Let’s Discuss: Training Rides

When I was younger, I did not understand the point of training rides. I mean, why would I pay someone to ride my horse, instead of having me in the saddle?

Regurgitating old content like...

Regurgitating old content like…

Now that I have a trainer that is willing to hop on my horse, I can clearly see the benefit of having a more educated person in the saddle from time to time. Especially with a green horse, but really with teaching any new skill, having someone with the proper feel to demonstrate the goal to the horse is always going to help than a case of the blind leading the blind.

April 2014

April 2014

It takes a lot of trust though to hand over the reins to another person, up to and including a professional. But recently I have found that it’s the best tool in my arsenal for working with a very specific horse like Smitty. Right now, training rides are worth a lot more to me than even lessons, though at some point I hope that will eventually flip.

Shoulder In

Do you implement training rides in your program? How often do you use them, and why? Have you found training rides to be helpful, hurtful, or did you have any unusual experiences as a result of a training ride? What kind of professional would you allow in your saddle, and vice versa?

15 thoughts on “Let’s Discuss: Training Rides

  1. I don’t currently incorporate training rides into my program, only because I can’t find someone I trust. But I would love to, especially with my green bean!

  2. I think they can be so beneficial for the reasons you mentioned. I went so far as to have a trainer prep Georgie for Prelim and take her to her first event at that level. I think having a safe, positive experience the first time out can be really beneficial for the horse. I also am a visual learner- so watching my trainer work through something can be really helpful to me too!

  3. My first horse was a 9 year old, green QH and I had been riding myself for only about a year when I bought him. Training rides were key for our success together, and they helped my trainer to understand how he thought, what he was physically capable of, etc., which then helped her when teaching our lessons. With time, our need for training rides went away. With my next few green horses, I have had internal battles about “doing it all myself” vs. recruiting a professional for trading rides. In the end, I’ve decided that I’m not out to prove anything to anybody…I just want to enjoy my time in the saddle. If that means training rides, then so be it. 🙂

  4. I’m a big fan of training rides IF it’s with someone you know and trust. I sometimes have my trainer or assistant trainer hop on Frankie about a week before a show just to give him a “tune-up.” They’ve also helped introduce some of the more advanced lateral work to him- they help teach him what he’s supposed to do, so that Frankie already knows how he’s supposed to react to my cues when I’m learning the same movements.

  5. i have somewhat conflicting feelings about training rides. i definitely see the value in helping the horse learn or understand – a professional can educate my horse better/faster/whatever in ways that i can’t always replicate. this is definitely an asset!!

    my only qualm is that … well…. i’m not always sure i want the horse tuned up to scalpel-like precision when i’m personally only able to operate a butter knife. does that make sense?

  6. I’ve had two ‘training rides’ put on Dino in the entire time I’ve owned him, and both were in situations where I was having difficulty getting him over the jumps and had to have someone braver/better/stronger/quicker than me get on and force the issue a bit. Other than that, I find it more valuable to learn to work through issues while I’m sitting in the tack. I generally prefer to learn to ride my own horse and teach them to listen to MY aids, because as Emma said, I definitely don’t ride with pro-level precision, and I want my horse to be fun for ME to ride! I also don’t have lofty competitive goals, so my perspective might change if I eventually end up with a creature that is more capable of show ring success.

  7. With other horses I have owned, they all had training rides, one in particular got a ton of training rides and show rides, and it was so worth it. Currently, Eli doesn’t get training rides, but I keep telling my trainer to ride him, lol. I wouldn’t hand reins over to just anybody–it does have to be someone I trust.

  8. I think it depends on the horse if I would use training rides or not… in high school my mom wanted my trainer to take Johnny to his first training level event just to make sure all was well before I attempted a level that was new to my horse and me. It went well (bc seriously Johnny was a freaking rock star!) and we blasted around training level like nbd until his injury and then well, injuries suck.

    With Chimi I’ve put all the work in by myself and I don’t think current trainer has ever ridden him. She hops on everyone else’s horse every so often but I can’t remember if she’s ever hopped on Chimi? This isn’t bc I’m some fantastic rider (bc I’m very much just average) but I think it has more to do with strength and conditioning vs teaching him how to do something. Chimi has had some extensive training somewhere in his past (no idea where but he knows stuff!) and everything we’ve done with Chimi has been about making him stronger. If he was greener I would definitely consider some training rides to make sure all is going well and in the right direction!

  9. I definitely agree, I have found training rides to be extremely beneficial! Aside from what you’ve already pointed out, I also feel that due to being such a visual learner, certain concepts are easier to grasp from the ground watching. In bringing Otter along, we have found him to be quite capable and a quick learner.. many of our hurtles can be attributed to me. When my trainer gets on him, she’s able to demonstrate “right” and “wrong”, and I’m able to better understand proper aids and positioning just by watching her talk through a training ride. For dressage work particularly, I love having a trainer who is both a wonderful rider as well as instructor for this reason! As long as the trainer is able to articulate what he/she is doing so that you as the rider are able to understand and (hopefully) replicate I think it’s a great part of any program.

    I also must add that it is almost just as beneficial as a rider, to lesson on a schoolmaster and or mount that already grasps what you yourself are trying to accomplish with your own horse. My trainer had me out to ride one of her mares and it was not only very educational – but lots of fun too!

  10. I’m someone who is very supportive of trainer rides. I think that even on a very well educated horse, having someone who is unbiased and unemotional about the ride is a great asset. Because as much as I try, there is no way that I can detach enough sometimes. My trainer in particular tries to pair her training rides with several lessons over similar content in an effort to “realign” pairs.

  11. I’d never had any sort of training rides until last year — and it was definitely helpful! In the end, my goal is to be able to prep and ride my own horse though, so it’s not something I want to have to do all the time.

  12. I’ve only gotten a training ride once, last spring when Zeph was acting up under saddle & I was all ‘I’m a terrible failure who can’t train for shit’. Trainer’s diagnosis was that he was just a bit hyper on spring grass. Oh, says me, so I haven’t broken the horse? After I knew what it was I could ride him just fine.
    Ideally if I got training rides for my horses I would be working on the same stuff on more educated horses, otherwise I’d get severe FOMO haha

  13. I am very picky on who gets to ride my horse… like you said, training rides with the right person are awesome for green horses.

    That said, with my trainers guidance- I’ve been pretty successful

  14. I think that training rides can be very beneficial. My current set up means that I have to haul out for training rides and lessons. This summer I got a few combos where trainer would get on and then I would have a mini lesson afterwards. This was mostly in situations where I was pounding my head against the wall though. If I was in a different situation and maybe had easier access to pro rides I might do them more frequently.

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