Trainer Tuesday: What is a piece of advice that you didn’t want to hear but it holds true today?

Welcome to Trainer Tuesday! Each week we ask trainers a question and gather their answers for you. These trainers have a range of experience, backgrounds, and focus points of their programs, so the answers have as much variation as you would expect and also probably much more similarity. 

This week’s question posed is: What is a piece of advice that you didn’t want to hear at the time, but it holds true and still resonates today?

Here are their answers: 

“Don’t lose your patience. Very difficult for a perfectionist! We work so hard and put so much into this, it can get frustrating when we feel that the results (in and out of the show ring) are not following at the same rate. Patience applies to the big picture, but more importantly to each horse or pony on a given day. We don’t need to win national championships every day, so I try to achieve small goals within a ride, and leave it at that. If it only takes 20 minutes, that’s okay if that is all that horse or pony does under saddle that day. It’s taken a long time to understand that more is not always better, and that it can often lead to frustration and loss of patience.” -Kyla Makhloghi
Listen to Kyla on The Plaidcast here.

“It’s not all about winning. You learn from each round in the ring. Good or bad every trip is something new. I did not like to hear that, but now I hear myself saying it a lot.” -Margaret Kruse

“There wasn’t much really that I didn’t enjoy with my trainer, but I do believe in teaching my students two point and no stirrups. Practicing two point with all three gaits help keep your legs in the proper position. No stirrups makes your core stronger and helps build up your legs. So if your horse accidentally stumbles or comes at the jump wrong, you have a better chance of staying on.” -Pearl Running Dear
Read about Pearl here.

“When I was a junior, a top GP rider and good friend of mine, told me to never compare your path to anyone else’s because no two people are going to have the same exact journey. Although I always knew this was good advice, it took a lot of courage to carve out my own path with horses and not compare where I was with other peers with different backgrounds, talents, and opportunities. As a junior and now as a professional this still holds true. I managed to create a path for myself in the horse industry that doesn’t look particularly ‘conventional,’ and I’m so grateful for that.” -Ada Neumann

“When I was starting the small pony hunters, my trainer Jody told me ‘there will always be someone in your division with a fancier pony and more money than you so you have to stand out.’ I understood what she was saying, but it didn’t really hit me what ‘stand out’ meant until later that year. She was talking about ring presence and confidence to show them that I deserve to win. For a 12 year old especially, that is something very hard to hear, but every rider needs to.” -Alliyah Antoniadis
Read about Alliyah here.

“When shopping for a horse make sure you are buying the horse you try, not the horse you think it can be.” -Stirling Kincannon

“It is not the horses responsibility to understand you. It is your responsibility to understand the horse. This is perhaps the best advice I’ve ever been given. It has been the foundation of my professional career. This particular piece of advice was given to me after I had been working with a difficult horse for some time as a young professional. I just couldn’t seem to break through and get him to where I thought I wanted him to be. After seeking additional help from an older, much wiser professional, he made this one comment that changed everything for me, and ultimately the horse.

At the time, I’m sure I was in a mind set of feeling like I had to prove I was capable of getting a horse where I wanted it… that it was my job to make it be what I thought it should be. The truth is, I was spending too much time focusing on what I wanted out of him, and not nearly enough time focusing on what he needed from me. What I wanted was irrelevant if I couldn’t find any common ground, understanding, and trust with the already opinionated gelding. Those words made me stop in my tracks take a good, hard look at myself and take the time to completely change my approach. It worked then, and it continues to work now. It will always be the foundation of our program.” -Brooke Farr
Read about Brooke here.

“Being able to connect with the horse you’re working with is half the battle. Once you learn to appreciate, respect, and truly understand the horse, you’re 50% there. You need to keep this in mind to bring out their full potential.” -Dahmoon Alghamdi

“A mistake always teaches you more than a clear round. You can get away with little errors here and there and not think twice, but odds are that if the rail comes down you’re going to really try to figure out why. Then all you can do is try to not make that same mistake again!
Shows are checkpoints on the training and good results come when the training earns them!” -Macy Clark

“I didn’t understand at the time when I heard: as a horse trainer, only about 40% of what we do is actually train the horse or teach the rider. But it’s absolutely true. 60% of what we do is managing the care of the animal so that it is healthy enough to accept training or carry its owner. So surrounding yourself with the best team: vet, chiro, farrier, body workers, nutritionists, employees, finding the right food and supplements, managing the program and developing a great network of other pros to use as resources is critical. When the management is right, the  program works.” -Shaun Clark

“My piece of advice that has held its truth of time is the phrase ‘work smarter now not harder.’ This saying has translated to many aspects of my business and personal life. I work to get so much done in an effective manner throughout my day. From setting up for a horse show, performing daily barn chores, or reorganizing tack. I try hard to instill this in all of my riders.” -Jay Moore
Read Jay’s response on It Happens! here.

“Think before you speak and remember to never burn any bridges if you can help it, no matter what the circumstances are.” -Natasha Vitkovic

“A good rider isn’t made overnight. Most of us have to patient with the process.” -Georgy Maskrey-Segesman
Read about Georgy’s big move in The Plaid Horse here.

“When I was starting out as a professional in 1983 I was very cocky and self absorbed. A certain big name icon – who shall remain nameless – took me aside and said to me: ‘young man you are not the next phenom, watch and learn and don’t assume you know everything, but you are lucky and pay attention to all of the great wisdom from all these horsemen and horsewomen around you. And remember the horses are the best teachers!’ This was difficult to hear from one of my idols but it was spot on advice! I am very thankful he cared enough to offer it.” -David Kendrick

“I was told at a young age that I should pursue some kind of education after high school. I was dying to skip college and ride. Now, I give the same advice to anyone that asks. Any kind of continuing education can and will contribute to your success as a horse professional. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a college degree. Seek knowledge and training in other areas that will help you run a business. Some examples: business management, bookkeeping, website design, writing and editing, or even learn how to implement specific therapies for horses like magna wave or laser therapies etc. As a secondary benefit, god forbid, those skills will also be a great safety net.” -Brett Shear-Heyman