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  1. #1
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    Default Spin-off: An Ammy can't do it by herself

    Reading through that other thread I was struck at how many people concede to the presumed fact that an amateur cannot take a horse to a high level competition stage with success without having a professional do the majority of the work.

    I would like to explore that mind set a little more, because it is just amazing to me.

    I was brought up in a culture where almost all riders took care of their own business. Boarded horses? yes, but that included a more or less clean stall, feedings and water. Hardly ever turnout, blanketing or training.
    Nor trailering and hand-holding at shows.

    granted, most did not have the ambition to go past the regional scene, but more ambitious ones would make it to the top.

    What is it that makes the trainer's work indispensable in your eyes?
    Quote Originally Posted by Bristol Bay View Post
    Try setting your broomstick to fly at a lower altitude.


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  2. #2
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    I think that it depends for each discipline. I only ride Saddle Seat, so I can't speak for other disciplines.

    As an amateur, I would definitely take my horse to the American Royal. I know the facility, I know a lot of the stables there and their trainers, I know the types of horses that go and place. I would not likely take my horse to the World's Championship Horse show because those horses are on different caliber in my opinion.

    I definitely believe it is possible. Anything is possible. But I think a lot of amateurs just don't have the time necessary to ready their horse and themselves for a regional or national show. In the Saddle Seat world the horses get worked 6 days a week (in this area at least), they get groomed perfectly daily, they get clipped, their tails washed, tail sets put on/taken off, etc. Anything at all to keep them looking and feeling their best.

    Plus you have to realize that in order for a Saddlebred to go to the World's Champion show (just for example), they have to pretty much be the best of the best. You have to go in there knowing that you have a chance and knowing that your horse has the right stuff. A lot of these horses cost more than your average AOTR spends. And if they do spend a great deal on the horse, they want the horse to be cared for in every single way... not left out in the mud and maybe worked 3 days a week.

    Anyway, I certainly don't believe this is the case for ALL amateurs. If I had the time, money and horse then I would definitely go to national shows. But I just don't. Wish I did though, I love going to shows with only my mom and my little 3 horse trailer!!
    http://www.youtube.com/user/NBChoice http://nbchoice.blogspot.com/
    The New Banner's Choice- 1994 ASB Mare
    Dennis The Menace Too- 1999 ASB Gelding
    Dreamacres Sublime- 2008 ASB Gelding


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  3. #3
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    I was raised the way you were. The rider/owner could do just about everything, save shoeing, some vet work and a hardcore a$$-kicking that a horse might require.

    But having raised one, I think I could have trained him much faster had I had a pro. Since his legs would rot out from under him at the same rate, I wish I had chosen that help.

    Of, course, I wouldn't have wanted to give up my role in management. The horse was shod well and that slowed down the leg-rotting. And the beast *never* had a soft-tissue in injury in his entire career. I'm not convinced that a pro woulda/coulda been able to do the same thing for me as one piddling client with one piddling horse.
    The armchair saddler
    Politically Pro-Cat


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  4. #4
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    To me, it's having that life line when I screw up. I have somebody else, whose already clocked the hours, that I can turn to for help. Unfortunately, nowadays that comes with a price tag.

    I also think that horses in any upper level, have to have that certain something 'extra' that make them excel. I was attending a Michael Barisone clinic not too long ago and he said any high level horse is going to be some kind of wackadoodle or be a bit special. Not just anybody can ride those types of horses.

    Today's ammy rider probably doesn't have the skill set to ride the horses that have the athletic ability to be a winner at the upper levels. Most of the reason is the monetary and time commitments that it takes to put the time in. Your typical ammy has to have a full time job to support their addiction. That limits their ability to lesson, clinic, and show. Unless you're lucky enough to have a start like Reed Kessler (wealthy parents and insane talent), it's almost impossible.


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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alagirl View Post
    What is it that makes the trainer's work indispensable in your eyes?
    Because I am willing to admit my limitations!

    It really is that simple for a good section of society. Training horses takes abilities. No matter how much I want to have those abilities, no matter how had I work to have those abilities, I still do not have those abilities.


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  6. #6
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    I believe an ammy can make it to the top. But, I believe it's very, very much a case of few and far between. Just like horses.

    You have to have a good eye for horses.

    You have to be able to afford a horse capable of getting to the top and presumably able to do so without daily rides as most ammies work.

    You have to somehow either be incredibly gifted naturally and/or catch on quickly to videos/reading/sporadic lessons.

    You have to have the budget to make it to all the big shows.

    You have to be able to go in and lay down a ride good enough to beat out any given politics.

    You also have to work full time/have a family/any other obligation that keeps an ammy from being a pro.

    Most important, you have to accept that in most cases it's going to take much more time to reach the top than had you employed a pro.

    Is it possible? Yes.

    Is it probable? No.

    Too many factors have to fall into place, and it's a lot of grit, sweat, and heartache. In fact, I'd put money on my thought that most ammy success stories have at least one failure behind them. For every ammy/horse combo that makes it, X number don't.

    If you can afford to utilize those that have been there before you, I just don't understand why you wouldn't? I feel like it's a misplaced sense of pride. Maybe I'm wrong, but based on MY personal interactions it seems like that's the main culprit. To each his own.
    Veni vidi vici. With a paint pony, nonetheless.


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  7. #7
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    I used to event. I did not board my horse with my trainer, although I did have a trainer, took lessons once a week with an Olympic rider. I would generally walk the course with him at events, but did not have coaching at events. I just couldn't afford it. I also did other stuff, took the horses to jumper shows, straight dressage shows, trail rode with them, etc. I think it made my horses happier and sounder to have a wide cross training base. However, somebody told me recently that you can't even go to a jumper show anymore without a trainer. You can't get in the warmup ring without a trainer. I don't know, as I don't do that anymore. But if it's true, that would certainly put a crimp in my ability to cross train my event horses. I hope it's not true for eventing! So back to the original post - it would be very difficult to do jumpers on your own, apparently.


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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by trubandloki View Post
    Because I am willing to admit my limitations!

    It really is that simple for a good section of society. Training horses takes abilities. No matter how much I want to have those abilities, no matter how had I work to have those abilities, I still do not have those abilities.
    This is so true as well. I bought a cute little country pleasure gelding a couple years ago that was winning or placing high in the ribbons on multiple occasions while he was in the training barn. I bought him and brought him home with me. I worked him pretty much every day, but he did not look like the training horse that I bought. My skill set is not the same as a trainer. While he is still a cutie and we've done amazingly well in shows for me being amateur, you can still tell he is not in a training program simply because I don't have the same skills as a trainer.
    http://www.youtube.com/user/NBChoice http://nbchoice.blogspot.com/
    The New Banner's Choice- 1994 ASB Mare
    Dennis The Menace Too- 1999 ASB Gelding
    Dreamacres Sublime- 2008 ASB Gelding


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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Arelle View Post

    You have to have a good eye for horses.

    You have to be able to afford a horse capable of getting to the top and presumably able to do so without daily rides as most ammies work.

    You have to somehow either be incredibly gifted naturally and/or catch on quickly to videos/reading/sporadic lessons.

    You have to have the budget to make it to all the big shows.

    You have to be able to go in and lay down a ride good enough to beat out any given politics.

    You also have to work full time/have a family/any other obligation that keeps an ammy from being a pro.

    Most important, you have to accept that in most cases it's going to take much more time to reach the top than had you employed a pro.
    I think you left out the management piece. it's a big, big part of maximizing the imperfect horse you have (and all are), as well as keeping The One Miracle Horse sound for a long time.

    I bring this up only because:

    1. By and large, pros *can* do this better. They can find the vet/farrier/chiropractor/time to poultice/eurocize/do cold laser therapy or whathaveyou on their horses. I find it much harder to get great, technical shoeing of you are "on your own" at a boarding barn and get the right guy for your horse.

    2. (And my reason for posting), I don't think that pros want to manage clients' horses this well... at the very, very end of the day. They play the numbers game where a great number of clients/horses means that they don't think as hard about the one horse as the HO. Also, the horse isn't going on their payroll when it is crippled to the point of "done with his career."

    I don't think trainers consciously think this way, but I have seen too many that say, "Hey, some horses are just prone to suspensory injuries" and the like. I think that's a lazy way of thinking.
    The armchair saddler
    Politically Pro-Cat


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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by mvp View Post
    I think you left out the management piece. it's a big, big part of maximizing the imperfect horse you have (and all are), as well as keeping The One Miracle Horse sound for a long time.

    I bring this up only because:

    1. By and large, pros *can* do this better. They can find the vet/farrier/chiropractor/time to poultice/eurocize/do cold laser therapy or whathaveyou on their horses. I find it much harder to get great, technical shoeing of you are "on your own" at a boarding barn and get the right guy for your horse.

    2. (And my reason for posting), I don't think that pros want to manage clients' horses this well... at the very, very end of the day. They play the numbers game where a great number of clients/horses means that they don't think as hard about the one horse as the HO. Also, the horse isn't going on their payroll when it is crippled to the point of "done with his career."

    I don't think trainers consciously think this way, but I have seen too many that say, "Hey, some horses are just prone to suspensory injuries" and the like. I think that's a lazy way of thinking.
    See, I've seen the opposite.

    For the trainers I've interacted with, it does them absolutely no good to have a "crippled" horse. They lose training money, they lose lesson money, and if they do it enough, they lose clients because the horses can't stay sound.

    Why on earth would a competent trainer allow a horse who could be winning for it's owner and increasing it's value and getting the trainer's name out there to go lame? That is lose-lose across the board.
    Veni vidi vici. With a paint pony, nonetheless.


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  11. #11
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    for the sake of argument, let's say the Ammy can ride at the level, and the horse is the equivalent of Totilas.

    I mean, even an ammy can luck out and find that diamond.

    Does a horse really need to be groomed withing an inch of it's life every day?
    As to outside input, I am not suggesting there is no training advice ever, or lessons. After all, if lessons (longe lessons no less) are good for the riders at the SRS, who am I to say that mere mortals can't have any to 'go it alone'.

    Also for sake of argument, the horse is not housed at an insane distance away from the center of your life (mine was boarded a good half hour away from home, over narrow country roads, I did work 5 days a week and still managed to ride every day. I have to admit though, back then I had no other responsibilities)

    Or, and I am not saying this to be a jerk, is it important to have a horse connected with a well known name in order to score the points in subjective contests?
    Quote Originally Posted by Bristol Bay View Post
    Try setting your broomstick to fly at a lower altitude.



  12. #12
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    I'm a basic rider without much innate talent. I *need* the regular instruction of being in training. It so happens I've got a pretty nice horse who would likely lose patience with me if I was left to languish on my own meager abilities.
    *=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=


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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alagirl View Post
    for the sake of argument, let's say the Ammy can ride at the level, and the horse is the equivalent of Totilas.

    I mean, even an ammy can luck out and find that diamond.

    Or, and I am not saying this to be a jerk, is it important to have a horse connected with a well known name in order to score the points in subjective contests?
    First of all, you don't 'luck out' and get the next totilas. Second, how do you think the ammy learned to ride at that level? By having extensive help from a pro. Third of all, no one is saying you need a BNT trainer because you will get scored higher. You need a good trainer because if you want to ride your best, you train with the best. As a by-product you will score higher, but not because you are associated with a name
    .


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  14. #14
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    If we are going to pretend that the ammy is equal quality rider to any good pro, said ammy has an amazing quality horse, said ammy has the time to put into riding 6 days a week and said ammy has a wallet of a size necessary to campaign at that level - there is no reason an ammy like this needs a pro to show at higher levels.

    In a more realistic world, most people do not have those things.


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  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Big_Grey_hunter View Post
    First of all, you don't 'luck out' and get the next totilas. Second, how do you think the ammy learned to ride at that level? By having extensive help from a pro. Third of all, no one is saying you need a BNT trainer because you will get scored higher. You need a good trainer because if you want to ride your best, you train with the best. As a by-product you will score higher, but not because you are associated with a name
    yes, you luck out getting a horse like this.
    He was one of a few hundred born that year, with similar bloodlines.
    I am sure seasoned pros will tell you it is luck having a horse come your way that is this good.

    And the ammies that ride that good get that way by riding and not watching the trainer.

    So, having cleared that up,
    the horse can go world, the rider can too, why do you need to have a trainer hold your hand?
    Quote Originally Posted by Bristol Bay View Post
    Try setting your broomstick to fly at a lower altitude.



  16. #16
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    I don't see the attitude of "An Ammy Can't Do It" as much as the assumption that "An Ammy Doesn't Want To Do It."

    But there are two parts to the equation, IMO. The first is that the majority of barns don't teach riders to do the whole thing start to finish. Very few riders are taught to do more than just ride.....meaning they're not taught HOW to bring along a horse, just taught to ride said horse during the bringing along process.

    Like you and mvp, I grew up in a barn where I was taught how to handle every aspect of the ride starting with breaking the horse, moving along the development of the horse, and culminating in the goal of riding at the grand prix level. I bought a very green QH in 7th grade and my trainer would throw in a training ride once a month or so, and expected me to do everything while I was in the saddle. Which meant that he would ride to figure out if there was anything that needed to be fixed and then he would make me fix it. I always assumed that's what happened in all barns. I was very surprised when I moved to a new barn when I headed to college and realized that training rides were expected whether you wanted them or not.

    So that's issue one. The majority of riders don't have the base to bring along their own horses without help. But as the first few posters have indicated, some do. But take that smaller pool and you have to break it into more sections. Many riders who do have the experience and knowledge to do so lack the confidence to do their own thing, and prefer to rely on a trainer to provide the direction for the training program.

    Now take that even smaller DIY-amateur pool and add in another issue. There is the fact of life that an amateur that has the money to ride very often has a job to go along with supporting the dollars. I do my own thing and train my own horses, and I can't tell you how many times I've been sitting on an airplane for a business trip, or stuck in front of my computer in my house watching the horses frolic without me, pondering sending them to a barn where someone could ride them for me that day. So there's the "daily grind" component on top of an already busy life (small children, full time job, and farm to maintain, in addition to the riding) along with the actual time component of trying to do everything with a limited number of hours in the day.

    And finally, it's lonely to do horses by yourself. I will admit that when I go to shows I miss the companionship of being part of a barn. I have lots of friends and never lack for someone to sit and chat with, but it's not the same as being part of a barn. And when you're part of a barn you're buying into that barn's philosophy on training and maintenance. I have several ammy friends who do a lot on their own and could easily train themselves to the highest levels entirely on their own, but choose companionship over the solo road.

    So I think that the attitude you're describing has more to do with the fact that most people who have the drive and determination to get to the highest levels most often followed their passion down the pro road long ago, and the pool of amateurs who want to do their own thing is very small. I spent a lot of time on a parallel show circuit last year (I headed up to Canada all summer rather than staying in my usual WA/OR shows), and I had several trainers say, "oh, you're PNWjumper, you have that AO horse that you do on your own!" No one was rude about it, and no one said it as if they didn't believe it was possible. But they did say it like I was some rare and weird creature, lol!
    __________________________________
    Forever exiled in the NW.


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  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alagirl View Post
    yes, you luck out getting a horse like this.
    He was one of a few hundred born that year, with similar bloodlines.
    I am sure seasoned pros will tell you it is luck having a horse come your way that is this good.

    And the ammies that ride that good get that way by riding and not watching the trainer.

    So, having cleared that up,
    the horse can go world, the rider can too, why do you need to have a trainer hold your hand?
    If by 'luck out' you mean buy a young horse worth more than most houses, then yes, you can 'luck out' and get an international horse.
    You say the rider can 'go world'. Again, how did the ammy get this good? With a pro's help. Rider aren't born with the ability to 'go world'. They have some combination of work ethic, luck, the right trainer, money, the right horse, experience, etc. Now that the ammy has the $$$$ to buy an international quality horse, and has spent years in extensive training to get that good, no they don't need their hand held.
    .


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  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Big_Grey_hunter View Post
    Second, how do you think the ammy learned to ride at that level? By having extensive help from a pro.
    I want to add to this thought, because it's so true.

    The absolute BEST pros I know are that way because they've never stopped learning and still take lessons from other pros. Same goes for the best amateurs. They're the best because they know who to go to for help and when to ask for help.

    In short, the best riders and trainers are that way because of that willingness and desire to learn something from everyone.

    I would say that NO ONE does it completely on their own.
    __________________________________
    Forever exiled in the NW.


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  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alagirl View Post
    yes, you luck out getting a horse like this.
    He was one of a few hundred born that year, with similar bloodlines.
    I am sure seasoned pros will tell you it is luck having a horse come your way that is this good.
    No. You don't "luck out" getting a horse like that.

    You either -- have put the time and background into learning what to look for, by being taught by a pro, OR

    You like that one because of it's color/personality/etc and then don't have the knowledge of whats underneath you and take it some of the way, but not all of the way.
    Veni vidi vici. With a paint pony, nonetheless.


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  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alagirl View Post

    What is it that makes the trainer's work indispensable in your eyes?
    Because a lot of people just don't ride or train well enough to reach their goals, and probably never will because of time/physical constraints.

    Because people have jobs and families and serious time constraints and can't put the hours in.

    Because if you haven't had someone hold your hand while you walk down that path a few times, it's hard as hell to walk it by yourself.

    Of course there are people that have the time and talent and drive and can make it to the top on their own. But other people can't.

    And that's OK.


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