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Looking for Advice on private Hunter/Jumper Trainer

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  • Looking for Advice on private Hunter/Jumper Trainer

    Our private farm in Florida (medium sized 15-20 horses) is looking at hiring a trainer just to train and compete our own horses. We currently use a couple different trainers in the area (depending on the discipline) but are trying to find a more cost effective and easier way of doing things. The thought, is to hire one young up and coming rider/trainer that would like to concentrate solely on bring 4-5 horses up to the GP level.

    Any thoughts on:

    1. Pitfalls
    2. Pros/Cons
    3. Suggestions as to where to find someone qualified and easy to get along with.
    4. Starting Salary (We were thinking 35K + commissions on sales and percentage of winnings plus all expenses at shows and a place to live on property)

    Any suggestions are greatly appreciated.

  • #2
    Where are you located?? This is my dream job I'm not really looking to move but would love to be closer to my parents!

    Comment


    • #3
      You may be wise to get the help of one or two of the top riders. They have an eye for really wothwhile good riders who are up and coming. Of course if they are already using them, they may be loathe to part with them.

      Be prepared to make a few false starts. Lots talk the talk, but few walk the walk.
      Some riders change their horse, they change their saddle, they change their teacher; they never change themselves.

      Remember the horse does all the work, we just sit there and look pretty.

      Comment


      • #4
        Check the universities that offer equestrian programs. Findlay, etc. They should have tons of qualified individuals looking for jobs in the business.
        I don't always feel up to arguing with your ignorance

        Comment


        • #5
          I would definitely not check the universities that offer equestrian programs. The OP is looking for someone to bring along horses to the GP level. This means that they are needing someone with some experience not only riding at that level but also bringing along young horses up to that level. To find this type of private trainer the best way is through connections in the industry. Talk to the other trainers who you are currently working with and ask for recommendations.

          As another poster said, you may go through a couple of people until you find the right one. Also, someone who is a young pro will probably need help at some point aka their own trainer. It is always helpful to have someone knowledgeable on the ground when climbing up the levels on a young horse. You also want to hopefully find someone who isn't going to jump your horses into the ground. Someone who isn't out to just win, win, win but will actually take the time to train and bring the horses along properly.

          Most importantly, after hiring someone, ask questions, make sure you are kept up to date about what is going on with each horse. Definitely make sure you are involved in the sale process of any of your horses because this is where people tend to get greedy. Show up unexpectedly at the barn from time to time and watch training sessions. Stay involved!

          What is your facility like? Do you have a large arena? Wash stalls/grooming stalls? Show jumps? Grooms? A truck and trailer? Remember the words cost effective is an oxymoron in the horse industry.

          Good luck! This sounds like a wonderful opportunity for a young up and coming pro.

          Comment


          • #6
            Oh but for it to be 20 years ago...
            "You can't really debate with someone who has a prescient invisible friend"
            carolprudm

            Comment

            • Original Poster

              #7
              Awesome suggestions guys. Thank you all for your feedback. I will try and answer all your questions.

              We are in Florida.

              The challenge that I have with talking to the local pros is that they are all friends with my current jumper trainer that will unfortunately be replaced. The only problem with my current trainer is a financial one. They are expensive as great ones often are. While trying to campaign 5 horses at approximately $6-800 per show in training fees per horse it becomes very quickly unfeasible for us mere mortals. Hopefully there will be no hard feelings but I have seen this go badly in the past. Hopefully we will handle it well and all will remain cordial and friendly

              I am definitely prepared for said false starts. I have a very good eye for people and my wife has a fantastic eye for people who have natural talent and can ride.

              We plan to keep our dressage trainer on staff and our new rider/trainer will be encouraged to take lessons from her. She is a FEI level rider and really knows her stuff. We have already talked to her about this and she is totally game for helping another young professional (on our bill of course ) bc I agree with you, even trainers need trainers.

              As for the facility, the barn is at my home. I am intricately involved with the day to day handling and training of my horses. They do not travel or compete without me and most days I will be there to help with training and other misc duties (such as fence setting and cooling down ...). I am the last thing my horses see at night (last check and haying is at 11pm) and I am the first thing they see in the morning (not always the prettiest sight). We have invested everything in our breeding program and are just beginning to reap the rewards of it. I know my horses like no one else, the huge majority I have raised from birth. I am also very realistic about what each are possibly destined for. We have a couple that are FEI caliber then some that will make great A/O horses. We have a couple Eq horses and a few really, really nice hunters.

              We have grooms that take care of all the barn work 7 days a week, wash racks, grooming areas ect. Our ring is a huge grass jump field, we are looking at the feasibility of putting in a standard ring now.

              Whew....hope all this helps. Any suggestions is really appreciated.

              Comment


              • #8
                What an amazing opportunity for the right person... WOW. Wish I was a few years older!
                Trying a life outside of FEI tents and hotel rooms.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Have you spoken to your current Jumper trainer about your desire to go private?

                  Pros know people's needs change and clients come and go. I would imagine they will be disappointed to lose you but, if they are really deseving of the term "Pro"? They should help you find a suitable candidate and keep communication open and possibly a business relationship in marketing your horses when they are ready to sell. Remember not all of them are going to make it all the way to GP and you may want to move them along using your current trainers contacts and network within the Jumper community.

                  There really are not that many people out there capable of bringing horses all the way up to GP and the ones that are are going to have a background in a GP centered barn(s). Word of mouth is the best way you are going to connect with the best candidates and that's another reason you should involve your current trainer. There should be no problem since you are going private and they don't want the job.
                  When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

                  The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Good luck! It sounds like a great opportunity but as someone else mentioned, many people talk the talk but very few can walk the walk. I have been in a similar position in trying to find appropriate people for our facility and over the years I have found disappointment after disappointment. I think using your current trainer or trainers to network is a good suggestion and hopefully they will be professional enough to assist you and remain involved in whatever capacity you can utilize them. Situations are always changing, so you may end up using them again in the future.

                    And you are paying $800 per horse PER SHOW just for training? That is completely absurd. I hope you can find something that works for you and is more realistic. And if you do, let me know how you did it!
                    Destiny is not a matter of chance, it is a matter of choice; it is not a thing to be waited for, it is a thing to be achieved. - William Jennings Bryan

                    http://www.halcyon-hill.com

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by buschkn View Post

                      And you are paying $800 per horse PER SHOW just for training? That is completely absurd...
                      If the horse is there most of the week, 6 to 800 for schooling and multiple classes is ballpark for a top Pro Jumper rider. Between serious schooling and the actual classes, probably talking 5 or 6 rides and 100+ per ride (more for bigger classes) is not out of range for a top Jumper Pro.
                      When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

                      The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I think there are a number of very, very talented juniors about to age out or riders who have recently aged out with lots of miles in the high juniors and Prixes who would love an opportunity like this. For example, someone like Callie Schott (who has been working for Beezie and John Madden for several years now) would be well-suited for something like this. Obviously you're not going to get Beezie Madden, but you can get the young riders/pros that people like Beezie have been developing.

                        I think it sounds like a great situation and it sounds like you've covered all of your bases. Wages are more than fair, given that housing is included.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Tha Ridge View Post
                          I think there are a number of very, very talented juniors about to age out or riders who have recently aged out with lots of miles in the high juniors and Prixes who would love an opportunity like this. For example, someone like Callie Schott (who has been working for Beezie and John Madden for several years now) would be well-suited for something like this. Obviously you're not going to get Beezie Madden, but you can get the young riders/pros that people like Beezie have been developing.

                          I think it sounds like a great situation and it sounds like you've covered all of your bases. Wages are more than fair, given that housing is included.
                          This is a great idea. These juniors have the proven show records and probably videos on Youtube so you can get an idea of their skills. Working for a top trainer would also be a plus. I agree with not contacting any of the schools with equestrian programs. Most of these riders do not have the skills that you would need.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Sport Horse Guy View Post
                            Awesome suggestions guys. Thank you all for your feedback. I will try and answer all your questions.

                            We are in Florida.

                            The challenge that I have with talking to the local pros is that they are all friends with my current jumper trainer that will unfortunately be replaced. The only problem with my current trainer is a financial one. They are expensive as great ones often are. While trying to campaign 5 horses at approximately $6-800 per show in training fees per horse it becomes very quickly unfeasible for us mere mortals. Hopefully there will be no hard feelings but I have seen this go badly in the past. Hopefully we will handle it well and all will remain cordial and friendly

                            I am definitely prepared for said false starts. I have a very good eye for people and my wife has a fantastic eye for people who have natural talent and can ride.

                            We plan to keep our dressage trainer on staff and our new rider/trainer will be encouraged to take lessons from her. She is a FEI level rider and really knows her stuff. We have already talked to her about this and she is totally game for helping another young professional (on our bill of course ) bc I agree with you, even trainers need trainers.

                            As for the facility, the barn is at my home. I am intricately involved with the day to day handling and training of my horses. They do not travel or compete without me and most days I will be there to help with training and other misc duties (such as fence setting and cooling down ...). I am the last thing my horses see at night (last check and haying is at 11pm) and I am the first thing they see in the morning (not always the prettiest sight). We have invested everything in our breeding program and are just beginning to reap the rewards of it. I know my horses like no one else, the huge majority I have raised from birth. I am also very realistic about what each are possibly destined for. We have a couple that are FEI caliber then some that will make great A/O horses. We have a couple Eq horses and a few really, really nice hunters.

                            We have grooms that take care of all the barn work 7 days a week, wash racks, grooming areas ect. Our ring is a huge grass jump field, we are looking at the feasibility of putting in a standard ring now.

                            Whew....hope all this helps. Any suggestions is really appreciated.


                            Have you considered speaking to your current trainer who you are trying to replace? I would personally like a decent and timely heads up if I were in her shoes. Also if you like her to the extent that it sounds, wouldn't it be worth speaking to her about the financial situation? She may be willing to work something out if she believes in your program. If not, then adios.

                            Comment

                            • Original Poster

                              #15
                              Over the last year we have spoken with our trainer about the financial strains of attempting to compete a barn full, it somewhat fell on deaf ears. Until now we really didn't have that many to bring along but now they are all coming of age and the numbers are growing rapidly. Our trainer is very good and we are very fond of them. Unfortunately (for us) and fortunately (for them) they have a barn full of people that can afford their prices. I have seen people leave, some did it the right way, and some did it the wrong way (there is definitely a big difference between them) I have not however ever seen it go well. We will give plenty of heads up, I will do it the right way. We do really like them after all. I am however going to take care of my barn and family first and foremost. If that means doing a little research and asking some questions first, then I can sleep well with that. Once I find a couple candidates I like, the intention is to bring them in to ......advise on where they think I should go. If they choose to be part of that process, GREAT. If not I can still be ready to make that transition on our own.

                              Comment

                              • Original Poster

                                #16
                                Originally posted by Tha Ridge View Post
                                I think there are a number of very, very talented juniors about to age out or riders who have recently aged out with lots of miles in the high juniors and Prixes who would love an opportunity like this. For example, someone like Callie Schott (who has been working for Beezie and John Madden for several years now) would be well-suited for something like this. Obviously you're not going to get Beezie Madden, but you can get the young riders/pros that people like Beezie have been developing.

                                I think it sounds like a great situation and it sounds like you've covered all of your bases. Wages are more than fair, given that housing is included.
                                Yeah but wouldn't it be great to get Beezie.......aaahhhhhhh dare to dream.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Sport Horse Guy - Sent you a PM.
                                  Adversity is the stone on which I sharpen my blade.

                                  Comment

                                  • Original Poster

                                    #18
                                    Originally posted by ybiaw View Post
                                    Sport Horse Guy - Sent you a PM.
                                    Got it....going to go hang myself in the rafters in the barn now......

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by Sport Horse Guy View Post
                                      Yeah but wouldn't it be great to get Beezie.......aaahhhhhhh dare to dream.
                                      Hey, you never know—you might be able to get the NEXT Beezie!

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        To me...you need a ring with really good footing. Grass ring is nice but in today's market, an all weather ring of top level footing is needed.

                                        Will they have time to teach and space for additional training horses? Anyone who has the talent you are looking for will be able to build a larger string and want diversity in their business (not be solely dependent on your horses). The money you are offering is nice...but on the low end for top talent so you will need to create the siutation where they can grow a thriving business.

                                        If you like your current trainer, then as you find a candiate, make sure they will mesh with that trainer. Having good dressage help is great....but they will also need help over fences. Even the best still get the help of a good coach.

                                        Good luck. I'm doing something similar with event horses. I have a really great crew right now and hopefully can create a win win situation for everyone.
                                        ** Tact is the ability to tell someone to go to hell in such a way that they look forward to the trip. ~Winston Churchill? **

                                        Comment

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