gives me a little break--only one stall to clean in the winter instead of two!

    CONS:
    1. A little pricey, but IMO what my trainer charges is more than fair.
    2. I wish there was a little more turnout at my trainer's barn because normally I keep mine outside 24/7 with stall access, but that's just not do-able at a boarding stable.
    3. Some of the stalls are pretty small, so I always cough up for the bigger/airy ones. If I don't get one this winter (the waiting list gets longer and longer!) I might give Bonnie this winter off.
    4. Related to #3, I personally feel like every horse needs a break now and then, so keeping them in training year-round can eventually be a negative.

    I don't have any "guilt" about not producing my own horse, because I don't have the time, talent, or know-how to do it on my own. I raised and broke her myself, and I'm happy with how that turned out, but if it were all me doing the training we'd still be bobbing and weaving our way around BN. OTOH, if she were with a pro ALL the time she'd probably be going Prelim by now, although that's probably Bonnie's limit scope- and speed-wise.
    Click here before you buy.



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb. 25, 2005
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    1,401

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    I think it can be a great benefit to you and your horse. The only caveat I would make is that it is important to choose a trainer whose training method and style of riding are fairly consistent with your own - ideally, it would be someone with whom you would work yourself at the end of the training period to confirm that you understand what has been done with your horse and with whom you plan to have a lesson now and then to check in. If you don't do these things, it is likely that your horse will come back looking and going like a million bucks (assuming you choose a good trainer, of course!), but you won't be able to sustain it.
    Treat Jockey for Spellbound and Smidgeon



  9. #9
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    Oct. 30, 2004
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    Pine Top side of Atlanta, GA
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    here's a caveat: can you ride enough if the horse isn't at home/nearby stabling to keep yourself riding fit and still learning yourself? Beyond the money, that's one of the problems for me. Rasta will be going somewhere ...not sure to whom or where the money will come from, but he's just too nice for me to learn on...
    ~ it no longer matters what level I do, as long as I am doing it..~ with many thanks, to Elizabeth Callahan



  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb. 3, 2000
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    Nokesville, VA
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    I guess I am the sole naysayer.

    years ago, when I was out for several months with a broken wrist, I sent Music to my trainer.

    Yes, she moved her up to Training for the first time.

    Yes, she understood that Music was not as easy to ride WELL as she looked.

    But those were the only benefits.

    There weren't any significant downsides, aside from the cost. But it just didn't seem worth it to me.

    I got ZERO satisfaction or pleasure from watching someone else compete her, even when she got a ribbon. Maybe that is just me, becuase I know plenty of people DO get satisfaction from that.

    If I had a problem I was having difficulty working through, that would be different. But just for a general "brush up", or becuase I am out of the saddle for a while, it no longer makes sense to/for me.
    Janet

    chief feeder and mucker for Music, Spy, Belle and Tiara. Someone else is now feeding and mucking for Chief and Brain (both foxhunting now).



  11. #11
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    Oct. 4, 2004
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    Lexington KY
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    If there was a medical reason, and I wanted to keep the horse going, then yes...but only to someone I knew really well and with a defined agenda. But sending one out, just because they have a Name. Nope, no thanks.

    I just spent a week with my coach, taking lessons everyday. She rode him one day--I think she meant to ride him for ten minutes and then hand him back, but it ended up being a half hour ride. Then she put me back on for another ten to let me 'feel' what she wanted us to understand. That was very, very educational!

    So, if I could send both of us out for training where we'd lesson everyday, with an occasional half-ride/half-lesson to really get at an issue. Yes, certainly! But just to have one sent out, to be returned with all the buttons in place; no thanks!



  12. #12
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    Oct. 30, 2004
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    Pine Top side of Atlanta, GA
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fence2Fence View Post
    If there was a medical reason, and I wanted to keep the horse going, then yes...but only to someone I knew really well and with a defined agenda. But sending one out, just because they have a Name. Nope, no thanks.

    I just spent a week with my coach, taking lessons everyday. She rode him one day--I think she meant to ride him for ten minutes and then hand him back, but it ended up being a half hour ride. Then she put me back on for another ten to let me 'feel' what she wanted us to understand. That was very, very educational!

    So, if I could send both of us out for training where we'd lesson everyday, with an occasional half-ride/half-lesson to really get at an issue. Yes, certainly! But just to have one sent out, to be returned with all the buttons in place; no thanks!
    I was just thinking of the "dream scenario" for training and came up with just what you've described. Since we're on the same wavelength, how far away do you live from your coach? some distances - even overnight - will work for me because every 6 weeks I have a week's vacation...just considering all possibilities...
    ~ it no longer matters what level I do, as long as I am doing it..~ with many thanks, to Elizabeth Callahan



  13. #13
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    Jan. 19, 2005
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    PA
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fence2Fence View Post
    But just to have one sent out, to be returned with all the buttons in place; no thanks!

    LOL...they never really have the buttons in place or keep them even if they do!

    For me....it all depends on your horse and your goals.

    I've brought along many horses to Prelim with just me riding...but now I'm rusty beyond training level, don't have the time I used to....and don't bounce as well as I used to (athough I can stick on pretty good most of the time still). I love breaking and starting young horses...always have and probably always will...and can deal with a green horse rear or buck or spook. So I will probably never send a horse out to be started....did it once and will never do it again. But there are times with a green horse or moving up to Prelim or beyond...that I want my trainer to compete the horse...to give them a good confident ride in a competitive setting. For me...it isn't about buttons or training....it is about confidence and creating a horse that loves its job (and can therefore take a joke when I'm riding)

    In the end....even if you send a horse out for training or get some training rides or have your trainer compete your horse.....if this is a horse you are keeping...you will still have to be able to ride it...it is about the partnership between you and your horse so it still takes both to get it right! But getting some help along the way is NOT cheating and can really benefit both you and your horse.
    ** The difference between genius and stupidity is genius has its limits. -- Albert Einstein **



  14. #14
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    Feb. 13, 2005
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    Columbus, OH
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    I've sent mine out for 4 months' training this summer, although these last 2 months of July/August I am also riding the horse 3x weekly with one lesson a week (on top of 5 rides weekly from trainer). I used my routine trainer, who is no BNT but has my utmost respect and excellent credentials. It's definitely cheaper than a BNT and I know exactly who's riding my horse and how they're riding it. My horse is only an hour away so I've been able to watch a lot of the first 60 days, and of course now I'm back in lessons and riding regularly to transition the horse back to me.

    I brought my horse along myself, very slowly, over the last 3 years. Then I decided to go back to grad school this fall, and I wanted my horse 100% confirmed at Novice before I left. Full-time training was the logical way to get that in a big hurry (only had from April to August to pull it off!)

    I ditto all of deltawave's pros/cons, but here's a few more for my case:

    PROS
    --Trainer had several discussions with horse that I was not equipped to have.
    --My guy is a fairly straightforward, friendly, fun ride. It's been an absolute pleasure to watch someone else have as much fun with him as I have. At one point, my trainer was riding 5 horses a day, and mine was the only one who wasn't a royal PITA.
    --Now that I'm riding the horse again, there's no question that when we have a problem, it is MY fault.
    --I now know that my horse CAN adjust to 3 hours of daily turnout if he's got a sufficiently big, cushy stall and is in regular, intensive work. I would have NEVER guessed that my horse would survive on that schedule, but he's just as calm as ever. I choose to keep my horse on more turnout than that, but it's good to know what he can and can't take.
    --Speaking of which, a trainer is often more equipped to find a horse's physical and psychological limits. Obviously YMMV, but let's just say that watching my trainer push my horse confirmed a lot of things that I already suspected about him (all good things).
    --Trainer, who has legs of steel and very kind hands, still felt that the horse was strong over fences. Now I won't have to second guess whether the horse needs more jewelry for the jumping phases. Especially since the dressage has been in the twenties at both shows this summer, so it's obviously not a problem based in the flatwork!

    CONS
    --It's been quite the adjustment to learn how to ride my Shiny New Car. Thank goodness for the lessons/help!
    --I was pretty hard on myself when I first got back on the horse. I even cried at one lesson because I felt so incapable of doing what my trainer was asking me to do; she was very kind about it, pointing out that I was being asked to ride my horse in a totally different way than I used to ride him AND that my riding muscles were totally out of shape. The re-adjustment period is not to be underestimated.
    --Some horses don't take the joke as well as mine does. Mine is very kind about going from a pro rider to little ol' me. I've watched some of the other training clients go through the same transition with less generous horses and it's not always that smooth.
    --I miss my horse. I can't afford the gas $$ to go and see him 6 days a week, so I see him only 3x weekly, and that's been a real switch.

    Overall, I'm very glad that I did it.
    ________________________
    Resident COTH saddle nerd. (CYA: Not a pro, just a long-time enthusiast!)
    http://twitter.com/jenlmichaels



  15. #15
    Join Date
    Oct. 29, 1999
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    14,488

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    I know someone that sent their horse to a BN dressage trainer for 2 months each year. The horse came back each time confirmed at the next level. Then she was able to learn/ride/show at that level all year.



  16. #16
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    Oct. 13, 2004
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    Paoli, Oklahoma
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    I think my guy is going off for the fall to a nice pro that moved into our area. I am having too many shoulder issues lately and surgery is looming more and more in the future so he is probably going to her place so she can finish getting him ready for the QH World show and ride him in that. Plus she is going to work on moving him up to Prelim for me so once I am well and back in the saddle, he will have had some great Prelim experiences. That will make my move-up so much nicer. I have never sent one off myself before, so I am very nervous but he will be about 30 to 45 minutes from me (depends on if I am at home or in the office), so I can go and check on him often. Plus I am looking forward to his dressage skills improving as that is where I have the hard time getting him together.

    Bobbi
    Bobbi
    ~ Jus Passed My Zipper aka Spanky, 11yo QH gelding.
    ~ Muskogee, 2yo Oldenburg Colt.



  17. #17
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    May. 16, 2003
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    jn4jenny mentioned that some horses don't take a joke as well as hers - this brings to mind two friends who've sent their horses to BNTs to get mileage at P, when they wanted to move up. Intellectually, a great plan. Great trainers. And both horses came back expecting a pro ride and not forgiving of their ammy owners. These are owners the horses had been packing sweetly around for years. One, at least, did not get his sense of humor back.

    I have no personal experience because I like riding my own too much and could never send him away (and have been lucky enough not to have med issues or travel stuff keeping me from riding)!

    PS Bobbi, you posted at the same time - this was written before I read yours, so PLEASE don't think it's in response to yours. Good luck!
    Last edited by Saskatoonian; Jul. 27, 2009 at 03:23 PM. Reason: saw bobbi's post...



  18. #18
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    Jan. 19, 2005
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    Quote Originally Posted by Saskatoonian View Post
    jn4jenny mentioned that some horses don't take a joke as well as hers - this brings to mind two friends who've sent their horses to BNTs to get mileage at P, when they wanted to move up. Intellectually, a great plan. Great trainers. And both horses came back expecting a pro ride and not forgiving of their ammy owners. These are owners the horses had been packing sweetly around for years. One, at least, did not get his sense of humor back.

    I think that is why it is important who you send your horse to...and what are your expectations....and be very clear with your pro what are your expectations. A really good trainer will train a horse a bit differently if it is a ride for them...or a ride that will be going back to their owners (and why a trainer that knows the owner and works with the owner is probably best...unless you are sending them off to get sold...).

    And in the end....there is rarely such a thing as a true packer, especially at prelim...so if the rider doesn't also get training....it may not always work out.
    ** The difference between genius and stupidity is genius has its limits. -- Albert Einstein **



  19. #19
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    Jan. 16, 2002
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    West Coast of Michigan
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    just to have one sent out, to be returned with all the buttons in place; no thanks!
    Oh Lord, I would take that in a heartbeat! I totally get how cool it is and how fulfilling to make your own, but lacking time and talent makes that goal, for me, somewhat unrealistic. I'll take big, shiny buttons that are easy to find whenever I can get them!
    Click here before you buy.



  20. #20
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    Sep. 20, 2004
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    Massachusetts
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    Quote Originally Posted by deltawave View Post
    I don't have any "guilt" about not producing my own horse, because I don't have the time, talent, or know-how to do it on my own. I raised and broke her myself, and I'm happy with how that turned out, but if it were all me doing the training we'd still be bobbing and weaving our way around BN.
    This sounds like where I am now in terms of trying to do the training and everything myself due to lack of time, talent and MONEY. Clancy, an RIDSH gelding just turned 8 July 1. I feel no guilt about sending him off. Even when I went away on vacation last summer for a few weeks I sent him to the trainers during that time instead of having him sit around while I was gone. I sent him off two winters ago for 60 days with my trainer and got back a remarkably improved horse. If I could send him off every winter even for 60 days the horse I got back would be going training instead of considering our first BN in August. We'll be the ones weaving our way around BN.



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