When a professional Horse Trainer accepts a horse from a client, they take on a huge responsibility, well I treat it that way anyhow. Responsibility for the physical and mental welfare of the horse, care, feeding and the awesome task of fixing whatever the training problem was or to start the young horse. Our name depends upon it and we are being judged by the owner and spoken about down through the gossip channels, either in glowing or derogatory terms. Reputations are everything to the Horseman and much hangs on the overall success of the work and the behavior of the subject horse going forward. So does the owner share any of that responsibility?
I firmly believe that they do but a lot don’t share that opinion. Often, the owner is the root cause of the problems in the first place and we all know that we have to change the owner by educating them, if we are to succeed. So it is not only the horse that we have to fix but mostly the owner. In fact, horses are often the easiest parts of the equation and in general, far smarter and receptive than the Humans. It is far easier and quicker to teach a horse than it is to teach a Human.
In most cases, the Horse Trainer cannot do it alone and needs the help and backup of the owner. Needs the owner to take the matter seriously and to put in the hard yards to complete the package. To LISTEN to the training recommendations of the Breaker and to take them seriously. If requiring further knowledge or abilities, to seek out that knowledge and take the necessary actions to gain those improved abilities.
To ‘wear my heart on the sleeve’ for a moment then, can I tell you how much it means to the Breaker, to be successful with a horse. That the Breaker owes it to the horse to do their best, to find every means possible to get the key to what works with individual horses and to hopefully send the horse home to an improved owner who will perhaps give the horse a better deal in life. It saddens me when that doesn’t happen. So to the point.
You meet owners who certainly don’t take it seriously and go through life expecting everyone else to fix their problems and that of their horses. More and more these Days for everyone’s a Victim and the strength of our Society is weakening fast. They just want, the Breaker’ to fix the horse and send it back perfect while they go on their merry way of ignorance and bugga it up again. Taking no responsibility for their part in the equation. They don’t realize that most work with horses, be it a ‘Breaker’ or a ‘re-educator’ can never be as short term as the brief, economically driven stay. It requires on-going support for the horse in order to retain the small ‘foundation stones’ the Trainer may have put on.
I hate working for those people as I just know before I start that they are going to let me and the horse down. For ‘Gods sake’ it is their horse, not mine, how come I care more?… I think to myself, and as the float leaves the driveway and turns 10k an hour too fast for the turn and the Horse rattles around in the Float and disappears down the road, I get a sad heart and a sense of hopelessness with the situation and for the future of the horse. It came here hating people, it left here having given me it’s trust, one last time, and leaves to go back to the owner who sits on chairs outside of round pens, making endless excuses and blaming everyone else but themselves. I catch a fleeting glimpse of the eye of the horse as it looks back over it’s shoulder and I swear I hear it say, “You bastard, you sucked me in”
So, if you send a horse to a Trainer, please bear it in mind.