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View Full Version : An owner's bill of rights: Letter in this weeks COTH



Applesauce
Sep. 3, 2002, 12:41 PM
All I have to say is BRAVO to the writer, Leslie Kagen.

Very well done. /infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

"Ladies and gentlemen, take my advice. Pull down your pants and slide on the ice." quote from the tv series M*A*S*H

Applesauce
Sep. 3, 2002, 12:41 PM
All I have to say is BRAVO to the writer, Leslie Kagen.

Very well done. /infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

"Ladies and gentlemen, take my advice. Pull down your pants and slide on the ice." quote from the tv series M*A*S*H

barbaraG
Sep. 3, 2002, 02:05 PM
I say Amen, and thank-you!!

BarbaraG
GWV /infopop/emoticons/icon_razz.gif

Janet
Sep. 3, 2002, 02:22 PM
WHERE???
The letters page only goes through July!!!

Applesauce
Sep. 3, 2002, 03:17 PM
Page 179, the VERY last page.

"Ladies and gentlemen, take my advice. Pull down your pants and slide on the ice." quote from the tv series M*A*S*H

Fallbrook
Sep. 3, 2002, 03:27 PM
I just finished reading it and I'm ready to join the owner's revolution.

Heineken
Sep. 3, 2002, 03:51 PM
I remember the Kagen's from growing up in Milwaukee with them...Small world and WONDERFUL letter!!!!

Aqha Clique

Weatherford
Sep. 3, 2002, 03:56 PM
If it doesn't get posted, could someone send me a copy?

Thanks!

Found the view, but too expensive

LaurieB
Sep. 3, 2002, 04:06 PM
My Chronicle hasn't come yet. Does someone want to post the letter?

stephanie
Sep. 3, 2002, 04:09 PM
just FYI, erin or whoever's administering the site, I went to check the letters section from the COTH home page, and the link on the side goes to the site map, not the letters page...

2Dogs
Sep. 3, 2002, 05:38 PM
I can scan it in if folks wish - I am sure (or hope) that wouldn't be against COTH rules. It is a marvelous letter, and her list probably should be etched into wood and hung in every barn.

dublin
Sep. 3, 2002, 06:21 PM
would be great, 2Dogs!

Unfortunately, living out here in California, I will not be getting the August 30th issue until approximately 9/13. /infopop/emoticons/icon_frown.gif

AM
Sep. 3, 2002, 07:24 PM
I, too, enjoyed that letter and have been waiting for someone to bring it up. However, I don't think this was the recognition Denny Emerson had in mind in the column to which she replied.

2Dogs
Sep. 4, 2002, 04:10 AM
I tried!!...I can't get the *&^%$# letter small enough. Oh well.

hitchinmygetalong
Sep. 4, 2002, 05:03 AM
I especially liked "helpful hint #7."

Though I am more of a pleasure rider type (can only afford the occasional lesson, sorry) I have seen situations such as those she very eloquently describes and all I could think of at the time was, "Why doesn't someone DO something about this?"

It's about time someone pointed out that the emperor indeed has no clothes. Let's just see if the masses will listen.

"I am not afraid of storms, for I am learning to sail my ship."
-Louisa May Alcott

Erin
Sep. 4, 2002, 06:44 AM
The website is NOT me! I have my hands full just managing you people. /infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

If you run into problems, broken links, outdated pages, etc. on the main COTH site, please email Melinda at webmaster@chronofhorse.com. /infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

Catalina
Sep. 4, 2002, 06:48 AM
That was an excellent letter, very well written.

FlightCheck
Sep. 4, 2002, 06:49 AM
/infopop/emoticons/icon_frown.gif

creseida
Sep. 4, 2002, 07:10 AM
Me, too! *pout*

~<>~ Remember, the Ark was built by a rank amateur; the Titanic was built by a team of experts~<>~

Beans
Sep. 4, 2002, 08:36 AM
How do we write a letter of thanks to this woman? I tried to call her on the phone but couldn't find a listing to personally thank her. This was so on point I was yelling YES, YES, YES when I read it.

And as far as selling horses - well we NEVER sell a horse to anyone without a contract and it is directly with the BUYER - no one else. If someone is being paid a commission relative to the sale - it's stated in the sale and we issue a 1099 to them - so to get their money they have to provide us with a Tax ID #!!!

If I have to pay taxes on my horses business then the commissions are an expense and the trainers/agents/etc. can pay taxes on their income.

THANK YOU LESLEY KAGEN!!!!!

ltw
Sep. 4, 2002, 08:21 PM
Excellent letter... I can think of a few more I would like to add to this list. And I wish that horse sellers had to follow an ethics code, disclosure code and be held accountable. Lately, I have seen what I consider some very unethical behavior.

AW
Sep. 4, 2002, 09:40 PM
I hate to be a voice of dissent (sp?), but this business is a 2-way street. There are plenty of good, honest trainers/barn owners/barn mangagers out there, who bust their you-know-whats to do a good job and protect their clients and their horses and keep them all safe and happy. In return they get paid late, if at all. They have to figure out what to do with the horses whose bills haven't been paid in months but for whatever reason can't be sold for back board. They have supposedly adult customers sneak out in the middle of the night. They have customers leave and them tell hysterical lies about the barn, the trainer, the other customers, the barn cats, whatever. They have shoers calling them because the customers don't pay their shoeing bills. They have customers who don't want to be the parent try to get them to lie to their children about why some horse won't do, instead of saying no themselves.

And yes, I have been on the customer side. I have had the trainer use my horse as a lesson horse without permission. I have had my horse medicated without my knowledge. I have had my horse ridden in all sorts of gadgets, again without permission. I have been screamed at across a crowded schooling area. I have had my horse stuck in his stall for days because someone forgot to turn him out. I have had my horse standing in manure because someone forgot to bed his stall for 3 days. I have been on the back burner because someone else spent more money at the shows.

But I haven't had a horse sold for more $$ than I knew about, because I was always there to talk to the buyers. And I've never had a client buy a horse for an inflated price, because I make them talk to the seller directly. Maybe I was born to be mistrustful, but to me that's just common sense.

Yes, I thought it was a great letter, and maybe it will inspire people to take more control of their situations. But they shouldn't have given it away in the first place.

armandh
Sep. 5, 2002, 04:21 AM
horse trader comes to mind as a field where obscuring flaws and pointing out strengths is a profitable way of doing buisness. we have all been in barns where we paid tuition in the school of equestrian hard knocks. you only need to see how many barns go broke to see why shady dealing and low service are tempting b4 the fall. some are more skillfull and have been doing it for years by bringing in new fools to replace those who have the "I woke up" [and left] degree.

June
Sep. 5, 2002, 05:47 AM
Any chance of seeing the letter on this board? I hate to drive to the nearest seller of COTH as it would be over an hour round trip for me /infopop/emoticons/icon_rolleyes.gif Not trying to be cheapskate or anything...
June

Anne
Sep. 5, 2002, 07:02 AM
Or for those of us who get TCOTH at one address but don't manage to see the magazine for weeks.... /infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

barnie
Sep. 5, 2002, 07:33 AM
The commission thing seems to be a real sticking point for a lot of people, but there is DEFINATELY another side to it. Just like a house, if you want to sell your horse "by owner" great, but if you want my contacts, knowledge, input and continuing help after the sale/purchase you will have to pay me for it. So many pleasure riders and horse people(some right here on this board)fail to remember that your leisure is my livelyhood. This is a service industry and as interested as most people are in getting their money's worth, I'm as interested in getting paid for what I do! I hear people complain all the time "you made money for a phone call?!" Yes, I may have...just like if you call your lawyer for advice. Someone told me a long time ago that what you can't or won't do for yourself, you pay someone else to do. And I know our industry,because it is not strictly regulated,has it's crooks. However, it also has a lot of cheap skates that want it all for free. Soooo while I thought the letter in the COTH was well written, I definately did not agree with the whole content. And I do wish everyone would think a minute before always jumping on the bandwagon to bash all the professional horsemen and women that work very hard so you can have fun...that is what it's all supposed to be about, right! /infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

Beans
Sep. 5, 2002, 07:43 AM
This is an earned title and few seem to wear the crown. We have a stated policy on commissions and NO ONE represents horses for us. We've sat with too many people who were sold a bill of goods by an "agent" or "trainer" - many times the OWNER didn't even know what was being said! And as far as earning a commission - if you found the buyer or seller - then a commission is due - but it should be by separate check. The OWNERSHIP of the horse should legally pass from the SELLER to the BUYER in writing - IMHO. After all if this is your business - don't you want to protect yourself? AND a 1099 should be issued to the person getting the commission. That way it's their problem about reporting the income.

But if you talk to me about a horse for sale and then represent the horse to someone else - you get nothing if I don't sell this horse to the person. AND - we will NOT pay a commission to a ANYONE getting a commission from the other side. It's a total conflict of interest and unethical and we won't be a part of it. YOu can't serve two masters.

But we see people who sell their own horse and then have their TRAINER demand some huge commission even though they had nothing to do with the sale. HAH! I'd let them sue me and then stand before a judge and explain what they did to earn the commission. They'd get the heave ho very quickly. But too many horsepeople DON'T want to offend these oh so important "Trainers" and that's the backbone of the letter in the COTH.

If the Trainers or Agents consider them Professionals then they should pick up a book on Ethics and see how it applies to their businesses. A lot of law came from the horrendous underhanded dealings of "horsetraders" historically in this country.....doesn't that make your wonder???????????

Anne FS
Sep. 5, 2002, 07:47 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by barnie:
The commission thing seems to be a real sticking point for a lot of people, [snip] Just like a house, if you want to sell your horse "by owner" great, but if you want my contacts, knowledge, input and continuing help after the sale/purchase you will have to pay me for it.
<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

barnie, I agree, you SHOULD be paid for your contacts, knowledge, etc. but IME the sticking point about the commission is not that we pay a commission, that is fair, you're right that some people do resent 'paying for a phone call' but the lawyer analogy's a good one, but the sticking point is that (and it's happened to me) when you use a trainer to find a horse, SOME trainers find out the selling price and then add quite a bit onto that. That's what ticks people off. In my case I was told about a $2500 horse and to contact the trainer. Price was $4000 and I declined. Found out later that the owner had no idea I was told 4K, her selling price was 2K, but the trainer figured, why not pocket an extra 100%? With the money passing through the trainer, neither the buyer nor the seller would've known what happened. It TICKED me off. This trainer lost her job over it, I'm glad to say, because the farm owner fired her when she found out about it. Like you, she didn't want this cheating going on out of her barn so she stopped it.

So, just my 2 cents as to why people get funny when commissions come up. So many of us have been cheated or people have tried to cheat us & been caught. When I finally did find a horse, the trainer BEFORE we left to look at a horse, sat down with me and my daugher and outlined exactly what she expected to be paid for and how much. All was clear and agreed upon before we looked at the first horse.

findeight
Sep. 5, 2002, 07:59 AM
Linking horse sales and used car sales is very astute BUT TELL ME WHY NEWBIES WHO RESEARCH ANYTHING TO DO WITH THEIR CAR FOR MONTHS END UP WITH THE WORST HORSE PEOPLE IN TOWN????????????

The only reason these crooks stay in business is the constant inflow of ignorant new owners who could have saved months of grief and money by simply asking a few questions of other local owners. While all trainers have a disgruntled ex customer or two, a few questions will quickly reveal those folks who are consistently sub par and should be avoided.

So, while I do agree with many of the points in the letter, it is up to the owner to select a trainer with these in mind instead of complaining about them later. Also up to the owner to move if they feel cheated or used.

Whoever said deal with a professional who really is a professional and conducts the business that way was right.

The Horse World. 2 people, 3 opinions. That's the way it is.

tle
Sep. 5, 2002, 08:17 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>This is an earned title and few seem to wear the crown. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Hate to disagree but...

pro?fes?sion?al Pronunciation Key (pr-fsh-nl)
adj.

1A. Of, relating to, engaged in, or suitable for a profession: lawyers, doctors, and other professional people.
1B. Conforming to the standards of a profession: professional behavior.
2. Engaging in a given activity as a source of livelihood or as a career: a professional writer.
3. Performed by persons receiving pay: professional football.
4. Having or showing great skill; expert: a professional repair job.

n.
1. A person following a profession, especially a learned profession.
2. One who earns a living in a given or implied occupation: hired a professional to decorate the house.
3. A skilled practitioner; an expert.

One of the sticking points in this country is pretty much that anyone can hang their shingle and call themselves a trainer... and a professional trainer at that (see definition adjective 2 or noun 2). I've known a few that I wouldn't consider a professional any more than I'd consider myself one (see definition adjective 4 or noun 3).


PS. I too would love to see the article.

************
If Dressage is a Symphony... Eventing is Rock & Roll!!!

"All's well that ends with cute E.R. doctors, I always say." -- Buffy

Applesauce
Sep. 5, 2002, 08:20 AM
Hang on folks. I'm going to type the sucker out and post it. /infopop/emoticons/icon_razz.gif

"Ladies and gentlemen, take my advice. Pull down your pants and slide on the ice." quote from the tv series M*A*S*H

Magnolia
Sep. 5, 2002, 08:24 AM
People do really seem to lack some common sense when it comes to buying horses that they otherwise wouldn't do on other purchases.

People need to educate themselves before buying a horse. Buy some good books on care, and READ them. Research costs, call around about trainers, get quotes before you ship old Red down to Florida for the winter, pay a vet for a full set of xrays when you buy Bucky.... if somebody won't let you do that.... something is up. Would you buy a used car that someone wouldn't allow a mechanic to check?

It takes 2 people to get ripped off..... (that said, it stinks that people do this sort of thing!)

The witchy witch witch of south central NC.

Sleepy
Sep. 5, 2002, 08:24 AM
The person selling the horse pays ONE commission to their trainer. The person buying the horse pays the owner of the horse plus a finder's fee to his/her trainer. There should be no other fingers in the pie. No other trainers, no barn owners. If the barn owner feels they get a slice, it comes out of the trainers portion.

Any buyer who does anything else is either stupid or crazy. Or possibly just an ignorant newbie. And yes, I would have a contract up front with the trainer indicating this.

Now having said that, I personally only buy horses from sales. At least usually. I have found some interesting ex-racers but so far I am resisting. /infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

SMKR
Sep. 5, 2002, 08:33 AM
Looks like we sold our c/a jumper (she's vetting this pm). We got a call shorty after the girl tried her from an old trainer.
About a year ago she asked if we wanted to post a pic on a sales web site. We said, sure. We gave her a pic, she scanned it and that's it. Well, thru the grapevine she hears we have found a buyer (by ourselves... we put flyers up at a show and some people saw her and liked her....). She calls to remind us that last year she put this horse on the web ( it is not her site....and not one that costs for the listing).Now, the people have never heard of trainer, came with flyer in hand at the show. We set up time to try horse etc.
Do YOU think we owe this trainer anything?

Applesauce
Sep. 5, 2002, 08:41 AM
Dear Sir:

While I found Denny Emerson's column "horse Owners Deserve More Recognition" (July 12 p. 36) fascinating, I believe that he may be trying to frost the cake before it's out of the oven.

Wer'e experiencing a lot of problems in the hunter world right now. Bad judging, politics, drugging, corruption-you know, business as usual. But, for some annoying reason, people are talking about the stuff that no one is supposed to talk about until they're safely back in their motel rooms.

It's OK, because I'm a nobody. My opinion doesn't matter. I'm just a dumb Midwestern mother who's been involved with the horse idustry for more than 40 years. I'm at the bottom of the food chain, I'm an owner. The mark. That's the way you trainers think of us, isn't it?

I'm the tacky woman who works her butt off at a job I don't love in order to provide my daughter with something she does-herhorse. I'm one of the hundreds of women on whom you've built your business over the years,, and guess what? I'm unhappy, and I'm not the only one.

It's time that we as owners held tgrainers accountable. It's time to expect them to adhere to the commonly held business practices, to help them remember that we are the customersk, and while the customer isn't always right, we are still the customers.

Some helpful hints:
1) Don't sell me a lame horse that was drugged when I got it and suggest to me that vetting isn't really necessary because, "Well, I know the trainer at the barn he's come from, and after all, they all have a little somthing wrong with them."

2) Don't treat my child with disdain if she's not tall enough, thin enough, smart enough, or just plain doesn't ride that well. Maybe she's not the winner, but she helped pay for that BMW you are drivin.

3) When I return from my next horse show, I expect an itemized bill for the expenses which you're charging my. And don't charge me for seomthing called "special shampoo" or "special service" or any other "special" ridiculous charge that you need to cover your vacation to Hawaii next month.

4)Don't charge me a 15 percent commission on a horse that I found.

5) Don't suggest that in roder to sell my animal it must be sent to another barn, and when it returns lame dont smile and say, "Oh well, it's your horse, an dthat's the cost of doing business".

6) Don't find my daughter a horse she can't ride so you can charge me "training fees". I wouldn't buy her a car she can't drive, so why should you recommend a horse she can't ride?

7) Sel lmy horse for the exact amount I'm asking and provide me with the name of thit's future owner, so if I later find out that you sold my $30,000 pony for $40,000 and kept the difference, I can sue you.

8) Take care of my animal. Feed it, turn it out, and call the vet when necessary. Perferably a vet of my choice, since I pay the bill.

9) When I leave your barn for whatever reason, do not make it your mission in life to make our life miserable at the next horse show we both attend. This kind of juvenile behavior is unbeccoming of an adult. Maybe your time would be better spent reflecting on why you lost a good customer.

10) Realize that being a trainer/barn owner is difficult. It's a service position, and if you aren't prepared to off that service in an honest, ethical and good-spirited manner, remember that the carnival is always looking for a few good people.

Since so many trainers are so fond of calling themselves "professionals", I suggest they start conducting themselves in a manner that reflects that title. I would suggest to every owner that starting today, you hold your trainers and barn managers accountable for their businesses. Stop complainging behind their backs, stop paying outrageous bill that you think are unfair, protect your kids, and educate yourselves.

Insist that your relationship be built on mutual respect, and if it is not, leave. There are decent trainers out there-give your bisiness to them. In order to grow and get better as an industry, it takes a grassroots effort. It should start today with us, the owners, because without us, as Mr. Emerson noted, there would be no industry.

Lesley Kagen



phew...I have typers cramp

"Ladies and gentlemen, take my advice. Pull down your pants and slide on the ice." quote from the tv series M*A*S*H

Sleepy
Sep. 5, 2002, 08:45 AM
jrjumpermom, don't pay that trainer a DIME. If you do, you are perpetuating what's wrong with the system. They clearly did NOT successfully market the horse.

June
Sep. 5, 2002, 09:06 AM
Thank you, Applesauce! Jrjumpermom, where are you in PA? I live not far from Harrisburg. And I agree with Sleepy's opinion.
June

Anne FS
Sep. 5, 2002, 09:07 AM
No, you don't owe that trainer anything, and who is it, btw? I'd like to know.

And lesson learned: you could've borrowed a scanner and sent your own photo to the no-cost website. Had you sold your horse through that website, then the trainer would have an argument, but as a result of your flyer? No way.

SMKR
Sep. 5, 2002, 09:24 AM
This person did not directly ask for a commision but as she has not initiated contact in such a long time I figured that was what the call was for? This is why I asked if Maybe I should give her something.
I would rather not say who she is.She had been marvelous to my daughter before we became serious competitors and we moved on and when teaching was just a fun hobby for her. Things have to change a little when it becomes your livelyhood (SP? that looks weird) I guess.
JReed> I live right behind the Quentin Riding Club.

Beans
Sep. 5, 2002, 09:37 AM
and it really isn't an issue of who is "nice" or not. When we sell a horse we don't send money to people who have told people about the horse without a resulting sale - just because we like them!!!

Anne FS
Sep. 5, 2002, 09:38 AM
No, nobody ever wants to say WHO is doing this stuff, do they? /infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

But I understand - if she didn't directly ask you for a commission, a call to remind you that she posted the picture is legit, so I wouldn't mention her name at this point either. After all, someone could say to you, "I saw your horse on the website and I'd like to see him" and so she's just reminding you. Let us know if she does ask for a cut, though.

Since I'm in the same area I was just wondering if it was the same person I knew.

June
Sep. 5, 2002, 09:39 AM
jrjumpermom,
OK...where is the Quentin Riding Club? From other posts, it sounds like a fun time was had by all there recently!
June /infopop/emoticons/icon_rolleyes.gif

SMKR
Sep. 5, 2002, 09:46 AM
If you take the Lebanon exit off the turnpike it is about 5 miles north on route 72. You must join us for the next show (of course that won't be til May /infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif ) We did have a great time and next time we will be more organized. We need to make those VA people jealous....no more Mosebys gossip, we will start our own Tavern Stand or Bluebird Inn outings!!!!
There are 3 A rated shows....Blue Rock, St. Christohers, Fall Show and the C rated PJA (but the jumper money is better here than at many shows that are A rated and the Exhibitors party couldn't get any tackier or more fun !

HMMMMMMM, maybe they should hire me for their PR person. /infopop/emoticons/icon_cool.gif

5
Sep. 5, 2002, 09:49 AM
Did the buyer see the horse at any time on the website and the flyer just gave her the incentive to try the horse then the trainer should get a part commission. If the buyer had no knowledge of the website no commission.
If the trainer is a nice person and you feel bad make it an early christmas present not a commission.

tle
Sep. 5, 2002, 10:00 AM
Thank you for posting the article!!

While I agree with all the Dos and Don'ts that were mentioned, I have to wonder why someone would ALLOW themselves to be so in the dark as to their animals that any of those would happen? I'm not looking down on anyone as I've been the person that these types of things have happened to. But the longer I spent in the industry (as owner and competitor), the more *I* have sought out knowledge and assimilated it for my use. Most of the items on that list ARE common sense business practices... but why would they be a major problem if people (the customers) did in fact insist that those practices were followed? That they were treated with the respect they deserved and yes, that they had the knowledge to find fault with any system that wasn't up to snuff.

I love owners and try to give them as much credit as possible, but really.... if they don't want to be "taken" by the next sham-artist (whether in or out of the horse industry) then they should take some responsibility for their own investments and actions and learn about said subject. Otherwise it becomes yet another example of how our society is quickly moving SOOOO far away from personal responsibility and into "it's their fault" crap.

************
If Dressage is a Symphony... Eventing is Rock & Roll!!!

"All's well that ends with cute E.R. doctors, I always say." -- Buffy

AM
Sep. 5, 2002, 10:05 AM
So if you want to buy a car, new or used, there are a number of books, magazines, and websites one can use to learn about buying a car and about the specific make and model you want to purchase including dealer markups.

Now just where can a potential horse buyer go to research how to buy a horse? Does Consumer Reports test horses? Is there a Kelly blue book for horses? I don't think just talking to someone about how it is done is very informative or useful and it certainly isn't research.

SillyHorse
Sep. 5, 2002, 10:17 AM
AM, I was asking myself the same question. It's not so easy to get educated about the horse business. Unfortunately, experience is usually the teacher.

SillyHorse
~ Even on a fast machine, an infinite loop takes a while to run.

Sleepy
Sep. 5, 2002, 10:22 AM
Well, hopefully newbies end up here so WE can tell 'em. /infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

Beans
Sep. 5, 2002, 10:50 AM
they get in the business due to their children and even "well known" trainers take these people for a ride. And please don't be naive enough to think that a Trainer who's been "caught" at being unethical will thank the owner and wish them well. Many to everything they can to black ball these people. I've heard many people say that they are almost afraid to do this for fear it will prevent their kids from getting another trainer or WORSE ...some of the trainers are also judges or know them well.

I've had people tell me they were TOLD by the trainer that a 20% commission is STANDARD! Is that set by the Feds or what? They also tell them it's o.k. for them to get a commission from both sides....in some states it's not legal and in some states it's not legal to say up front this is happening. How many trainers do say this?

And if anyone thinks the pharmaceutical industry doesn't do well by the show circuit - you haven't seen the "orders" that large training facilities put in before they depart the Northeast for Florida every year!!!!

Mrs. Kagen doesn't strike me as a person that isn't intelligent - she perhaps thought (erroneously) that people who work with or around horses are all really ethical, caring and honest people. WRONG! I think the Insurance scandal of a few years should have shown all of us that many of them could care less if the horse was alive or dead or how it died! A sad reality - but reality just the same.

appyhunter
Sep. 5, 2002, 10:56 AM
[QUOTE]Originally posted by Erin:
The website is NOT me! I have my hands full just managing you people. /infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

QUOTE]

ROFL!

Sleepy
Sep. 5, 2002, 11:09 AM
Actually, Beans, Ms Kagen strikes me as extremely intelligent. That was a very well written letter. And she's no newbie either, apparently. But before we had this avenue of communication (thank you, COTH) people weren't talking to each other. So it was a dirty, little secret. Plus people were scared of reprisals.

But in the 20 years I rode with my old trainer, he NEVER did that to me. And I bought 3 horses during that time period. And came to him originally with another. He knew I went to sales and bought horses. And he knew that I probably had a better eye for a green prospect than he did. I was never told to get rid of a horse or that I owed a commission on a horse I found.

Now, of course, since I don't show and have no plans to, short of a lottery win, I don't care whose toes I step on. I expect professional behavior from everyone I deal with and having no problems firing anyone who exhibits unprofessional or unethical behavior. And I WILL tell them why. After all, I am the customer.

SGray
Sep. 5, 2002, 11:11 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Applesauce:
Hang on folks. I'm going to type the sucker out and post it. /infopop/emoticons/icon_razz.gif

"Ladies and gentlemen, take my advice. Pull down your pants and slide on the ice." quote from the tv series M*A*S*H<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>


thanks so much Applesauce

Dementia 13
Sep. 5, 2002, 11:12 AM
I think that's what beans was saying sleepy - that Ms. Kagan is intelligent.


I agree with tle - I think it is up to people to educate themselves. There are plenty of resources available including our wonderful bulletin board.

Janet
Sep. 5, 2002, 11:16 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> Now just where can a potential horse buyer go to research how to buy a horse? <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>"A Horse of Your Own" is a good place to start. And there have been several good articles in PH.

Hopeful Hunter
Sep. 5, 2002, 11:27 AM
First, Applesauce, thank you SO much for typing that out!

Next, Ms. Kagen, wherever you are, THANK YOU. She had the balls to spell out and sign her name to some very legitimate issues about the business. Amazing!

Now....as to those who say "who would be so dumb" I think there are a lot of issues here. One is that if you are new to horses or hope to learn about horses, there really is no central place for that. This BB (and many thanks for it!) is a good start, but I was "into" horses for over 6 years before I found it, and I was already a fairly educated owner. Why? Because I'm not into doing huge shows and never thought about the Chronicle as offering such a forum.

Many areas have few if any tack shops or farms listed in the phone book. And that's still where people are likely to start looking at the horse world. The press doesn't really do anything on the topic, most trainers don't advertise in conventional consumer outlets, so where do people go? And if they find a place, how do they know what is and isn't "good" or "standard" or even OK?

If the hapless newbie doesn't have a computer or doesn't spend a lot of time on the 'net, that's another strike. And it's easy to say go to the library but very few libraries have an extensive equestrian selection. Just some things to think about...

Anne FS
Sep. 5, 2002, 11:33 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by tle:

While I agree with all the Dos and Don'ts that were mentioned, I have to wonder why someone would ALLOW themselves to be so in the dark as to their animals that any of those would happen?
<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Because we TRUSTED the trainer.

We thought this person who taught riding lessons was trustworthy. The barn owner trusted her, too, and made the suggestion to go through her. In our case she was caught. How? Because the barn owner followed up by asking me if we went to look at the horse. I said no, 4K is too high; barn owner said nothing to me but went home and called the owner herself and found out the truth, fired the trainer, and told me and the owner what had happened. In the meantime another person bought the horse and that match ended up being a great one.

When we ended up buying our horse, as I said before, the new trainer sat down with us and we talked everything out up front. However, having learned my lesson, I also talked price directly with the seller and of course I will ALWAYS do this. We ended up buying this horse and the seller's price was exactly what the trainer represented. But it was trusting someone we thought we knew, someone we thought valued us, that could've led to us being burnt.

Horses are worth whatever someone will pay for them. Since for most of us, horses are a personal love, we just don't look at it like a business deal like buying a car, but of course that is foolish - it's not a business deal for us but it is for those we are dealing with so we have to get into a business mentality.

barnie
Sep. 5, 2002, 11:57 AM
Whew! Just got back from looting, pillaging, generally stealing everyone blind...you know, being a (gasp) professional!

I'm sure some of you have had bad experiences buying and selling horses, but don't assume I'm a crook because I make a living in this crazy business! (I do file 1099's, Beans!)There are crooks in every business...can we say ENRON? But, please don't summarily bash us all. I have run across some aweful owners in my time too. Everything they own must be worth 1 million cause so and so sold such and such horse for that and theirs isn't as pretty as mine! Let's say customer "A" wants to sell their horse. They can't...so call me for help. They want 10K to them. The horse is iffy at that price, and definately won't support my 15% commission on top, and realistically, not the buyer's trainers commission/finders fee either.Now where do we go from here? Do I find a buyer for them at their price and not make money? This is MY living after all. Or does the owner take less for their horse so it can get sold? I'm sure a lot of people think the owner is the only one who should profit in this instance. Pretty interesting question huh?!

Now what happens if I find a horse in someone's back yard for 3K. It is adorable and easily worth 10K to one of my customers. Do I tell it's owners that they aren't asking enough money for their horse or do I buy it, re-sell it to my customer and make the profit?! What exactly is the ethical thing to do? I think ya'll can see how this business is very complex. That said... the buyer should be aware, as should the seller. Try to make informed decisions and find someone trustworthy to help you. We ARE out there and you can get a mess of trouble on your own too! Not every seller will tell you the truth about their horse either.

Sleepy
Sep. 5, 2002, 12:07 PM
I am not questioning your right to make a living Barnie. There is a big difference in buying a horse because you have an eye for what will sell and turning it around quickly and taking a client to see a horse that is priced less than what you would like said client to spend and jacking the price up. The case you mentioned is borderline. If you actually buy the horse and then sell it, fine. If the horse doesn't change hands until your client writes the check - to you - then yeah, I have a problem with a 333% commission.

PS - I already outlined what I thought the scenario should be. Horse gets sold for x amount, whatever trainer can get for it. Buyer writes check to me the seller. I write trainer a check for 10% of x dollars.

Anne FS
Sep. 5, 2002, 12:15 PM
Oh, c'mon, barnie, who the **** said you were a crook? and who bashed all professionals? I for one gave an example of ONE SPECIFIC crooked trainer and then told of a trustworthy one with whom I do business.

What's complicated about this? If the owner's price floor is 10K, the buyer either pays the price + the commission due or the owner realizes the horse won't sell at that price through a trainer charging commission and finds his price on his own or else he lowers the price.

No complications about the 3K horse either. If you are searching for a horse for a specific customer and the seller is only asking 3K, then you tell your customer "I found a horse for 3K."
Amazing that that's an ethical dilemma! You're hired to find a horse, you find a horse. What's the problem here? Don't you see how treasured you would be to your customer?!

Now, if that specific customer for whom you are searching declines this horse, yes, by all means, you buy it for 3K, take it home and sell it for whatever you wish. That's fair. Say I'm your customer and I pass on the 3K horse & you buy it. 2 months later I'm looking at it in your barn & decide it's a pretty cool horse. If you tell me the price is $10K, sorry, Anne, you missed your chance to buy it at 3, I will agree with you - I missed my chance, you took a chance, you bought the horse at it's asking price and deserve to profit. But if I hire you to find me a horse and you find a good one at a cheap price and decide to TRIPLE it's price, that's not fair.

Mare
Sep. 5, 2002, 12:19 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> jrjumpermom
posted Sep. 05, 2002 11:33 AM ?
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Looks like we sold our c/a jumper (she's vetting this pm). We got a call shorty after the girl tried her from an old trainer.
About a year ago she asked if we wanted to post a pic on a sales web site. We said, sure. We gave her a pic, she scanned it and that's it. Well, thru the grapevine she hears we have found a buyer (by ourselves... we put flyers up at a show and some people saw her and liked her....). She calls to remind us that last year she put this horse on the web ( it is not her site....and not one that costs for the listing).Now, the people have never heard of trainer, came with flyer in hand at the show. We set up time to try horse etc.
Do YOU think we owe this trainer anything? <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

The solution is to thank the person/trainer profusely for their thoughtfulness in posting that photo 'so long ago' and saying ' it is such a shame that the horse didn't sell through that site'.

Ask them for the link to the site so you can post sold on the horse or if they would 'be so kind' as to list horse as sold next time posting there. /infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif A little bit of naivity can go a long way. /infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif Make sure you mention how hard it was doing up posters and placing them all over the countryside ... and maybe gush a little about what a lovely home the horse is going to have with this lady who found one of 'our posters' at the horse show!!!!

barnie
Sep. 5, 2002, 12:32 PM
Tricky Dick Nixon...a joke, get it?

I am not that sensitive!!

What I was saying about the horse for 3K, was what is my responsibility as you see it to the current owner? I did not say I was horse hunting for a particular person. That makes it different!

Janet
Sep. 5, 2002, 12:33 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> One is that if you are new to horses or hope to learn about horses, there really is no central place for that. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE> When we were "new to horses", my father found out that one of his colleagues at work was "life long horsewoman". And my mother (a teacher) discovered that one of her students' mother was a "life long horsewoman". These two (non professional) women cheerfully steered us through the course of becoming horse owners.

And I have done the same when some of MY work colleagues have horse mad daughters, and the parent fnally gives in to the demand to "get a horse".

lisa
Sep. 5, 2002, 01:05 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by barnie:

What I was saying about the horse for 3K, was what is my responsibility as you see it to the current owner? I did not say I was horse hunting for a particular person. That makes it different!<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Huh? I don't see a dilemma here at all, unless the current owner is a customer of yours also.

And as far as not "horse hunting for a particular person", in a previous post you wrote:

<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>...easily worth 10K to one of my customers.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Now, you're talking semantics. Justification on your part to have a customer of yours who has $10k to spend -- whether they're actively looking at this time or not -- spend more money than they need to. Plus, I would bet you'd make your customer pay you 15% on top. Uggh.

And I really want to know why everyone thinks 15% should be the going rate for commissions.

Ms. Kagan's letter was right on.

Sleepy
Sep. 5, 2002, 01:05 PM
Barnie, you snap up the bargain. That is why you are the professional after all. You can market this horse for more than its current owner can.

But this illustrates what I've always said and no one at my barn quite believes. I will NEVER pay more than 5000 for a horse and it would have to be pretty special for me to pay that. Because I can find these backyard horses and track rejects, never made it to the track, too many horses, etc. owners. I actually know people who think you can't find ANY prospect for less than 20,000. And others that think if the horse walks out of the stall without falling over it's worth 10,000. Because that's what their trainer has led them to believe. /infopop/emoticons/icon_rolleyes.gif

Anne FS
Sep. 5, 2002, 01:31 PM
Sorry, barnie, I should've known you were joking. I apologize.

<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by barnie:

Now what happens if I find a horse in someone's back yard for 3K. It is adorable and easily worth 10K to one of my customers.
<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

That was the part of your msg. that made me think you were looking for a specific customer.

Anne FS
Sep. 5, 2002, 01:41 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by barnie:
What I was saying about the horse for 3K, was what is my responsibility as you see it to the current owner? <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Oops, I forgot to answer the question. If the owner is asking 3K and is happy with that, buy it for 3. Why should you tell them any different? No, you have no obligation to tell them that.

If the owner is also your client and asks you what you think is a good price to set and you really think 10, then say 10. If this second case, the seller is your client and so in effect has hired you to help them do this right - it would be unethical of you to not do your best for them. If you answer an ad or find a horse for 3 from someone else, of course buy it for the asking price.

As a professional the obligation is to your clients. As someone said, you are in a service industry. You have knowledge your clients are paying you for - find me a horse, sell my horse, whatever. They are relying on you, paying you for a service. To use one's knowledge to do the best for your clients is what one does. To use one's superior knowledge to take more money out of a client's pocket by hiding/withholding information from them would not be ethical.

barnie
Sep. 5, 2002, 01:44 PM
Again misunderstood! I must express myself more clearly!!


What I meant about the 3K horse was that to a knowledgeable horseperson(one of my customers
/infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif )the horse would obviously be worth more than what it's current owners wanted.It could be openly and fairly marketed as worth 10K. So should I tell the owner that or not?What if you were the owner?

Now Lisa: you don't know me, why would you assume I would be unfair to my customers? I would not add a commission on top of my own selling price...whatis that about /infopop/emoticons/icon_rolleyes.gif

And in general why would I want my customers to pay as much as they could for a horse? I want them to find the BEST horse for the money they have to spend. If they don't spend their limit...then they have more to spend w/me in lessons and showing...duh! A commission is a one shot deal. Lessons happen every week...thank God /infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif

But I still feel a majority of ya'll are very hostile toward "pros". There may be some that are rich, but mostly we do it because we love horses and the life style that goes w/them.I know at the end of one of the 95 degree days we've been having, I wonder why I do this.

jr
Sep. 5, 2002, 01:47 PM
Lisa,

I have to disagree with you. Professionals make a living looking for horses to turn-over for a profit. They take significant risks when they buy a prospect -- even if it is for quick re-sale. They make a big profit on one, but lose their shirts on another. It is not unreasonable for them to look for significant profit on a prospect as long as they don't misrepresent the horse. It is no different than most other business enterprises.

barnie
Sep. 5, 2002, 01:50 PM
Thanks Anne FS and jr, the voices of reason! /infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

jr
Sep. 5, 2002, 01:52 PM
I am also a little surprised to see people talking about standard 15% commissions. I've been around this business 30 years, and have bought and sold probably close to 20 horses/ponies....Not once have I every paid more than 10%, and often less than that.

jr
Sep. 5, 2002, 02:02 PM
Barnie,

There is a special place in heaven for honest trainers who put their clients first. I think the hostility your seeing is a result of those others...the ones that misrepresent sales prices and skim off the top, sell clients unsuitable horses so they can make additional $ on the resale, etc. I used to train with one of those....luckily I didn't have enough $ to be of much concern to her... /infopop/emoticons/icon_rolleyes.gif

Instead of viewing all trainers throught this lens, folks should look for the good ones. They are out there.. even on the A Circuit. /infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif I finally found one to work with, and the progress we've made is incredible. /infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

Weatherford
Sep. 5, 2002, 02:06 PM
What a GREAT letter!

What a great discussion!!!

Found the view, but too expensive

barnie
Sep. 5, 2002, 02:06 PM
I know this won't be popular, but because our industry is so UNregulated,there isn't a "standard" commission except in general practice. Frankly, I've had lots of big name professionals tell me they always get 20% and it's no secret to their customers...all out in the open. It is basically what the market will bear. This is really what I was getting at with my 3K horse scenerio.Unless someone has asked me to evaluate said horse for price, if I know the horse is worth 10K, the seller wants 3K, why can't I represent it as a 10K horse if it is? /infopop/emoticons/icon_confused.gif

Beans
Sep. 5, 2002, 02:27 PM
We pay 10% commission for horses under saddle and 5% for youngsters. It's published - if someone wants a bigger commission they can take their buyer elsewhere. But if we have the horse they want - that's it. We market out own horses BTW. If I had someone actually marketing the horse I could understand a higher commission, but I would have it in writing and also a detail of what they will provide in advertising, showing the horse, etc.

With the internet we can get a lot more marketing done on our own and our clients are really our best advertising. But I can't get over the trainers who have had NOTHING to do with the transaction and show up at the last minute and say they want a commission ...hah! Fat chance. For what - existing?

A woman up the road had a fabulous $40,000 pony that she was selling and used an agent who said she had a buyer and identified him. Months later she saw the man and asked him why he didn't buy the pony - he told her he couldn't spend $80,000!! Nice agent!

Applesauce
Sep. 5, 2002, 02:28 PM
No problem posting the letter.

I just love this. Like Weatherford said, what a wonderful discussion. So glad we have this board!!!

"Ladies and gentlemen, take my advice. Pull down your pants and slide on the ice." quote from the tv series M*A*S*H

SGray
Sep. 5, 2002, 02:31 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by barnie:
.... This is really what I was getting at with my 3K horse scenerio.Unless someone has asked me to evaluate said horse for price, if I know the horse is worth 10K, the seller wants 3K, why can't I represent it as a 10K horse if it is? /infopop/emoticons/icon_confused.gif<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

If you trust your judgement enough to shell out the 3K, then house, market, train,.... whatever, then whatever profit that you make should be fine.

If, on the other hand, you tell a potential buyer that the horse (still owned by another) is $10K, have that buyer write you a check for $10k, and then give the seller a check for $3k - that (to my way of thinking) is not kosher.

Beezer
Sep. 5, 2002, 04:57 PM
But, two things jumped out at me (and sorry in advance for the length of this):

<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by barnie:

Let's say customer "A" wants to sell their horse. They can't...so call me for help. They want 10K to them. The horse is iffy at that price, and definately won't support my 15% commission on top, and realistically, not the buyer's trainers commission/finders fee either. Now where do we go from here? Do I find a buyer for them at their price and not make money? This is MY living after all. Or does the owner take less for their horse so it can get sold? I'm sure a lot of people think the owner is the only one who should profit in this instance. Pretty interesting question huh?!<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

When we're the seller, we've ALWAYS paid our trainer's/agent's commission OUT OF the purchase price. Perhaps we've done so incorrectly for the last three decades. /infopop/emoticons/icon_razz.gif We "build in" the commission into the asking price; frankly (and, yes, I am painting with a very broad brush here) telling anyone in this business that "I want X amount and anything over that is your gravy" is tantamount to not only leaving the barn door open, but leaving it wide open with a sign saying, "Screw me. Please." /infopop/emoticons/icon_eek.gif

If I ever discovered that someone else had increased the price of my horse to line his or her pocket, you can bet I'd yell loud and long. If my horse is priced at 10k, that's because my trainer and I have discussed it and agreed on the price; her commission comes out of that. If I need to hire a sales agent because my own trainer can't get the horse sold, it means we've overpriced the horse. It does NOT somehow magically make my 10k horse a 12k horse just to cover the agent's cut.

How or why should it? Where is the logic in that -- it's still the same horse, right? If I couldn't sell it for 10k, why would I honestly think it could be sold for 12k? And, frankly, if I ever had reason to return to said agent as a buyer, I'd be extremely suspicious, because I'd be wondering how much the horse *really* cost.

Now, as to this:

<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by SGray:
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by barnie:
.... This is really what I was getting at with my 3K horse scenerio.Unless someone has asked me to evaluate said horse for price, if I know the horse is worth 10K, the seller wants 3K, why can't I represent it as a 10K horse if it is? /infopop/emoticons/icon_confused.gif<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

If you trust your judgement enough to shell out the 3K, then house, market, train .... whatever, then whatever profit that you make should be fine.

If, on the other hand, you tell a potential buyer that the horse (still owned by another) is $10K, have that buyer write you a check for $10k, and then give the seller a check for $3k - that (to my way of thinking) is not kosher.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Bingo, SGray. Absolutely, straight on BINGO. I've been screwed this way myself, and it was made worse by the fact that it was my own trainer who did it. As soon as I found out, I took the greatly overpriced horse out of his barn and never looked back. And yes, I've told many, many people.

Proud member of the "Huh. I thought I'd fixed that" phase of baby green hunter ownership.

[This message was edited by Beezer on Sep. 05, 2002 at 08:21 PM.]

Beezer
Sep. 5, 2002, 05:02 PM
deleted deleted because Infopoop double posted me and then wouldn't let me delete it! /infopop/emoticons/icon_eek.gif

lawndart
Sep. 5, 2002, 06:20 PM
Since when is it ethical to charge people for knowledge you have gained thru experience? If you actually handle a horse, or go with a customer to evaluate the horse, or even ride the horse yourself, yes, you deserve a fee for your time. But its OK to charge someone for just referrals? That is nuts.

My hubby owns a service related business, and spends time every week referring people to others in the business who can better fit their needs. And will answer many questions (i.e. pick his brains for his experience) to get people started on the right track. Yes, he is a nice guy, but we have also learned that this will pay dividends down the road. You may have to wait a couple of years for it, but that guy you helped will refer you to others via word of mouth. Or get you himself to do a job.

I would think that reputation would be very important to every professional, no matter what the business.

I hope the ethical trainers and dealers out there put pressure on for some type of certification like they do in Europe. Yep, its going to cost you, but business related training and testing is tax deductible.

OLD FRIENDS FARM-Equine Retirement-We LOVE Seniors!!http://www.sphosting.com/oldffarm/welcome.html

dogchushu
Sep. 5, 2002, 06:36 PM
I don't think anyone is accusing most horse professionals of being dishonest. Just that it hurts so much when you're taken advantage of. Generally, your trainer is someone you've gotten to know and have built trust in. You feel a betrayal you don't get with a used car salesperson.

As for bearing some responsibility for putting yourself in a position to be ripped off. Maybe that has some merit. But it smacks of blaming the victim to me. And it doesn't excuse anyone. If I leave my purse on the front seat of my car and someone smashes my window and steals it, you bet I'm stupid. But you still have no right to steal it. And it's still flat out wrong.

Perhaps it's difficult for people who've been involved with horses for a long time to realize just how little someone new to the sport can know. When I started riding I was a prime candidate for being taken advantage of. Mostly because I had no clue I could be. I didn't expect there were dishonest people in the horse business any more than I would expect there would be dishonest people in any profession (although, with the corporate scandals lately, I'm much less naive about that).

I found my trainer through the yellow pages and went because it was convenient. Yup. Could've been a dreadful situation. But I didn't think to ask at tack stores (I didn't even know there were such things as tack stores or where people bought horse supplies). I didn't know anyone who rode.

To give you a clue how little I understood, I didn't know what my trainer meant when she mentioned her barn taught "hunt seat" riding. I had no idea there was a difference between hunt seat, dressage, or balance seat. I'd never even heard of any of them. Heck, I barely knew there was a difference between English and Western riding! /infopop/emoticons/icon_eek.gif I thought it was just in how they dressed. /infopop/emoticons/icon_rolleyes.gif I was told to show up for my first lesson in shoes with a heel, so I wore topsiders. /infopop/emoticons/icon_rolleyes.gif /infopop/emoticons/icon_rolleyes.gif /infopop/emoticons/icon_rolleyes.gif

Once I got hooked (after the first ride), I made an effort to learn all I could simply because I loved it so. But it didn't occur to me for over a year that there were unscrupulous people in the business.

As for parents of riders who get ripped off, please understand that a lot of parents aren't really into horses themselves--they're only involved because their child loves it so. As a result, they only learn as much as they have to in order to support that child. They don't read all about horses any more than I would read about golf (a sport I find incredibly dull) if I had a child interested in it. And they don't go to horsey internet sites because they don't even know they're out there. They've probably build up a lot of trust in the professional who, if unscrupulous, works hard to fool them into establishing that level of trust.

All that being said, perhaps I am still hopelessly naive, but I truly believe the unscrupulous professionals are a small minority. I've never met such a wonderful group of decent people as those I've met through horses. Most disputes I've seen have been misunderstandings that have escalated. I think true bad behavior just gets so much attention because it is such a betrayal of trust.

armandh
Sep. 5, 2002, 08:07 PM
some one who represents both the buyer and seller has a conflict of interests. no getting around it. if a professional tells a seller that they can get them more than the asking price [because they are also representing the buyer and know their budget] they are doing the buyer a disservice. the trouble is, as the student out grows the beginner horse, they move up to better ones. my daughter had 10 years of fun with a $600 horse, 2 of those years with this group
http://www.ggaa.org/

barnie
Sep. 5, 2002, 08:48 PM
Beezer: not feeling picked upon a bit /infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif , but I must say I have also been the seller...not just the pro. If I want 10K for my horse and I can't get it done by myself, I turn to someone with better/more contacts than I have.If they can sell my horse and get me the 10K that I COULDN"T get by myself, I say have at it! What they make on top of what I said I wanted is their business and their ultimate responsibility.I think it is greedy of the owner(even if it is me) to think they deserve more money just because someone else can sell it for more.If I could have sold it myself, I would have. And when we start talking about the value of horses we are REALLY opening a can of worms...talk about subjective. The same horse that I may think is worth 10K, someone else may be estatic to have at 20K.I'm not sure ya'll can convince me that there is something intrinsically bad about a sale in such a case. The person that makes the commission is the one that is responsible for proving the "worth" of said horse.I think it is a lot like finding an undervalued asset in any business. That is how smart people make money...why should the horse business be held up to a different measure? I think people get so defensive because of the emotional aspect of horses themselves.

lisa
Sep. 5, 2002, 09:30 PM
I won't include Beezer's post here due to the length /infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif, but I agree completely with what she (and SGray) wrote.

No one, including me, has said that professionals don't deserve to make money. When they work for it.

Certainly, if someone finds the "deal of the day", writes the check and brings it home thinking they can resell it for more money, and does, yahoo!!

BUT if the marked up price is quoted to the prospective client while the original seller still owns the horse, that is wrong.

Frankly, I even have a problem with the scenario where the pro writes the check with a potential client in mind, brings the horse home, the client likes the horse, the pro knows how much the client can spend, and that's the new price of the horse. What's wrong with meeting in the middle somewhere? The pro made money, the client spent less than (s)he planned; everybody's happy.

valentine1
Sep. 5, 2002, 10:31 PM
Barnie:

I have spent my entire lifetime with horses, and I have to say that the "professionals" in the horse business are the most crooked people I have ever met.

They make the Enron executives look like children in kindergarten.

I think that the letter was marvelous and long overdue.

Beezer
Sep. 5, 2002, 10:32 PM
Glad you're not feeling picked on. /infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif This has been a really good discussion on all fronts. I understand much of the points you are trying to make, probably because I've been around horses for-bloody-ever. /infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

Re this, though:

<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by barnie:
I have also been the seller...not just the pro. If I want 10K for my horse and I can't get it done by myself, I turn to someone with better/more contacts than I have. If they can sell my horse and get me the 10K that I COULDN'T get by myself, I say have at it! What they make on top of what I said I wanted is their business and their ultimate responsibility. I think it is greedy of the owner (even if it is me) to think they deserve more money just because someone else can sell it for more. If I could have sold it myself, I would have. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

I have no doubt that I am in the minority on this but ... as a seller, my response to the agent would be, "Fine, then buy the horse from me, re-sell it for what you think you can get, and then everybody's happy." It simply would never occur to me to ask an agent who thinks he/she could get more for a horse to GIVE me more (frankly, it would more likely make me think that something was really wrong with my trainer's judgment if the horse was that undervalued, as well as her sales skills). And even if it did, I'd spent the rest of my days feeling guilty over the poor schmo who had to pay thousands more than he or she needed to.

It also brings me back to an earlier point. How does an agent reconcile the "other end"? That's something I've always wondered about. I.e. if I send my 10k horse to an agent and later learn that someone spent 17k for it, how can I believe that when I go looking to buy, said agent will not show me 10k horses at a 17k price tag? I'm pretty much going to assume that he or she is, and I am not going to be very happy about it.

As for why people get defensive about all of it, while emotion may indeed play a part, I think it's emotions of another kind. No one likes to feel that they've been "taken" because it makes them feel like a fool. Money is *always* a hot-button issue, no matter how much one has to spend. Agents may believe that this is just how business is done; buyers and sellers see the whole deal-making process as some kind of back-room, shady goings-on where the price of the horse increases with no apparent increase in its inherent value, particularly with so many hands out.

I have no complaint with agents, trainers, show managers (*gasp*! /infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif ) and any and everyone else making a living. And people who are good at it should be rewarded. But at a reasonable, up-front, agreed-upon rate of return, just as it should be in the rest of life. /infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

Proud member of the "Huh. I thought I'd fixed that" phase of baby green hunter ownership.

Kryswyn
Sep. 6, 2002, 05:15 AM
(and apologies if these are the same as other peoples, I don't have time to read the whole thread now, but these points jumped out at me. /infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif )

<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> 9) When I leave your barn for whatever reason, do not make it your mission in life to make our life miserable at the next horse show we both attend. This kind of juvenile behavior is unbeccoming of an adult. Maybe your time would be better spent reflecting on why you lost a good customer.



<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

OH PUH-LEASE! I have NEVER met ANYONE who ever left a barn who didn't (in private if not in public) absolutely trash the barn they left with anything from outright lies (to cover their mistakes (read 'non-payment') to mean gossip to damning with faint praise ("oh they were good enough I guess... but Darling needs a better than that now...")

Let's face it. We leave barns for a reason. Unless it's move mandated by relocation we always find something we didn't like about the place we left and that's ALWAYS what comes up in conversation. It's human nature. So I say, if the trainers should be professional enough to keep their mouths shut, then the boarders/students should be POLITE enough to keep their thoughts to themselves. Dissing someone else never makes you look good.

<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Now just where can a potential horse buyer go to research how to buy a horse? Does Consumer Reports test horses? Is there a Kelly blue book for horses? I don't think just talking to someone about how it is done is very informative or useful and it certainly isn't research.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

There are literally hundreds of books that describe how to buy a horse and thousands more that have chapters on it. But rare is the first time (or 2nd or 5th) time owner who will take the time to read a book. Especially, if they got skunked the first time! It's MUCH easier to say, "Well I trusted the trainer... wahhhhh" then it is to pick up a book and educate yourself! Or admit you contributed to your own hosing by being ignorant! After all, who automatically trusts the used car salesman?

AnneFS said: <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Say I'm your customer and I pass on the 3K horse & you buy it. 2 months later I'm looking at it in your barn & decide it's a pretty cool horse. If you tell me the price is $10K, sorry, Anne, you missed your chance to buy it at 3, I will agree with you <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Well, AnneFS, that's you, god bless you! MOST people in my experience would shout to the rooftops that this trainer was trying to hose them because originally it had been a $3k horse! Most buyers are not educated enought to see the value of those 2 months or to give a professional credit for having the eye to take that 3k horse and train it up, clean it up and market it. Buyers who miss out on the bargains are (IME) NOT generous with praise for the person who snapped it up!
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>But if I hire you to find me a horse and you find a good one at a cheap price and decide to TRIPLE it's price, that's not fair.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE> Again, most people who are prepared to spend 10K cannot/will not look at a 3K horse because OBVIOUSLY it's not as good as a 10K horse. Well, what a seller thinks a 3K horse is, may VERY WELL BE an undervalued 10K horse, just like the person who finds something in the attic, puts it in the yard sale at 10 bucks and then wails when they see their grannys' table in the newspaper as a recently discovered Chippendale piece going for $45K. They COULD have investigated it, had it appraised. But it was easier to just sell it for $10 bucks and achieve their desire - getting it out of the house!! Same thing with cheap horses alot of the time - just get it out of the barn!

And finally (whew!)
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Since when is it ethical to charge people for knowledge you have gained thru experience? <HR></BLOCKQUOTE> Since like... EVER! Doctors, lawyers, plumbers, electricians, vets... the list is endless. People who can't are people like retailers who refer people to other stores (like me yesterday, "You'll find that at a hardware store" or "Call the Tackeria - best bet for anything polo")


~Kryswyn~
"Always look on the bright side of life, de doo, de doo de doo de doo"

[This message was edited by Kryswyn on Sep. 06, 2002 at 08:37 AM.]

[This message was edited by Kryswyn on Sep. 06, 2002 at 08:38 AM.]

[This message was edited by Kryswyn on Sep. 06, 2002 at 08:50 AM.]

riley26
Sep. 6, 2002, 05:27 AM
Hi Juniorjumpermom....

it's your fellow barn boarder....just my opinion.. don't give the trainer anything...I'm with her alot and I never hear her saying anything about trying to sell your horse or that she is even still thinking about it.... she doesn't deserve anything or she would've had your horse sold by now.....she was trying for over a year...you put flyers up at one show and look what happened....just my two cents

GO-dog-GO
Sep. 6, 2002, 05:44 AM
Kryswyn, You've met me! I've worked with 4 barns in 4 years and I only 'trashed' the one that would leave my horse out "because he didn't want to come in and eat" for three days, not even check/notice gash on hip and shoe 3/4 off and have me find him in stall without water in his stall with no one to be around for hours 3 times.

Horse trainers and barns are just like dog trainers and kennels we're in the service industry. Part of being in the service industry is putting up with bad clients.

Nobody ever promised they were going to be nice to me. To provide the best
service you can at all times you have to deal with difficult clients professionally , something sorely lacking in the dog/horse industry. /infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

**"The cowards won't start and the weak will die along the trail."
-- Kit Carson**

*Lord please save me from those trying to save me!*

jr
Sep. 6, 2002, 05:59 AM
Lawndart,

It is ethical to charge referral fees -- all sorts of businesses do. A simple example is the hiring referral fee that Personnel firms get. It is their business, customers know when they sign up that the price for the firms ability to find and screen candidates is a fee. The key in the horse business is that the arrangements for referral fees need to be up front, and known to all in the deal. Finding the right horse is hard, and I've seen numerous agents play an invaluable service hooking a trainer up with another trainer who has the right horse, at the right price, at the right time.

Midge
Sep. 6, 2002, 06:07 AM
As far as representing the 3000 horse for 10,000...
Let's assume the owner has a 10,000 horse and doesn't realize it.

I see no reason a pro cannot represent it for 10, if the 10 goes to the owner and the pro gets a commission on the 10 rather than the 3.
The pro should not pocket the 7.

Sadly, often buyers don't care that they are being ripped off. I was talking with a mother about this type of situation and she said she didn't care as long as she knew about it. She and the trainer were friends and she liked them to make money yadda, yadda, yadda. First, I can't imagine anyone thinking it would be okay to buy a 20,000 horse and write the check for 40. Second, if you want them to have money, just give it to them!

****
Just because you're not paranoid, doesn't mean they're not out to get you.

Dementia 13
Sep. 6, 2002, 06:11 AM
The sky must be falling - I actually agree with you, Go Dog Go.

Cinco de Mayo
Sep. 6, 2002, 06:24 AM
Kryswyn, true, when you leave a barn it is usually for personality or philosophy conflicts, they weren't taking care of your horse, or you were run out for non-payment.

But, if these experiences/opinions are not discussed by either the pro or the customer, how are newbies to the sport to know what's acceptable vs. unacceptable in the industry?

A lot of times it can be detrimental to the pros, especially if people are lying, but would you want to move your horse to a barn if it had a reputation for poor care? Just a thought.

Beans
Sep. 6, 2002, 06:25 AM
Hundreds of books on buying horses?

Some people leave a trainer or barn becuase they find a situation that is preferable to them - not because they haven't paid their bill or because they have a spoiled brat kid. Sadly I've seen lots of really nice people who's children became interested in riding and were good at it who've been taken to the cleaners by "professional trainers". Some of them ...even big names...can smell money and have no ethical problems just "milking the cow dry".

If I board a horse and have it in training and later someone asks me about the place or the training - I'm going to tell them the truth.

A word of caution to people about using agents - keep them outside the transaction. Have a contract directly with the current OWNER - so that title to the horse transfers directly and you can have a clause in the purchase agreement that holds you harmless against any claims against the horse by them or any third party. If this trainer or agent decides the seller owes them money - you could be dragged into a legal battle. If you are paying a fee to someone state it in the contract and how it will be paid and that no one else acted on your behalf. If there was no agent/trainer represeting you - state that and that any fees due to the seller's agent/trainer are their responsibility.

WE had a gal present a mare at an inspection that she had bought out of state from and "agent", the owner was in a third state. She paid some money for this horse that was represented to be a HAN/TB - well long story short when she went to verify the horse's pedigree the sire side checked out but the dam side DID NOT. The owner said she didn't know what the agent represented and WORSE the buyer wrote the check to the Agent NOT the owner.

Horses are an investment - would you buy a car and have the title transferred this way? I think not.

Regarding trainers - get the program in writing - if they won't do that ....move on - especially when it relates to fees, charges and care of the horse.

We all know there a some owners out there that skip on paying bills (doesn't take long for that to get around) and as far as the owners with "impossible" children....well I've seen many trainers who know this is the situation but willingly take the client for the dough. There eyes are wide open when they welcome them into their barn.

barnie
Sep. 6, 2002, 07:02 AM
OOOOHHH Kryswyn...someone that understands me?!

What I still see people hanging up on is "value" which I said earlier is SOOOOOOO subjective.Sometimes the "value of the horse changes depending on whose barn it is in...or if it's in a barn at all! We always laugh and say pulling mane and trimming them adds 5K on immediately. /infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif Seriously though, recognizing "value" is an accepted long standing marketing tool.Think of the stock market( or not /infopop/emoticons/icon_eek.gif )...people make big money buying under-valued stock and selling it later for a huge profit. Should they then go back to the company and say, "let me give you some money back because that stock of yours I bought was really worth more than I paid for it." Doubt it!!!

I know the real hot button is that people don't want to feel stupid or that they were taken advantage of, but horses are a commodity just like anything else. If you have one for sale, someone meets YOUR price I honestly feel that you are out of it at that point...I mean in the reverse, can the buyer come back to you and say in comparing your horse to others at the shows, it is now obvious that yours was over valued, and they want a rebate?( leaving all crooked dealing,lie telling, law breaking scenerios out...just looking at the main issues!)

I don't think I'll ever convince most of you dissenters that making money buying and selling horses(as an agent or trainer) is not NECESSARILY a crooked, unfair venture.What I will say, and then I'll probably leave it alone, is when you are selling/buying horses make clear from the get go what your deal is...what you want, what you expect from all involved, what $ you have to spend,what paper work you need to have in return.Then you will have less of a chance of being disappointed later.And if you want to shop/sell solo then you won't have anyone to blame but yourself if something doesn't work out to your satisfaction. /infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif Good Luck all...it's a jungle out there!!! /infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif

Therese
Sep. 6, 2002, 07:29 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by barnie:
What I will say, and then I'll probably leave it alone, is when you are selling/buying horses make clear from the get go what your deal is...what you want, what you expect from all involved, what $ you have to spend,what paper work you need to have in return.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

I think that is all all of us are asking for. Someone to be upfront about the whole thing. If I take my horse to you and say I want $10K, you can sell it for whatever. Fine, all I expect is $10K. However if you tell me that you can only get me $8K for the horse, and I find out your marketing it for $15K, that's wrong. When I'm buying a horse, I don't want it to be drugged up/medicated UNLESS that is disclosed. Don't tell me after the check has cleared that the horse needs maintenance bute.

That's all I want out of a deal, everything upfront and clear. Agreed to by all parties, seller, agent(s) and buyer. Is that so wrong? /infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

****************************
"I love deadlines." "I love the swooooshing sound they make as they fly by!" -Douglas Adams

Midge
Sep. 6, 2002, 07:38 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by barnie:
...people make big money buying under-valued stock and selling it later for a huge profit. Should they then go back to the company and say, "let me give you some money back because that stock of yours I bought was really worth more than I paid for it." <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

No one thinks a perosn should not be able to buy and sell at a profit. Just as in the stock market, you have taken on the risks as well as the rewards.

My stockbroker recommends undervalued stocks because I will be a happy customer when the stock goes up and I will take his recommendations again next time and he will make anouther commission. My stockbroker does not represent an undervalued stock for twice the price and pocket the difference.

****
Just because you're not paranoid, doesn't mean they're not out to get you.

jl
Sep. 6, 2002, 07:56 AM
is what I call the cult of the trainer.
I offer as a prime example, the last barn that I boarded. The owner was very charismatic and absolutely adored by the bevy of kids that took lessons from her. She had no problems manipulating the parents into purchasing horses that she "found" for them. Now, we're not talking tens of thousands of dollars here but we are discussing horses that were unsuitable
One example that springs to mind immediately was an OTTTB that she persuaded a mom to buy for her 13-year-old daughter. We're only talking $5000.00 here, but hells fire, this horse would have been the wrong choice if he had been a giveaway. The daughter's ambition was to show hunters and regretfully, the horse wasn't ever going to fit the bill. After vast sums had been spent trying to determine why this horse hated jumping (vet bills, tons of additional training, the chiropractic) the trainer�s solution was "oh well. sell him cheap and buy my next more expensive candidate." Regretfully, the young girl in question had become thoroughly discouraged by this time and gave up on riding entirely. She really loved this horse and it broke her heart.
I saw this happen again and again. The parents weren't stupid and in many cases, they made an attempt to educate themselves. However, they also trusted this woman to do the very best for their children. Does this make them bad people?

Allyn M
Sep. 6, 2002, 08:44 AM
Over the time that I have participated on this board we have hashed this and rehashed it . I can say the same things now that I have in the past ,because to my knowledge nothing has changed.I think that trainers who indulge in the practice of misrepresenting horse prices are a lawsuit waiting to happen.Not much has happened so far ,because most customers are loath to admit they were so dumb as to let someone they trusted take advantage of them . The sad part of all of it is that some people who could be a great addition to the horse industry are slowly driven away.
In the Real Estate business ( I am a farm broker )we are strictly regulated as to who we are representing ( both buyer and seller have to sign agency agreements ).The agency that is representing the seller takes a listing at 6%. If he needs someone else from another agency to help him sell it ,they take 1/2 of that 6% . Everyone knows how much of the purchase price is commission and this is counted as an expense to the sale for tax purposes. If I pay someone to sell my horse I want all parties to be knowledgeable of that fact. The checks need to be sent directly to the seller . Since we are beginning to keep records of performance horses it may come to pass that people will begin to check who signs the registration papers and subsequently talk to the original owner and or breeder.
Right now trainers need to start thinking about those new customers who don't know anything and help them to make some quality decisions. Because they are the geese laying the golden eggs and it seems a little short-sighted to keep choking them to death . After all a dead goose lays no eggs!!

Allyn McCracken
Sport Horse Breeder
www.bannockburnfarm.net (http://www.bannockburnfarm.net)

DMK
Sep. 6, 2002, 08:55 AM
Barnie, let's just assume I am a homeowner with a house for sale. I'm asking $225,000 when other similar models on the street are going for $275,000. Now who knows exactly WHY I am doing this? Maybe I didn't check on current value, maybe I suspect the thing is built on a sinkhole and will disappear tomorrow, or maybe I have a suspicion abnout some termite damage that isn't readily apparent yet, or maybe by some miracle everything else has $50K in upgrades.

Let's say you want to buy a house like mine - let's say you like the neighborhood, the school district, the floor plan, and since you have done your homework you are prepared to spend $275K.

Naturally you have a realtor showing you houses. Which of the following is acceptable to you?

1) Realtor refuses to show you the house, we will never know if it was because of the potential drop in commission or because he/she suspected it had fatal flaws (as in more than $50K worth).

2) Realtor bought the house as soon as he/she saw it in the market and turned around and priced it at $275K and showed it to you.

3) Realtor showed you the house at $225K, told you that it could possibly be the bargain of the century OR it could be a total money pit.

4) Realtor went to owner of house (me) and said, "Damn, this baby is worth $275K - what say I sell it for that, and you and I split the $50K" Thereby earning $25K plus her commission.

5) Realtor showed you the house at $225K, you declined because you could see it needed some work. Realtor bought house after you declined because his/her spouse does restoration work, and they can see that this area is rapidly appreciating - they sell the house 12 months later for $300K and clear $50K.

So which option would you prefer to be party to (seeing as it is your money and all)?

The way I see it, #3 and #5 are the only real options for me. #1 treats me like an idiot, #2 may not be illegal, but it has a certain lack of ethics - should I have learned of it, I certainly would never recommend or use that realtor. #4 would cost the realtor his/her license and open them up to a lawsuit.

Bottom line is that 3/5 are what happens. #4 just does NOT cut it in the real world.

"Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former."

Albert Einstein (1878-1955)

TrakHack
Sep. 6, 2002, 08:57 AM
Do any professionals charge something like a flat finder's fee? Say $500 to find a horse for a client with a budget of $2500 - $7500 (I'm just picking hypothetical numbers here, they could be multiplied by ten or one hundred, depending on the case).

With the fee pre-established and not completely tied to the buyer's cost of the horse, wouldn't the professional then search to find the buyer the best deal? The professional would make the same amount of money regardless of the price of the horse. Am I nutso for thinking something like this might work a bit better than commissions?

No one can teach riding so well as a horse.
-C.S. Lewis

GotSpots
Sep. 6, 2002, 09:13 AM
What an interesting discussion!

My question, is what about the so-called "barn's commission"? I was boarding at a H-J show barn, and friend who was in town for a clinic brought by a cute horse for another friend of mine (who didn't board at the show barn, and didn't take lessons there) to try. The barn's only involvement in the trial was to accept the check for three days of boarding (when they had empty stalls). Yet when they horse sold, I was informed that the barn was entitled to 10% commission on the horse. We didn't pay it, the new owners didn't pay it, and everyone moved barns thereafter. Left a heck of a sour taste in my mouth. I can only guess that enough people pay that kind of fee to make them think they had a hope of getting it.

Good grief. It's that kind of behaviour that gives the sport a bad name.

GO-dog-GO
Sep. 6, 2002, 09:45 AM
Riddle me this.......Someone find out about a horse for sale from a 'third party'. They contact the owner directly first. Some time later they happen to talk with the person that's been "training" the same horse for a month. They have a 10 minute conversation on the phone about said horse, all very casual talk about what the horse is like.

The "trainer" now demands $1000 comission from the owner for helping sell the horse.

Trainer should get paid. Yes...No...
Trainer should be shot. Yes...No...

**"The cowards won't start and the weak will die along the trail."
-- Kit Carson**

*Lord please save me from those trying to save me!*

jr
Sep. 6, 2002, 10:06 AM
I've observed several trainers doing some of the unethical practices discussed on this thread, and it's reprehensible. It isn't all trainers, or even a majority.

One way to prevent it is to take responsibility for yourself. If your new to the business, educate yourself. Always stay involved in the process. Ask questions. And if you think something is going on, discuss it the trainer and if it isn't resolve, find another professional.

When the deal does go down. Deal directly with buyer/seller. Wire (Or have wired) money to the appropriate buyer/seller, pay your commissions directly. DO NOT pay the money to the intermediary for them to distribute -- you don't know what went where.

Reputable trainers/agents have no problem with this procedure. Slightly shady ones try to discourage it, and then give in (and give up any hope of pulling a fast one). Dishonest ones will tell you to pack sand -- at least then you know where you stand.

Yes, some professionals do not have your best interests at heart. They need to be prosecuted when they cross that line. But as in most things, you need to take responsibility for what happens -- how you deal with the process can prevent a lot of these problems.

jr
Sep. 6, 2002, 10:13 AM
GO-Dog-GO,

The answer to your question is, that is between the seller and the "trainer." If they had a prior agreement for the commission, then yes. If it was never discussed, no. If it was not discussed, owners sometimes opt to pay a fee to the "trainer", often less than the full 10% -- but without a prior arrangement to act as agent in the sale, they don't have to. The buyer has no obligation to the "Trainer", unless the requested that person act as their agent and negotiated a fee for the service.

As to whether they should be shot, it depends on how obnoxious they're being /infopop/emoticons/icon_rolleyes.gif

GO-dog-GO
Sep. 6, 2002, 10:31 AM
Buyer and owner had an agreement but I don't think the trainer had anything to do with the sale. It was a fluke that the prospective buyer ever talked to them.......

If I'm selling a dog for a client and I talk to someone interested in the dog [that found and is interested in the dog with no contact from me] I'd need to do more then talk to them on the phone briefly to earn a dime.

But I do my best to be professional.

**"The cowards won't start and the weak will die along the trail."
-- Kit Carson**

*Lord please save me from those trying to save me!*

ball park
Sep. 6, 2002, 03:11 PM
I have experienced the type of trainer that views every client as a mark. I quit riding for a time ( I was taking lessons on school horses at the trainer's barn) because I got tired of dealing with someone who continued to present overpriced , misrepresentesd horses for me to buy as a first horse.

We met our current trainer while leasing a horse for our daughter that was boarded at her barn. She is someone I have complete trust in. After we let her know we were interested in buying a horse a former student of hers, who was giving up horses for cars, contacted our trainer about selling her horse. Our trainer thought he might work for our daughter and we tried him. We ended up buying him. Our trainer said I did not owe her a commision when I raised the question, because she hadn't done anything. I told her that we only found the horse because of her and that in my view she earned the commission, which I payed gladly.

However, on another occaision, I found a horse on my own for myself and asked the trainer I was then thinking of working with to evaluate him. I paid her for her time in looking at the horse, but did not pay a commission because I had found the horse on my own.

lawndart
Sep. 6, 2002, 03:17 PM
JR, thank you for your correction, I guess living out here in the middle of nowhere referral fees are an oxymoron as everyone knows everyone else, and knows the horses they own as well. You are more likely to learn about a horse from an overheard conversation at a picnic or horseshow, or someones Mom mentions to you at church that their daughter is going to college and selling her horse, would your daughter be interested? /infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif The great thing is you probably already know the horse and what it is capable of. The bad thing is if you don't buy it, they want to know why every time they see you!

OLD FRIENDS FARM-Equine Retirement-We LOVE Seniors!!http://www.sphosting.com/oldffarm/welcome.html

Coreene
Sep. 6, 2002, 03:38 PM
/infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

Melinda
Sep. 6, 2002, 06:38 PM
The letter can be found at:

www.chronofhorse.com/letters.html (http://www.chronofhorse.com/letters.html)

August 30

dressager
Sep. 6, 2002, 06:48 PM
I think it was something like $200... we offered her the commission, but she didn't think what she did was worth it. /infopop/emoticons/icon_eek.gif AND she did FAR MORE than some other folks have done.

*Found the horse, rode him a week before I went to look at him (I was injured).

*Determined that we would be a good match and had me come to look at the horse.

*Came with me to look at the horse three times (Twice as lessons, ie- instead of a lesson we went and rode the horse)

*Arranged the vetting and was there. Helped us nego the price.

Now I am selling said horse because I have moved. The woman who owns the farm where my horses are is acting as agent.

Dressager
Overseas Clique

GO-dog-GO
Sep. 6, 2002, 06:48 PM
"Oh My, the sky must be falling cause I agree w/ Go-dog-go as well!!"

News flash.........hell just froze over..... /infopop/emoticons/icon_razz.gif

**"The cowards won't start and the weak will die along the trail."
-- Kit Carson**

*Lord please save me from those trying to save me!*

LMH
Sep. 6, 2002, 07:02 PM
I just wanted to add my applause to the author of this letter-it is soooo long overdue and hopefully will not be the last one we see like it.

It is about time owners started demanding that horse trainers conduct themselves with some touch of ethics.

These folks want to consider themselves professionals? Then they should be bound by a code of ethics, just as other professionals are.

If they want that title-then start earning it.


The 3 rules of riding:
Whoa means whoa
If it ain't right it is wrong
If it pokes out stick it

armandh
Sep. 6, 2002, 07:20 PM
in many cases buried in the fine print is a comission on any horse sold from the barn.
and if you are using the facilities to show the horse to prospective buyers some is due. is it an acceptable amount? for that amount would it be worth your time to move the horse first.

lilblackhorse
Sep. 6, 2002, 07:53 PM
ok, let me let my wine soaked brain get this all down in some succinct way......

Firstly, let me say Bravo to the gal who wrote the letter.

Secondly, to jumpermom, I say "screw the trainer"...she doesn't deserve anything, and I loved the thought of another poster who gave her great ideas on what to say (gushing about how the posters worked so well and such) /infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif Great thoughts.

Now, my ramblings. I have never bought a horse where a commision has been involved. In fact when I bought Will, I had him trailered to our barn, and my "trainer" rode him and gave me her opinion. Did she get a cut? No. Did she get the horse in full training for 3 months, and then get lesson fees out of me for the next several years? Yes, we both gained ultimately, and were happy.

Thank you Bernie for your insights on the professional side of this. Now, to your hypothetical of the $3K horse in the field. Well, my husband did that recently with a Toyota landcruiser-bought it, cleaned it up ,did some maintenance, sold it for $4K more.

Just last week at our shop, we were told of a new Crosby Prix de Nations saddle for $240. I snapped it up, we have a $600 pricetag on it. Did I tell the shop where they had consigned it that the price was too low? No....I don't have a problem with that...and I think several posters brought up the unethical sides to that if you were specifically looking for a horse for one person. That I agreed with, you would have to divulge that the horse was $3k in my opinion there.

I guess what saddens me is the taking advantage part of people who are looking for someone trustworthy and knowledgable...there's the rub. For example, we know some lovely people thru our son's school. They had nice pony, outgrown by daughter. Bear in mind, parents know squat about horses, but have beacoup bucks in the bank. Trainer says she will sell the horse-turns out the horse world is smaller than they think-they hear back that the price was padded. Then, feeling confident, trainer tries to mess with them again and sell off her supposedly lame horse for a song. The story was that then the person who bought it for a song would then sell him for a pretty penny....had her vet say he was never going to be sound...yet had lined up a schill to be an intermediary and then sell him at top dollar. It got nixed before it came to fruition, but the sad thing here is that these people are hurt, and it just plain stinks.

I was really appalled, and now I have a lack of respect for her--and just feel sorry for these folks who looked to her to guide them. I think it's a crap shoot to find a gem who will truly guide the neophyte parents through the rigors of horse ownership. It's a hard enough business for those of us who know horses, and have, what I consider to be a lot of knowledge of my own...but these parents just in it for their kids..... /infopop/emoticons/icon_frown.gif ...it's like some trainers just wring their hands and see dollar signs exuding from their ears!

Well, I hope this wasn't too rambly and hard to understand....it's just such a huge thing...and it always frustrates me to see advantage taken of people.

My husband works in the real estate field, as did I , and while I believe the onus is on the buyer to beware and to educate themselves, sometimes it's too much, and professionals DO need to be consulted...they just need to be held accountable. I have had no qualms about suing my realtor and my contractor when they cheated and misrepresented things to us. If enough people are willing to step forward and be loud about injustices, perhaps some of these unscrupulous folks will lose their shingles, which maybe weren't worth the paper that they were written on.....


oh, and Applesauce, thank you so much for typing out the whole letter. I am late to this party because when I came this am to read the thread, the link wasn't there, and it frustrated me to no end to not know what everyone was talking about! /infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

The gene pool could use a little chlorine.

4_beatin_it
Sep. 6, 2002, 08:05 PM
I want to applaud the author of that article!!!

Too many parents and kids won;t say a word, because this trainer knows that judge, or that barn owner knows that show organizer.

If more people stand up for themselves, the less this type of thing will go on!!!!!!!

happy horsin!

Janet
Sep. 6, 2002, 08:11 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Melinda:
The letter can be found at:

http://www.chronofhorse.com/letters.html

August 30<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>Unfortunately, that only goes up to July 19.

horselesswonder
Sep. 6, 2002, 08:47 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> I have had no qualms about suing my realtor and my contractor when they cheated and misrepresented things to us. If enough people are willing to step forward and be loud about injustices, perhaps some of these unscrupulous folks will lose their shingles, which maybe weren't worth the paper that they were written on.....
<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Very true. People perceive the horse industry as "unregulated." Maybe there's no code of ethics, but hey, the law applies to sales of horses, as numerous posters on this board have discovered to their benefit. Horses are considered property. If you get screwed, go after whoever did it!

And that was a great letter. Enthusiastic thumbs up! As has been mentioned in other threads, many trainers are not "squeaky clean," no matter how nice and trustworthy they may seem.

lilblackhorse
Sep. 6, 2002, 10:07 PM
isn't it unregulated? It's not like "professionals" have to pass any standards or anything to teach, or to sell, like realtors would. Am I missing something-who would regulate, and how? Maybe it's something that needs to happen, I don't know.

The gene pool could use a little chlorine.

dcm
Sep. 7, 2002, 02:13 AM
Kudos to the author of that letter. Excellently written.

And timely as I have 2 horses for sale, both at the same barn, but the trainer is involved in only one. The one she is involved in the sale of, she gets 15% commission. She will do all the leg work of selling including making a video, calling trainers she has contacts with, and showing the horse to potential buyers. If she tells me that my dtr should not jump him while she is trying to sell him, you can bet that my dtr will do no more than a quiet hack. The other one - he's on pasture board and not in training or showing. If I pay her for anything, it will be an occasional ride on him at standard training ride rates, but otherwise, she is not doing anything to sell him, so no %.

After reading all this, I now know I need to insist on meeting the buyer of horse #1, that payment be made to me, and when that payment is confirmed at my bank, I will pay the commission.

On the other side, the same trainer is looking for a replacement for horse #1. Unfortunately, I will pay her 15% for that, also. A lot less work will go into finding a horse for my dtr than selling the one we have. But, I will pay that 15% because I am asking for her advice and recommendations, and she will be the one to handle all the details of purchasing. Plus, I now know to make payment to the seller, not our trainer.

A big question I would like settled in my mind is what happens if after owning the recommended new horse for less than a year, we discover the horse and my dtr are not suited? Do I then have to pay her 15% to sell the unsuitable horse and 15% to find the new one? I think I will ask her that next week. Trainer already knows that whatever she gets for horse #1 pays for all commissions and the new horse. No negative cash flow. If we have positive cash flow, the dtr gets a new saddle. /infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif

****^-^****
Don't ask me, I'm just the mom!

~Proud member of the Thoroughbred Clique~

If Dressage is Symphony, and Eventing is Rock 'n Roll, then Hunters must be R & B

armandh
Sep. 7, 2002, 05:05 AM
I would tell her/him that in this whole replacement she can have % of the profit only.
if any

hillary
Sep. 7, 2002, 12:32 PM
The tale of unsuitable horse is so very prevalent - both for children and adults. I've seen it enough to suspect collusion is very frequently at the heart. Here's my theory: you have $x to buy a horse and you and trainer agree on one. You could have gotten it for something less (let's not talk about a huge difference) but anyway, you end up with a nice horse you like and you (or your child) has a pleasant experience with this animal. BE HAPPY!

Here's the rub: I cannot tell you the number of times this isn't how this works out. Trainer arranges sale of unsuitable, dangerous, or injured horse to inexperienced rider. Why? Guess what - not the commission. The answer: to build relationships and do favors, with the seller or something similar. Yes - to the poster who expressed the game as being one involving short-term clients who are mostly out of the game in 5 years. Honestly, it does seem like you can be successful working with children and selling them horses which are simple and safe to ride. The disillusion associated with the other scenario is horrible to watch.

Many trainers don't play this game. But there are plenty who do. Parents and others - be careful - watch out for the "cult of the trainer". It's so unfortunate. Don't rush into these purchases and be very observant about what is being bought by who.

PonyJumperGRL
Sep. 7, 2002, 12:39 PM
I'm adding my two cents late (The West Coast has to wait until THURSDAY for theirs!)

I thought it was a GREAT letter. So true.

-----------------------------
>AQHA Clique<>Do It Yourself Clique<>Children's Jumper Clique<

Dusty
Sep. 10, 2002, 05:38 AM
My current hunter was once a school horse who was deemed crazy 'cause she was green. My trainer saw potential in her and asked the barn owner now much she was knowing I was interested. His answer - "what kind of car does she drive so I know how much to ask".

Can you believe the nerve of this ***hole!! He wanted $5,000 'cause he found out I drove a newer Durango. I said go to hell and walked away.

3 weeks later the horse was offered to me for $2,000. I bought her and couldn't be happier.

*Ride and let ride...*

SillyHorse
Sep. 10, 2002, 05:54 AM
Question: why will you be paying a 15% commission when you buy the new horse? Do you mean that it will be built into the price of the new horse, or is your trainer planning to charge you over and above what you pay? /infopop/emoticons/icon_confused.gif

SillyHorse
~ Even on a fast machine, an infinite loop takes a while to run.

hoodoo
Sep. 10, 2002, 05:54 AM
A few years ago I took my hug TB gelding to a new barn, a few months later I decided to sell the horse. The trainer told me 10% commission on horse.

Well, several months go by, no one has even come out to see the horse, and I find out that he is letting everyone and their brother ride my horse because he doesnt want to train him anymore. I am paying this guy for full training every month.

I move my horse, and within a few days of moving him get a letter in the mail that I OWE this trainer the 10% commission AND owe the BARN 15% commission ON A HORSE HE DIDN'T SELL!! His reasoning was that he "lost" the opportunity to sell him, so he is entitled to the commission.
He and the barn owner never got paid.

Hopeful Hunter
Sep. 10, 2002, 10:56 AM
OK......how do you all feel about this scenario....

A former track rider (FTR) knows a trainer who is constantly being approached by others to find homes for their ex-racers. The trainer used to work with one person who is no longer around, so calls the FTR to see if she wants to try to place the horses.

FTR will have to pay board on the horses, and doesn't really have the money to do it all (if they stay long) nor the time to really ride them. She approaches another barn mate (ABM) to go in with her. These two will look at and select horses recommended by the trainer, the trainer will bring them to their farm (about 1.5+ hours away) and take them back if they prove unworkable. These two will ride the horses, feed them, do their feet, polish them up and generally get them ready to become riding horses, not racers. They will advertise the horses, handle all inquiries and show them to all prospective buyers, as the track owners do NOT want anyone contacting them.

The horses will generally be sold to the trainer/FTR/ABM for $750 - $1750. The group wants to offer them for sale as riding horses for generally $2000 - $3500, obo. The difference in their buying price and selling price they will use to cover the board costs and if there's a profit, split it.

Does that sound like a fair situation? Would you expect them to disclose the profit, if any, they would make on the horse (there are no commissions or other costs included here - just a straight purchase price)? Would you feel they were doing a service by finding, feeding and checking out these horses, or ripping you off?

I ask because a barn friend of mine has been asked to be part of a situation like this, and I told her I'd see how people felt about it. To me, the reselling group is indeed doing all the work and I'm ok with the pricing, but what do you think?

Anne FS
Sep. 10, 2002, 11:50 AM
I don't think anyone on here has any problem with someone buying a horse and selling it at a profit. In fact, it seems we all recommend it highly and would do it ourselves. Hopeful Hunter, good luck with your plan. You may or may not make a lot of money - sometimes these horses need more time to settle in and be useful, but I think it's a good idea and I hope it succeeds.

The only thing we've been objecting to is someone looking for a horse for a specific person, finding a suitable horse, and then doubling or tripling the asking price and not telling either the buyer or the seller. That's totally different than what you're asking.

armandh
Sep. 10, 2002, 01:55 PM
as to the above issue if the agency agreement is in writing and its existance disclosed "I am the agent for the seller" I see this as an ok deal,
it is where a person is representing both the buyer and seller that there is a conflict.


it is going to get worse b4 it gets better

the revenue from shows lessons etc is off as disposable income shrinks, so expect more corners to be cut, you are going to need to rebouble your efforts to be sure [you and] your horses are getting what you paid for. If [you] they are not, for the interum bring your own feed/shavings/hay and keep looking for a better place

[or in this thread get everything in writing]

[This message was edited by armandh on Sep. 10, 2002 at 05:05 PM.]

artienallie
Sep. 17, 2002, 01:28 PM
Bumping up to show Varsity Team (the author!) how it's done! /infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

She's just de-lurked on the "new members introduction" thread! /infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif

Varsity team
Sep. 18, 2002, 03:02 PM
Artienallie,
Thanks for the help and where are you in Virginia?

wondrlnd77
Sep. 18, 2002, 09:27 PM
After reading all 7 pages of this thread at once, I can't tell y'all how good I feel. I am a young professional who just left a farm I worked for for almost four years for many of these same reasons. I could not expalin to these people that as a trainer, my clients are paying me for my guidance. It is my job to get them the best horse for their money. I have even forfeited commisions in order to get my customer the horse I just knew was the right one. I may be the professional now, but I was the client for a long time and was not ripped off by my trainer. As a result, I had really fruitful junior and amateur years. How could I rip off someone else?

I guess what I am trying to say is I am glad others feel this way. I renews my faith inthis industry.

Applesauce
Sep. 18, 2002, 11:25 PM
Just wanted to welcome you to the board! I'm sure you will find it imformative. There have been plenty of times that I've experienced a broad spectrum of emotions from the posts that are written. Everything from tears of joy to sadness plus plenty of roars of laughter.

By the way, I'm the one that started the thread about your letter and I personally wanted to say it was VERY well written and thank you. /infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

"Ladies and gentlemen, take my advice. Pull down your pants and slide on the ice." quote from the tv series M*A*S*H

artienallie
Sep. 19, 2002, 06:08 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Varsity team:
Artienallie,
Thanks for the help and where are you in Virginia?<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

I was going to reply via email, but you don't have an email listed.

Varsity team, I'm in Northern VA - I keep my horses at EverythingButWings' barn. A wonderful benefit to posting here was I found such an amazing place & person. /infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif

Varsity team
Sep. 19, 2002, 12:56 PM
DearApplesauce,

Thanks so much for the kind words...I'm thinking about writing a book about it all...what do you think? What do you all think...

SillyHorse
Sep. 19, 2002, 01:08 PM
This is how people new to the horse "game" can educate themselves, instead of having sorry experience be their only teacher. And as more people become aware and thinking horse owners, fewer unsrupulous professionals will be able to take advantage of them.

There can be an entire section devoted to the kinds of horror stories we've read on this thread, and another devoted to stories of people being treated with fairness and professionalism.

SillyHorse
~ Even on a fast machine, an infinite loop takes a while to run.

Applesauce
Sep. 19, 2002, 02:46 PM
I think that's a wonderful idea. There are already a lot of stories in this thread both good and bad that should give you a good basis for some research. And, I'm sure there are others out there that would be more than willing to offer up their advice and experiences as well.

I say GO FOR IT!!!

"Ladies and gentlemen, take my advice. Pull down your pants and slide on the ice." quote from the tv series M*A*S*H

Kryswyn
Sep. 19, 2002, 04:35 PM
Thank you for writing a letter that needed to be read by many so called professionals.

As to your writing a book, on one hand, I say 'go for it" because I write also. On the other hand, elsewhere in this thread I mentioned that there are hundreds of books (over the decades) on how to buy a horse and thousands (over the centuries!) have chapters on how to do it. Some one questioned/derided me and accused me of exaggerating. I submit that your desire to write a book on the subject is proof! /infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

HOWEVER the main point of my earlier reply is that you can put the information out there, but you can't make the people who need this info the most THINK before buying a horse. They want what they want when they want it and if they have more money than sense they want to spend as much of it as possible. So if you can get an advance (Breakthrough Books?) by all means write it. But I wouldn't count on it changing the world of horse trading. It truly is the 2nd oldest profession.

~Kryswyn~
"Always look on the bright side of life, de doo, de doo de doo de doo"

Varsity team
Sep. 19, 2002, 05:37 PM
Wondrland,

It's been my contention for years that a good spirited, honest, professional horse trainer would blow away the competition.You'd have people flocking to you.What a fresh of breath air!!!

macraean
Sep. 19, 2002, 05:37 PM
I have sat here and read all 7 pages.I am a broker working in Canada.My clients pay a 10% commission to me only if I sell thier horse,that may include phone calls,video taping ,driving clients to appointments ,arranging transport,import papers,vetting ,hotel accomadations.I could go on for ever.Sometimes all these efforts are for not.Thats all out of my pocket.
I do not EVER take anymore $$$ from the buyer or seller than is deemed.I show my clients both cheques.My commission and thier purchase/sellers
cheque.
I take the time to find out the history of each horse good,bad and evil.
I am happy to report I have never had an unpleased client.My business is based on repeat clients with an open honest rapour.No horse is perfect,every single one I have met has a hole.The determination is wheter you can live with that particular hole.If something sounds too good to be true ,it likely is.
My suggestion to horse buyers and sellers would be this: If you are happy with the service you recieved tell others,if you are unpleased tell everyone.We don't need spoiled apples to ruin the whole basket.
I work hard for my clients and they truley appreciate my efforts.I am not only thankful for my monetary gains but for the wonderful feeling I get seeing a great match come together.Nothing beats a smiling face coming out of the ring with a ribbion and confidence to take on the world.Horsemanship is a wonderful gift we all share.

A.MacRae

Lord Helpus
Sep. 19, 2002, 08:53 PM
I know the BB is about to go down for re-doing, and I am not sure what that will mean, but this whole thread is too important to get lost in the shuffle.

What the end result of this thread really needs to be is an organization (USA Eq? the HJA?) which undertakes to license professionals from an ethical standpoint. Sort of like a Better Business Bureau for the sport.

I got ripped off bigtime in a horse purchase by an old trainer many, many decades ago. Left the trainer, but never did anything about it, because I was a small fish, he was a big fish and I did not know the law. Then I went to law school and discovered the law, but by then he was no longer training.....

Now when a trainer asks me what I want for a horse, I say "90% of the sales price." At times, the silence has been deadly after I have said that. /infopop/emoticons/icon_eek.gif

What we, as individual sellers, need to get started as a ground swell movement, is some sort of organization that will create ethical standards for horse professionals. Those professionals who do not choose to join this organization will be easy for newcomers to identify and protect themselves against. Those trainers who do the AAA circuit who do not choose to join, well, their customers must be able to afford to lose ten's of thousands of $$ on horses.... and they are informed enough to make the choice of whom to train with.

Right now it is the Ammies who have to do something to become ammies at USA Eq. Why not make it so that the Professionals have to do something to become professionals? By having them sign a statement with an ethical component added to it. When a professional joined, they would be signing a statement saying that they agree to conduct business in a certain manner and agree to arbitration in the event a dispute arises between a client and themselves.


That way, any new client, when first signing up with such a professional, would have to be given notice of his rights under this law. (And any "pro" not signing up with this portion of the USA Eq. professional status, would have to somehow tell a client that they are NOT protected by the USA Eq.)

As an attorney, I have to represent my clients with honesty and integrity. Why can't horse trainers be obligated to live up to certain standards also?

Fellow non-professionals --- this will take a groundswell movement. The USA Eq. is made of professionals who will not be overly excited to pick up the ball and run with such an idea. But all we are asking them to do is to conduct themselves as honest, ethical citizens. Which, when they go to buy a car or a house, they are.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Beezer
Sep. 19, 2002, 09:41 PM
What a wonderful summation ... which, I guess since you're a lawyer, is kinda second nature. /infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

Proud member of the "Huh. I thought I'd fixed that" phase of baby green hunter ownership.

Sep. 19, 2002, 11:08 PM
Riddle me this:

Trainer has new clients come into the barn with two horses. Clients already have a plan. Junior horse is to sell at the end of the season, and child will finish out her last junior year (next year) on mom's horse in the big eqs.

Junior horse had been tried while under the tutilage of former trainer (FT), but an agreement was made that the sale was on hold until the end of the season. New trainer (NT) speaks with trainer of prospective buyer (TOPB) at show, and NT is informed of the game plan. According to TOPB, PB will try horse again at next show, and then lease for a month, then buy. Owner NEVER agreed with FT to lease, and so NT has to work through a bunch of "mis-truths" to straighten this particular situation out. Meanwhile, NT has several other trainers approach her about the horse. Owner is going (rightfully so) to give PB first option (if the non-lease thing can be worked out).

What about FT???

Yes, I'm just enjoyng the ride! /infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

Walking on water is my specialty, making wine out of it is an art. /infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif /infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif /infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif

armandh
Sep. 20, 2002, 04:12 AM
that the owner may reject despite the others involved apearent acceptance. NT can carry a counter offer from the owner to all concerned, but until the owner signes off on it it is just a work in progress.

Sep. 20, 2002, 05:17 AM
Is FT entitled to anything? The client didn't leave on good terms - snuck out - on an extended "trail ride"...

Walking on water is my specialty, making wine out of it is an art. /infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif /infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif /infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif

Lord Helpus
Sep. 20, 2002, 05:19 AM
NT should refer TOPB to Owner to iron out this discrepancy. NT is not in the loop on this particular sale; she knows it and she haS agreed to it when the owner switched trainers. So if she puts herself in the middle of this transaction, she is doing it for free.

I agree that NT is available to take backup offers on this horse (how nice that this horse is so easily salable and that any commission earned will be earned without too much effort!)

But it is NT's own "fault" if she feels that she is owed something for doing work on the deal that came to her already set up. She needs to get out of the middle of it and let the owner [and FT] re-work it. It is none of her business and making it her business will not earn her a comission.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Sep. 20, 2002, 05:57 AM
NT does not feel owed anything regarding the PB situation as it was a previous negotiation. The owner is however, putting NT into the equation by having NT re-negotiate a set of terms that FT had set up (much to her dismay). There seem to be many discrepancies with what the owner was told by FT, and what NT has been told by TOPB. /infopop/emoticons/icon_rolleyes.gif Kind of what this thread is all about. NT told owner everything that has been discussed, including the more recent propositions AND price quoted. NT feels it isn't her place to yank around other people's money.

<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>how nice that this horse is so easily salable and that any commission earned will be earned without too much effort!
<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Aint THAT the truth!!!

Walking on water is my specialty, making wine out of it is an art. /infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif /infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif /infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif

Jeannette, formerly ponygyrl
Sep. 20, 2002, 06:02 AM
Varsity (and Kryswyn) - the books I've seen have good information about evaluating horses, but nothing about the people end of it. All the ways a buyer can get screwed...

So the book I would be interested in would be the one entitled "Caveat Emptor," and it would include lots of disaster stories about fraud and unethical acts of commission and omission.

Drugs, money, misrepresentation - the kind of book that would be a fascinating read even if I wasn't thinking of buying a horse.

An updated version of Ben Green's Horsetradin' would do nicely - in which he tells of learning to apply dapples to aged white mules using an egg in ink, and how to administer arsenic to addicted draft horses...

rileyt
Sep. 20, 2002, 06:12 AM
A wise law school professor once told me: When faced with an "ethical dilemma"... one that is maybe technically in the "grey" area between right and wrong, ask yourself this one simple question:

If what I did gets plastered all over the front page of the Washington Post, would I be embarrased?


The whole commission thing, for me, boils down to this simple issue. If you are a trainer, agent, whatever... I don't care WHAT you charge... 10%, 20%, $5,000 over purchase price, WHATEVER. But you'd BETTER FULLY DISCLOSE IT UP FRONT! Then I can decide if I want to pay that amount.

And, as a trainer, agent, etc., if you DON'T fully disclose it? Chances are you KNOW you're doing something unethical. You want to charge 10K for the horse your found for 3K? Fine. Tell the new purchaser. If you really believe that your experience, advice, etc. is worth the 7K profit you're making, then look the buyer in the eye and tell her. If you can't do it, you're probably not worth it.

As a lawyer, people pay for my time, my advice, etc. etc. Whenever I have to ask myself "should I bill the client for X?" The test I always ask is: If the client complains about a charge, can I look him in the eye and say, sorry, you need to pay that,... and here's why I earned it. If the answer is yes, then I bill it. If not, I won't.

Half of Riding is 30% mental ... no wonder there are so many bad riders /infopop/emoticons/icon_rolleyes.gif

Varsity team
Sep. 20, 2002, 08:10 AM
As I read these posts, steam is actually flowing out of my ears on to my computer screen, excuse me while I run for a squeegee!
What other industry has absolutely no licensing invoved besides the Magic Kingdom of horsedom?
For God's sake my hairdresser needed x number of hours of training, she needed to pass testing and had to pay big bucks for her license...as well as constant re-training and annual update of her license.
Yet, we freely give THOUSANDS of dollars to unlicensed,untrained, unethical trainers who can do what they wish secure in the knowledge that they will rarely be held accountable for their actions.And why are they not held accountable?
Because we are afraid.
Enough already.

lilblackhorse
Sep. 20, 2002, 08:20 AM
I hadn't come back to this thread for a while, but it seems to be coming back to what CT said......short of parenting, there really is no other profession which allows people to run around so unfettered and uneducated.

Why not make the professionals actually DO something for their shingles? But then again, who would over see something like this...god knows usaq and uset can't seem to get their act together....*sigh*

The gene pool could use a little chlorine.

Lord Helpus
Sep. 20, 2002, 10:41 AM
We might have to sit back and wait our turn vis a vis the NGB conflict.

But when that has been resolved (it has to end someday...), perhaps an owners committee within USA Eq. could start the ball rolling. There will be much opposition from the old guard who has been conducting business at will for years. But all we are asking for is that horsemen conduct themselves as they require in professionals in other trades to do. Someone mentioned hairdressers, and of course attorneys. Even used car salesmen are required to abide by UCC guidelines. Only horsemen are totally unregulated, because we, as the consumer, have not demanded it.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Sep. 20, 2002, 10:52 AM
There are many BNT's out there who are also pulling for such a thing, but this idea is so huge that I don't see it happening in my lifetime. The certifications in the US available these days are looked upon as jokes because they just don't work. Maybe the USEq could learn from their mistakes.

There will still be crooks regardless (just like bad hairdressers and shifty lawyers /infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif ). People just need to be more vocal, and less afraid. If a judge is friends with a shifty trainer, and pins according to that trainer's whim, do you think that will help that judge get more jobs? Kudos to Leslie, and more people should speak out!!!

Walking on water is my specialty, making wine out of it is an art. /infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif /infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif /infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif

SillyHorse
Sep. 20, 2002, 10:54 AM
I think the books that are available to newcomers don't really lay it on the line as far as how easily one can be taken advantage of in the horse world. A book that actually contains horror stories would really drive home the lessons. And the inclusion of stories that are examples of true ethical, professional behavior would help people know the "right" things to look for in a pro, as well as the warning signs that indicate the "wrong" things.

SillyHorse
~ Even on a fast machine, an infinite loop takes a while to run.

Sea Urchin
Sep. 20, 2002, 11:06 AM
I read these posts with more than a bit of cynicism....I, for one, have to disagree that's it's just a "few" trainers who are gouging people on commissions. On the contrary, I think, as someone said, it has become the norm for a trainer to ask a customer: "how much do you want to get out of him (the horse for sale)", and figure anything on top of that is gravy to the trainer.

Rather than focusing on licensure, etc., for trainers (I don't think you can legislate ethics), I think it would be far more productive and easier to police if all sale contracts were required to be in writing and the commissions stated (as in real estate). I know of a very savvy pony mom who, when buying a horse for her child, REQUIRED the seller to sign off on what purchase price was going in her pocket. Selling trainers and all in the food chain were none too pleased.

/infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

armandh
Sep. 20, 2002, 11:47 AM
when buying or selling insist on a closing statement showing all of the disbursments and to whom and why....and if the broker/trainer doesn't want to, say "thanks but I'll pass".

hunterested
Sep. 20, 2002, 12:01 PM
"What the market will bear" is an interesting concept. It is unfortunate that many professionals consider it a) normal, b) righteous and c) ethical to inflate prices, charge higher than legitimately earned commissions on the selling, buying and any sale "within the barn" as standard policy.

They do it because they can. They do it because the people they "represent" agree to pay it.

If you think losses of 2-5K in commissions or finding out you overpaid 2-5K for your new horse is a big deal, how do you feel about the willing transfer of 10-20K for commission of some of the bigtime "AAA" customers who willingly transfer these kinds of funds to their (did I say greedy?) trainers without argument?

The trainers charge it because they can get it. They do it because no one or no agency says they can not and even if there was such a law, you can bet these crafty professionals would find the loophole faster than a pony to oats.

It needs to be stopped. As mentioned earlier, it will probably never change in our lifetimes and some novel ways to prevent it are: to start your own barn of private owners only, sell horses only amongst yourselves, charge no commissions, or get out of the horse business entirely. Sound hokey? Ok, how about actively refusing?

Start getting involved. Start putting your collective feet down. Start saying, "NO...we are not going to be screwed over anymore."

I feel that until the bigtime professionals who are guilty of such practices start changing their ways due to CUSTOMER DEMAND, the practice will continue exponentially and continue among the smaller pros as well.

I for one, am more than willing to pay a trainer a commission of 10% for actual help in selling my horse. Also I am willing to pay 10% to my trainer for helping me find a horse. If my horse is marketed, actively shown for sale, and sold within my barn with the active help of my trainer, I do not have an issue paying a small barn commission. But my buck stops there.

It nauseates me to hear time and time again how much money is "unethically removed" from the customers from inexperienced to the filthy rich. Why? Because the the customers keep agreeing to do so.

Let me assure you that I know that for every 100 scoundrels, there are a few honest professionals. You know the ones who treat other human beings with respect, care and concern...the ones who sleep at night sans sales guilt.

I applaud the letter, I hope owners both local and on the "big scene" finally put their feet down and the next time they open their wallets to pay a for a horse and to pay a commission, take one brief moment to ask, "I made sure from the seller the exact price and my representative has fully earned his percentage, right?"

Because if not, you can be pretty sure that what you are about to dole out in price and commission is probably a big amount more than you need to. It's your money.

START SAYING NO.

mwalshe
Sep. 20, 2002, 12:18 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by hunterested:They do it because they can. They do it because the people they "represent" agree to pay it.
<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
I've never sold a horse for $1 million but I assume that if you were to pi$$ off one or two BNTs there is a fairly good chance of your horse NEVER being sold, no matter how nice, so I would assume that plays a role in what people are willing to pay

Excellent letter. I think until people start demanding what works for them, i.e. a children's horse that a child can actually ride without constant professional supervision etc. etc. trainers will still be able to get away with this kind of stuff.

Varsity team
Sep. 20, 2002, 01:01 PM
I think dealing with the Ahsa is not the way to go with these issues.These issues must be dealt with on a personal level. Each of us in barns are slapped in the face on a regular basis. Be it ridiculous pricing, poor care or unreasonable demands. All of us need to step up to the plate as individuals and say "No more."
As I stated in the letter,there must be in everyone's area at least one decent trainer who has the respect of their customers. Find them!!
Don't be afraid of your trainers! We have the power to put unscrupulous people out of business and to help build the businesses of those who wish to treat us with the respect we deserve.

Varsity team
Sep. 20, 2002, 01:13 PM
It's not just the money issues. It's the treatment across the board.The money issues are just the concrete evidence of what contempt these people feel for their customers. And you know, as long as we take it, who can blame them.

Sandy M
Sep. 20, 2002, 01:15 PM
Back in the day (1977).... my first, best event horse was brought for sale into the barn where I boarded my not-very-good TB mare. My trainer led him in and asked if I recognized him. Three years earlier, he had gone through an auction and sold for more money than I could pay (at the time). Actually, he hadn't reached his reserve, had been sold privately, and had been either in pasture or being a school horse for three years (mostly pasture - he was pretty fat!). Someone else had "first dibs" on him, but declined because of his age. My trainer asked me if I were interested. I said yes and she negotiated the sale with the seller, got the price down to half the asking (because he was "middle-aged") and waived any commission. Why? Not because she was my friend or buddy, but because she realized she'd make a heck of a lot more $$$ teaching me and re-training this horse than taking a commission, and also would benefit from lots of good will from doing a good deed for a very happy purchaser (me!). However, horse prices are so inflated these days, you just know that similar attitudes can no longer prevail. Sad.

lawgrl
Sep. 20, 2002, 01:16 PM
I think to start with, people should be willing to talk about their experiences with certain trainers, both good and bad.

I had a trainer (not mine) try to sell me a horse that had a lot less training than she stated and more importantly, had navicular: "oh we just vetted this horse two months ago and he was clean" "thanks but I still need to vet him"

I tell vets, friends, acquaintences, etc. about my experience. I don't even make personal statements about the trainer, just state the facts.

A trainer can try to scream "slander" all she/he wants but just stating fact is NEVER slander.

Beans
Sep. 20, 2002, 03:29 PM
It would be nice to see major horse publications tackle this topic - especially the issue of commissions and what's legal and what's ethical!

barnie
Sep. 20, 2002, 03:30 PM
Varsity Team: Welcome! You certainly have created an interesting discussion...and an important one too!

There are w/out doubt many crooks in our business, why should we be any different than other walks of life!!And NO ONE should ever be cheated in business, or life for that matter. However, I do think that a lot of people feel any $ a pro makes on a horse deal is unfair. I think your book really needs to explain that people need to be more involved with the buying/selling of their horses if they don't want to pay unfair fees.So many people don't want to have to deal w/the details, they just want a check....it kind of leaves you open to be taken advantage of(not that anyone deserves that!)

And from the other side, pros come across some disreputable customers also. I've been cheated out of money I earned and well deserved on more than one occasion. It takes months of looking to find someone a horse, all costs out of pocket(LD calls, travel expenses, lost lesson time etc.)to have said customer go to the owner directly to purchase the horse and cut out my commission. /infopop/emoticons/icon_eek.gif You would be surprised what people can justify /infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif (or maybe you wouldn't!!) It never ceases to amaze me how people view my experience, contacts, and knowledge as an unfair added expense. Because horses are my living and most peoples' leisure, there are many times when my viewpoints will be at odds w/ John Q. Public.(And horses are absolutely not the only unregulated business) I think it is why I find Dr.s and attorneys generally unwilling to give out so much free advice anymore.My seemingly innane question is something they make a living answering.

I know this is a little rambling, but I honestly think pros get a bad shake too often on this board. People need to educate themselves to be better consumers.

Varsity team
Sep. 20, 2002, 03:33 PM
Most owners refuse to speak up for a myriad of reasons.
1.The owner has convinced this poor person they are actually their friend and have their best interests at heart.
2.There will be retaliation, not only from their trainer but from all the other trainers in their area, because, guess what, they're all in it together,they're unionized.
3.For Moms, fear that their little girl who has grown quite attached to this trainer will be ostracized.
Man, I'm starting to sound like Oliver Stone.

Varsity team
Sep. 20, 2002, 03:49 PM
You are just the type of professional I would hope to have access to when looking for a horse.I absolutely believe that there are wonderful, honest and knowledegeable trainers out there who wish to use their skills for the good of the sport as well as make a profit. The relationship can be built on a win win premise.
I want you to be successful as a trainer and I'm willing to pay you for your services as long as they are reasonable.Example, I'm happy to pay you a 10% commission on a horse that you find for me.
I am not happy to pay you a 10% commission on a horse a friend sold me and I bought from her because she had fallen on hard times. I'm am also not willing to acccept your rejection of this horse in your barn because you did not buy it for me. You should make a nice little sum training it, caring for it and taking it to horse shows as well as the commission you'll make when you sell it.
It's the greed Barnie, the absolute no holds barred greed that concerns me.
It's not only trainers but show managers as well.
At one of the biggest AA shows in the Midwest this summer, stalls were priced out of the ballpark, entries were absurd. Enough people in this area were outraged enough to skip the show and head elsewhere.It's that kin of grassroots effort I'm talking about and as a trainer who talks the talk you should also be willing to walk the walk, not only with your customers but other trainers as well. /infopop/emoticons/icon_razz.gif

Varsity team
Sep. 20, 2002, 03:50 PM
You are just the type of professional I would hope to have access to when looking for a horse.I absolutely believe that there are wonderful, honest and knowledegeable trainers out there who wish to use their skills for the good of the sport as well as make a profit. The relationship can be built on a win win premise.
I want you to be successful as a trainer and I'm willing to pay you for your services as long as they are reasonable.Example, I'm happy to pay you a 10% commission on a horse that you find for me.
I am not happy to pay you a 10% commission on a horse a friend sold me and I bought from her because she had fallen on hard times. I'm am also not willing to acccept your rejection of this horse in your barn because you did not buy it for me. You should make a nice little sum training it, caring for it and taking it to horse shows as well as the commission you'll make when you sell it.
It's the greed Barnie, the absolute no holds barred greed that concerns me.
It's not only trainers but show managers as well.
At one of the biggest AA shows in the Midwest this summer, stalls were priced out of the ballpark, entries were absurd. Enough people in this area were outraged enough to skip the show and head elsewhere.It's that kin of grassroots effort I'm talking about and as a trainer who talks the talk you should also be willing to walk the walk, not only with your customers but other trainers as well. /infopop/emoticons/icon_razz.gif

Linny
Sep. 20, 2002, 04:53 PM
Like many on the bb I really appreciate your letter to COTH. My husband works on commission so I begrudge no one a profit.
I too think that too many pros see owners as money pits. I have no issue if a trainer BUYS an animal and resells at a big profit. Someone early on this thread posed that type of question. If a pro spots a horse that he sees as a diamond in the rough and buys him for $3k, takes him home and touches him up, I don't care i he sells him for $10k. He has made the investment and taken a risk in buying the animal. On the other hand if he is representing some one who is looking for a "reasonable" horse he's obligated as a fiduciary to get the horse as cheap as poosible for his client. In this case client pays $3k + commission based on that price. If the pro takes some risk the reward is justified.

I am happy that the owner/trainer at the barn where I ride prefers to be paid for his time and expenses and is diligent and really earns his pay. I'm not sure what his rule is on in barn sales or barn commissions. I don't think its right for a pro who doesn't sell your horse to expect you to pay him when you sell. As long as you've given him ample warning that the horse was leaving you shouldn't owe him a dime.

Varsity Team, I hope that your letter gets alot of people thinking and acting. There must be a way to end the stigma attatched to speaking up.


Founder of the mighty Thoroughbred Clique!

Resident racing historian

Varsity team
Sep. 20, 2002, 05:12 PM
Thanks!

In the immortal words of John Lennon:
"I know I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one."
Hate to get all 60's and 70's here but ummmm
"Power to the People"

LMH
Sep. 20, 2002, 05:19 PM
Varsity team-one day I would love to sit down with you and personally shake your hand....for AGES I have wanted to write something similar and send it to COTH but never got around to it or never had the nerve or never thought it would make a difference.

I take my hat off to you. I can only hope that the ball you started rolling will keep rolling and rolling.

What is even more upsetting is most people likely don't know the half of what goes on...

I also agree that there has to be a way to get things going without waiting on USAE....that WILL take longer than our lifetime....perhaps there could be some sort of owner's organization-I haven't thought this through....but something of an information highway---a source for information on trainers good and bad...something like that.

It might be a start....


The 3 rules of riding:
Whoa means whoa
If it ain't right it is wrong
If it pokes out stick it

Varsity team
Sep. 20, 2002, 06:19 PM
Dear LMH,

Thank you for your kind words and let me repay them. I think your idea for an owner's organization is ABSOLUTELY BRILLIANT!!!
How about titling it OW!
(Owners World)
It would be a way to deseminate information as well as for all of us to become better educated.

I love this idea!!!!!!

[This message was edited by Varsity team on Sep. 22, 2002 at 11:35 AM.]

Varsity team
Sep. 22, 2002, 10:11 AM
Dear All,

How do you think an E-Mag would do that just addressed concerns of horse owners...not care, etc but a place to read and contribute either articles or thoughts about the pitfalls of ownerdom?

Won't let it go, will I? /infopop/emoticons/icon_razz.gif

armandh
Sep. 22, 2002, 04:58 PM
trainers, barn operators, show operators, the whole lot of em are taking a hit as disposable income is down. you should expect: some to go out of buisness or reorganize, some to seek ways to squeeze more revenue from existing customers, some to seek new or the other guy's customers.
keep your hand on your wallet and just say no!
until any deal is fully explained, and documented.

Flash44
Sep. 23, 2002, 07:32 AM
Look through any of the major h/j publications and you will see the most of the "serious" show horses don't have prices listed. Are we just supposed to guess? Or is it because the price depends on what the buyer can spend v. what the seller wants, with any difference lining someone's pockets?

Sandy M
Sep. 23, 2002, 07:47 AM
No.It's more like, "If you have to ask, you can't afford it."

Varsity team
Sep. 24, 2002, 07:16 AM
How about writing a little column for the COTH? /infopop/emoticons/icon_razz.gif