In horse racing, a trainer prepares a horse for races, with responsibility for exercising it, getting it race-ready and determining which races it should enter. Leading horse trainers can earn a great deal of money from a percentage of the winnings that they charge the owner for training the horse.
Outside horse racing, most trainers specialize in a certain equestrianism discipline, such as show jumping, reining, rodeo, sport horse disciplines, training of a specific horse breed, starting young horses, or working with problem horses. There are a wide variety of horse training methods used to teach the horse to do the things humans want them to do. Some fields can be very lucrative, usually depending on the value of the horses once trained or prize money available in competition. However, as a rule, most horse trainers earn, at best, a modest income which often requires supplementation from a second job or additional horse-related business, such as horse boarding or riding lessons.
Horse trainers are typically deemed to have the status of agents for the horse owners. As such, they have legal obligations to their owners, as well as authority to represent and even bind their owners to certain transactions.
Horse domestication by the Botai culture, in Kazakhstan dates to about 3500 BC. Written records of horse training as a pursuit has been documented as early as 1350 BC, by Kikkuli, the Hurrian "master horse trainer" of the Hittite Empire. Kikkuli's work included a discussion of what today is known as interval training to condition a horse for battle. Another source of early recorded history of horse training as a discipline comes from the Greek writer Xenophon, in his treatise On Horsemanship. Writing circa 350 BC, Xenophon addressed starting young horses, selecting older animals, and proper grooming and bridling. He discussed different approaches to spirited and dull horses and how to deal with vices. His approach is credited as the first known method of training horses through a sympathetic approach, wherein the trainer attempts to understand the natural instincts of the horse and build a relationship.
- "419.224-010: HORSE TRAINER (agriculture; amuse. & rec.)". Dictionary Of Occupational Titles. Retrieved 2013-01-20.
- Becker, Frank T (2013). Equine Law. p. 83. ISBN 978-0-615-90347-7.
- "Botai: Early Horse Herders on the Steppes of Northern Kazakhstan". Carnegie Museum of Natural History. Retrieved 9 January 2017.
- B. Hrozy; Anthony Dent. "Kikkuli, 1345, BCE". International Museum of the Horse (in English translated from French). Retrieved 9 January 2017.
- "Equestrian History". Equestrian and Horse. 2012. Retrieved 9 January 2017.
- Xenophon and Morris H. Morgan. On Horsemanship. CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform. ISBN 978-1463549787.
- Whitaker, Julie (2007). The Horse: A Miscellany of Equine Knowledge (First ed.). Thomas Dunne Books. ISBN 031237108X.
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