Searching for a trainer can be a daunting task. The AQHA Professional Horsemen Association makes it easy to find qualified professionals who can help you and your horse establish a productive relationship and achieve success. These AQHA member trainers specialize in helping you prepare to enter your horse in AQHA competitions. Only professionals who have met the qualifications of the AQHA Professional Horsemen and who have agreed to be bound by its code of ethics are eligible for membership. Most importantly, these individuals share as much a passion for their work as they do for the American Quarter Horse.
AQHA is dedicated to helping horse owners find the right trainer for their specific needs, from general training assistance to specific disciplines, such as cutting, barrel racing, western pleasure, working hunter and racing. If you're just getting started, use this checklist to ensure you are have all the information you need to make a wise choice.
Checklist For Beginners
Before you search for the perfect horse trainer, ask yourself a few questions:
What are my riding goals?
- Do I want to be more comfortable on a horse and ride recreationally?
- Do I want to learn to ride Western or English?
- Do I want to participate in horse shows?
How much time do I have for riding?
- No matter what your goal, you should ride at least one time per week, possibly more.
- Although a lesson lasts approximately an hour, an important part of the process is learning how to groom and tack/untack the horse, which requires additional time.
What is my budget for lessons?
- Private lessons range from $40-80/hr. for beginners.
- Semi-private lessons and group lessons range from $20 - 50/hr.
- You'll also need to invest in proper attire - from jeans to boots to safety helmets.
Once you've found a prospective horse trainer or riding instructor, ask him or her:
- Do you work with beginners?
- How long have you been teaching? How many years have you been involved with horses?
- Do you teach children and adults? Can we ride together?
- What are your prices?
- Do you offer private, semi-private or group lessons?
- Can I watch you teach a lesson?
- Can you give me some references - other students, a resume, etc.?