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Paying for trainer's clinic

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  • Paying for trainer's clinic

    I pay a professional trainer to ride my horses. Recently she asked if she could work my horses with a clinician. No problem. I just found out last night that she expects me to to pay for the clinic not her. I am a little perplexed. I am already paying her to be my trainer - is it also my finacial responsibility to pay for her to get training? The clinician will be coming to my farm, using my arena and equipment, and will not be paynig any fee split. I don't want to be unreasonable but I don't directly pay for my doctor to learn a new surgery, for my accountant to study the tax code or for my lawyer to maintain his license.

    What do you think?
    Cindy Bergmann
    Canterbury Court

  • #2
    Sorry, you pay. Your horse benefits from the clinic. Tell your trainer now if you're not willing to fork over the dough.

    My coach regularly takes a client's horse to work with clinicians. Coach also shows this horse. The client pays the expenses, including trailering fees and hotel, if applicable.

    Kudos to your trainer for seeking advice/affirmation from another professional. There are too many trainers out there who do not or will not do so.


    • #3
      My first reaction is that she should have been very clear with you in your initial conversation she wanted you to pay. With my trainer, she has a client with a young horse who pays to have her ride in clinics, but my trainer never asked to be in the clinic it was something the client wanted. My trainer's mare recently hurt herself, so she asked me if she could borrow my horse to do the fourth level demo at a Conrad Schumacher Symposium. Since she already paid to ride in the clinic with her mare she has not asked me to pay. My trainer also said she wants to put in more training rides on my horse coming up to the clinic (she normally rides him once a week), which I will most likely be charged for, but it is fine with me.
      Ellie and Werther Blog


      • #4
        I thought that was common, with the idea being that the clinic would ultimately benefit your horse...I could be wrong though. I definitely know lots of people who do it this way.


        • #5
          Kudos to your trainer for seeking advice/affirmation from another professional. There are too many trainers out there who do not or will not do so.
          I agree. It was S.O.P. with my former trainer. I loved that she would always be willing to do a clinic. She'd just say "so and so is doing a clinic. Do you want to ride in it? Do you want me to ride?" There are trainers out there who are insecure and don't want you to do any clinics. I've paid for my trainer to ride my horse in a clinic, plus trailering fees and I also bought her lunch. It's also a lot of fun to watch your horse go and get input from a clinician. I was happy for my horse to have the experience.


          • #6
            This relationship can be anything you want it to be, very similar to leasing your horse. Whatever works for both of you. I am going to be the wet towel in this thread and feel at the very least, it should be a shared financial responsibility, unless the horse's owner specifies she would like the horse ridden in the clinic. For example, if your instructor is schooling PSG movements on your horse but only has "proven" training to 4th level, then she should spilt the bill with you or pay the total cost. It is her responsibility to further her education. Yes, your horse gets the benefit, but I wonder how many wrong roads the horse traveled down before she sought advice. I would not want my horse to be the experimental PSG horse for my instructor. I've had this happen before and the end result was 6 months of stepping backwards to retrain.

            This mentality of paying ALL trainer costs is another example of a lack of business skills in the horse world. What's even worse, the trainer gets to write off the cost of the clinic if she/he pays. The only way I would pay the total cost of a clinician for a trainer is if the trainer were my employee and riding with the clinician would benefit MY HORSE BUSINESS.
            Last edited by Calhoun; Sep. 22, 2009, 11:51 AM. Reason: spelling
            "You gave your life to become the person you are right now. Was it worth it?" Richard Bach


            • #7
              Originally posted by Canterbury Court View Post
              I pay a professional trainer to ride my horses. Recently she asked if she could work my horses with a clinician...

              ...What do you think?
              I think the trainer pays, at least 50%. If Canterbury Court had asked her trainer to ride with the clinician that would be different. But the trainer asked to use Canterbury's horses so she could ride with the clinician. Why should Canterbury foot the bill, especially when it's her farm, her arena, and her equipment?
              Donald Trump - proven liar, cheat, traitor and sexual predator! Hillary Clinton won in 2016, but we have all lost.


              • #8
                I think it's typical for the client to pay. I've ridden other people's horses in clinics before, and they always paid. Generally, they approached me about the idea, so that made sense. If I were the trainer, I probably would have mentioned that so and so is coming to town for a clinic, would you like your horses to participate? Then I would ask if you would like me to ride them. If so, you would pay. If I needed to borrow a horse for a clinic for my own purposes (still as a trainer), I would likely offer to pay or split.

                Your trainer may not have been as clear as she could have been, but it's not unreasonable for her to have assumed that you would pay for it since that's often the way it works. So don't get too upset about, just chat with her and say, "Ooooh, I didn't realize I'd be paying for the whole thing, and I'm not really sure that's in the budget this month." Or whatever. I don't see it as something to be too upset about. You two just got some wires crossed in the conversation = )


                • #9
                  Yes, good post Bort. Just tell your trainer how you feel. My trainer asked to take my horse to a clinic once at a time I was unable to go. If I can't go watch, no, my horse can't go either. She understood and took someone else. No biggie.


                  • #10
                    Are you hosting the clinic for other riders besides your trainer? If so, you may be able to negotiate a reduced (even waived) fee for your horse & trainer. If it's only your trainer working with an outside expert, you're still on the hook for it.

                    Look into booking a day's worth of rides to make the trip worthwhile for the clinician and you may reap multiple benefits.


                    • #11
                      I agree that usually the client pays if the trainer rides a client's horse in a clinic. In the past, we have sometimes split, or done another arrangement, usually because I said that either it wasn't in my budget that month and she really wanted to go, or because she asked if she could use my horse because she wanted to work on a specific thing with a specific clinician.

                      I agree that you should just tell you didn't know that was customary, and that you can't do that arrangement. An open dialogue is always best.
                      From now on, ponyfixer, i'll include foot note references.


                      • #12
                        It's fairly common for an owner to pay for a clinic for their horse and have the trainer ride. Personally, if I'm going to pay for a clinic, I'm going to ride in the clinic.


                        • #13
                          I don't think you should pay for your trainer's clinic fees, unless you ask her to ride in the clinic on your horse for you. The reasoning is exactly what you have stated.

                          Yes the horse will benefit but ultimate the one that benefits the most is the trainer. She learns how to work on certain kind of horse which will help her to work on other horses, which will help her to attract more clients.

                          To me, that is part of her continual education to better herself and the expenses should be passed on to All clients not just one.

                          To take it to extreme, she is borrowing your horse from you so she can ride in the clinic, which make it reasonable that she should pay you for using the horse.


                          • #14
                            I'm with others who say, if you want the trainer to ride your horse under the clinician, then you pay. If the trainer wants to ride your horse to increase their skill, then they pay. If you both see mutual benefit, then split it.

                            I don't fully understand the relationships where trainer rides horse in training, clinics, and shows, but I know that's how some owners want it.


                            • #15
                              To take it to extreme, she is borrowing your horse from you so she can ride in the clinic, which make it reasonable that she should pay you for using the horse.
                              I don't think I've ever had a trainer pay me for anything. Money has never gone from her to me.

                              My fellow barn mates were amazed when I got a free lesson for grooming for her at a show! I think I just caught her on a good day or before she had her coffee.

                              But that would have been nice. I'd happily lend out my horse.


                              • #16
                                I got caught be surprise once by the trainer asking if she could take my youngster along to a clinic, which I thought was a good idea, just to get him used to being away from the barn. First mistake was I was out of town, so not able to attend myself. Imagine my surprise when I was handed a bill for not only the trailer split, but day care and a clinic session. It turned out she had an opportunity to ride in the clinic on him, and took it. I was expecting the trailer split, and you could maybe argue the day care with me, but I fully believe that the trainer purposely did not tell me about the slot in the clinic so that I would have no choice but to pay after the fact.


                                • #17
                                  My trainer pretty much expects to be paid when he's on my horse for any reason

                                  The situation where I could see not being charged would be a young/up-and-coming trainer and a very nice horse. For most of us, the trainer's time is paid time.


                                  • Original Poster

                                    Thanks for the replies. I think I should fill in a few details. The trainer is young (mid 20's), and has 6 -8 of my horses in full training. She also has other horses in training and gives lessons at her own farm. She has no formal dressage training but is a sensitive rider and really tries to improve herself. I give her lessons as well and do not charge for my time. I have worked with trainers for over 20 years. It has only been in this last year that I have had anyone ask me to pay for a clinic. At some level it feels as though the trainer is saying "I can't do the job you are paying me to do. Therefore you have to pay to train me so I can do the job you have already paid me to do." On the other hand I appreciate her willingness to learn and try new things. I also appreciate that I get a wider exposure for my horses by having them work well for a well-known clinician.
                                    I will probaly split the fees with her (mutual advantage) and not expect a discount from the clinician even though she will be riding 5 horses for him. Just tack those fees on to the sale price lol!
                                    Last edited by Canterbury Court; Sep. 22, 2009, 05:47 PM. Reason: left out phrase - oops!
                                    Cindy Bergmann
                                    Canterbury Court


                                    • #19
                                      Well, that *is* a little different. Still, I would just be open and non-confrontational and just tell her the $ is not in the cards for whatever reason. You can always make everything case-by-case since you seem to have a not quite average trainer/client relationship.
                                      From now on, ponyfixer, i'll include foot note references.


                                      • #20
                                        It sounds like the clinic is more for the trainer, and for her to find out or confirm that she is heading in the right direction or looking for new ideas in training the horse. Therefore I would say it is primarily for her benefit in becoming a better trainer, and indirectly the benefit accrues to your horse, therefore I would expect her to be the one footing the bill, especially given that it was her idea and that everything else involved is yours.