What makes a pro a pro is a question that has been on my mind lately. Choosing a trainer to work with is for most committing to a serious relationship. Most people rely on their trainers to help them pick horses, bring horses along, and guide us to personal improvement as well.
To me a trainer is someone that has brought along a variety of horses and shown at the top levels of their sport or has years of experience showing well above my level of competition successfully on a variety of horses. In addition to a competition record that can help establish their credibility they also need to be able to and want to teach. You can ride with a wonderful rider but if they don’t know how to share their knowledge you will be wasting your time to some extent in lessons. It is also very important to me to work with someone that shares similar values per say when it comes to horse care. If I am going to trust this person with potentially riding my horse when I am not around or caring for said horse I want to know that I can trust them explicitly.
Here’s the thing though… All of those qualifications aren’t as easy to find as you might think in one person. I am amazed by the number of people that call themselves trainers or professionals but have no qualifications like say… experience. Training a handful of horses and a handful of riders does not make a trainer. I think you could also say that there can be a very big difference in someone that is a good riding instructor versus someone that is a good horse trainer.
Again – this is just my personal opinion. What are your all’s thoughts on the matter? What do you look for when you are trying to find a trainer/instructor? Do you only work with instructors that also train horses (or have in the past)? Do you do a lot of research or kind of just fall into programs at various barns?