Keeping your horse trainer safe

This is a comment made by Chris on the post ‘Do you think all horses can be trained’, I added the blue color because it reminded me of something: see my comment below.

What a bunch of great comments! My insight is that I also cannot comment on this individual horse.

I do know there are horses with phisical and mental limitations. There are horse person combinations that do and do not work.

However, I know most of all there are horses who are too dangerous for the wrong owner. If your trainer tells you the horse is too dangerous you should carefully evaluate the risk to yourself and others.

Most important – if you try another trainer BE HONEST! They deserve to be fully informed. There is nothing worse than finding out the owner knew about a problem but did not consider your health and safety.



Your comment made me laugh! How true that is. I was a few years into being a ‘trainer’ before I figured out this: When someone is bringing you their ‘broke’ horse for a ‘tune up’ you HAVE to have them ride it for you! On the phone or in person (without their horse) they would say ‘he just needs a spin or a lead change put on him’. The first few horses that threw fits, bucked, reared, etc gave me the idea of having the owner ride. It was always intersting when the owner was dropping them off to say ‘OK, why don’t you show me what he can do so I can get started”. All of a sudden confessions of…’well, sometimes he bucks’ ‘well, he really doesn’t like being saddled’, etc would come out. It got to the point where I would tell people that if they wouldn’t ride them for me I would start from scratch. You can take a well trained horse through all the ‘colt starting’ steps in one session…unless they have holes.

Thanks for your comment. It brought back great memories!


  1. Heidi (nrhareiner) on July 31, 2012 at 4:46 pm

    I have been on the other side of this too as an owner/breeder. I took a horse to a trainer who was supposed to be a reining trainer. Was in a hurry when I dropped off 2 horses one broke very well, the other a 2yo with about 6 rides on him. So did not ride the broke horse plus he did not ask. He knew the horse was broke. Called, talked to him a few times over the next week or so. By week 2 he had not been on the broke horse so I went out and rode the horse around for a few min. to show him the horse was broke. Then had to leave. Came back 2 weeks later. He had only been on the broke horse 2 times (kids had ridden this horse) and had yet to put a leg over the 2yo that I had ridden at home about 6 times before he went. Did not know much but he had no buck and had good ground training. So as important as it is to be honest with the trainer, you also need to do your homework on the trainer to make sure you get what you are paying for. I will say that truly good horse trainers are priceless.

    • KT on July 11, 2014 at 6:57 pm

      100% agree I bought a rising 2yr old colt fell in love with his one in a million kids horse mum that they wouldn’t sell so settled for him. Unfortunately his breeder didn’t treat him too well and when he arrived he had a serious chip on his shoulder, I let him go in his new paddock thinking all was well. I couldn’t catch him he wanted nothing to do with people he would rear, kick, pin his ears bare his teeth and try to bite. I was flat out scared of him but he had kind eye’s and I didn’t want to give up on him. Came very close I even told my husband to sell him that I was afraid of him and would never ride him. One day it just seemed to click and everything changed I really don’t know how as I knew nothing about these establishing leadership exercises. When I choose a breaker I wanted some one who wouldn’t bully him as the breeder had done and I thought going with a female would be a good start. She didn’t start him for 2 weeks and got annoyed when I asked about him. She broke him in and I got him back 4 weeks later. I hadn’t ridden much after a bad fall took away my confidence but when she rode him for me I just wanted to jump on was just something about him. She told me he was a dopey bugger and was not suitable for me even though she did not know how I rode or what confidence I did or did not have. I took him to a horsemanship/reining clinic a week later were even in the company of mares in season and other stallions he behaved perfectly. He was hard to get going forward but perfectly safe. The clinicians wife told me he would be better for me as a gelding. A year later a sent him to a trainer. I had many recommendations for him and he broke in a filly nicely for me. After 6 weeks my horse could not pick up the canter lead to the right and needed spurs constantly used to keep him moving. He told me he was a dead beat. Early this year with my colt 3 and a half I decided to get lessons to learn to ride better. I told my instructor I was a nervous beginner before she arrived. When I met her in person I introduced myself then my ride a 3 and a half entire qh horse. Her first comment was really and checked for herself he had the goods as he stood next to me quietly. Over the last 6 months she has taught me things like leg aids, turns on fore hand, turns on the hind end, side passing, leg yielding, picking up canter leads and how to get a horse soft and collected then I have taught him because my horse after spending alot of money still didn’t know how. We have done this with no spurs and a simple snaffle bit. I am no means a good rider I give miss communication I get confused and lose my balance accidentally bump him in the mouth and I am still learning. As for the canter lead It just about did our heads in trying ever method in the book but we got it. My riding instructor has admitted if I had said before she came out he was 3 and a half and a stallion she would have probably given me some one else’s number, now out of all her students horses hes probably in the top 5 she trusts the most. If I had listened to the trainers I would have gelded and sold him probably instead I have an awesome rising 4 year old stallion that I have learned to ride on whilst being trained at the same time that I am contemplating competing on which I have never done. Just a quick note I have ridden and owned horses for many years doing trail riding and mustering I was not a raw beginner to horses just had never been formally taught to ride.

  2. Julia on February 9, 2012 at 5:42 pm

    This sounds so much like my situation – that a horse that is dangerous for one person is not for a different person (and vice/versa!). I tried fostering a sweet but emotionally messed up 4-year old rescue horse for a few months and got bit, stomped and kicked more in that time with him than in my whole life with horses. I apologized and had to return him to the rescue because I was doing neither of us any good. Instead I bought an OTTB who a teen at my stable was selling because the mare was “too crazy” and the teen was terrified of her and the poor mare just sat in her stall for months on end because no one wanted to deal with “that scary horse no one wants”. My confidence was a little shot because of my fostering experience (which felt like a failure) but I started working with the OTTB mare. Sure enough, she and I clicked and I ended up taking her off the teen’s hands. Now she is in training and she and I are developing a very close bond and she is gentle, attentive and just wants to please me. But when the vet came to observe her before doing chiropractic my mare acted like a nutcase with her and my vet warned me that my mare does have the potential in the wrong situation to be dangerous. I am obviously not a super-gifted horse whisperer by any means, I think that my mare and I just click really well. My trainer has said many times she doesn’t understand why my mare is so calm with me, but for some reason she is and it’s quite surprising. I hope that little guy I fostered finds the person he clicks with too someday. I think personalities being compatible end up being a really big deal when it comes to high-energy, high-stress horses.

  3. Colleene McMurphy on January 22, 2012 at 2:59 pm

    I have a horse that my trainer told me should never be ridden…made me promise that I would never attempt it. He taught my horse great ground manners and he is truly halter broke. He is safe to be around…on the ground. I have often been tempted to saddle up but I remember the promise I made my trainer. If you have enough trust in your trainer to pay him or her a great deal of money and place your beloved horse in their care, you should believe them when they tell you something, even if it is something you don’t want to hear.

  4. cathy on January 21, 2012 at 6:38 pm

    Soooo true. Sad , but some animals are truly damaged due to poor breeding which can make them mentally unsound, compounded by environmental events later, that can make this worse. Animals ability to adapt to people and our environment is really nothing short of amazing. Most , do this wonderfully, so we are always shocked when (very few) do not. Mentally unstable animals that have traded or lost their self preservation instinct are extremely dangerous. As a behaviorist I see this more than I would like to, but fortunately , less than I would expect.

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