Born and raised in Italy, Andrea Fappani followed his dream of becoming one of the all-time leading trainers in Reining-world wide. His focus and passion for excellence not only made him the youngest NRHA Million Dollar Rider, but have put him at the top of the charts as a teacher, clinician and advocate of pursuing exceptional horsemanship. His Reining DVD's have outsold all others- designed and produced to teach the details of training Reining horses as well as to maintain them at a high level for optimum performance in the show pen. It was Andrea's desire and commitment to excel as a student of horsemanship that allowed him to develop such early success in his career. His enthusiasm and love for the sport and the horse is evident in his style of teaching and producing materials that allow others the opportunity to continue to develop better skills and results.
To show time after time, a horse has to be extremely broken. To obtain that, you have to train them consistently. I think there is a big difference between the way a young horse thinks as compared to an older horse. I try to keep in mind where my horse is in training so that I can communicate what I want the best way. I love riding two year olds in particular because they have a fresh mind and they really tell you if you are doing a good job or not.
In training horses I am always changing things around to get better and to get more out of my horses. I think that keeping an open mind towards different types of horses is what differentiates me from most trainers. I enjoy adapting my style to fit every horse at its best and I believe that it paid off through the years. I definitely have some important pillars that my system is based on. I learned from my English riding background about collection and I don't think I will ever be able to enjoy riding a horse that is not collected. I believe that a collected horse performs better and is easier to ride. I think that there are a lot of talented trainers out there but what makes a big difference between them is work ethic. If you don't work hard I don't think that you will get consistent results and I think that once you start getting good results you have to work even harder to keep them coming.
There are other trainers that can train a horse a lot quicker than I can, but I think that my horses will last longer because they have been ridden consistently, six days a wekk for almost two years. There are no shortcuts in training a horse if you want your horse to be solid in the end.
Knowing what kind of horse you're on is very important in training. By that, I mean that you have to know what type of mind your horse has when you start training in order to be able to get your horse to their highest potential. On a lazier horse, you'll have to push them harder to get them to realize what they're capable of doing, but on a sensitive horse you have to be more careful. From my years of experience, I can usually tell the mind of the horse in the first couple of rides, but I know no two horses are alike and I try to keep an open mind everytime I get on a new horse. There is nothing as rewarding for me as when I can feel that my horse is understanding totally what I want and that they are giving me their all.
Teaching horses is what I have done for the majority of my life and I genuinely enjoy every day that I get to train horses. There is something that makes me feel proud in being able to teach horses that are extremely different from one another, especially if I can teach him to do it better than other guys can. I try to get everything out of my horses and I push them very hard, but through it all I have a lot of respect for them and carefully manage the degree of work that I put them through.
I love a horse that comes out every day and wants to please you, however I get even more satisfaction in training a horse that is a little more challenging. I think that in training horses, one of the most important things to keep in mind is that every horse is an individual and that you have to start from "0" on every horse you ride. By that I mean that we as trainers get to ride many horses a day and sometimes are quick to forget that it's up to us to "show" them what we want them to do. They don't know that you have been doing it all day and almost do it automatically. We get really used to doing our program horse after horse, but in order to do a good job training your horses, you need to start from the beginning with every horse. One of the most challenging things to accomplish when training a horse is to get them really broke on every speed of the maneuvers without burning them out. A good reiner is a horse that knows 100% of the time what he's supposed to do and never refuses to do anything for you, and more importantly is still happy to do his job.
Teaching people is something that I have been concentrating on more and more in the last few years. I see the need for more teachers and mentors in our sport. There are so many young riders coming up and many professionals that have a great passion for the sport; they need help and mentoring from good coaches.
I really enjoy hosting clinics. It is very rewarding helping riders utilize some simple exercises to improve their riding and better their horses performance level. I have developed what I think is a solid training program for my horses and now I am at the point where I like to help do the same for people. Through my teaching and the 4 DVD Series' I have produced, I am pleased to know that people are listening to good help for their riding problems. What I tell people when I help them is that they need to stick to a particular program long enough in order for the system to work. It doesn't matter what you are spending the most time on- things get worse before they get better.
In my opinion, I see the need for people have a greater amount of professional supervision, direction and influence on a more consistent basis. Especially for the less experience riders trying to figure it out on their own, little problems can become bigger and it can become very challenging at times. Having a teacher or coach following your riding can be a little more expensive, but will pay off later on because you will accomplish a lot more, a lot quicker than if you tried to do it all on your own. In order to learn, you need the right horse and I think that having a good horse for your needs can teach you a lot. Having the right horse makes all the difference in the world, and knowing exactly what you need is the first thing you should concentrate on when shopping for a horse.