Jan 22 2019

You only get what you pay for

… and paying for high-quality professional training is an investment for (your horse’s) life!

On internet forums one often reads the question, “does anyone know a good horsebreaker, who breaks in young horses gently, sensitively catering to their needs, ideally at my yard” or we get the following request: “I have difficulties with my horse. He always bucks when picking up canter or he digs in and rears. By now, I am afraid to ride my horse.” So, we get talking. I explain possible approaches and our training philosophy. We talk about the duration, the price and the fact that we train the horses exclusively at the yard where we are based. Sometimes we hear, “That long? That expensive? But that’s a lot of money, can’t you do that for less? ”

Theoretically, yes – but we don’t do that!

Of course, “that” could be done for less money, but in this business that unfortunately means less service. The well-being of the horses entrusted to us is always our main concern; therefore, we cannot make any compromises!

We are quite sympathetic because sometimes the dream of your own horse is fulfilled, even if your funds only just go round. The running expenses such as livery, blacksmith, and vet are taken into account, whereas many forget training in their calculation of costs, be it that of the rider or the horse. Unfortunately, something can always go wrong in the further training, in the worst case making the horse a danger to handle.

Horse training takes patience and time – with ALL horses!

What does “for less” mean?

Yes, there are some professional riders who train a horse for 300–500 EUR per month including livery fees. Depending on the training level of the horse, this would not be a problem if such a horse is one of 15 that have to be ridden during the day. Now, let’s calculate how much time will be left per horse. On a working day of 8–10 hours, there can be a maximum of only 20–30 minutes of riding time per horse. At such a price there is no money left for a groom – because staff is expensive – so the rider would have to groom, tack up, ride, take care of the horse afterwards, and then bring it to the paddock or the field. Or not, because there is no time for that.

There are good leisure riders who train horses as well. They usually own a young horse and have already gained some experience in competitions. This experience will now be transferred onto other horses, thereby earning some pin money. But what if that does not work? Even the longstanding leisure rider may not find an easy solution, because he does not have a professional’s wealth of experience. It is not for nothing that “Bereiter” (horsebreaker and/or professional rider) is a recognised trade in Germany, requiring formal training, taking a prescribed period of time and the sitting of exams.

But what about youngsters coming in right from the field? Mondays stabulation, Tuesdays under saddle and Thursdays broke in, perhaps?

And what about the others? Those who have had bad experiences? The timid ones? Or races that are very stubborn and have a strong character? In “cheap” horse training, these candidates learn that their own will has priority, while the timid ones eventually give up, retreat into themselves, or are mentally broken.

 

Trust can only be earned with experience, calmness and time.

We have been working in our job for decades. We both have many years of training behind us, had mentors of the extra class and were allowed to ride so many horses during our riding career that the number is in the high three-digit range. And we have gained something from every horse!

We have invested a lot in our education, not just financially. We continue to improve ourselves constantly. We consult with peers or our mentor, as every good fellow colleague in the horse business does. We realise that you never stop learning!

In addition, we want to make a living by working in this profession. We have a flat, we have to own a towing vehicle and a horse trailer, because the clientele wants us to show the horses at competitions, of course.

Also, don’t forget that we live dangerously. Everyone knows how much a horse weighs and how risky it is to ride. Whether at the first mounting or if the horse is unruly, we work at a higher risk than other riders.

“Self-managed employment” is composed of the words “managed” and “self”. We have to manage by ourselves and have to pay our bills even when we are sick!

Of course, we love our job and do not want to do anything else. But we have to take these risks and costs into account when calculating the fees of our horse training or riding lessons

 

The professional riding instructor/rider: an investment for you and your horses!

Do invest your money in quality riding lessons and/or professional training of your horse. A good professional charges from 500 EUR per month plus livery fees. On average, the professional needs 3– 6 months to make an uncomplicated, unbroken youngster without preparation into a reasonably safe riding horse. But let me tell you, the uncomplicated ones are few and far between!

Your horse – whether a young one or a spoilt adult – will thank you if we professionals are allowed to take the time the horse needs. You will benefit from the consolidation of what your horse has learned.

Save on the saddlecloths, bridles, photo shoots etc. Take the money for YOUR training and that of YOUR horse, because a solid education never goes out of style, it will last a horse’s life!