In horse ownership, you have to be open-minded to new training techniques, vet advances, even tack and clothing fads. Photo © Kirstie Marie Photography

10 Secrets of Highly Successful Owners

Have you ever thought some horse owners have all the luck? Year-after-year, you see the same owners consistently in the winner’s circle. Do you ever wonder what they know that you don’t?

It’s true that when it comes to the horse business, luck does have a lot to do with it, but there are some critical behaviors of successful owners that helps them get to the top and stay there.

Here are just a few secrets.

They Get In The Program: No matter where you send your horse, every barn does things a little differently. It’s so important that when you put your trust in a trainer, you commit to their program. This doesn’t mean just turning over your horse and your checkbook. It means more than that. The trainer you’re choosing to believe in has a system that works for them. They have a way they like doing and keeping things and vets and farriers they trust to do the job they need them to do. A successful owner doesn’t fight the system. They work with the trainer to get the very best from the horse and its ability.

They Do What Their Horse Needs: When it comes to making their horse feel its best, they do not skimp. Horses are professional athletes. They are sensitive and have many needs to perform their best. Some of those needs can be expensive, so owners who want to achieve at the highest level do everything they can to keep them in peak shape physically. There are many factors in addition to training that are involved in making a horse win.

They Pick The Right Trainer: There is a lot involved in choosing the right trainer for yourself and your horse. Great owners can match their horse to a trainer that works. They can take an honest look at their horse’s abilities and talents to decide if it needs to be an open, limited or a non-pro horse. They choose a trainer that can best prepare them for the right division.

They are Quick To Buy and Quick To Sell: If your trainer calls you on the phone and says, “I found a horse for you, and you need to buy it now,” a successful owner will have chosen a trainer they trust and will be ready to buy. This may be an opportunity that shouldn’t be passed up. When a great horse comes along, there will likely be many suitors, and highly successful owners are ready to strike fast to get a great horse bought. On the flip side, when someone wants to buy a horse for the right price, smart owners know when to cash in and move on to the next horse.

They Are Open Minded: There are no two horses the same and often you must have an open mind. Each horse has a unique personality and a unique training program. You cannot decide that, just because you’ve never done something in the past, it will not work in the future. In horse ownership, you have to be open-minded to new training techniques, vet advances, even tack and clothing fads.

They Advertise: This is sometimes overlooked or deemed as an unnecessary expense. The truth is, you need to be seen by judges. Not only can you highlight goals you have reached, but also begin the promotion for selling your horse in the future. Promotion takes time, and it’s a good idea to start early. The horse community will come to recognize you and your horse when they think of looking for a new showing partner.

They Come Prepared: Whether it’s coming to a lesson or a show, being ready and in the right frame of mind can make all the difference in how the day goes. If you start the day unorganized or with your mind in a different place, it will have a significant outcome on the results. Having all the tack and clothing you need also makes for no distractions when you need to be concentrating on riding.

They Don’t Overreact: Horses have a way of surprising you all the time. They get hurt and sick, sometimes at an alarming rate. Some things are big and some small, but a successful owner knows not to panic at every little hiccup. Horses can easily be sore one day and sound the next or vice versa. Overreacting over every little thing can be stressful for yourself and your horse trainer.

They Understand Not Every Horse Works Out: Especially when you are working with young prospects. Understanding that, not every horse works out, is so important in being a successful owner. More horses do not make it than ones that do. The majority of the horse community does not realize that, because they only see the ones that do work out. Some owners may go through five prospects to get one good one.

They Know Their Limitations: The best owners do a lot of self-reflection and choose events in which they can be highly competitive. Not every event is for every person. It’s essential to have self-awareness and know what you are good at and what may be something beyond you or your horse’s ability. This will allow you to focus on your positive qualities and not waste time on things you are not likely to achieve. We all have limitations, but concentrating on the things you and your horse are good at, can bring great success.

About the Author – Darla Lee was born in Apple Valley, California where she began riding horses at the age of nine. She later moved to Ohio where she attended College at the University of Findlay. She has worked for many top trainers in the industry and the past fifteen years operates Lee Quarter Horses located in Plain City, Ohio with her husband Brian where they specialize in western pleasure, hunter under saddle and all-around events on the AQHA and NSBA circuits.