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Kids calling themselves trainers? Whats your take?

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  • Kids calling themselves trainers? Whats your take?

    I am noticing a lot of kids ranging from 12-17 labeling themselves trainers... which has got me wondering, what is everyone elses take on kids parading around as "trainers" or "instructors."
    ~*PVC JUMPER*~
    Dreams are meant to come true, not free...
    "Everything I do, I do out of fear of being mediocre."

  • #2
    I've noticed the same thing at shows the past couple of years. My take? In many cases, it's an accident waiting to happen....particularly in the warm-up ring! We try to avoid schooling with them if possible.
    Ride Irish! Fox hunting and trail riding vacations


    • #3
      I would consider it unlikely that many juniors would have the experience to train safely and effectively at a horse show, with the exception of some of the top tier eq riders, who I'm sure are too busy with their own horses to do that.

      However, when my 13 year old was about 6 she was taught w/t/c by a teenage girl and it worked extraordinarily well. Also, when she was about 10, had her own horse and was at a show barn, she took a flat lesson once a week for a while with a teenager in the barn who did the big eq. Because she idolized the girl and considered her an 'authority' on position, she happily did exercises that would have seemed like drudgery with the regular trainer.

      So, I don't think there's necessarily an age requirement to give a lesson, but certain jobs do require an 'apprenticeship' of some sort.


      • #4
        I had a 14 year old once tell me she was a trainer. I just said oh that's nice. Most of these kids are talented riders but only when riding a certain type of horse. I agree with Screebe in it's an accident waiting to happen.


        • #5
          Sometimes, a teen who trains with a real, adult trainer will be serving as a working student and might supervise some up downers, teach a few elementary lessons or work a summer camp-all with the adult trainer nearby.
          I can think of no trainer who would dispatch one of these teens though to the warm up ring at a show.

          My take on kids calling themselves trainers is....that they are kids calling themselves trainers.
          Pity is they will get clients because they are cheaper then a real, adult trainer and you get what you pay for.

          There is a whole other class I call the "glorified Junior hanging out banner proclaiming self as trainer". They age out at 18 and figure since they won some stuff, they can train. Most can't. If they get a finished horse they can do OK but they can't fix anything-most are not cheap either.
          When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

          The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.


          • #6
            When I was in my late teens I "trained" my sister on my old pony. My trainer liked working with kids, but didn't want to work with her until she could WTC and trot a fence. I worked with her for about 9 months and took her to some little shows over the summer, but the next spring she was turned over to my trainer who brought her along from there.

            The system worked out well for us particularly because I grew up riding the pony and knew her querks. It was easy for my trainer becasue she had a full barn and was on the road on the weekends, so she could work with her when she was ready to move into the "older kid lessons."


            • #7
              If they ARE instructing and training, what else would you call them?

              When we were in high school, both my sister and I gave lessons a couple of times a week (on our own horses). I just taught "at home", but when they introduced the Children's Hunter division, Gillian took her students to the recognized shows on Meadow, and they won quite a few champions and reserves. Granted, Children's Hunters was nothing like as competitive as it is now, but she WAS doing a credible job. If we weren't "instructors" what were we?

              (FWIW, we learned how to teach through Pony Club, where we were REQUIRED to teach the younger kids, so it is not as if we started instructing for pay with no instructing experience.)

              When she was in high school, my sister had quite a training/selling business going. She specialized in cases where the kid had lost interest in riding (and/or gone to college), so the horse had either been "just sitting", or had picked up bad habits. The owners wanted to sell, but were not having any luck selling a horse not in work. So Gillian would work with the horse to get it back in "sellable" shape, posiibly take it to a couple of shows if appropriate, place the ads, show the horse to buyers, etc. She also trained young stock (from "unbacked" to w t c) for a local breeder. If she wasn't a "trainer" what as she?

              The deal at home was that my parents would pay to keep the horses at home, but if we wanted to board elsewhere we had to pay for it ourselves, and we had to pay all show expenses ourselves. For any instructing we did on the horses at home, we had to put a percentage in the "blacksmith fund", to contribute to the expenses.

              Gillian made enough from "instructing" and "training" to pay board at a show stable (Primrose, for those old and from No. Westchester) for Gandalf, and show in the Medal/Maclay classes.

              Yes, this was 40 years ago, but it is still possible.

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


              • #8
                Well Im 16, but I in NO WAY consider myself a trainer, but in the summers (when i go north to a different barn/trainer) trainer asks me to give beginner lessons once in a while and they all seem to like it, and their parents like me so i dont see any problem with that (plus the horses they are on are bomb proof)
                when i am south for the winter there are some adult ammie's who ask my opinion on things if no trainer is around (which is often since there is no resident trainer at our barn) since they see me ride and might ask me to demonstrate something or get my opinion on something

                but i always add- why dont you clarify with trainer when she gets here since she knows your pony better

                but teenagers who consider themselves trainers is SCARY


                • #9
                  That's some scary chit right there! Every teen I have personally met that would insist on labelling himself/herself as a trainer has been anything BUT.

                  Almost as bad as people who can't ride themselves out of a paper bag, but insist on offering unsolicited advice. I guess every barn has got to have one of those though
                  Erin and
                  Instant Karma "Sunny", ShineDown "Liam"

                  "You can't control the wind, but you can adjust the sails."


                  • #10
                    I just think that's about the age when kids say a lot of things. Adults should know what's up, so no harm done. Eventually they either grow up to actually be trainers, or they stop telling people they are (ugh, I guess there's a third possibility there).


                    • Original Poster

                      Originally posted by bip View Post
                      I just think that's about the age when kids say a lot of things. Adults should know what's up, so no harm done. Eventually they either grow up to actually be trainers, or they stop telling people they are (ugh, I guess there's a third possibility there).
                      I definitely see what your saying and that makes sense, kind of that age where they 'play make believe" and try on adult roles... i guess the only difference being the consequences can be severe... screw up a horse, screw up a rider, or get either or both hurt.

                      I see a lot of kids in this role rushing to play trainer, and changing gadgets on horses more time a day than they change their underwear (i think ) or a more recent comment i over heard "oh yes he is lame, we need to just ride him out of it." Surely i dont know the context of the conversation... but it was scary to hear.
                      ~*PVC JUMPER*~
                      Dreams are meant to come true, not free...
                      "Everything I do, I do out of fear of being mediocre."


                      • #12
                        I'm 20 and...

                        I am CERTAINLY NOT a trainer, but I do help my friends/barnmates out with their equitation from time to time at the eventing barn I keep my older guy at (I NEVER give advice on the horse...if they ask how he or she is moving I'll give them my personal opinion, but the closest I'll come to giving mounted advice relating to the horse is perhaps to "use more/less leg" or "shorten/lengthen your reins"). I don't do it when there is a chance of interfering with another trainer's lesson, nor do I do it for money. It's always solicited advice (i.e. friend says "wanna watch me ride and see if you can give me any tips?" or "you're a hunter/eq. rider, you know what the judges are looking for, can you help me get ready for the show Sunday?") and if there's ever anything I'm uncomfortable helping them with, I let them know immediately.

                        I've also helped friends that were dead beginners learn how to do things like hold the reins or properly sit in the saddle or how to post, but never more than that...I leave the rest to the pros!
                        Nine out of ten times, you'll get it wrong...but it's that tenth time that you get it right that makes all the difference.


                        • #13
                          I don't think you can have a 'take' on this without considering each person on a case by case basis.

                          There are teenagers I know that instruct others and they scare the hell out of me. Tearing around day after day launching horses over four feet fences with reckless abandon. Then entering in a jumping class at a show and literally everyone is holding their breath in fear as they fly around the ring, scared for them, just waiting for an accident to happen.

                          Then you've got kids who just have that natural talent. Not only are they able to do what adults do - but hey, they are still made of rubber (and GREAT for those naughty greenies). Maybe they apprenticed under a trainer, maybe they just learned everything the hard way...but they end up successfully training horses and their students are winning.

                          I don't think age has anything to do with it...it depends on the individual.
                          Originally posted by barka.lounger
                          u get big old crop and bust that nags ass the next time it even slow down.

                          we see u in gp ring in no time.


                          • #14
                            Uh what about the ADULTS???

                            What about ADULTS that call themselves "trainers" but have NO training experience??

                            I can understand a teenager stretching the truth a bit and I would probably just ignore such behaviors. Although there are some VERY talented juniors out there.
                            On the contrary, when I stumble upon this situation in an Adult it is very troublesome. I know of one individual who was a groom at a show stable but tells people she was a trainer at such barn and OTHERS!! Anyone w/an inkling of experience can tell by watching her ride this was clearly not the case. In addition, my friend was suspicious of these claims and called the BO of said show stable who verified that she at no point was a trainer....in fact she was a beginner rider at that time.

                            The sad part is she is teaching lessons to beginner kids and even a few intermediate rider teens who have no experience with a professional H/J trainer and don't know the difference. It is only a matter of time before someone gets hurt!!


                            • #15
                              Ok so if these kids are trainers/professional why are they riding the junior and SS classes still haha


                              • #16
                                There is a young teen around here that is charging something like $700/mo for training (including starting u/s). No idea if she has actually managed to attract any clientele yet. I can see paying something for a good kid to start a pony but $700/mo? I want an experienced adult with credentials, thank you very much. I can't imagine who will pay that

                                Anyone know what the liability would be for a situation like that? Kid professes to be a trainer and then kid gets hurt attempting to start a young horse. Any liability on the part of the adult owner, especially if horse has any history of having "issues"? Just curious.


                                • #17
                                  Our barn is FULL of "trainers". Any one of our kids that helps work a green pony is a "trainer". Just ask them. They know everything! Anyone have any ideas on how to have kids ride green ponies without making their ego's so big their head floats?


                                  • #18
                                    I don't think age should be automatically looked down upon....there are many talanted, mature, and hard working young people who are able to teach and train. However with Age comes experience, and not just in one's profession or career..but with life experiences, dealing with people, making smart choices, growing up emmotionally, learning how to be a business person and the basic ways of the world. Sadly this means getting hurt, having people lie to you, things falling apart...but for this business these are rights of passage that if navigated with professonalism and a head held high are building blocks for character and growth.

                                    What is far worse are the "adult" trainers with full barns of clients and adoring support who are anything but teachers or trainers. Abusive practices, not nearly enough well rounded knowledge and horrible skills and narrow life experiences....the fact those type of people are trainers is far worse, they are automatically passed the "age" issue and the same people who might criticize a 16 year olfdsaying they are a trainer may very well be riding out of a barn the 16 year old could do 100 times better at running and caring for the horses and training/teaching.

                                    Kids are kids, at least their "I'm a trainer attitude"
                                    and sometimes poor behavior can be excused on the folly of youth...adults not so much.
                                    "All life is precious"
                                    Sophie Scholl


                                    • #19
                                      skrgrl I understand that one. My daughter is working with her first OTTB (with tons of "real" trainer help) and suddenly its going well and she thinks she knows everything. Guess I can save tons on lessons now that her education is complete


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by kellyb View Post
                                        I don't think you can have a 'take' on this without considering each person on a case by case basis.

                                        I don't think age has anything to do with it...it depends on the individual.
                                        I couldn't agree more!

                                        I started my first pony when I was 11, I taught my first lesson when I was 14, I took my first horse on training when I was 16, from 11-18, I got 1-3 horses a year so I could retrain them and get them going around and winning at A shows so we could sell them. My mother had a small show barn, and I taught beginner lessons for her, I would also go ride with a relatively BNT for a few months out of the year and I taught beginner lessons for her too. Did I claim to be a "Trainer" NOOOOOOO. I was just a kid trying to make some money so I could help pay for my shows. I worked my butt off, and I was much, MUCH more qualified to teach than some of the adults that I see who CLAIM to be "trainers".

                                        Like KellyB said, you have to judge on the individual. Yes there are a ton of kids out there that have taken on one maybe two projects, and maybe their trainer asked them to baby sit a kid once, and they claim to be trainers. Which is not ok.

                                        But there is also the occasional girl out there that: works her butt off, is the first one to the barn shoveling s&*t, sweeping the isle, cleaning buckets, putting fly sheets and bell boots on so she can turn out the horses that may or may not kill her on the way to the paddock when they see their friends galloping around, sweeping the isle, cleaning tack, loading the trailer to go to the horse show by herself wondering how exactly do I get this 5000 lb. tack trunk in that trailer (?), riding the pants off of what green prospects she can afford or whatever her trainer doesn’t want to ride (for good reason).. that are doing the most amazing airs above the ground and she is thinking this horse must be part Lipazan!!!, tacking up horses for clients, sweeping the isle, unloading 500 bales of hay in 100 degrees, skipping breakfast and lunch because there are simply not enough hours in the day, cleaning tack, sweeping the isle, dragging the ring, setting jumps for the one thousandth time, Bringing the horses in from the paddocks that want their dinner NOW!,, even if that means plowing through everything in their path, feeding and trying to sort through the sea of supplements (thinking someone should invent cool little containers that sort through this mess called smartpak ) , sweeping the isle, teaching yet another up-down lesson to yet another child complaining that it is SO hot up here sitting on this horse,,,, JUST HOPING that MAYBE she will be able to ride that really nice jumper, or better yet I don't think Susie is coming to the barn today maybe I will be able to hack her Jr Hunter...(?), or even better YET maybe my trainer will give me an extra lesson!?! THAT girl has every right to teach and make some money! Not everyone’s daddy owns a company, but they love the sport and LIVE to ride, even if that means getting an OTTB for $500 and retraining it, and watching it drive out the driveway a year later for $40,000 so mom can start the indoor.

                                        Phew! Rant over! Sorry this topic struck a note. Flame suit on!