If hands-on working with horses is your passion, then being a trainer of horses may be your best career choice.
But to be a success in today’s horse world you are going to have make a number of other choices……First you must choose to train for a specific event, generally with a specific breed. Everything in the horse world is becoming so specialized, that the “general practitioner” has a hard time making a living; it can be done, but the chances for exceptional income are very limited. Usually those horse owners not interested in a specific breed or a specific event also don’t want to spend a lot of money with a trainer.
Most successful trainers today have four things in common: they have a college degree or “certification” from a professional organization…they work with a specific breed…they specialize---training for no more than one or two events and they have exceptional “people skills.”
Being able to convince people to put their pride and joy with you is the very first step to becoming financially independent. Having the credentials (which can be a formal education or a “winning record’) to attract and impress clients is the second step. The third step is finding horses that can win at the top levels of competition, and that requires extraordinary study and expertise about the conformation needed to perform and the “art of winning” a particular event.
You will by now have recognized that “training skills” have not been mentioned at the top of the list of things that will make you successful. Most great trainers accept and endorse the old adage: horses make trainers, trainers don’t make horses.
In the world of horse trainers, it is all about the horse, and making the horse’s owners look good and feel good.
All horses have the same number of bones, muscles, tendons, ligaments and vital organs…they all move in virtually the same way…so basic training is all the same. A horse must put his feet in the proper place at the proper time to correctly execute a particular movement. Learn the basics and add your own “spice” and “style” and you’ll be a trainer….you'll be a financially successful trainer if you add the four common traits previously noted.
Trainers work long hours, generally 12 or more per day with few days off…usually Mondays. They almost always work on weekends and holidays…that’s when owners have time to see their horses and that’s when all the big events take place.
But the hard work can be financially very rewarding…earning $100,000 plus is average for trainers who travel the A circuit for specific breeds. The lower the levels of competition, the lower the income levels in most cases.
The greatest achievement for a trainer can be the “winning of a world championship” or the smile on the face of a young horse owner; it’s all up to you.
Choose being a horse trainer if you can honestly say, “I absolutely love doing it. I’d rather do it than anything else.” Because that is exactly what will happen.