Thank you to our Trainers! The unsung heroes of the horse show

Walk into a horse show and take a look around. You will see people tacking up their horses, riding them and being coached from the ground. You will hear laughter and words of encouragement. You will smell the scent of Pepi and fly spray being applied as horses step into the ring. You will feel the excitement that a horse show brings as well as the joy and disappoint that competition brings. It takes many moving parts to make all of this possible, however a major player in this act is the Horse Trainer. The horse trainer not only trains a rider and their horse, but they are a dream maker and friend. Today we are going to thank the often-unsung hero of the horse show world.

Horse Trainer

First and foremost a horse trainer trains the horse. But this part of the job is composed of many different sectors that may be unknowingly overlooked. Horse training begins with horse care, the horse trainer is entrusted with the wellbeing of their customer’s horses. They watch them dutifully to make sure that their nutrition and exercise programs are allowing the horse to feel and look their best. They are there to groom them and love them as if they are their own. Once they are atop the horse and ready to train them, they have to understand the psychology of the horse in order to help them to learn at a rate that is beneficial to both the horse and the client’s requests. They have to know when to apply pressure and to back off. They have to know when it best to show the horse or school the horse, and often these decisions must be made in a split second. They have to be excellent showmen and salesmen. They have to be able to operate a business that can be on the road for weeks at a time yet still maintain what they leave behind at home.

Being a horse trainer also requires handling the human element. They must teach us as riders how to handle our newly trained horses. If they just handed us the reins without instruction, it would be akin to throwing someone a set of keys to a brand new Bugatti when the person had only ridden a bicycle. It would be a disaster waiting to happen. They must have patience to instruct us how to get the most out of our horse and how to handle the pressure of competition.

Dream Maker

Once they have taught us how to ride our horses at a basic level, horse trainers are then handed the task of making our dreams come true. They help us to determine what dreams are possible, and even if we still choose to chase after impossible dreams, they are there to help create a path and timeline to achieve these dreams. This path may involve many hard conversations, but they are always done through the lens of love with our best intentions at the forefront of their mind. They do their best to create a perfect combination of horse and rider to be able to reach these goals. They also work to foster a friendly barn environment that includes other riders who will support us in our pursuit of our goals.

Friend

Most importantly, horse trainers become our friends. They are there through the ups and downs that are inevitable through any level of competition. They are our biggest cheerleaders, standing by our sides even if things don’t always go as planned. They help us when elements outside of the horse show world aren’t ideal, and they just as quickly praise our accomplishments outside the arena. They care about how we are as a person, knowing that is where our true value is derived from. They are role models for our children as to what hard work and responsibility looks like. They don’t go home until everyone is happy and ready to go for the next day.

A horse trainer wears many hats and we are thankful for the way they carry every one. Thank you to all the horse trainers out there that allow us to chase our crazy dreams. Thank you for becoming our friends along the way. We wouldn’t want to be on this journey without you all!

By Lauren Crivelli