No one ever said that training horses was easy and for those that take on this task as their career, they know this better than most. Determining what makes a good trainer isn’t as simple as looking at which horses are winning; in fact, there are far more criteria to consider and it can be overwhelming working out just what that criteria is. To help you out, we’ve pulled together a few ideal traits that the best horse trainers will have, and a few of the best to watch in the upcoming season.
Patience And Self Control
Training takes time. In fact, it’s a very gradual process and it undoubtedly takes a lot of patience – a skill that isn’t often easily taught. A horse isn’t going to show improvement each and every day. In fact, more often than not it’ll appear that they are at a stalemate or potentially even getting worse and in the everyday life of a trainer this can be frustrating. It’s these situations in which patience becomes key. If a trainer appears to be losing their temper quickly and not exercising control of their emotions then it could be the sign of inadequacy. The atmosphere affects a horse more than you may expect, and a negative attitude could potentially have adverse effects on training progress and horse-trainer relationships.
Passion And Drive
Horse training is a career that needs paddock-loads of passion. There is no room for a lack of motivation or ‘off days’ and so it’s important that the trainer can demonstrate drive even in adverse conditions. If the trainer appears bored or fed-up with their job, it’s unlikely that they’re in the right career no matter how skilled they are. A career as a horse trainer is demanding on the body and extremely tiring, but a passionate and driven trainer will tell you that it’s more than worth it. Above all, a trainer needs to love their job and love horses, or they certainly won’t be putting their all into it.
A good sign of an experienced trainer is natural instinct. When spending enough time around horses, you’ll develop a natural instinct, especially where the behaviour of your horse is concerned and knowing the horse’s behaviour is ideal for training. After all, if you can tell when a horse is spooked or about to buck, you’re more likely to be able to prevent it from happening and keep yourself and the horse safe. If a trainer can prove that they have this kind of natural instinct, then they have a chance of being one to bet on.
Knowledge and understanding of not only horses, but the industry as a whole is a sign of a dedicated and efficient horse training. There is plenty to know about the horse racing industry but having a deep understanding is key to effective training. Knowing behaviours, mindsets and how each horse individually is likely to respond to stressful situations is a must when training for big events to ensure that they can be trained efficiently and effectively for each individual need.
The Trainers To Watch This Year
This year’s competitions are looking to be bigger and better than ever and of course trainers have been working hard to get their trainees ready and raring to go. With the above points in mind, picking out the best horse trainers is much simpler but it never hurts to have a starting point, right? There have been some incredible trainers in horse racing over the years, but here, we’ve listed four of the best trainers on the US circuit this year:
- Steven M Asmussen
Asmussen grew up in a family centred on racing, and even took up jockeying for a while. In 2008 and 2009 he won the ‘outstanding trainer’ Eclipse Award, and rightly so as he has raced his horses across some of the top horse racing tracks in America. Today, he has an incredible stable with over 200 horses, with divisions in New York, Chicago, Kentucky and Louisiana, and was even the genius behind Breeders’ Cup Distaff winner Untapable in 2014.
- Bob Baffert
Bob Baffert grew up around horses, and his love for the animals certainly never died out. After graduating from the University of Arizona Race Track Industry Program, he went on to earn acknowledgement as one of the most successful horse trainers in the entirety of Thoroughbred racing.
- Jorge Navarro
Jorge Navarro initially started out with horses when hot walking and grooming for Julian Canet, who happened to be a trainer. In 2010, he began his own training career in Florida, so he’s certainly one of the newest on our list! He’s gone on to win Grade 3 Mr. Prospector Stakes with XY Jet, and even had other multiple graded stakes with Private Zone.
Hopefully this has given you an insight into horse trainers and how to spot the best. While the best trainers don’t necessarily have to have winning horses, it’s certainly a good place to start when considering who to bet on this year, or who is worth the watch, so why not take a look at the trainers for this year to see what you think?
Finding the best horse trainer in the industry is extremely important for many racing fans, and with plenty of exceptional trainers offering some of the best horses for the top races in America, there’s plenty to watch out for.