Would a horse trainer be a good job for a girl who has been around horses her whole life?
I'm 8th grade and I have a class called career and technology. She has us doing a project to ask questions about the jobs we would like to do when we are older. #career #career #careers #job #salary #life
Here are a few links to help you decide.
Colleges With Horse Programs
Numerous two- and four-year colleges offer hands-on programs in equine science. One such place, Lamar Community College in Lamar, Colorado, is an all-western school that students attend with the goal of working in the cutting, reining, working cow horse, roping or pleasure industries. Lamar offers a two-year associate of applied science degree in horse training and management that is designed for those who want to be horse trainers.
One- and two-year certificate programs are also available in colt starting, fundamental horse training and advanced horsemanship.
J.J. Rydberg is the former horse training and management program manager at Lamar. Before joining Lamar he, like the rest of the faculty, was a professional trainer and also an AQHA world champion tie-down roper and professional cowboy.
“Our training program is one of the original programs in the country,” J.J. told the Journal. “It’s all hands-on, and we spend a lot of time riding. By the time (students) graduate, they’ll have started at least three colts and trained another. Students are here on campus for three semesters, and then they’re on an internship with a professional trainer anywhere in the U.S. for a semester.”
One of the greatest advantages of going to a college to learn horsemanship is that students obtain a degree.
“You get a degree, which is never a bad thing; it’s something that no one can take away from you. I have a lot of students do this, then go on to a four-year school to get a bachelor’s (degree) and then go back to riding horses so they’ve got something to fall back on,” J.J. says.
Reining and reined cow horse horse trainer Dell Hendricks is a graduate of the Lamar Community College program. As with all college courses, only some graduates will pursue careers in the course they studied.
“Fifty percent of people decide they don’t want to be a trainer after they get in the real world and see how much work it is, but the other 50 percent stay with it,” J.J. says.
One man who sees both sides of the issue is Kevin Meyer, a former head trainer and manager of the horse division at Wagonhound Land & Livestock who is now with Mantz Creek Horses in Laramie, Wyoming. Kevin is also on the advisory board for the equine science programs at Laramie County Community College in Laramie, Wyoming, and Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colorado.
“I see the benefits of going to college, but it’s impossible to imitate the pace that you’re going to have to work at when you become a horse trainer,” Kevin says. “Liking horses and liking riding your horse is not enough; to be a trainer you have to have an all-consuming passion, and that means that on days when you’re feeling tired and don’t feel like it, you still go out and be a good trainer.
“The programs I’m involved in do a great job of teaching the basics, but they can’t replicate the pace of training horses in the real world. The colleges do a very good job of introducing kids to the training process; they’re not necessarily teaching them to be a horse trainer. They’re preparing them for the possibility of becoming a horse trainer,” he says. “When I was hiring people for Wagonhound, if I saw a certain college on their application, then I knew what I was getting. I knew what their foundation was.”
Four-Year College Horse Programs
The University of Findlay in Findlay, Ohio, is a four-year school that has offered instruction in horse training for more than 30 years. At Findlay, the students can attain an associate of arts degree or a bachelor of science degree in either English or western riding.
AQHA Professional Horseman Clark Bradley, a two-time National Reining Horse Association Futurity champion and the 2011 AQHA Professional Horseman of the Year, is a riding instructor at the western-riding-focused school that has seen AQHA Professional Horsemen Todd Crawford and Casey Hinton graduate from the program.
Clark explains that the college program is suited to both experienced and novice riders. Freshmen learn the basics of controlling a horse on the ground and in the saddle. On a broke horse, they learn to use their hands and legs to move the horse’s different body parts, and the basics of showmanship. During the next three years, each student rides three to four horses a semester; sophomores focus on colt starting and the first 120 days of the horse’s training; juniors continue to start colts but also ride finished western pleasure and cutting horses; and seniors ride a finished reining horse and focus on preparing a horse for a 2-year-old futurity.
“In their junior and senior years, we try to match them with a horse that will do what they want to do, whether it’s reining, pleasure or cutting,” Clark says. “We concentrate on western but we do some English, especially on the flat.”
Suggested College Degrees for Horse Trainers
Findlay equestrian majors take classes in judging, nutrition, horse science and reproduction, but the instructors recommend that students also get a minor in education, accounting or business.
“There are a lot of really good trainers who aren’t successful because they have poor business skills, and I think a college education can really help with that,” Clark says. “It also gives students another out if they get hurt or decide they don’t want to ride full-time anymore.”
“While college programs may not give a student everything he or she needs to physically train a horse, they do give students a heads-up on running a business,” Kevin says. “Students learn about managing money, which is a great thing. When I started out on my own, I was really playing catch-up learning how to be a businessman while at the same time trying to get my business going.”
A question Kevin is often asked by students is “What do I do after I finish college?”
“If you want to be a trainer, then go get a job where someone will put you on a horse. If you want to be a cutter but you can’t find a job riding cutting horses but you can get one riding barrel horses, then go get that one until you get one you want.”
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