How we can be better trainersGary Opper, CPA, CFPeducation, effectiveness, mettle, ability, character, intelligence
Lessons from the Lipizzaner horses
"Anything forced and misunderstood can never be
—Xenophon, Greek historian
As a mortgage business owner, do you want to know how to train
strong, superior mortgage professionals? Alternatively, do you want
to become an outstanding mortgage professional? Do you want to be
the envy of your peers? Mortgage company owners can learn a lot
about how to train mortgage professionals by examining the training
of the famous Lipizzaners.
You can create loyal employees through education. Education will
provide your employees with an attractive mixture of effectiveness,
mettle, ability, character and intelligence. You can learn a lot
about how to train. Read on to gain more than 400 years of
The Lipizzaner horses are famous for their ability to perform
amazingly complicated steps, leaps and jumps that other horses
cannot do. This dressage, originally for the battlefield, is now
for entertainment. With proper training and education, your
employees will close loans other mortgage brokers cannot. Perhaps
you have seen these white muscular horses perform or the 1963
Disney movie, The Miracle of the White Stallions.
Lipizzaners' outstanding performances are a combination of good
stock and proper training. A mortgage company owner's good stock is
an ethical person with a great attitude, a willingness to learn and
good judgment. These individuals should be properly trained in your
state's mortgage laws and procedures. Lipizzaners are top quality;
so should you have top quality.
In 1562, the Austrian Archduke Maximilian bought some very fast
Spanish horses and bred them at his farm at Kladrub, Austria. Ten
years later, he began the Spanish Riding School. The equestrians
taught the horses special parade drills and how to fight on
horseback. In 1580, the emperor's brother, Archduke Charles II of
Inner Austria, bought 33 Spanish horses and brought them to
Lipizza, Slovenia. They produced a lighter horse impeccably suited
In the 1700s and 1800s, the Spanish Riding School produced well
trained great war horses that excelled in battle and protected
their riders. These horses could rear up on their hind legs so the
rider could see more of the battlefield. The horses could leap over
the enemy's lines and kick enemy soldiers while it was
At the end of World War, II, General George S. Patton helped
protect the Lipizzaners. Today, the Austrian government owns the
Spanish Riding School and Lipizzaners are bred, raised and trained
in various places in the world including Florida and
The world's oldest riding school is the Spanish Riding School. The
continuing success of the school is due to the following:
•The school's unwavering high standards of
•The total commitment of the trainers and riders; and
•The use of only the most talented and gifted stallions.
A mortgage professional's success should follow in the footsteps
of the Spanish Riding School:
•Unwavering high standards of mortgage
•Total commitment of the mortgage company owners and mortgage
•Use of only the most talented and gifted mortgage
The three training principles of the Spanish Riding School are
kindness, patience and understanding. These should be the guiding
principles of all mortgage learning.
Only experienced riders and trainers are allowed to work with new
horses. Experienced horses teach new riders. Four to 10 years pass
before a rider is ready to perform in public. A rider only works
with a few horses so the horse and rider know, trust and understand
each other. While most horses are fully trained within two years,
Lipizzaners take four years to train.
Only experts in their fields should teach employees. Trainers
should have practical experience and have the ability to educate
employees. Your employees should constantly be learning through
their job and independently. Training is a long-term commitment by
the employer and the employee for the benefit of both parties and
the consuming public. New advancements in our field are constantly
evolving and so should your employees. True experts should be up to
date on the latest trends, laws, practices and programs. Trainers
that are constantly learning and improving themselves will be sure
to keep workers knowledgeable and living up to their potential.
The lunge line
The first year is basic training. The horse learns the commands and
how to move gracefully. This training is done with a 30-foot lunge
line that attaches the horse and trainer. The horse learns how to
properly walk, trot and canter with balance and coordination. After
the horse has mastered this on lunge, an experienced rider teaches
the horse how to maneuver with saddle and rider. Training sessions
are short, lasting 45 minutes, and always ending on a positive
On-the-job training with an experienced mentor shows the trainee
how to move gracefully through the company's procedures using
proper and ethical methods of the mortgage profession. Brokers
should also be sure to train their employees in quality customer
service procedures in order to ensure their clients are receiving
the best quality of care. Good customer service can also generate
referrals—a key to increasing your business. Of course,
training should not be too long and should end on a positive
In the second year, the horse grows stronger with gymnastic and
stretching movements. The horse learns to deeply flex his joints
and bend his body in compact circles. This learning phase is in
preparation for the next two years.
The third and fourth years consist of learning the difficult
movement such as passage, piaffe and pirouette. The passage is a
suspended floating trot step. In the piaffe, the horse trots or
prances in one spot. The stallion stands on his hind legs and turns
in a circle in a pirouette.
Some horses advance to "airs above the ground," which include
spectacular jumping, leaping, kicking and other maneuvers once used
by riders protect and defend themselves in battle.
Only some horses can master the difficult airs above the ground.
The successful horses become specialists in a particular maneuver.
A horse usually only can master one or two airs above the
Training is done so that a horse understands the exercises instead
of learning by rote. The horses muscles are slowly and
systematically trained over a long period of time to develop
strength and elude any injury. The movements that the horses
perform are an extension of natural horse movement. An equestrian
trains a horse only trained to excel.
As training progresses and the trainee masters basic concepts,
more advanced, complicated functions can be introduced. When you
have a star student, teach him so well that all aspects of his
mortgages are natural. Train your employees to excel. Be sure to
encourage workers to subscribe to trade journals, magazines and
newspapers so that they can open their eyes to various aspects of
How does all this horse business relate to the mortgage business?
The Spanish Riding School training style can be applied to your
training like the Nordstrom customer service can be applied to
Training is a continuous evolving ongoing process. Training is
management's long-term commitment to its employees and its
customers. The three principles of Lipizzaners' training are
kindness, patience and understanding. These should be your
The Spanish Riding School is a great specialized school. Mortgage
professionals who excel receive a combination of in-house and
out-house training programs.
If you are the owner, you are responsible to your new and old
employees for dressage. You are also responsible to consumers who
you have educated your employees so that they can provide
excellent, graceful and powerful service to the public.
Gary Opper, CPA, CFP is the president of Approved Financial
Corporation and is past president of the Florida Association of Mortgage
Brokers Miami Chapter. He may be reached at (954) 384-4557 or
e-mail [email protected]