- Ask to see their business license (note: many states don't require licenses for horse trainers but they do for horse boarding and or breeding) It should be posted according to the law.
- Ask them if they are insured for care and custody if you plan on boarding your horse with them. Ask what the dollar value limit is on each horse (some insurance policies only allow for a maximum value of $2K or less should the horse die)
- Get in writing who is responsible for what vet bills should the horse become injured or colic while under the training/boarding contract.
- Do a quick search on the Better Business Bureau website for the trainer. You may or may not find out anything.
- Call the local Animal Control to see if there have been any violations at that business.
- Ask for references, someone you can talk to on the phone. Get at least 4+ phone numbers.
- Ask around at local 4-H clubs, horse vets and farriers for opinions on local trainers. Some are willing to talk and others just won't (which is my pet peeve of the industry as a whole - not saying anything).
How to locate the horse trainer from hell
Please read this first
If you are looking for a horse trainer and don't know who to avoid then just look them up here. Look under your location (if no location then just suggest one under any of the posts as a comment and I will add it ASAP) for horse trainers from hell and look at the comments. See if the horse trainer you are thinking about taking lessons from or sending your horse to has a tale from hell. If you have experienced a horse trainer from hell either a professional or amateur then let off some steam here and let the rest of the horse world know about them. Don't forget to name names. Please read this first before posting If the trainer in question disputes the claims they find on here then they are very welcome to post a comment too. Tell only the truth. Comments are only moderated to screen out ads for websites or "buy this or that" spam and for not staying on topic. General comments should be made under the "General Blog Posts" category.
How to proctect yourself and your horse from unsrupulous trainers
Unscrupulous trainers and boarding establishments seem to abound in a tight economy. They tend to get into the horse industry fast and get out fast too. Often they don't bother with local permits or licenses since they plan on making a quick buck and be gone before you can do anything. They are often uninsured and tell their clients to sue them if they want to (knowing full well that the client will have a hard time finding them or they don't have any money to get sued for). Here is a quick list of what to look for when searching for a horse trainer: