If you decide to use a professional horse trainer, you may be asked if you want your horse to perform to the best of his ability. The question is usually asked in general conversation and it is the rare owner who answers no. After all, you want to get as much for your hard-earned money as you can right. Well maybe.
Let’s think about it just a little. First, if you could get the horse to do what you wanted, a professional trainer probably wouldn’t be under consideration. Most folks don’t spend money for services they don’t need. So if you are going to a training facility and using a trainer, it is probably because you need some help. Otherwise, you probably would just do it yourself.
Outside trainers by nature want to do their best and often push a horse to the edge of his ability. It’s great watching the trainer, but not so good for the owner. Common sense tells you a professional horse trainer rides better than his customer. Pushing the horse to the limits of his physical and mental abilities likely means the horse will perform above the customer’s riding level. Our experience has been most people want a horse they can ride. Not a horse their trainer can ride!
One reason we set up our two-year training program was to develop horses almost anyone could ride. These horses often have athletic ability far above our typical customer’s riding capability. So to compensate, we first train for the horse’s potential and then teach the horse to adjust to cues slower and respond less quickly. The intended result is a horse that can perform when needed, but doesn’t react faster than the rider.
For example, we have some horses trained to the point that the slightest leg cues move the horse and quickly. Perfect for a reining horse, but not so good for a purchaser wanting to ride trails without falling off. Bottom line, if you are going to an outside trainer, find one that can ( and will ) teach the horse to perform at the level you ride. Talk to them before you deliver the horse and make sure there is a clear understanding who is going to be riding your dream horse, you or the trainer!