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New Trainers Stepping in with the Veterans

One of the biggest challenges of the horse industry is making a name for yourself. The thought of stepping into an industry full of veterans can be daunting for anyone. The horse industry is no particular case, with a glossary full of talented and knowledgeable people.

So, how can new and upcoming trainers conquer the nerves of walking into the show pen with their mentors? What are the tricks of the trade and tips to success that lead you into the heart of the best in the industry?

GoHorseshow talked to some of the more recent up-and-coming trainers to hit the horse show circuit. Carli Pitts Jerrell, Alex Sifuentez, and Jessica Noiseux are the new kids on the block, but no strangers to success.

We also talked to two top industry trainers and AQHA judges Lynda Danielson and Jeff Greaves. We asked them what they have learned in their experiences and their advice to those looking to work their way up in the show horse industry.

The Beginning

There was a common factor in the answers of how our trainers got their start. Carli Pitts Jerrell and Lynda Danielson (pictured right) were involved in the industry since they were children. Carli showed as a youth rider, even competing on the 2014 AQHA Youth World Cup Team USA before deciding to go pro and work for her parents at P5 Equestrian.

Danielson shared a similar upbringing, growing up with horses and riding since she was three. However, AQHA Judge Jeff Greaves has a different story sharing that his first AQHA show was at 23 years old, proving you can get highly involved in the industry, no matter your starting background.

Mentor Turned Competitor

When asked how it felt to show against their mentors now turned competitors, Alex Sifuentez says that, “Showing alongside my mentors pushes me towards excellence every time.”

Jessica Noiseux (pictured left) sharing the same thoughts, adds, “There’s a bit of a competitive side. It’s a big part of why we do this.”

When facing the industry’s top and most specialized trainers, Pitts Jerrell reminds us, “Remember they are cheering for you and are excited when you do well.”  Many trainers will share this sentiment when asked, stating that they are proud to see new faces to promote the breed and industry.

Biggest Challenges

While working with horses every day sounds like a dream come true, some heartbreaks and challenges come with it. Danielson describes her biggest challenge as “competing in a male-dominated industry.”

Noiseux talks about the financial challenges, “Between the equipment, truck, and trailer, etc., the initial investment is huge.”

Sifuentez (pictured right) shares the same thoughts adding in, “It was difficult to navigate being a horse trainer in 2020 without having any shows to attend.”

Greaves says that time was his biggest challenge. “I was lucky to have a few nice horses to start with,” he said. “But it took years to build my business.”

While Pitts Jerrell has a different perspective, sharing, “My biggest challenge was going from a non-pro that only had to focus on myself and my horses. Then to a professional with multiple horse and rider teams to help.”

Like any industry, there will always be obstacles, however, these trainers show that you can overcome them with hard work and dedication.

Best Part

Training is a lot of blood, sweat, and tears, but it also comes with a lot of rewards. Noiseux shares her favorite part of the industry. “I love the community we have in our industry,” she said. “I’ve met a lot of people I couldn’t imagine my life without.”

While Pitts Jerrell adds, “I love when all the hard work pays off. Which doesn’t always mean winning, but just going out and competing to the best of the horse’s ability.”

Veteran Advice

Often, the best way to learn how the industry works is to ask the best in the industry and learn from their experiences. Jeff Greaves (pictured left) says he doesn’t have any pet peeves when it comes to new trainers but preaches “honesty, work ethic, and compassion for the horse.”

Danielson shares the same thoughts and adds, “Treat people as you would like to be treated.” She also shares a piece of advice, “Don’t force horses into a certain mold when they can’t do that job.”

Greaves and Danielson also believe in being patient and working hard. Greaves instills the saying “courage over comfort” and encourages “choose to practice your values rather than simply professing them. Use the resources available to you. This is a rewarding industry full of people who want to help.”

Looking Forward

The future is bright, and the upcoming trainers share their advice to get headed in the right direction. ‘Be ready to work hard, have integrity, and be authentic,” Sifuentez said. “No one can do the work for you. Every day you are creating a platform to appeal to potential clients.”

While Noiseux adds, “Learn as much as you can…what to do, even what not to.”

Pitts Jerrell closes with some words to live by, “Don’t be afraid to fail. If you never try out of fear, you will never get those opportunities that could open new doors for you.”

About the Author – Ellexxah Maxwell is 20 years old and she currently resides in West Mansfield, OH with her parents AQHA Professional Horsemen Brent and Melissa Maxwell. She is currently studying business at the University of Phoenix and has been involved in the horse industry for the past 19 years. She now shows as an amateur under the guidance of her parents.