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  1. #1
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    Default Best way to deal with trainer and client interested in same horse

    Just looking for ideas on how to do what is best for all concerned, and fair.

    I have been looking for a new lesson horse for a while. I keep my students entertained with the adventures of horse shopping so they all know I am looking. One of my students happened to mention her dream horse would be xyz. In my search I have found a horse that would suit being a lesson horse, but that is very close to fitting her description, so I mentionned it to her.

    It is too far for either of us to want to go look at, but I found an aquaintance to go do some video, and it turns out her friend rides at the same barn and knows the horse well. They said he is exactly as advertised.

    It is easier for me to take a risk on a sight unseen horse as I can fit it into many uses or resell. I am not sure I want a student to take that same risk for her first horse...but I don't want to "buy him out from under her" either.

    I was thinking we could go half and half on the vet check, hauling, and first month board, and if he is suitable for her, she could buy me out, and if not I could either buy her out, or if unsuitable for either of us, I would cover board and we could split what we get when he sells. Or is that going overboard trying to be fair?

    Other ideas?

    Now if she decides she isn't ready to own (or rather her husband decides this) would it be weird if I still bought the horse, knowing he is close to her "dream horse" in description?


    1 members found this post helpful.

  2. #2
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    Oct. 22, 2009
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    You found it, buy it. If she really likes him, she can make an offer to you and you can decide if you want to sell him.
    Quote Originally Posted by pinecone View Post
    I can't decide if I should saddle up the drama llama, dust off the clue bat, or get out my soapbox.


    6 members found this post helpful.

  3. #3
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    I think your plan is incredibly considerate! I'd certainly float it with the student and, if she's interested, get it ALLLLL in writing and go for it!


    3 members found this post helpful.

  4. #4
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    I think the fairest route to take would be for you to buy the horse and cover all the expenses yourself. then, if she wants to buy the horse from you within 30 days she may for the exact purchase price plus vet, hauling, etc, plus your commission.
    After 30 days you retain the right to not sell the horse, or price it however you see fit.
    www.destinationconsensusequus.com
    chaque pas est fait ensemble


    9 members found this post helpful.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Petstorejunkie View Post
    I think the fairest route to take would be for you to buy the horse and cover all the expenses yourself. then, if she wants to buy the horse from you within 30 days she may for the exact purchase price plus vet, hauling, etc, plus your commission.
    After 30 days you retain the right to not sell the horse, or price it however you see fit.
    Given the number of messes on splitting costs we've seen, I agree with this.

    I would tell it to her exactly as you told us - that she gets first dibs, these are the conditions, etc., but that your concern is her buying the horse from a distance and you know it would at least work for you if not her.
    My horse is a dressage diva so I don't have to be.

    Quote Originally Posted by katarine
    If you have a fat gay horse that likes Parelli, you're really screwed


    3 members found this post helpful.

  6. #6
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    Feb. 20, 2010
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    Quote Originally Posted by netg View Post
    Given the number of messes on splitting costs we've seen, I agree with this.

    I would tell it to her exactly as you told us - that she gets first dibs, these are the conditions, etc., but that your concern is her buying the horse from a distance and you know it would at least work for you if not her.
    I agree. If you want to be super nice you can drop the commission, but I wouldn't get involved in the headache of splitting costs.
    An alternative is just to tell her you'll be making a decision by x date if horse is still available, so she has until then to make a decision.

    He's close to what she's looking for in terms of specifications, but it's not like you'd be buying her heart horse from under her. She's never even met the critter!



  7. #7
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    Jun. 7, 2006
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    Completely agree with petstorejunkie's suggestion.

    That is completely fair, and the time limit is a good idea. You and the client can negotiate a different (longer or shorter) time limit as you choose, but I think to keep one in there is a good plan.



  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Big_Grey_hunter View Post
    You found it, buy it. If she really likes him, she can make an offer to you and you can decide if you want to sell him.
    Noooo!! This is so unethical - very much a firing offense!! It is not always easy to find the right horse. When a trainer is looking for a client, there should be no competition. That is a conflict of interest. I would fire any trainer who did this.
    I think the OP and a number of other posters have come up with very fair and appropriate solutions. I would absolutely leave the ultimate decision with the client. Taking a fair and transparent approach to relationships with clients is what will earn you loyalty and repeat business, as well as a great reputation! The OP is clearly looking to do the right thing here. That will pay off in the end, whether the client or the OP end up with this particular horse.
    Born under a rock and owned by beasts!


    3 members found this post helpful.

  9. #9
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    Jul. 31, 2007
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    I think your deal with a "make up your mind" time limit for the client is the right way to go. You lose something if you buy/PPE/Ship/Feed first with the understanding that you'll sell the horse for the advertised price to your client. I think it would be harder to ask your client to pay that price plus your out-of-pocket expenses.

    Otherwise, if this is a great first horse for her, I'd lean in that direction. Those are hard to find and an immense joy for a kid.
    The armchair saddler
    Politically Pro-Cat



  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by ako View Post
    Noooo!! This is so unethical - very much a firing offense!! It is not always easy to find the right horse. When a trainer is looking for a client, there should be no competition. That is a conflict of interest. I would fire any trainer who did this.
    Even with full disclosure? The client has already been told about the horse.



  11. #11
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    We half-leased one of our trainer's horses for DD. Trainer used the horse for lessons on the days DD did not ride. DD had showing privileges. Maybe you could work something like this out with your client.
    I heard a neigh. Oh, such a brisk and melodious neigh as that was! My very heart leaped with delight at the sound. --Nathaniel Hawthorne



  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by SmartAlex View Post
    Even with full disclosure? The client has already been told about the horse.
    I think it would leave a bad taste in a client's mouth to say "Either you first-time buyers take all the risk up front or get out of the way while I do." The pro is better at taking risk than the one-horse-at-a-time noob.

    Sure, it's ethical if you make full disclosure, but the trainer is also trying to make the client trust her as someone who is on her side, not a potential adversary.
    The armchair saddler
    Politically Pro-Cat


    2 members found this post helpful.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Petstorejunkie View Post
    I think the fairest route to take would be for you to buy the horse and cover all the expenses yourself. then, if she wants to buy the horse from you within 30 days she may for the exact purchase price plus vet, hauling, etc, plus your commission.
    After 30 days you retain the right to not sell the horse, or price it however you see fit.
    Actually, I don't think this scenario is fair to the OP/trainer. So she has to take on all the risk if the horse doesn't work out, but if the horse is great the student gets all the benefit? Sorry, but the potential for a regular commission probably isn't adequate compensation for taking on the risk that a sight unseen horse might not work out.

    It's a tricky situation. Sharing expenses with a client is also bad business, it gets messy too easily. I agree with ako that it looks really bad to be in "competition" with your client when shopping for horses, i.e. both shopping for the same type of horse at the same time. I almost think that it might be better for both of you to pass on the horse than to create an awkward situation over it.



  14. #14
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    Jul. 23, 2008
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    Quote Originally Posted by CHT View Post
    Just looking for ideas on how to do what is best for all concerned, and fair.

    I have been looking for a new lesson horse for a while. I keep my students entertained with the adventures of horse shopping so they all know I am looking. One of my students happened to mention her dream horse would be xyz. In my search I have found a horse that would suit being a lesson horse, but that is very close to fitting her description, so I mentionned it to her.
    So everyone knows that you have been looking for a lesson horse, not a horse for your client. This is an important distinction, in my mind.

    It is too far for either of us to want to go look at, but I found an aquaintance to go do some video, and it turns out her friend rides at the same barn and knows the horse well. They said he is exactly as advertised.

    It is easier for me to take a risk on a sight unseen horse as I can fit it into many uses or resell. I am not sure I want a student to take that same risk for her first horse...but I don't want to "buy him out from under her" either.
    The horse isn't ideally located, and you are willing to take the risk, but hesitant on some fantasy list that she came up with for her ideal horse... am I right?

    I was thinking we could go half and half on the vet check, hauling, and first month board, and if he is suitable for her, she could buy me out, and if not I could either buy her out, or if unsuitable for either of us, I would cover board and we could split what we get when he sells. Or is that going overboard trying to be fair?

    Other ideas?

    Now if she decides she isn't ready to own (or rather her husband decides this) would it be weird if I still bought the horse, knowing he is close to her "dream horse" in description?
    So, she's not even actively looking for a horse at this time? This would be the biggest deciding factor to me. As her trainer/coach, you cant push her into ownership, especially if it's not something that she and her SO are ready for.

    Buy the horse.

    She knows her's out there and available. She's known that you have been looking for a horse, and this one fits the bill. She's never met this horse and only likes the thought of this horse as opposed to the actual animal (important distinction... often our 'dream horses' aren't our 'heart horses').

    Buy the horse for your program. If client decided that she loves him, arrange a lease to own arrangement or outright sell to her in/when she's in a position to buy. If she's not adult enough to handle the fact that you owned her fantasy horse first, then that's her issue.

    Honestly, your client would make out like a bandit with a lease to own arrangement to see if she actually likes the horse and can handle the financial commitment to horse ownership...


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  15. #15
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    I guess it depends if the client has engaged the trainer to look for horses. If the trainer was looking for the client, the client should have dibs.
    If the client does not have the trainer looking, then there's no obligation. However if it is kind of grey (dream horse criteria but not necessarily looking actively), then it's best to have a discussion with the client. If the trainer would buy the horse no matter what and client is not sure, then I think it's fair for the trainer to buy the horse. If the client wishes to buy within 30 days, she could do that, paying purchase price + all reasonable expenses + commission.
    The key here is that the client should be given an option to buy and not feel in competition with the trainer.
    After the 30 days (or agreed time) then all bets are off. The client may ask to buy the horse later and find there's a nice markup on the price. That's fair.
    Born under a rock and owned by beasts!


    2 members found this post helpful.

  16. #16
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    From the initial post it doesn't sound like the client was actually horse shopping, or as the previous poster said, engaging the trainer in looking for a horse for the client to buy.
    I tell my trainer about what kind of horse i would love all the time, but I'm not actually in the market....
    If my trainer was looking for a horse for her program and found one that sounded like it'd be my ideal, I can imagine she'd say, "yeah, dobbin sounds like the type of horse for you!" And if, from that, i decided ahh what the heck, I'm ready to buy/own, then the next thing would be for ME to approach the trainer and tell her, "I was really intrigued by that horse and considering pursuing it. Would you (trainer) be willing to look at the horse as my agent for me to buy, or are you committed to purchasing the horse for your program?" And go from there, knowing that the trainer was first looking for something for her program before I stepped in.
    MrB's attempt at talking like a horse person, "We'll be entering in the amateur hunter-gatherer division...."



  17. #17
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    She has been sort of looking (scoping ads) to get an idea of what a horse like she wants would cost and been talking to me about the cost of horse ownership, so although not actively looking, the idea of buying has been in her head for a bit now.

    At about the same time as I found this horse, she started to get more serious, but still in the forwarding me ads so I could help her decifer them phase.

    She is currently part leasing a horse who is good for her.

    Buying a first horse comes with some excitement that I don't want to take away from her, rather I just want to cushion the risk. At the same time, I am not sure i want to take ALL the risk on my own though, (such as full cost of PPE).

    If I DID opt to vet the horse, buy the horse, ship the horse and so on, all on my own expense, that seems complicated too...if I bear the risk, shouldn't I receive some potential gain? But then how much gain is fair? Is any gain fair when she is fine with buying horse outright, but it is me that wants to give her a safety cushion?

    Not buying THIS horse would solve the issue, but that seems like a poor solution, particularly given how few and far between nice, tall, and quiet geldings are around my neck of the woods. Plus the benefit of knowing someone who knows someone who has known the horse for years.



  18. #18
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    I agree completely with amm2cd.
    I realize that I'm generalizing here, but as is often the case when I generalize, I don't care. ~ Dave Barry



  19. #19
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    I would discuss with the client. There are a few options:
    1. Client doesn't want to commit and isn't interested. So it's in your court and no longer involves the client.
    2. Client is interested, buys, and you get a commission. Not your fault if it doesn't work out.
    3. You are both interested, and decide to work out a deal and a window where one of you keeps the horse. Whomever keeps the horse should pay for everything. The person who doesn't should not have to pay anything. Your risk - if client decides to keep him - should be sufficiently compensated in the form of commission OR agreed markup in lieu of commission. If this is not enough to compensate you for your risk, then it is probably simply not a good idea for you.
    4. As you mentioned, you could go partners as a backup if the horse doesn't work out. This is risky.
    (Personally, I'd go see the horse, or at least pay a 3rd party to ride him. Unless he's cheap enough that the risk is warranted regardless.)
    5. Pass on the horse
    Born under a rock and owned by beasts!



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