Communication is Key        

Fostering open communication amongst your horse team is essential for success

Owning and competing with your horse is an ambitious endeavor to attempt on your own. With so many different facets of horse ownership, it can be difficult to do all the tasks required to the highest levels as a single person. Creating a team around you to ease the burden of having to know it all is a great way to allow yourself to enjoy the ride. Some key players to consider when building your horse team are yourself as an owner, a trainer to impart knowledge on both you and your horse, a great farrier and a trustworthy vet. While there are other players you can add to the team, we are going to focus on the importance of establishing lines of communication between these four to help make your dreams a reality.

The Owner

Being an owner means more than just paying the bills. As an owner, you are your horse’s biggest advocate to all three of the other players on your team. By taking the time to get to know your horse, you will be able to notice when little things pop up and address them before they become a bigger problem. You can choose the trainer that they go to and make sure that the trainer is the right fit for your horse’s needs. As an owner you are also able to ensure that your horse is seen by the vet in a timely manner and that they are as comfortable as possible to be able to do their job. As the owner you can make sure that your horse’s farrier work is aligned with their job and the needs that the vet shares with you. You play a vital role to the overall success and happiness of your horse, so don’t be afraid to educate yourself and surround yourself with the best team players you can find.

The Trainer

The trainer plays a huge role in the success and direction of your horse dreams. As an owner, it is essential for you to be up front and clear with your goals and expectations from the trainer and your horse. It is also your job to listen to what your trainer has to say about whether those goals are unrealistic or not. Don’t try to force a square peg into a round hole. Do your research to find the proper fit. Once you have found the perfect match, allow the trainer to guide you towards your goals. Be open to suggestions on whether they believe your horse would benefit from farrier or vet changes. If the trainer is riding your horse on a regular basis, they will be a tremendous resource for both of those other areas because they will be able to feel if your horse presents any imbalances or weaknesses that may be able to be improved with a little maintenance.

The Farrier

This player is arguably the keystone element to making everything else run smoothly. We have all heard the saying, “no hoof, no horse,” and oftentimes this couldn’t be more true. A great farrier can help improve your horse’s comfort, movement, and minimize risk of injury. Communicating with your farrier can also tell you things about how your horse is moving, such as if they notice extra wear and tear on certain sides of the shoe. They can also tell your about your horse’s overall health depending on how their feet are growing. If your horse has existing hoof issues, a great farrier can provide comfort and relief and get your horse back in action.

The Vet

Having a vet that you can trust removes so much weight from your shoulders as a horse owner. Knowing that your horse will be well cared for if something goes awry can make the situation less stressful. Even if you aren’t in the middle of an emergency, a great vet can help elevate your horse’s performance and their overall level of comfort. They are a great resource for information to provide to your farrier as well. They can see things that we can’t through lameness exams and x rays. This information can be relayed to your farrier and trainer to make tweaks that will enhance your horse. Being present with your vet can make a world of difference.

Enjoy the Team

Having a well thought out team will make horse ownership so much easier. Each player can focus on their areas of expertise and rely on the others when they have a question. Establishing lines of communication and respect between all four is essential and you as the owner can be a key facilitator in that. Ask questions, take notes, and make sure that each player knows what your ultimate goal is. If the goal is known, they can all work together to make it a reality.

By Lauren Crivelli