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When should the kickbacks begin?

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  • Original Poster

    wcporter, yes..kickback was an unfortunate word choice. Reciprocity might have been better.

    highflyer, I'm not really comfortable with part ownership involving this horse, but it is something to think about I guess. I have already sent potential sponsors her way, and am always on the lookout for more.

    alibi, you're right about feelings. I need to put them aside in this process, but I'm finding that easier said than done. And you are also right in that I am not blaming the trainer for anything. If anything I blame myself for not sitting down with the trainer sooner to talk things over!

    mbm, thanks for the kind words, and yes, clarity is most definitely needed at this point for all involved.

    narcisco, thanks for your POV. I agree that I need to figure out what my role is going to be in all of this.

    Camstock, I agree that this rider is a huge part of the equation when it comes to acquiring sponsorships. It's my hope that she will continue to grow her relationship with these sponsors.

    nwhr, thank you for sharing your positive experience. Your understanding of my situation remains on point.

    heinz, you're right in that I never had these types of lofty goals for my horse. I suspected he was capable of great things, but because I a lower level amateur rider, I never really thought I'd fulfill what he was capable of. I guess that's what I need to figure out....whether or not I am "ok" with these lofty new goals, and whether or not these are truly what I want for my horse. I go back and forth on this, because aside from the money, it is exciting to think about a horse that I have raised being able to climb this ladder so successfully, so yes, going the CDI route is definitely something I'm considering (although how it is completely funded still remains to be seen). On the other hand, it's a bit scary for me. What if he gets hurt? What if I'm not able to enjoy riding him anymore? These are the things I think about, in addition to the money aspect. And I'll admit that at times I DO feel "pushed" by the trainer. Sometimes she will "tell" rather than "ask". I don't think it's intentional and I don't blame her for that and chalk it up to enthusiasm most of the time.

    mvp, yes it is definitely a 1-day-at-a-time thing for me right now. Obviously I keep going back and forth with this and I guess this is why I haven't sat down to discuss it with the trainer yet. You're right, it is exciting to own a horse of this caliber.

    CHT, you must be an accountant...I had to laugh with your very simplistic yet functional black and white point of view. You're right in that it probably should/could be that easy (if I wasn't such a chicken that is).

    merrygoround, yes, unfortunately I am painfully aware of these extra costs. And yes, if a horse is to really make a name for itself at GP, it needs to do it on the large tour.

    sucker, heck no! The awards at the regional and local level are peanuts. But I will say, if I was footing the bill for his CDI classes, I'd be expecting all of that prize money as well.

    netg, yes, you have some good ideas there...might be easier to break the ice with them...

    cnm161, I agree that the showing conversation needs to be had, with the additional boundary discussion.

    Isabeau, I really have no idea what you're talking about. Of course every situation has its moments of discomfort, the relationship between the trainer and I is primarily a very good one. And you're wrong about the clarity. The goals keep changing for the horse as the training progresses. Initially it was a "licensed show"...then it was "regionals", now it's CDIs and next inevitably will be WEG (I'm guessing). The goals are constantly changing and getting more lofty. With lofty goals comes lofty price tags. I've been mostly comfortable with the goals/price tags until recently.


    • Original Poster

      Originally posted by Isabeau Z Solace View Post
      I think the first post makes it pretty clear that the boyfriend and owner feel the HORSE deserves most of the credit for the training success. Not the trainer.

      The obvious answer to these problems is that the free loading equine needs to pony up (no pun intended.......) his fair share for this deal.
      You have an uncanny ability to assume incorrectly. The trainer has brought this horse along quickly (and very well). I would never begrudge her that. Yes, the horse is talented too. Together they work very well.


      • Originally posted by halteralter View Post
        wcporter, yes..kickback was an unfortunate word choice. Reciprocity might have been better.
        You keep using words that imply you feel the trainer owes you something for that fact that you had your horse shown by her.

        Unless she somehow held you over a barrel and pressured you, she was performing a service that you were perfectly fine with and understood before it was incepted that you would be footing the bill for.

        If you would no longer like to foot the bill, fine.

        If the trainer would like to make an offer to foot future CDI expenses, and this is ok with you, also fine.
        She is under no obligation, implied or otherwise, to continue to show the horse for you. If she says well, ok then nevermind, then the horse simply stays home from CDI's. No harm, no foul, no one is butthurt.

        You could also tell her the horse stays home regardless, you are not interested in having a horse that you never intend to show or sell exposed to the risks of travel when you could enjoy him in your capacity perfectly fine at home. Also fine. Trainer was fairly paid for rides up to now that you requested her to do, you owe her nothing, she owes you nothing.

        I am wondering why you consistently choose words like "kickback" or "reciprocity" when, really, nobody owes you anything. You got what you paid for. Whether or not you want to continue getting it (and paying for it) going forward is completely up to you. You could have closed and can still close the checkbook at any time. The past is done and fairly accounted for and nobody owes anyone anything, so now decide what to do with your checkbook and your horse and proceed accordingly.

        A trainer wanted to take one of my youngsters to Capital Challenge once. I looked at the $800 division fee (show me a CDI and I'll show you a hunter show) plus the $250 stall charge and office fees and the trailering and whatever else and said, "Sorry, not in the budget. Horse stays home." I did not say "Well what kind of RECIPROCITY do I get if I send you on him?" The trainer for her part did not say "Well I really like him so much can I take him on my bill," so the horse did, in fact, stay home. If she had said that, I would have let her take him. If she had proposed something in the middle, I would have considered it. As it was, she did not, so the horse stayed home, others went, and everyone was perfectly fine with it.

        The end.
        Why all the drama?
        The Noodlehttp://tiny.cc/NGKmT&http://tiny.cc/gioSA
        Boy Wonderhttp://tiny.cc/G9290
        The Hana is nuts! NUTS!!http://tinyurl.com/SOCRAZY


        • In a similar situation, my horse's trainer did share in sponsor largess by having a bridle, for example, made for my horse and choosing products that worked for my horse. She also "grandperson'ed" her fees so her rates did not increase except to cover her expenses (such as increases in hay and feed).

          Additionally, she did not charge me for showing beyond her expenses (many professionals are paid an additional amount for showing (usually per class, I think). In that situation, the owner keeps all swag.

          In any case, as someone who tried to ride FEI horses as a beginner, I caution you against putting too much hope in the idea you'll have a made lower-level horse. You're more likely to end up with a more challenging horse who will either inspire you to become really good very fast or discourage you to tears, depending on whether she enjoys teaching or not.

          Good luck!!


          • OMG why do some of you continue to hound the OP? She received the advice she was looking for and may or may not act upon it, as is her choice. I don't gather that she's searching for approval or for someone to dive deep into her psyche to determine her underlying motives. OP I understand where you're coming from and hope it all works out for the best for your horse, your trainer and yourself. Geez...


            • Originally posted by CHT View Post
              You know, this could be really simple to resolve.

              "Trainer, can we discuss the plans for this year for horsey"


              "I have seen the show schedule, and I would like to work out a budget with you so you can prioritise what shows to go to."


              "I have $xxx budget for shows for this year, and $yyyy budgeted for board and training"

              "Sounds reasonable, but the CDIs are going to eat up that budget quickly. If I can come up with the additional funds myself or through sponsors, are you ok with him showing beyond your budget? We will need to discuss prize money splits if I pay the entry fee"

              "Glad we talked about this and I am sure we can work something out!"

              This. There is no reason to believe that a discussion of this type would hurt the Owner/Trainer relationship, and its the quickest, most honest way to deal with the situation.
              Lowly Farm Hand with Delusions of Barn Biddieom.
              Witherun Farm


              • As my trainer moves my horse up to the upper levels, he has gained more students who have watched him ride and develop my horse. He has reduced my training costs as he has gained more clients from training my horse. Very professional on his part and mutually beneficial to both parties.
                "No matter how well you perform there's always somebody of intelligent opinion who thinks it's lousy." - Laurence Olivier


                • Original Poster

                  Originally posted by MYalterID View Post
                  OMG why do some of you continue to hound the OP? She received the advice she was looking for and may or may not act upon it, as is her choice. I don't gather that she's searching for approval or for someone to dive deep into her psyche to determine her underlying motives. OP I understand where you're coming from and hope it all works out for the best for your horse, your trainer and yourself. Geez...
                  Thank you!! And thank you Mike, for sharing your arrangement. It is appreciated.

                  And one final thank you to those of you who shared your experiences, offered advice, sent well wishes and kind words, and those who don't think I'm *conspiring* some *evil* plan or have some *evil* agenda. Definitely not the case. I think I am going to start by re-evaluating goals with the trainer, making sure that I understand where she is coming from and she understands where I'm coming from. From there, I think (hope) this will lead into a natural discussion on how to make what we agree on, happen.

                  I'll admit this probably should have been done before now, but you know what they say...better late than never You guys gave me the strength to finally do it. Thanks for that.


                  • I had to stop reading responses after page two because people obviously have never understood how things work with up and coming trainers and top horses.

                    Many of these trainers have these horses on the cuff to make their name. You're paying all the bills on this horse on a horse that this up and coming trainer needs as it's their top horse? Yeah, you have every reason to think you should have a better deal because you should.

                    If she values the horse, and you don't have all the disposable income to support it at that level, she should cut you some kind of deal if she wants to show it at the upper levels. This is completely routine in the world of upper levels in all disciplines. Definitely have a contract but you are fully correct in feeling like you should be able to get a better deal here. Kickback wasn't the right word but you get that.

                    This is how it works in this business....there are precious few top 'owners' who pay all the bills for these top horses.


                    • OP, I have been following along and have read all the responses. It has been interesting as a lot of the things mentioned are things I would not have thought about outside of this thread. Hopefully this doesn't sound too intrusive but I would be interested in hearing the outcome of things after your discussion with your trainer. I'm sure it will go well and you'll feel much relief afterwards. Good luck!


                      • Such an interesting thread. There is so much good feedback here, foremost in my mind being the need to, sooner rather than later, have a simple and straightforward talk with your trainer. It always surprises me how most misunderstandings arise from lack of understanding/clarity. What one or the other either wants from the relationship or intends to communicate are not always so easy to figure out, and horses are an emotional topic, making it even harder sometimes! OP, you seem to have a good understanding of the overall situation and as TBPONY wrote, it will be interesting to hear the outcome.

                        As someone who has been on both sides of the coin, (both as a client and as a trainer) one thing I find troubling is your mention that your trainer has shown reluctance to communicate important information quickly and thoroughly with you, namely that she had been approached with offers to buy your horse. She was honest at least in that she said she worried that you might sell him or lose the ride on him, but her lack of being forthcoming isn't so hot. I have seen too many trainers who, over time feel an undue sense of proprietariness (sp?) when dealing with a client's horse. You cannot help but develop a strong bond to the horse when you like him, and when he or she is a talent, all the more so. Its part of the job and an emotional sport. If you're a decent trainer, you hopefully feel that commitment. But I always believed that a trainer not only has to have that responsibility to the horse's development and welfare, but has as much responsibility and is in service to... the client. The client after all is paying all the bills and it's his or her horse. So the service in my mind is to the horse as well as the clients goals and needs. Therein lies the need for good communication, especially when goals change. I hope your trainer does understand that and if she does, she should be willing to take on at least half or whatever you agree on, of the upcoming costs of the CDIs..if that's what you both want.

                        ...wanted to add that if for some reason you did decide to sell your horse or move him on, it's your choice first and foremost. Every trainer knows that's part of the job. So you (as trainer) do your best, enjoy every day with the horses you like, learn as much as you can from each one. And if you want to, you work hard to one day you get your own so that all the choices are yours!

                        Good luck and congrats on having a nice horse!
                        Last edited by Oranges2012; Apr. 27, 2013, 09:43 PM. Reason: adding another thought