Sally Cousins’ Weekly Training Tip: When to Enlist a Professional

We are delighted to host Sally Cousins as our newest guest blogger, as she shares her wealth of knowledge with us in the form of weekly training tips. We hope these nuggets of information can be integrated directly into your program at home and can influence the way you ride and train your horses. Be sure to check out both the Sally Cousins Eventing website and keep up with her on Facebook.

Photo by Kasey Mueller.

Photo by Kasey Mueller.

Several years ago I read that there are four sentences to wisdom: I am sorry. I was wrong. I don’t know. I need help. The most successful people I know recognize when they don’t know something and are also quick to get help. They didn’t get successful because they couldn’t work through problems or gave up early. They just know their limitations.

There is nothing wrong with asking for help. The timing of this can also be important before there is a training issue that may not be able to be fixed or takes a long time to correct.

I now send my babies to another professional to be broken. I used to break a lot of babies. Quite frankly, he does a better job than I did and I don’t have the time. Everything I do is on a budget, and it is a big commitment financially for me to do this.

When I first decided to send a horse to him, I asked how long I would need to leave her there. What he told me was: “If you leave her with me for 30 days, she will still give you quite a lot of hassle (not the word he used), if you leave her for 60 days she will be at a place that you can deal with her, and if you leave her for 90 days she will be really well started.” We decided to leave her for the 90 days. I decided to hire a good professional and let him tell me how long it would take to do the job I was asking him to do. 

When someone asks me to take a horse in training, I listen to their expectations and tell them right away if I think I can accomplish it in the time frame they are giving me. If it seems it will take me longer, I make sure they know that.

Some of the reasons I have been given horses to train include: a horse stopping from loss of confidence, moving a horse up a level for a less experienced rider, the rider was going to be away, the horse was for sale and the owner wanted it to compete, the horse was not going well. These are all good reasons. 

There is not much progress that can be made in a short time frame, and if we don’t give it enough time the improvements may not be established.