posted ago by operatorstorm712 ago by operatorstorm712 +6 / -0

An acquaintance has decided to get into horses (yay!), and recently asked me what I thought of a certain horse trainer on YouTube (uh, well flattered, but speechless absolutely speechless). With this in mind, and because I've encouraged it without qualifying and quantifying certain things, these are my opinions:

  1. Go check the place out first before you throw cash at a lesson -- most trainers/instructors should be more than happy to give you a tour of the place, talk to you about what your experience/goals are, let you watch a few lessons (especially of riders at your level)...if they don't, then walk away.

  2. Note the condition of the place, in particular, their horses, their tack, the area where you will be riding -- it doesn't have to be fancy but it should be safe (no junk lying around areas where you'd be working, no excess flith or overabundance of flies); the tack should fit the horses reasonably well and be in good working condition (no rub sores on the horses, no broken or frayed bits on the saddles or bridles); the horses should look well cared for (not ribby, dirty -- at least while riding, well mannered); the people should be at least well mannered/professional. Also, if you can, see if they have a lesson scheduling board with the horses used -- if the horses are going out for hours at a time, nearly every day, then they are likely over-worked and thus sour. Again, walk away if something seems janky.

  3. The owner of the place/trainers/instructors should have the proper release forms as well as rules; may sound nitpicky, but those are for safety. Again, if they don't, walk away. Walk away from any place that says they'll bend the rules for you as well, or you see them bending their rules for other people...bad juju!

  4. The instructors/trainers should show an appreciable level of competency and common sense -- do not be fooled by lots of ribbons; having a show record can point to competency, but ask around: a bunch of blue ribbons from the local fun shows isn't the same as fewer lower placed ribbons at regional/national/internationally recognized events, nor is a show record always a sign of a good instructor; neither are certificates from some clinic or whatever. Do some research before you buy their services, and take their Stans' opinions with a grain of salt. Barn groupies are a thing in the horse world; don't get suckered.

  5. Above all else, don't watch YouTube videos or take online courses or just read books. All of these may help (especially the books, if they're good ones), but this is a pretty interactive'll want hands on learning.

Hope this helps; happy riding (and yeah, watch out for YT).

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operatorstorm712 [S] 2 points ago +2 / -0

...and for the love of God and yourself and the horse and everyone around you...don't take YouTube advice from green haired girls or cackling cowboys and their pack of rabid fans that proclaim that they and they alone know the mysterious ways of horses (seriously, wtf? and they're popular too! that's the most disconcerting, not a fan, not at all)

*I've done some afternoon research, and feel even more convinced that I need to warn acquaintance off...yeesh!