Questions to ask a Horse Trainer

Before you sign on with a horse trainer for your horse you should ask as many questions as you can. Below is a list of questions we suggest asking a horse trainer before dropping of your horse. These questions will give you a good idea of whether the horse trainer’s goals, methods, and horsekeeping practices are right for you and your horse.

Please note that while it’s okay to ask "how long till the horse can X" questions, vauge answers should not be considered a red flag. Each horse that goes in for training is different, and while one horse may be working three gaits under saddle in one month, other horses may take three months to get to the same level of training. Avoid any trainer with a one-size-fits-all training schedule.

How often is a horse in training worked?

What is the average training time in hours per week?

Are riding lessons for me included in the training cost? How many?

Can I watch training sessions with my horse?

What if I take my horse home and can’t handle him? How will you help me?

Can you briefly describe your approach to horse training? Methods?

How much of my horse’s training will be groundwork?

Who will be riding my horse primarily? You, an assistant, or a working student?

Do you use tie downs or martingales, side reins or draw reins?

Will I be kept up-to-date on the progress of my horse?

What will my horse be fed? How much turnout will he get?

Do you have insurance to cover my horse while it is boarded and ridden at your farm?

Do you have a training/boarding contract?

What farrier is used and often does the farrier visit?

What is your fee and payment requirements?

These questions to ask a horse trainer will help you get a feel for a trainer and his approach to horses. Before selecting any trainer, be sure to watch several training sessions with the trainer working several different horses at different stages of training, and also drop by the facility once or twice unannounced to make sure things run as smoothly when visitors are not expected.