Ask the Trainer: Horse Skills

Fall 2004



Ask the Trainer: Horse Skills
Linda Adkins
Professional Instructor and Trainer 
Good Form Equestrian Sports
Norristown, PA

Linda competed as a professional trainer and instructor for over 20 years. She specialized in jumpers and eventing while training in multiple disciplines throughout the equine industry.


While a dog is generally a quick study in the right hands (or even with an amateur), training a horse is often a lengthy process. Repetition is predominate. So is proper handling, coupled with a detailed amount of knowledge and mileage of the trainer.

If the horse is young, not fit, and has been poorly handled -- and has the unfortunate genetic luck to not be athletically inclined-- then it can actually take years until even the basics are in place. It is simply a harder road in this case. The trainer has to be sensitive enough to recognize, and then make a training plan for, that type of situation.

However, if we are lucky enough to find a physically pliable animal, with an interest in working with the trainer because he has been well managed from an early age, then the trainer has good opportunity to solidly accomplish those basics. Meanwhile, we can also be applying subtle, higher levels of training. The horse’s opportunity to improve will quicken.

It can indeed take years to refine a horse. But with a steady and quiet work ethic, plus proper facilities, you can generally have a good mount within a year.


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