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  1. #1
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    Default Trainer policies for horse shows

    We had a barn meeting recently where our trainer is considering implementing some new barn policies regarding shows. There have been some issues regarding people wanting/needing to pull out in the middle of multi-day shows for whatever reason or deciding not to go to the show at the last minute. Both scenarios are apparently causing logistical problems with grooms, stalls, etc.

    Trainer is considering show deposits to help avoid late cancellation and requiring horses to remain in full grooming even if riders stop showing but have previously committed to being at the show and in full grooming. We have been asked to email feedback.

    I guess it makes sense, but my question is do other trainers do this? If so, what are their policies?



  2. #2
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    Stalls are paid for in advance, so if the show won't refund, which most won't, client doesn't get refund. And any horse at the show is on day care, meaning paying for grooming, whether it is showing or not.



  3. #3
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    Around here, A-AA shows require a $500 deposit, and more for the big shows (Thermal, Sac, Capital Challenge, etc). This is used to cover stalls and (if) there are leftover(s), it goes to trailering and grooming. If a rider is injured, etc, s/he is still in charge of paying the rest of trailering and grooming fees, plus a $70ish/day 'day care' fee.



  4. #4
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    I think it costs what it costs. You arrive at a show on Tuesday. Decide to scratch on Friday and were supposed to show Saturday and Sunday. Your horse still has to be fed and groomed, walked, whatever. You still keep your tack in a stall, hay and feed in another. The show management won't let the barn knock off a percentage of those stalls because you take your tack home and the trainer can't shave off part of the grooms' pay because you say you'll groom yourself.

    When I say "you" I don't me you personally.

    I think trainer is correct.



  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by CBoylen View Post
    <snip> And any horse at the show is on day care, meaning paying for grooming, whether it is showing or not.
    Thanks. What about late cancels, I think we're talking about within a few days. What notice is generally required, if any?



  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by gumshoe View Post
    I think it costs what it costs. You arrive at a show on Tuesday. Decide to scratch on Friday and were supposed to show Saturday and Sunday. Your horse still has to be fed and groomed, walked, whatever. You still keep your tack in a stall, hay and feed in another. The show management won't let the barn knock off a percentage of those stalls because you take your tack home and the trainer can't shave off part of the grooms' pay because you say you'll groom yourself.

    When I say "you" I don't me you personally.

    I think trainer is correct.
    Didn't take it as me personally.

    I actually agree with the trainer on this as well. If I go to a show, I have made a commitment and if I need to scratch for whatever reason, that is not the trainers problem and grooming etc. should continue as scheduled.



  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Misanthrope View Post
    Thanks. What about late cancels, I think we're talking about within a few days. What notice is generally required, if any?
    You still need to pay the trainer's out-of-pocket costs. I also think you and trainer would need to work something out about the show-based day care. After all, it can be hard to get a good groom if the trainer can't guarantee a minimum number of horses.

    Please try to remember this: The showing for clients is fun, "icing on the cake," or one fun way to spend money and free time as opposed to another. If you take showing seriously, I can't imagine that you cancel at the last minute too often. If you don't--- a horse show is equivalent to dinner reservations to you--- then pay for the luxury of having the flexibility to bail. After all, someone somewhere (usually the groom who shows up expecting X horses per day and gets X-1) is eating the cost. Now, perhaps, you trainer is putting the cost of flexibility where it properly lies.

    I hope you guys can come up with something fair for all.
    The armchair saddler
    Politically Pro-Cat



  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by mvp View Post
    You still need to pay the trainer's out-of-pocket costs. I also think you and trainer would need to work something out about the show-based day care. After all, it can be hard to get a good groom if the trainer can't guarantee a minimum number of horses.

    Please try to remember this: The showing for clients is fun, "icing on the cake," or one fun way to spend money and free time as opposed to another. If you take showing seriously, I can't imagine that you cancel at the last minute too often. If you don't--- a horse show is equivalent to dinner reservations to you--- then pay for the luxury of having the flexibility to bail. After all, someone somewhere (usually the groom who shows up expecting X horses per day and gets X-1) is eating the cost. Now, perhaps, you trainer is putting the cost of flexibility where it properly lies.

    I hope you guys can come up with something fair for all.
    mvp, I actually agree with these upcoming policies, all of them. Was just wondering if there was a "standard" among other barns/trainers to give as a suggestion.

    Late cancels, besides apparently being a pain for the trainer, impacts other clients too. For every one that bails out last minute, the rest of us are looking at higher trainer splits. Would like to see a barn policy that discourages last minute cancels.



  9. #9
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    I think it is pretty obvious that if the trainer has reserved a stall for a horse that the owner is responsible for that cost. Also, if the horse is already at the show and then scratches, I think they still are utilizing pretty similar services as if they were showing, they still need to be fed and watered and cared for and I think those services have clearly been committed too.

    In the situation where the owner cancels at the last minute, I sympathize with the trainer but I also think that it can create a lot of hard feelings when you bill for a service that was never provided, such as grooming at a show when the horse never went. I also think it can add insult to injury when the horse couldn't go because of a lameness or health issue. I think the idea of charging a deposit is a reasonable one, whereby the owner would be responsible for some portion of the costs, but not as much as if their horse actually went.

    I think it is pretty expected that for any given show out of a certain number of horses and riders there might be one horse or one rider that can't go because of illness or other unexpected circumstances, but also I have noticed that there are a lot of flaky people out there and that can be a real hardship on a business. I'd hate to be a trainer taking five clients to a show, and then find out at the last minute that only two or three were going. That makes a big difference in terms of logistics.



  10. #10
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    One thing I would suggest bringing up with your trainer is the question of what happens if your horse is unable to show because of circumstances that are the trainer's fault, not yours? I'm not sure how you would delicately bring something like this up, but I think I would still ask about it.

    An assistant trainer once caused a bad accident with my horse at a horse show, resulting in a severe injury. I didn't pay a day rate for the days I was not there, but the trainer did still charge me shipping plus the splits for shavings/hay/grooming stall that I did not use because my horse was back home receiving very expensive vet care. I also paid my stall fee directly to the show office, which I would have expected (they had nothing to do with this incident). In my case, I think the trainer should have paid my portion of the grooming stall split, shavings, and hay, since it was her employee's bad judgment that led to the accident.

    My horse still has after effects from the injury, so it still pisses me off to this day that the trainer charged me for these items.



  11. #11
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    I have a two weeks prior commitment required and a one week prior deposit (50% of estimated bill) and check to show required policy at my barn. It was implemented to keep people from backing out at the last minute from big shows and once you commit, you pay your portion of splits (hotel, trailering, tack stalls, etc) whether you go or not. It works for me and seems to keep everyone in line.

    Whether or not they can get out of paying the show is generally not up to me, but most A shows won't let you out of the stall. A good portion of our local ones will though up to a few days before.
    Teneriffe Enterprises- NW Indiana
    www.saradanielhaynes.com



  12. #12
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    May. 10, 2011
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    I am a little bit confused by a few posts that mention it shortchanges the grooms if they are expecting X amount of horses but show up and there is X - 1 or whatever. Our grooms get paid the same regardless of the amount of horses at the show - we just increase or decrease the amount of grooms we take to each show depending on the amount of horses going.



  13. #13
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    FineAlready -

    I really think my head would have spontaneously exploded if I had been in your situation, seems outrageous.

    Quote Originally Posted by RumoursFollow View Post
    I have a two weeks prior commitment required and a one week prior deposit (50% of estimated bill) and check to show required policy at my barn. It was implemented to keep people from backing out at the last minute from big shows and once you commit, you pay your portion of splits (hotel, trailering, tack stalls, etc) whether you go or not. It works for me and seems to keep everyone in line.

    Whether or not they can get out of paying the show is generally not up to me, but most A shows won't let you out of the stall. A good portion of our local ones will though up to a few days before.
    Good info Rumours, thank you.
    Quote Originally Posted by laughATTACK View Post
    I am a little bit confused by a few posts that mention it shortchanges the grooms if they are expecting X amount of horses but show up and there is X - 1 or whatever. Our grooms get paid the same regardless of the amount of horses at the show - we just increase or decrease the amount of grooms we take to each show depending on the amount of horses going.
    This applies to grooms not employed by the barn/trainer, but those that are independent and arranged for the show only.

    Trainer (as I understood it) is looking into a show deposit, credited if you go, forfeited if you don't. Not charged in case of lame/sick horse. Seems reasonable, but will need more details.



  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by laughATTACK View Post
    I am a little bit confused by a few posts that mention it shortchanges the grooms if they are expecting X amount of horses but show up and there is X - 1 or whatever. Our grooms get paid the same regardless of the amount of horses at the show - we just increase or decrease the amount of grooms we take to each show depending on the amount of horses going.
    Right, but if you have gone and paid for 2 grooms expecting 5 horses to show up, and then 2 cancel last minute, what do you do with groom #2? Are the three remaining owners who DID show going to split double the grooms fees now when really one groom could do the work? Or do you just screw over the groom who was counting on the work and now can't find a replacement gig in the last minute?

    I personally bill very a la carte.

    Horses are billed a "day fee" only for days they are there. The more horses are there the lower the day fee for all. If a horse leaves before 1pm or arrives after 1pm it is a half day fee.

    If there are more horses than I/the owners can groom ourselves everyone splits the flat cost of the groom, my horses included in the split.

    I have not had any last minute cancellation issues but I would certainly expect, for example, if a groom had been hired given the projected amount of work, that the last minute canceller would still pay for their share of that deal. We can't make their emergency the groom's problem (last minute loss of work) or that of the other customers (fewer people splitting the cost). It sucks when the horse loses a shoe the day before or whatever but it isn't everyone else's responsibility to soften the blow.

    This thread has inspired me to have a clear "Last Day to Cancel Or Your Horse Will Be Billed As If He Went" date indicated going forward in the event of multiple customers attending the same show. Simple enough to send an email out with all of the projected costs tallied in advance, a reminder that these charges are based for all involved on the number of horses attending the show, and that after Day X this is how the show bill will be calculated regardless.



  15. #15
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    May. 2, 2012
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    AIKEN SC
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    Quote Originally Posted by RumoursFollow View Post
    I have a two weeks prior commitment required and a one week prior deposit (50% of estimated bill) and check to show required policy at my barn. It was implemented to keep people from backing out at the last minute from big shows and once you commit, you pay your portion of splits (hotel, trailering, tack stalls, etc) whether you go or not. It works for me and seems to keep everyone in line.

    Whether or not they can get out of paying the show is generally not up to me, but most A shows won't let you out of the stall. A good portion of our local ones will though up to a few days before.
    Many trainers do not feel a need to keep their clients 'in line'.

    Make your own entries, pay your own stall fee when you do your entries. As mentioned many shows will not refund stall fees so you will be out that expense but on the other hand if you cancel in advance the show may refund/not charge your entry fees. If your horse is ill or injured you can generally get a refund of entry fees.

    Understand what your contract with the trainer specifies. If possible avoid having your trainer make your entries for you.
    Be aware that if your trainer signs as 'trainer' they can charge whatever they want to your show account for feed, shavings etc even if you did not request it. For that reason I often sign as trainer myself. Some clients are clueless and think they need a 'trainer' or they can't show. Not true. LOL

    I've never heard of a policy that requires an estimated payment to the trainer in advance. If the trainer 'policy' seems unfair then run don't walk to a more reasonable situation.
    Fan of Sea Accounts



  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by PINE TREE FARM SC View Post
    Many trainers do not feel a need to keep their clients 'in line'.
    <snip>
    Understand what your contract with the trainer specifies. If possible avoid having your trainer make your entries for you.
    Be aware that if your trainer signs as 'trainer' they can charge whatever they want to your show account for feed, shavings etc even if you did not request it. For that reason I often sign as trainer myself. Some clients are clueless and think they need a 'trainer' or they can't show. Not true. LOL
    Not all clients need to be kept "in-line", but some sure seem to need it based on behavior. This barn meeting didn't just happen out of the blue, it was a reaction to events of this show year.

    Disagree about not having trainer doing the entries. I like having mine taken care of, one less thing to worry about, and trainer doesn't have to worry about people forgetting/losing them, etc. As to having them sign as trainer, to me this comes down to trusting your trainer. If you trust them, there should be no problem. If you don't, why are you with them?



  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by meupatdoes View Post
    Right, but if you have gone and paid for 2 grooms expecting 5 horses to show up, and then 2 cancel last minute, what do you do with groom #2? Are the three remaining owners who DID show going to split double the grooms fees now when really one groom could do the work? Or do you just screw over the groom who was counting on the work and now can't find a replacement gig in the last minute?
    If there are more horses than I/the owners can groom ourselves everyone splits the flat cost of the groom, my horses included in the split.
    I choose choice C. None of the above. Our guys going to the show are the same guys as at home - so let's say we have enough horses showing for five grooms - our sixth groom stays at home with horses not traveling to the show. It works out fine because if enough horses aren't traveling to the show, that means they are staying at home and therefore, the groom who would have been doing that share of the work at the show is needed to go do that share of the work at home. Only once did we run into an issue where it didn't even out correctly - someone flying Derby horses in canceled and so we kept the extra groom we had hired for those horses and gave one of the regular guys his yearly paid vacation at a different time than usual.



  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by laughATTACK View Post
    I am a little bit confused by a few posts that mention it shortchanges the grooms if they are expecting X amount of horses but show up and there is X - 1 or whatever. Our grooms get paid the same regardless of the amount of horses at the show - we just increase or decrease the amount of grooms we take to each show depending on the amount of horses going.
    This is true, but grooms (at least where I'm from) also get substantial tips.

    Most big barns I've been in require a $500 deposit to trainer when entries are sent. Then, this is applied to day care/training fees after the show.



  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Misanthrope View Post
    FineAlready -

    I really think my head would have spontaneously exploded if I had been in your situation, seems outrageous.
    Yeah, it wasn't great. I left the barn shortly after that. Not so much because of the accident (accidents DO happen, after all), but because of the terrible way the aftermath was handled.



  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by PINE TREE FARM SC View Post
    Many trainers do not feel a need to keep their clients 'in line'.

    Make your own entries, pay your own stall fee when you do your entries.
    I do not think it is so much trainers keeping their clients in line as much as some clients prefer the route of their trainer keeping all this stuff organized for them. Not a wrong way, just a different way. Thankfully their are barns that cater to all ways.


    Having never boarded at a barn with on staff groomers I can see why a set fee with no refund after a certain time makes sense. It seems unfair to others, who have planned on a certain budget for the groomer, braider, stall split, etc, to have to cover the portion of a person who cancels.



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