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

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  • #21
    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.


    • #22
      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.


      • #23
        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.
        more hay, less grain


        • #24
          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 [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_rolleyes.gif[/img] Not trying to be cheapskate or anything...
          \"The world\'s greatest achievements often happen on the edge of chaos\"


          • #25
            Or for those of us who get TCOTH at one address but don't manage to see the magazine for weeks.... [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif[/img]


            • #26
              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! [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif[/img]


              • #27
                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???????????


                • #28
                  <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.

                  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.


                  • #29
                    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.
                    When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

                    The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.


                    • #30
                      <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)

                      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.

                      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
                      "Of course it's hard. It's supposed to be hard. It's the Hard that makes it great."

                      "Get up... Get out... Get Drunk. Repeat as needed." -- Spike


                      • Original Poster

                        Hang on folks. I'm going to type the sucker out and post it. [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_razz.gif[/img]

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


                        • #32
                          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.
                          The witchy witch witch of south central NC.


                          • #33
                            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. [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif[/img]
                            'Computers are useless. They can only give you answers.'
                            - Pablo Picasso


                            • #34
                              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?


                              • Original Poster

                                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
                                Visit my farm at www.hiddenrockfarm.com


                                • #36
                                  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.
                                  'Computers are useless. They can only give you answers.'
                                  - Pablo Picasso


                                  • #37
                                    Thank you, Applesauce! Jrjumpermom, where are you in PA? I live not far from Harrisburg. And I agree with Sleepy's opinion.
                                    \"The world\'s greatest achievements often happen on the edge of chaos\"


                                    • #38
                                      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.


                                      • #39
                                        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.


                                        • #40
                                          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!!!