I believe you should know in advance what you are paying for! So if the trainer gives you a bill after-the-show for hotel and meals, that really isn't right. And if trainer is showing their own horse(s) at the show, then it may also be appropriate that trainer pays their own hotel costs? I really do believe customers should know in advance what it is going to cost - to show, to train, etc. In other industries, when you payfor contracted services (aka training), there is a contract that outlines fees, which costs are billed for different services, what happens when services aren't rendered, etc. This happens much less often in the horse industry - why?
I think that it varies more in dressage than H-J land, and from trainer to trainer. I have been with a trainer where the split is among everyone and the trainer does not count their own horses in the split, and at places where the trainer shares a room with 3 others and counts herself and horses in the split. (Guess which place I liked better?) At the second place, if the rider/horse was in full training, you did not pay a trainer fee at the show, but still paid your split on tack/feed stalls, fuel, hotel, etc... Other place was a day fee, trainer fee at the show, etc... very expensive to show there...
I do agree that you should know in advance what your expected fees will be. Not presented a bill with a bunch of extras after the show.
It's usual, but in my opinion it isn't right unless the trainer is only there to coach the students. If the trainer is showing their own horses, I don't see why I should have to pay for their hotel, meals, etc.
A trainer is like a consultant, so all travel related expenses. It's only fair but some do sleep in their horse trailers and may charge less, or nothing at all. I believe travel expenses are a tax deduction for them but don't know for sure.
If my trainer is showing her own horse(s), then students just pay coaching fees. If she comes to a show specifically to coach, then we also split her hotel and gas to get there (if she doesn't just catch a ride with one of us).
"Winter's a good time to stay in and cuddle,
but put me in summer and I'll be a... happy snowman!!!"
I know attorneys often charge *all* their clients for travel time to a place where they will meet with several of them. "Double billing" is how they make their sales numbers.
Having said that, my dressage trainer has an itemized price list for all services and description of what they are. It's instructive to see in print what's involved in packing for a multi-day show, for example, and the effort in watering, feeding, and cleaning up the stall at departure for each horse.
One word about this "a la carte" approach ... yes, it's incredibly expensive to show, but one runs a risk with other participants. Trainer took three horses to a clinic ... two of us owners were to split the cost with trainer of a hotel for two nights. Based on that agreement, I booked a suite with three beds ... other owner had business needs that kept her home the first night and only wanted to pay 1/3 of a single night. Next time I will let her know she can make her own arrangements since the trainer and I both had to make up the difference on the first night.
We never pay travel fees/food/hotel as all our rated shows are relatively local so she does not stay overnight unless she is showing herself.
If in full training there are no additional coaching fees. If not in full training she charges $50/ session.
We do all split the cost of a golf cart rental so she can whizz around from warm up to show arena faster. We also all split (including my trainer if she is showing) a tack stall.
I think she is more than fair with her fees and charges. My trainer is not cheap to be in full training/ board, but I much prefer it than feeling like I am being "nickel and dimed". With full board/ training there are no additional fees for blanketing, special feed, holding for farrier, grooming for trainer to ride, etc. Once when my mare had a mild colic/ gas episode my trainer called me (she lives on premise) to tell me. I told her I would be there right away and stay to monitor her. She said no worries, she was already there and would monitor things (and I knew she would not charge me). I went anyway because I was worried and I did not feel right putting that responsibility on her.
I think the most equitable approach is to divide the trainer expenses by the number of horses (including their own) and each owner pays their share. I used to show with a friend who took 3 horses everywhere. She paid 3 times what I did for my 1 horse.