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do top riders ride these top horses for free

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  • do top riders ride these top horses for free

    I was wondering - I assume that a rider would ride and train a top horse for free just to have the honor, joy, publicity,etc.. Does the owner then pay for shows, traveling, etc, or does the rider pay for that as well? When does a a trainer ride a horse for no fee? I assume this is an individual person/horse thing. Am I making any sense?

  • #2
    Very few top riders ride other people's horses for free.

    chief feeder and mucker for Music, Spy, Belle and Tiara. Someone else is now feeding and mucking for Chief and Brain (both foxhunting now).


    • #3
      Not my experience at all!!!
      Many $$$ for a top rider to ride a top horse.
      Maryanna Haymon- Marydell Farm - Home to Don Principe & Doctor Wendell MF
      2012 USDF Champion Breeder! 2007, 2011 USEF Champ Breeder
      2009,2010,2011 USDF Res Breeder of the Year!


      • #4
        I would ride for free! Just throwing it out there top horse owners!!


        • #5
          Well, depending upon the discipline, this does happen. Although when the 'top rider' takes the horse on it may not be a 'top horse' yet.

          There are 2 recent examples in the eventing world of owners trying to 'reclaim' horses from a trainer after the trainer had care/custody/control of the horse for a number of years. Horse was not 'top' when the trainer initially took the horse on.

          Owners may not have $ to show, train, shoe, compete, etc. Or perhaps horse has potential but has 'washed out' with a number of BNTs, so a very talented rider may wish to take the chance to 'fix up' the horse. Perhaps the horse works out then owner tries to sell the horse. Then rider who has 'fixed' horse has to find someone to buy the horse for them to ride if they want to keep it underneath them.

          I know this happens in the jumper and eventing worlds.

          If the NJ BNTs (Ie Betsy Steiner, Michael Barisone, or Caesar) were offered the ride on Totilas without $$, would they turn it down just because they weren't paid ? I'm gonna go ahead and say no. If they wanted to ride Toto but wouldn't be paid, I bet they'd ride Toto whether they were paid or not.

          So I can imagine they might, just might (For the RIGHT horse and the right arrangement) ride without getting paid. But for 99.8% of horses/owners, probably not.
          "Friend" me !



          • Original Poster

            I don't know, I think it's a bit like buying these trainers/riders a nice horse and then on top of that having to pay them to ride it. Most of these horses are ones they never could afford to have on their own.


            • #7
              Most top riders on top horses are sponsored by the owners, which means different things to different sponsors - and I am sure each agreement is unique as to how much the riders are paid.

              If a trainer/rider has to work to make a salary, it might be a different story than if they can live via a luxurious trust fund. A trainer/rider can always have a non-owned horse sold or taken away, and this can be devastating emotionally. If they have been training said horse for free, it's also bad business.

              I have trained and shown a really good horse for free, but it wasn't really free, because as I put time and expertise into the horse, I gained ownership equity. That way, I was part of the decision to sell and made a little money on his sale (it didn't cover my costs, but it sure helped). All partners remain friends to this day, and we had fun for the four years we were partners in this horse.


              • #8
                There are all kinds of different arrangements

                depending on the circumstances.
                But generally, no, the professional riders, who do not own, or who's family do not own the horse do not usually do it for free.

                However it does vary hugely.

                The higher the reputation and experience the rider has the less likely it is that they ride for free.
                Melyni (PhD) PAS, Dipl. ACAN.
                Sign up for the Equine nutrition enewsletter on www.foxdenequine.com
                New edition of book is out:
                Horse Nutrition Handbook.



                • #9
                  Originally posted by mimiwenk View Post
                  I don't know, I think it's a bit like buying these trainers/riders a nice horse and then on top of that having to pay them to ride it. Most of these horses are ones they never could afford to have on their own.
                  Yes, but they're in the business of training horses. Why would they offer their professional services for free, regardless of the quality of horse?

                  If I were a housekeeper and got a job maintaining a REALLY nice house, should I work for free just because it's a house I wouldn't have been able to afford on my own?

                  How about working at an upscale clothing store where I got to wear the clothes while working? Should the honor of wearing the clothing be payment enough?

                  A business exists to make money, and if it happens to be something that brings joy as well, even better. But it cost time and money for a trainer to reach their level of expertise, and it's unreasonable to expect them to offer that expertise without compensation.


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by SBrentnall View Post
                    Why would they offer their professional services for free, regardless of the quality of horse?

                    If I were a housekeeper and got a job maintaining a REALLY nice house, should I work for free just because it's a house I wouldn't have been able to afford on my own?

                    How about working at an upscale clothing store where I got to wear the clothes while working? Should the honor of wearing the clothing be payment enough?
                    yes, to all the above, if the person is getting something for doing something for free.... usually it is for marketing purposes, reputation etc.

                    if i ride joes smo's fab horse for free it allows me to get noticed - get better scores, get into int'l competition etc.

                    if i clean sue's fancy house for free it will look really good on my resume.... and will help me get better gigs and charge more, in the future.

                    in fact i have done this in my own profession and the words on my resume are WELL worth the time!

                    and i have had a trainer ride my horse for free for the very reason mentioned: she wanted to ride him for showing and furthering her own career.


                    • #11
                      True, if the trainer is an unknown I could see it being helpful. But the OP mentioned a "top horse" and it seems unlikely that the owner of a top horse would hire an unknown trainer. I was assuming the OP was talking about a known trainer.


                      • #12
                        what about a top trainer who doesn't have a top horse and who doesn't want to fall off the radar? what about a trainer who has fallen off the radar?

                        what about a trainer who wants to get into the real int'l scene? i have heard of all the above happening

                        the pay off is the results and the attention etc. money isnt everything


                        • #13
                          In Totilas' case, weren't the riding rights for sale--so in a way the lucky rider's family "bought" him the rights to ride. Of course, it was phrased differently, but it seems that rights to ride him were sold.


                          • #14
                            Yes, the rider is paying to ride Totilas. Paying a LOT.


                            • #15
                              from what i understand re: totilas they bought a minority percentage (49%?) and they split everything - stud fees, costs, etc.

                              so not "riding rights" .... partnership would be more like it


                              • #16
                                Well, assuming that we are NOT talking about Totilas it is a really interesting question.

                                I am constantly on the lookout for potentially good riders to take my horses.

                                At the moment I have a seriously dressage talented youngster that I don't want to sell. His mother is deceased and there is only one half sister to her left alive so the cross isn't likely to happen again. However this horse is a bit too small for me, he is an athletic and slender 16hh and I just need a bigger horse to look good.

                                So, I'm going to approach a lady I know who breaks racehorses in but gets dressage lessons from me and ask her if she wants to "do a deal". She can build up to a 40% ownership in the horse (10% per year of training). After 4 years we will reasses the situation and see if she wants to sell her share or if she can go on into FEI ranks. I'd rather do this and get no financial return from the horse than sell him into a home that might not bring out the best in his, rather sensitive, nature. But he is VERY talented.

                                It is extremely hard to find ANYONE let alone a "top rider" in Australia who wants to ride a horse without all the control and all the financial return.