I realize now that this line may have caused a bit of a stir, however what I was thinking while I was writing was more along the lines of the points that our dear Miss Horse Crazed hit on in her comment. I might add that you, dear lady, hit on the very points I was wondering about...
...With that being said I have two friends that have been apprentices in big reining barns and both of them have friends who have as well. One is a man, the other a woman. There is no shortage of reining trainers out there today. From what I have heard, no matter what you are told, if you apprentice or ride for a big barn you will be a dogsbody. It is not in the trainers best interest to have you advance but at the same time in the interest of keeping you they will let you go just so far in making it appear that you are advancing and then they will hold you back. It is a dog eat dog world and training is a tough way to make a living. They can’t afford to help others out that then may take clients away from them. The girl I know had an awesome relationship with the trainer she worked for. She gave her heart and soul to her and learned a ton but she would only let her get to a certain level and would make sure that she knew that she was "not ready" to move forward. Both of these assistants got tired for being held back and moved on to hang out their own shingle but without their bosses blessing. Their old bosses talked bad about them to the local horse community and tried to stop them from succeeding because it would hurt their business if they did. It was not "personal", it was "business". The guy has been an assistant at a few barns now and always thinks the world of the trainer he is working with for a time and then always ends up getting taken advantage of. They are both in their 20s. I am sure you have heard this and from the sounds of it experienced it yourself but as you know, you can learn a lot from being an assistant...
Oh Yea...I hit this brick wall...repeatedly. This wall is exactly why young trainers have a tendency to bounce around training barns. Another huge obstacle is being a woman. The majority of beginning trainers are women. No surprise there, if you are around big barns and whatnot, but few ever make it out of the trenches and there is good reason(so the boss trainers say)...women usually marry, have a family and forget about training seriously. The boss trainer is more likely to take a less qualified young man under his wing and teach him the finer points than he is a female because they often feel that it will be wasted on a woman. Men usually continue training even if they get married and start a family.
While I despise the theory-it's usually true...hey I was seriously contemplating going to work at another barn when I got my "whoopsie" girl. I have no regrets about that whatsoever either, because I was luckier than lots of the girls I started out training with...I had always had horses, my family always had horses and I always had a place to take my horses. I have had a safety net, my entire life, that most people would kill for. Believe me, I do know how lucky I am. I have never ever had to worry about getting rid of a horse-no matter if everything in my life fell apart and I didn't have a dime. One phone call and the family would make sure me and my ponies got back home.
But, back to that being 40 thing. I don't have the energy or even the strength that I had when I was in my 20's. I can't see going back to riding 10+ head of horses a day...day after day. I guess what I was wondering out loud is if a training barn would even want someone my age or it they would realize that I am past the "life might get in the way" stage and I could finally learn some of those finishing techniques I have always wanted to learn.
And the reason behind this sudden interest in getting back into the big leagues?
This guy...I do believe that little Shooter is looking like the best colt I have ever raised. I want this guy to make it into the big leagues where he belongs. There is just something about him that makes me dream of AQHA World Championships and Superhorse titles.