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Do it myself or hire a trainer? This is a very important question and one that many horse owners, especially new ones, may end up asking. The not so easy answer to this question is… it depends! There are pros and cons to both sides of this, but we’re going to walk through them together!

First things to think about if you want to give it a go yourself – do you have the time to put into learning how to train your horse, then actually doing it? Do you have the confidence to deal with issues that will come up? Do you have the ability to deal with those issues (especially in the saddle)?

Now if you are sending your horse to a trainer… first of all, be aware that no trainer will be able to magically fix every problem your horse has in 30 days – you will still need to learn the basics of what your trainer is doing, so if an issue pops up back at home, you can take care of it. Also, is the trainer using methods that you are comfortable with?

There is a lot to think about with this question, and I go deeper in the video, so click play then tell us in the comments what your experiences are with trainers versus learning to do it yourself!


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7 Responses

  1. Depending on where you live the selection of a horse trainer and/or riding instructors could be limited. Anyone who can handle and ride horses can claim to be a trainer or riding instructor- no certification required. The more informed you are will help you to determine if the trainer is right for your horse. More than once I have dismissed a trainer because I didn’t like the way they treated my horse.
    The same goes for riding instructors. When you are taking a riding lesson be sure you are being taught correctly. Its hard to break bad habits.
    I like the way Callie treats (no pun intend) the horses and the information she is willing to share on riding. Just wish she lived in my neck of the woods.

  2. I just got a new pony and I had about some good lessons and some bad. My trainer said she is rode but she is not I still don’t know what to do. Should I send her to a new barn because my trainer doesn’t really think highly of her. Do you know what to do? You are also really good at what you do

    1. Thank you Riley, I really couldn’t tell you what to do in your specific situation… but I would say to go with your gut, what do you think about your pony? How you feel about her is what really matters.

  3. Would love to reopen this discussion and hear from people who have sent their horses, and also if Callie has any further thoughts in the time that has passed since making this video. 🙂 I’ve tried on my own with my horse for 4 years now, and I’m afraid all it’s done is completely erode my confidence and make me feel like “she hates me”. Yes, I realize that’s completely irrational, but nonetheless….the trainer I am sending her to definitely encourages full participation and I am working with them on a transition plan for when she comes home, but it’s still a big (and expensive) decision.

    1. Hi Jennifer, As a trainer I end up working with horses for a variety of different reasons, but I am most likely to encourage someone to send their horse when there is behavior happening that is beyond their physical skill level. For example, a young horse who offers many different behaviors and has a rider/ owner who doesn’t have the skill to sort them out and reinforce the correct ones. Also, if there are emotional challenges between a specific horse and rider having an outside party (trainer) help work through some of the issues can be very beneficial. Being involved is huge, so great job finding someone who encourages this!

      1. Thanks Callie! I would categorize our issues as the “emotional” type at this point. 🙂 We need to rebuild our relationship from the ground up!!

  4. I got my appollossa about 2 months ago. I about 2 years experience so still new but when I rode him before I bought him he was amazing. We rode in the ring and even on a trail and he was perfect but now that I have him at home no matter what I do to work with him he is spooking and bolting. He is acting terrified of one side on his pasture and crowds me and when he gets frustrated pins his ears, bucks, or even turns his butt to me. I’m so confused It like now he’s a different horse. I’ve never had these issues with the other horses I work with.. should I get a trainers help??

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