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Commission or no commission?

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  • Commission or no commission?

    If you board/ride in a professional program, but sell a horse without the help of the pro (ie you find the buyer, answer all the questions, work out all the details), do you STILL owe your pro a commission?

    In this particular case, the horse hasn't been with us very long and the pro did not ride or train it.

    Update: Thanks to some sage advice below, I think the fair thing to do is give the trainer a partial commission. I spoke with her and she's very appreciative. I think it's best for our relationship.
    Last edited by gertie06; Jan. 19, 2019, 06:28 AM.

  • #2
    This is a question that no one can answer for you without knowing more about the situation. The way you've described it, I would say that with only those details, a full commission is probably not owed. But if I were riding and boarding in/with a program, I would likely offer a small amount of money (dependent upon the price of the horse) to the trainer as a "thank you for taking us on" gift.

    But again, TOTALLY depends on your relationship with the trainer, what you mean by saying you're "in" a program, and whether the pro truly did *nothing* or just wasn't as involved as they could be. I could make arguments for anywhere from a full commission to zero dollars depending on the circumstances and depending upon the contract you presumably signed when you began boarding/training with said pro.
    Flying F Sport Horses
    Horses in the NW


    • #3
      Does your boarding contract (or whatever service agreement you signed with the trainer/barn) say anything? Did you and the trainer ever talk about you actively marketing the horse without his/her assistance?

      In general, I would say that the trainer is not owed a commission in this case, and also that some trainers are varying degrees of hostile to those in their program who go it on their own when buying/selling.


      • #4
        Some barns have contract language requiring commissions on anything bought or sold by current, boarding clients whether trainer participates or not. Most don't go that far but check your contract first.

        Would say the answer to your question is no, you don't owe if it's not in the contract. But if the horse was boarded there under trainers management and you are happy with the level of care, maybe you might think about a little something.
        When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

        The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.


        • #5
          Pay a commission. Part of the reason that buyer came to your barn was likely partly based on the reputation/care/facilities etc. It probably won't be 10% or 15% if you ask what the trainer thinks is fair since they did not have to work hard for the sale and they may even decline a commission. You will feel better for asking.


          • #6
            The answer depends.

            Many barns do contractually require that a commission be paid on all sales and leases that take place while the horse is at their barn. There are a couple of good reasons for this. First of all, any sale or lease that comes from a barn reflects on that barn, from the quality of the horse, training issues it may or may not have, to the way the transaction was conducted. Also, sales and leases require trial rides which are often a hassle and cause increased liability. Even if the trainer isn't "involved" they are still involved in a very real life way when potential buyers come on their property and use their facility to try the horse and when their reputation likely helps sell the horse or when their reputation is diminished by a client misrepresenting a sale horse. Sales commissions are also an important source of income for trainers, so it's perfectly reasonable for a trainer to protect that part of their business.

            OTOH, without some kind of a written or verbal agreement, I think that it is impossible for a trainer to claim a commission in this scenario. gertie06 if you are the trainer in this scenario, I think you have no grounds to claim any commission, and I would quickly adjust your contracts so that you do not end up in this scenario again. If you are the owner/seller of the horse, I think you should consider offering some kind of a fee to the trainer for the convenience of having used their facility for the sale and to cover for the possibility that their reputation may have enhanced your ability to sell the horse or to get a better price for it.

            If you are the seller of the horse, it also may help to look at precedent within this facility to figure out what to do. If this is primarily a boarding facility with some clients doing their own thing and previous situations where boarders have handled their own sales, then you are probably in the clear, although honestly I'd still offer some kind of token to the trainer or BM, whoever may have suffered any inconvenience due to your horse's short stay at the facility or buyers coming to look at the horse. If this is a facility where traditionally all sales are handled by the in house trainer and you bucked the system to do your own thing, it might be more of an awkward situation.


            • #7
              In my relationship with my trainers, they'd never request a commission after the deal had been made for this type of arrangement, but I have always been a more "independent" student and have never used the name of the program in the marketing of the sale of the horse. As well, they would make their own sales that are WAY more lucrative than what I might shuffle around.

              Any expectations on commission may be laid out in a written agreement depending on the type of facility.

              I'd like to know more about who is requesting the commission and what your relationship is to the requester.
              Life and times of a mediocre amateur...


              • #8
                Short answer, if I were in this situation: no. I would not pay a commission to a trainer. The factor I find most compelling is that if the seller found the buyer - to me, this implies that the owner of the horse listed it somewhere and that's how the buyer was found. There was no riding off a program's reputation in that circumstance.

                Now, as an owner if I signed a contract that indicated all sales were subject to a commission when I moved into the barn or program, then that's on me and I owe a commission - but otherwise, no.

                (If you wanted to be particularly generous/are a new client of the barn/wish to remain in good standing, you could offer them some portion you'd like with appropriate verbiage - I would not call it a commission, though, and make it clear this is more out of respect to them/in anticipation of your continued positive business relationship together.)


                • #9
                  If you did have your buyers to the trainers barn and used trainers arena to present your sale horse and had buyers sign trainers liability release to ride horse,, you should offer something. not 10 or 15%
                  When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

                  The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.