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Who Do You Listen To?

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There is a lot of information out there, a lot of different trainers, methods, and approaches. And it seems that there are more and more being added to the “stream of information” every day.

So…Who do you know?, Who do you like?, and Who do you trust?

#1 Who do you know? This is the first thing I look at when trying to find a trainer to either work with myself or for my horse.

When I was growing up and learning about horses and horsemanship, I had lots of trainers. I also read a lot of books and watched a lot of training videos. Some I liked and some I didn’t. That’s just the nature of the business. There are a lot of different ideas out there.

The first thing I suggest if you’re looking for someone to listen to regarding your horse and what you want to accomplish is to look at your friend’s horses. If you like the results they got and it’s what you want for your horse, ask them for a referral.

Basically, if you see the results you want in someone else’s horse, find out where they came from.

#2 Who do you like? This is the second thing I look at when searching for a trainer, most of which is done online nowadays.

This can be harder to figure out since you may not know this person. Even if it is a referral, you still don’t know if you two will get along. When you are looking to develop a better relationship, partnership, and performance from your horse I strongly suggest you have a good relationship with your trainer as well.

Weed out the online clutter a bit by digging deeper into who this person is. Look at their website and see if what they are saying resonates with you on an emotional level. It should also “make sense” to you.

Read about who they are, how they got to be a trainer, what they stand for, and watch their videos closely to see how they treat their own horses and see how they interact with them. You want to see and feel a connection. Not only them with their horse, but also you with their ideas.

You should emotionally connect with their core message and you should be able to see the results that you want to have with your horse. If they can do it, then maybe they can teach you how to do it as well.

Once you’ve done that and you’ve narrowed the field down a bit more, then I suggest you give them a call and talk to them personally. That will tell you a lot!

Most trainers have a complimentary “Meet and Greet” phone call available. This is very important. This allows you to talk to the trainer you are interested in to see how they react to you, your issues, and your horse. You can hear a lot in a person’s voice.

You can also get more of a feel for who they are as a person and as a trainer. Remember you need to like them because you are deciding to commit your time and money to this person. You’ve done your research and now you’re doing more to see if this person thinks the way you do about horses.

And if you end up getting an assistant of an assistant then forget it! You want to talk to the person who designed the program that you are thinking about going through and putting your horse through.

You, your horse, and your results are important. You don’t want to pay for a program, commit your time, and go through the startup process just to find out you don’t like the person teaching you and you don’t agree with their approach to horses.

Get to know more about them and see if you like this person with one simple phone call. After all, this is the person you are choosing to listen to who will help you reach your desired results with your horse, right?

#3 Who do you trust? This is the third thing to look for in a trainer. But it is also the most difficult to find.

Ok, so you’ve found someone that was referred to you, you’ve checked out their website and their videos and you like their results and you resonate with their message, and you’ve personally talked to them on the phone and had a blast exchanging stories.

But did you get any good suggestions while the two of you were talking? Did the trainer try to help you out then and there or did they try to just sell you something? Or maybe they did both.

If they gave you some good ideas and suggestions to help you and your horse right away, did you try them? Did they work? Were they more interested in helping you and your horse and finding out more about your situation than they were in making a sale?

These are important when it comes to trusting someone. You want to make sure they care about you, your horse, and your results as much as you do.

The last step would be to read the testimonials of other students, see what results they have gotten with their horses, what they say about the trainer, and decide if this is what you want. Were the students able to accomplish the same results that you want with your horse?

If it is a Yes, then go for it!

You’ve done all your research – 1,2, & 3. You know, like, and trust this person as much as you can at this point. So, the next step is just to try it. Try to do what you feel is best for you and your horse. That’s why you started to look for a trainer in the first place, right?

But one more word of advice…

After all that, remember that you and your horse are individuals, and many times one size doesn’t fit all. So don’t forget to look for a trainer and a program that is flexible and takes into account that you and your horse are individuals.

When I was growing up and learning about horses and horsemanship, sometimes working with trainers wasn’t so cut and dry. There were some things I liked about the trainer and his or her work and there were other things I didn’t agree with or like.

Bruce Lee said…

“Research your own experience. Absorb what is useful, reject what is useless, add what is essentially your own.”

This is relevant when working with horse training as well. Once you decide who to listen to and what you want, remember this quote.

Here’s how I break it down.

“Research your own experience.” Be the researcher, understand what’s going on with you and your horse and what you both need. Notice what you normally gravitate towards and notice what you enjoy in the things you already do with your horse.

“Absorb what is useful.” After taking the course and taking notice of what works and what doesn’t pull out the things that resonate with you, and that are working for you.  These are the things that you keep. Things that are useful and bring you both enjoyment.

Absorb what is useful to you and your horse personally, not what society or those around you accept as useful. Use your own best judgment.

“Reject what is useless.” This can be the most difficult step. It can be easy to identify the most negative things that you don’t like, but it’s harder to identify the other things that you just don’t totally agree with.

When you’re going through the programs or discussions with a trainer, listen and try what they suggest before throwing it out. But if it doesn’t work and doesn’t feel correct to you…let it go.

However, it’s important to pick out what is useful to your desired results and leave behind what doesn’t work. When listening to advice for reaching your goals or exploring what the experts say, you do not have to take in all their advice, but only pick out what resonates with you personally.

“Add what is essentially your own.” This can seem daunting if you don’t know what is “essentially your own.” But only you know your horse best and what he or she responds to or doesn’t. It is adding what speaks to you and having the confidence to believe in yourself.

People think that to “Add something that is essentially your own” means you have to add something new or invent something that doesn’t already exist. The truth is that everything is built upon something else.

Keep learning, keep growing, and keep building on what you know. It will all come together the way you want it, with a little help from your friends.

I hope this was helpful.

Do you have any stories concerning trainers you would like to share? Please feel free to share in the Comments section below.

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  • BONNIE BERESFORD says:

    Wise advice. Like most of us, I have spent a good part of my life checking out different horse trainers to find what might work for me and my horse. To be honest, I have found something of value to keep from each one of them. And as a result, the way I work with my horse today is very different from what I thought was best when I was a rank amateur. Plus – some things work well with one horse but not at all with another.
    But the most important lessons I learned are the ones that taught me about the nature of the horse. Understanding how horses see the world, and learning how to work with the fundamental essence of this incredible being – these insights shape every interaction with her, no matter whether I am teaching her a simple give to pressure or something more complex and emotional like trailer loading. Knowing the nature of horses becomes a basic gut feeling when I ponder how to plan any lesson, simple or complex. And when your horse sees that you “get” where she is coming from, and that you respect that, she becomes more willing to work with you.
    But it’s the most difficult lesson of all for humans to learn.

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