Colt Starter and Assistant Horse Trainer Certification

This certification is for someone who is interested in establishing a colt starting service offered to the public or for someone who is interested in going to work as an assistant trainer for an established horse training operation



Basic Halter Training | Introduction to Colt Starting | Colt Starting | Equine Business and Marketing
Advanced Halter Training | Industry Colt Starting

There are two ways to get certified. Choose the best option for you:


Full-Time or Part-Time at TVCC

On campus training for 11-week term, attend 3-day clinic to earn certifications.  Must sign up for class at TVCC to get access to TQA curriculum.  


Hybrid-Online Course through TVCC

Online instruction for 11-week term, attend 3-day clinic to earn certifications.  Must sign up for class at TVCC to get access to TQA curriculum.  

Here Is What You Could Expect With This Certification

I) Colt Starter and Assistant Horse Trainer

A. Colt Starter: $700-$900/ Month/ Horse (Base Training Fee: Does not include Feed, Shoeing, Teeth, Chiro)

B. Assistant Trainer: $15-30/ Hour, or $1,800 – 2,500/ Month (May or May Not Include Housing)

1. TQA Recommended Timeline for Setting a Foundation on a Horse

  • TQA Recommended Days Training to “Set Foundation on Horse”
  • Option 1: 40 Days Training in Two Months (60 Days):
    • Ridden 5 days in a row given 2 days off
  • Option 2: 52 Days Training in Two Months (60 Days):
    • Ridden 6 Days in a row given 1 day off
  • Option 3: 40 – 52 Days Training in Three Months (90 Days):
    • Ridden 4 Days in a row given 3 days off
  • The number of rides per month partly depends on the age of the horse. Some may argue that a horse needs the extra ride in order to get a full two months, and others may argue that a young horse does better the other five days with two days of rest physically and mentally. Horses trained at TVCC are ridden four days in a row and given three days off because the college term is 3 months and we do not want to burn young horses out. Regardless of which option the trainer chooses, the main thing is that the horse receives consistent training and the trainer can meet the recommended industry quality standards for two months training.

2. TQA Industry Quality Standards at the End of 2-Months Training

  • Setting the Foundation on an Un-Started Horse, or Restarting a Poorly Trained Horse
  • Disclaimer: This does not mean that every horse will meet the TQA Industry Quality Standard for setting the foundation on a horse. It is only meant to be a baseline industry standard for the trainer to evaluate the horse with the client and for the client to evaluate their trainer. Just like kids in school, some kids take more time, and it is the same in working with horses. Also, some horses may be unsafe for their client and the Baseline Industry Standard can be used as way to show this to their client.
  1. Good to Catch
  2. Stand to saddle and accept bridle
  3. Stand to get on (For an inexperienced rider)
  4. Lope in a straight line away from the barn
  5. Walk, trot and lope a circle both direction
  6. Stop at a walk, trot and lope by asking with both reins.    
  7. Pivot around an inside front foot (disengage hindquarters)
  8. Use hindquarters to pull horse in reverse motion (stopping & backing)
  9. Front feet and hind feet move together in a lateral motion (side pass/ two track)
  10. Stop the inside hind foot and walk/pull the other feet forward around it. (Roll Back/ Spin).
  11. Vertical flexion 
  12. Pickup feet 
  13. Load in trailer
  14. Stand quiet tied up  
  15. Foundation applied to jobs (catered to discipline):
    • What will the owner do with them? Open/ close gate, except rope/ tarp, track cow/roping dummy, cut flag, go over jump, cross water/ bridge, exposed to starting gate/track, crack whip, etc…   

3. TQA Colt Starting Test/ Horse Training Foundation Test

  1. Colt Starting Certification
    • Student can earn a certification at any phase. However, only phase 4 equips students to pass the TQA Industry Colt Starting Test.
    • Groundwork (Score Sheet) –

  1. Assistant Trainer Certification
    • Horsemanship Test (Colt Starting Test w/ Older Horse)
    • Groundwork & Phase 1 Test (Prepare Un-started Horse for Trainer to Get On)
    • Halter Training Test (Halter Train a Horse That Has Never Been Touched)


Rope Horse