While many professionals here in North America take on horses at all stages of their training, always seeking their next superstar, the education of a young horse has also become an individual career path for other riders. Martin Douzant, who relocated his business, The Frame Sport Horses, to the U.S. from France in 2014, is one such professional who has found his calling with the young horses.
France’s bustling young horse program has a larger infrastructure dedicated to the development of horses from their early backing days until they’re ready to go off and compete with a new owner. Due to the size of the breeding industry, riding schools and young horse training centers are more commonplace. This pipeline serves as a rich pool of talent in which professionals and amateurs alike can find their next partner. In order to effectively outsource this early education, there is a large subset of young horse trainers who have carved out careers in this niche.
“Every country has a little bit their own way of doing things,” Martin explained. He’s previously spent time working in Great Britain and Germany in addition to his work in France, taking little pieces from each program as he built his own business model. “In my opinion, France’s program really opened the door for all of the breeders and the young horse riders. The classes are run like an educational opportunity; even if the horse isn’t necessarily an upper level prospect, the broad market is really the amateur. So it’s a good opportunity to have the horses out and showcase them and have a way to sell them.”
Similar to these European programs, the USEA’s Young Event Horse and Future Event Horse programs have encouraged riders to participate in the growing breeding and training business here in the U.S. The industry here, though, still has its own challenges and a need for dedicated young horse professionals. Since moving his business to Middleburg, Virginia, Martin has carved out a healthy niche for himself, aiming to play a role in developing the industry and producing quality young horses suitable for the amateur or the pro. To accomplish this, he and his team at The Frame split time between training client horses, acquiring and producing their own horses for sale, and traveling to conduct clinics.
“Our main business is to train the horses at a young age and sell the finished product,” Martin explained. Since opening its doors, The Frame has had a hand in producing horses for riders such as show jumper Joe Fargis, eventer Kelli Temple, and many other show jumping, dressage, hunter, and eventing riders. “At the end of the day, many upper level riders don’t have the time or necessarily the desire to start the three- and four-year-olds,” he continued. “It takes a completely different set of skills to do them this young, and it’s a little bit dangerous and tricky. I got a bit lucky, I got to work with some very well-known names and that has helped grow our business.”
Martin says his primary goal is to help the breeding industry in America flourish and to educate more riders. He frequently travels to conduct clinics specific to younger horses, teaching owners how to properly free jump their horses and expose them to more things on their journeys to becoming sport horses. As a complement to The Frame’s program, we’ve also partnered with Martin and Mythic Landing Enterprises to bring our readers some video content specific to working with young horses and horses off the track. While the season may be winding down, the upcoming winter is prime time for working with young horses in a low pressure way. Stay tuned to EN in the coming weeks for more tools for your young horse toolbox.