Send your colt to the trainer or start him yourself? by Jason Irwin

This is a topic that I get asked about from time to time. Without knowing you and your colt I can’t tell you which option I think is best but I can offer some thoughts on the subject. 

For your own safety the two biggest questions are are you a good rider and can you keep your cool if things go bad? If the answer to either question is no then send your colt to the trainer. Every colt is going to spook or jump at something at some point in their early training. If the rider is prepared and keeps calm and directs the colt properly then usually this isn’t a big deal – it’s just part of the training process. However the rider that loses their balance easily or clamps down for dear life is going to turn a small situation into a really bad situation really fast. 

The next question is are you going to be of any benefit to your colt in the starting process? This is a nice way of asking if you know enough that you’re able to put a good start on the colt. If you put a poor start on your colt or teach him bad habits then your colt’s training is going to be lacking throughout his life or someone else is going to have to fill in the blanks. It’s so much harder to try to put the foundation training on a horse that hasn’t been started properly than it is to start one properly from scratch.

If you have the knowledge and ability then the next question is do you have the time?  Young horses need consistency. If you’re not going to ride your colt consistently then that colt isn’t going to progress. Riding a colt once or twice a week would be no different than sending a child to school once or twice a week and wondering why they weren’t advancing. 

Starting your own colt can be a very rewarding experience but don’t take the decision lightly. Honestly evaluate your ability and decide what’s best for both you and your colt. If you decide to go the trainer route remember that even though you didn’t put the first rides on him your horse is young and you have his whole life to work with him and advance his training. 

Good luck to you and your young horse. 

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