Horse Experiences, Memories and Opinions

My name is Tom Simmons. I have had Morgan horses since 1963. I have trained almost any breed you can think of. I have had a good amount of success. I have written articles for Western Horseman, The Morgan Horse, and The Carriage Journal. In the 47 years that I have worked horses, I have seen a lot. I would like to share with you some of my experiences, opinions and memories. Please feel free to email your thoughts. I will try to address them. Tom

Location: North Carolina

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Horse Trainers

I started training horses in 1961. In that time I have seen them all, the good, the bad and the ugly. Some horse trainers get the credit for things they had nothing to do with, and other times they get blamed for things that don't go just right. Sometimes they are to blame, sometimes they are not.

To help understand horse training and horse trainers there are some things that should be looked at. There are trainers that are good at showing. Some are good grooming. Some are really good trainers. Some are good at teaching. Some are good at B.S. But the owner chooses them, no matter what they are, the owner chooses them. So no matter what they are, they were made that way by owners. As an owner, you can determine the success or failure of any trainer.

Today it seems that to be successful you have to have a million dollar facility. The talent of the trainer seems to be an afterthought. If he has a place that nice, he must be good. He does have to be good, he has to be a good businessman.

When a trainer starts to pay for a million dollar facility, he has to train large numbers of horses. You have to have lots of help. Just the upkeep is staggering. Once a trainer has over 20 horses in training, he has to have lots of help, or should have lots of help. That is why the cost is so high today. I hear anywhere from $500 to $1200 and more per month. You pay for Joe Blow to ride your horses and his assistant rides your horse. Why didn't you just send your horse to the assistant? Because the assistant doesn't have the facility. So you are really sending your horse to a facility.

Is your goal to go to the Nationals for your breed? If so, does your trainer tell you that your horse is not going to make it or does he keep him around for 5 or 6 more months to help pay the bills? There are trainers that will send them home, and there are others that will keep them forever if you let them. Someone has to pay for that facility. There will be much more coming on this trainer and training thing. I should say here as with anything that I write, THERE ARE EXCEPTIONS TO THE RULE.