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Allison Trimble has a Bachelor of Science in Animal Science from Cal Poly, SLO. After her graduation in 1999, Allison started Coastal Equine and has been training and competing in Cowhorse, Reining, and Cutting events. She has had marked success in the show pen, boasting many titles and championships. Coastal Equine takes pride in raising and training quality performance horses. With a background as a Non-Professional who trained her own horses, Allison believes in the ability of the Non-Pro to have a primary role in the training of their own horse. Allison’s clients range from beginners to advanced competitors. Willfully Guided is an educational program based on Allison’s training process. It offers insight into the art of building a willing and sustainable partnership with your performance horse. For more information visit

On the Plus Side

The Trainer/Owner Relationship by Allison Trimble, Willfully Guided Horsemanship

Seven Tips to Maintaining a Healthy Partnership

he relationship between trainer and owner/client is a very important one. Everyone needs help meeting their horse-

manship goals and, for many people, the easiest way to do this is by keeping their horse in training and taking lessons, or having the trainer show the horse for them. This is an expensive game. I see a lot of turnover throughout the industry that I believe would be avoided if there was a better understanding between the trainer and client.

lines between friendship and business. This is an expensive activity for both the client and trainer. Years, and time and money have been spent by the trainer to become profi cient. Expect to pay for it. Time is valuable and there is never enough of it. Respect that. Be appreciative if you have the sort of trainer who makes time for you, but understand when they can’t use it just shooting the breeze. Most trainers hustle just to keep busi- ness afl oat in the current economy.


Pay your bill on time. Again, this seems obvious, but to run a training operation the

trainer has fi xed expenses when there are horses in training. This means that the mortgage/rent, hay, bedding, labor bills come due, and all it takes is a couple of late paying clients to get a trainer in a bind. A fi nancially stressed person is never going to perform as well as they could, and this is true in horse training as well. I have clients who show up at the fi rst of the month with check in hand and love to see those people. I have also had clients drag their feet paying me. When there is a stack of bills due on my desk, it is challenging to not be resentful toward them.

4 I have the unique perspective of being fi rst a

non-professional and then a professional trainer, so I know what it is like to be on each side of the equation. If your horse is in training, here are a few tips to help make the experience a positive one.

The horse means the world to an owner who is spending a signifi cant portion of their disposable income on training/boarding — some- where in the ballpark of $1,000 a month, more if the horse is being shown. However, it is impor- tant to remember that only a small portion of the money spent actually makes it to the trainer — approximately $300 a month,

1 after

overhead. That does not include other expenses the trainer has such as advertising.

For your trainer, this is their profession. That may seem obvious, but in the horse industry, in particular, people easily blur the

2 16 September 2012 The Northwest Horse Source

If you don’t like the way a person trains your horse, or interacts with you, don’t do

business with them. That said, this is how they feed their family. You have the right to disagree and/or be unhappy with your experience, but keep “sour grapes” to yourself. Avoid partaking in the gossipy nature of the horse industry and helping to damage a trainer’s career. Do what is best for you and your horse, but be thoughtful about your words.


There is a proper way to leave a barn. As a trainer, having clients sneaking around

with other trainers is embarrassing and a bit of a dig on you professionally. If you want to ride with multiple trainers or leave a barn and still maintain a healthy relationship with your former trainer show respect in your departure. Be transparent and let them know what you are doing. Don’t be the sort of client who suddenly shows up at a horse show with a new trainer




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