I had a client ask me this question the other day:
What is the hardest part of being a horse trainer?
I’d never really considered this question before – that and I guess this would be the first time I’ve ever been asked this question. I’d like to share my answer and hope that it inspires others.
This is a difficult question to answer. I’ve worked as a trainer full time and part time, and there are many aspects of being a trainer that are hard.
I would have to say that the hardest part of my experience as a horse trainer is the “problem horses” that are brought to me, or dropped off, or abandoned to the sales barn.
There is no such thing as a “problem horse”, only misunderstanding, miscommunication, distrust.
It breaks my heart to come across an animal that winds up having more heart than half of the papers I have worked with.
You see a dangerous animal, I see a broken spirit.
Just because a horse acts out once, or isn’t meeting the ridiculous expectations of the owner or the trainer, does not warrant abandoning that animal. Just like any other pet, a horse is a lifelong responsibility, and just like any other pet, deserves patience and respect and devotion.
I take these “problem horses” head on. All it takes is kindness and a soft touch and these animals become your best friend and partner.
Seeing the progress and sending them off to a new forever home is probably the second hardest part of my job. But it puts my heart at ease knowing that I had a part in helping that horse trust people again and find someone that will give it the second chance it deserves.
Well, there you have it, folks. The hardest part about being a horse trainer, in my experiences. This is just a summarized version – my actual response could take pages to explain. There’s nothing easy about being a trainer. It all depends on your commitment and how much heart and soul you can put into it.
To err is human; to forgive, equine.
Enjoy your horses and enjoy the ride!