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Trainer policies for horse shows

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  • #21
    Originally posted by laughATTACK View Post
    I choose choice C. None of the above. Our guys going to the show are the same guys as at home - so let's say we have enough horses showing for five grooms - our sixth groom stays at home with horses not traveling to the show. It works out fine because if enough horses aren't traveling to the show, that means they are staying at home and therefore, the groom who would have been doing that share of the work at the show is needed to go do that share of the work at home. Only once did we run into an issue where it didn't even out correctly - someone flying Derby horses in canceled and so we kept the extra groom we had hired for those horses and gave one of the regular guys his yearly paid vacation at a different time than usual.
    So why charge an extra fee in the first place, if the grooms are already being paid by the customer's at home board package?

    Everyone always bends over backwards to explain why it is apparently so much more expensive to have the same exact grooms grooming the same exact horses at the show instead of at home, but apparently it all evens out.

    Originally posted by laughATTACK View Post
    I am a little bit confused by a few posts that mention it shortchanges the grooms if they are expecting X amount of horses but show up and there is X - 1 or whatever. Our grooms get paid the same regardless of the amount of horses at the show - we just increase or decrease the amount of grooms we take to each show depending on the amount of horses going.
    Or do you not charge day care fees at the shows because it all evens out and the same groom would have been doing the same work for the same horse at home and you pay him the same regardless anyway?
    Since it doesn't actually cost you any more, why charge day care?

    I have always balked at the idea of paying a $75 day care fee when the horse is already paying full board at his (empty) home stall and the SAME GROOM is getting paid the SAME to provide the horse with the SAME services he would have received at home. Good to know the groom sees none of that money.

    As for my situation, my small program does not usually have any grooms (other than me and the horses' owners).
    Therefore, if a groom were to be hired for a show, it would not be someone who would already be getting paid regardless -it would be someone specifically hired to do extra work that one person can not do alone in the tighter time frame of several horses doing the same division as opposed to being ridden/coached throughout the week.
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    • #22
      Originally posted by FineAlready View Post
      One thing I would suggest bringing up with your trainer is the question of what happens if your horse is unable to show because of circumstances that are the trainer's fault, not yours? I'm not sure how you would delicately bring something like this up, but I think I would still ask about it.

      An assistant trainer once caused a bad accident with my horse at a horse show, resulting in a severe injury. I didn't pay a day rate for the days I was not there, but the trainer did still charge me shipping plus the splits for shavings/hay/grooming stall that I did not use because my horse was back home receiving very expensive vet care. I also paid my stall fee directly to the show office, which I would have expected (they had nothing to do with this incident). In my case, I think the trainer should have paid my portion of the grooming stall split, shavings, and hay, since it was her employee's bad judgment that led to the accident.

      My horse still has after effects from the injury, so it still pisses me off to this day that the trainer charged me for these items.
      I think your trainer was "penny wise and pound foolish." She planned to get her money in the short run, but risking offending you and losing your business in the long run.

      And.... look what happened!

      Originally posted by FineAlready View Post
      Yeah, it wasn't great. I left the barn shortly after that. Not so much because of the accident (accidents DO happen, after all), but because of the terrible way the aftermath was handled.
      No surprise. I think any grown up business person knows that when they contributed to a sh!tstorm, they need to bend the rules a bit in order to "make it right."
      The armchair saddler
      Politically Pro-Cat

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      • #23
        With respect to grooms and non-showing or absentee horses.

        Remember how hard these guys work and that they do need the tips that come per horse in order to make the job worth doing. Many of the good professional grooms want to "work a full day"-- which means the 6 or so horses they can manage per day. Sure, they'll have an easier time with 4, but they came for the money that comes from 6.
        The armchair saddler
        Politically Pro-Cat

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        • #24
          As far as the day care fee and the same amount of work being done at home as at an away show, that's not how it is with us. The horses at away shows require a lot more attention - stalls get done multiple times per day because the horse is in the stall 22 hours per day (gets done 1x per day at home); the horses get handwalked multiple times per day (turned out at home); the horses get bathed daily at an away show (owners bathe at home); horses get groomed daily at away shows (owners groom at home)- you get the idea. That's were the day care fee comes into play.

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          • #25
            Originally posted by skyy View Post
            As far as the day care fee and the same amount of work being done at home as at an away show, that's not how it is with us. The horses at away shows require a lot more attention - stalls get done multiple times per day because the horse is in the stall 22 hours per day (gets done 1x per day at home); the horses get handwalked multiple times per day (turned out at home); the horses get bathed daily at an away show (owners bathe at home); horses get groomed daily at away shows (owners groom at home)- you get the idea. That's were the day care fee comes into play.
            Well, in this case you would be hiring and paying ADDITIONAL labor to what you already have. That makes perfect sense. In my program everyone knows that normally there are no grooms, but if we are at the show and need a groom to have everyone ready by the first class of the day, they can see that the ADDITIONAL help was hired. Not just the SAME help paid the SAME as usual. Obviously if a trainer is paying additional compensation for additional labor, that ought to get passed on to the customers who are consuming that labor.

            But I have been at barns where it is the same groom getting paid the same by the trainer, regardless of how much extra work he is supposedly doing, and despite the fact that the horses are paying full board/grooming/tacking at home already. Groom polishes up the same horse that was on full care grooming board at home, handwalks the horse that would have otherwise been turned out for no extra compensation than he usually gets, trainer pockets $75 a day.

            Do you pay your grooms more/hire additional grooms for the extra work they are doing (ie the handwalking/extra mucking etc)?
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            • #26
              Originally posted by meupatdoes View Post
              So why charge an extra fee in the first place, if the grooms are already being paid by the customer's at home board package?

              Everyone always bends over backwards to explain why it is apparently so much more expensive to have the same exact grooms grooming the same exact horses at the show instead of at home, but apparently it all evens out.



              Or do you not charge day care fees at the shows because it all evens out and the same groom would have been doing the same work for the same horse at home and you pay him the same regardless anyway?
              Since it doesn't actually cost you any more, why charge day care?

              I have always balked at the idea of paying a $75 day care fee when the horse is already paying full board at his (empty) home stall and the SAME GROOM is getting paid the SAME to provide the horse with the SAME services he would have received at home. Good to know the groom sees none of that money.

              As for my situation, my small program does not usually have any grooms (other than me and the horses' owners).
              Therefore, if a groom were to be hired for a show, it would not be someone who would already be getting paid regardless -it would be someone specifically hired to do extra work that one person can not do alone in the tighter time frame of several horses doing the same division as opposed to being ridden/coached throughout the week.
              We don't charge a day care fee - the exception being the few ship-ins we occasionally get. So, let's say Groom A is paid $750/week. That $750 x 4 is already included (split up obviously) in each client's monthly bill. So, lets say in April we were at a show for 3 of 4 weeks - with one ship in. So instead of that $750 x 4 being split 25 ways ... For three weeks it would be split 26 ways, and this would be reflected on that month's bill.

              The only extra charge pertaining to groom's per se that isn't charged at home is that the guy who drives the equipment trailer to and from is comped for the gas he uses to get from the farm to the show and back.

              Comment


              • #27
                Originally posted by laughATTACK View Post
                We don't charge a day care fee - the exception being the few ship-ins we occasionally get. So, let's say Groom A is paid $750/week. That $750 x 4 is already included (split up obviously) in each client's monthly bill. So, lets say in April we were at a show for 3 of 4 weeks - with one ship in. So instead of that $750 x 4 being split 25 ways ... For three weeks it would be split 26 ways, and this would be reflected on that month's bill.
                So if I am understanding correctly the regular at-home boarders get a slightly lower bill that month because someone shipped in?

                Originally posted by laughATTACK View Post
                The only extra charge pertaining to groom's per se that isn't charged at home is that the guy who drives the equipment trailer to and from is comped for the gas he uses to get from the farm to the show and back.
                That is completely reasonable and I would happily be one of your customers.
                The Noodlehttp://tiny.cc/NGKmT&http://tiny.cc/gioSA
                Jinxyhttp://tiny.cc/PIC798&http://tiny.cc/jinx364
                Boy Wonderhttp://tiny.cc/G9290
                The Hana is nuts! NUTS!!http://tinyurl.com/SOCRAZY

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                • #28
                  Originally posted by Misanthrope View Post
                  Not all clients need to be kept "in-line", but some sure seem to need it based on behavior. This barn meeting didn't just happen out of the blue, it was a reaction to events of this show year.

                  Disagree about not having trainer doing the entries. I like having mine taken care of, one less thing to worry about, and trainer doesn't have to worry about people forgetting/losing them, etc. As to having them sign as trainer, to me this comes down to trusting your trainer. If you trust them, there should be no problem. If you don't, why are you with them?
                  I had a similar situation an while I am not requiring a deposit the old barn I worked for did and I can see why. After the first year of running things for myself by myself I see where that can me a good thing. I had 1 client in particular back out of 3+ shows. All at 2 or less weeks ( I think closer to 1 or less week but I am being generous.) In this case it affects the other riders bills as well as my income. The other riders are left with trainers expenses and I am left with <$150 or more that I was counting on.

                  SOOOO this year I made a policy and discussed it with EVERYONE at my show meeting. if you cancel 2-1 week out you owe expenses and possibly stall. 1 week or less and you owe the spot on the trailer, trainers fees and expenses. Plus what ever the show charges you.

                  I make exceptions for horse lameness, sickness and family death BUT expenses are still split trailer still has to get paid for ect. I can't eat those costs.

                  Comment


                  • #29
                    Originally posted by meupatdoes View Post
                    So if I am understanding correctly the regular at-home boarders get a slightly lower bill that month because someone shipped in?
                    Yes. This doesn't happen too often, but when it occasionally does, our ship-ins are welcomed with open arms by our regular clients LOL! And, we've a few times had ship-ins turn into regular clients because they enjoy the group and the program.

                    That is completely reasonable and I would happily be one of your customers.
                    Well, thank you! We try to keep things fair and keep client costs down as much as we can - it's paid off because our clients tend to stick around for a nice long time, and appreciate us treating them fairly and honestly. The only time a day care is acceptable IMHO is when the grooms are paid extra at the shows. Otherwise, it's just another ludicrous fee.

                    Comment


                    • #30
                      to Meupatdoes-

                      Yes, we usually hire on a groom just for the show. Quite often, it is the assistant trainer (she just teaches up downers at home usually) who takes on all of this work and that's what allows her to be able to take her horse to the away shows. It gets problematic when she is banking on a certain amount of work (she gets paid per horse at the away shows) and someone cancels last minute. This means that she has to shell out extra money to make up the difference between her show costs and what she expected to earn. Until recently, we didn't have that problem. We now have some new clients, however, who are in the financial position that losing a stall fee because they no longer feel like going is not a problem. We too are going to have to come up with some cancellation policies to protect our employees, ourselves and our other customers whose budget was able to handle an away show based on a certain "split".

                      Comment


                      • #31
                        Okay maybe I'm going to come across as a very large hick. And not having attended an A or AA rated shows before, maybe this is the difference.
                        But in my neck of the woods, and I don't believe we are that deep in the woods (we have all our own teeth) 1. We fill out our own 2. If you have a coach you just pay your coaching rates, which is similiar to your weekly instruction rates. 3. There are no hired grooms... we groom our own horses, unless your lucky enough to have a friend or child to help you. You might pay for your braids to be done but really that might be it.

                        Does this not happen at these shows?

                        When I showed even longer ago (8 years ago) at the Worlds in Oklahoma for QH - even there, we had paid the trainer fees - as she hauled down from BC months before in prep. But if we were showing up, we were expected to help. She had hired help, Mexican horse handlers, but really they only helped a couple of hours a day with stall cleaning, set up of the barn drapes and lounge stall and then at take down.

                        Comment


                        • #32
                          Oh I absolutely agree that not every client needs to be kept in line. 99% of my customers are wonderful, stand up people and its those clients whom I am protecting with my policy. It's that one bad apple that comes in and backs out for whatever reason that ruins it for everyone else. Generally those people don't last long anyway, but when they do, I refuse to let them ruin it for everyone else. It brings me no financial gain to charge them for these things, onl levels the playing field for the rest.
                          Teneriffe Enterprises- NW Indiana
                          www.saradanielhaynes.com

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                          • #33
                            Originally posted by skyy View Post
                            It gets problematic when she is banking on a certain amount of work (she gets paid per horse at the away shows) and someone cancels last minute. This means that she has to shell out extra money to make up the difference between her show costs and what she expected to earn.
                            Ok, some of this is just the assistant trainer's problem. If she can't afford to go to the shows without an exact number of other horses going, she should be a little more careful about going.

                            Sometimes clients cancel--that's life--and it happens in just about EVERY type of business. I think it is fair for a professional to charge something or have some kind of a deposit to fairly cover them for any outlays related to that service they were expecting to provide or to pay for the hassle factor of having to change plans/shuffle stalls/shuffle work schedules, change travel plans, etc., but not to cover the expenses of what they personally were planning to spend the money on.

                            In other words, it's fine to say, "Look Ms. Client, I booked a stall, arranged a groom, and turned away Client Y's business, plus your horse not going changes our packing and travel plans, so you do still owe me something even though you aren't going." But it's not okay to say, "Look, I already had plans to spend the money I was going to earn off of your business to pay for my horse's stall and entries, so you still owe me something."

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                            • #34
                              Originally posted by skyy View Post
                              Yes, we usually hire on a groom just for the show. Quite often, it is the assistant trainer (she just teaches up downers at home usually) who takes on all of this work and that's what allows her to be able to take her horse to the away shows. It gets problematic when she is banking on a certain amount of work (she gets paid per horse at the away shows) and someone cancels last minute. This means that she has to shell out extra money to make up the difference between her show costs and what she expected to earn. Until recently, we didn't have that problem. We now have some new clients, however, who are in the financial position that losing a stall fee because they no longer feel like going is not a problem. We too are going to have to come up with some cancellation policies to protect our employees, ourselves and our other customers whose budget was able to handle an away show based on a certain "split".
                              I can see having a reasonable policy for cancellation. A policy to protect the groom/assistant trainer who wants to show her own horse um...... not so much. I have been fortunate that none of my barns have had one, not that they ever really needed it.

                              Sometimes life happens. People should be responsible for the cost of the stalls at away shows, to pay a trainer an "inconvenience fee".... eh not so much. If it happens too much, maybe that is not the clientel a show barn wants anyway....
                              Come to the dark side, we have cookies

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                              • #35
                                Originally posted by Bigbutt View Post
                                Okay maybe I'm going to come across as a very large hick. And not having attended an A or AA rated shows before, maybe this is the difference.
                                But in my neck of the woods, and I don't believe we are that deep in the woods (we have all our own teeth) 1. We fill out our own 2. If you have a coach you just pay your coaching rates, which is similiar to your weekly instruction rates. 3. There are no hired grooms... we groom our own horses, unless your lucky enough to have a friend or child to help you. You might pay for your braids to be done but really that might be it.

                                Does this not happen at these shows?
                                Everybody is different and has different needs at the shows which vary themselves. But, basically, this thread refers to week long affairs often 100s of miles from the home barn where the owner cannot be there the whole time. These are just normal AAs, not a World Championship you plan a vacation around. An owner might do 2 weeks a month at these shows all year.

                                The trainers like to do the entries because the horses they haul in have to be checked in to get the padlocks off the stalls and that won't happen with incorrect paperwork and records on each horse. Trainers have these files usually in a bag of some sort called "the book" or "the files". This is treated as a sacred document. .

                                Some owners can take alot of time off work and do haul their own...and they usually handle their own paperwork. Plus those owners also would only be paying the day charges for the days their horse is there. The ones trainer hauls go down early and come back late because it's too far for multiple trips back and forth.

                                Hope that makes sense to you.

                                I was able to "sublet" my stall to my trainer for a sale horse when I had one go lame a week out of a 2 week AA and incurred no charges.

                                However another time, I was going to go to a smaller A show a 3 hour drive away Fri Sat Sun. The horses were going up with the 6 horse trailer Thursday afternoon, coming home Sunday nite taking one Pro groom and one WS plus the assistant trainer for 6 horses total plus 2 stalls (one groom stall, one tack/feed/bedding). Basically 5 owners of the 6 horses going to split everything 6 ways.

                                I swear, the frigging evening before leaving, Wednesday, the one kid with 2 Ponies came up with some bad grades at middle school and, as a punishment? Her and her 2 Ponies had to stay home, and they did not share that until they were literally loading the trunks and Ponies. That made it considerably more expensive for the 4 remaining owners and the barn lost revenue on those reduced lessons. It inspired a barn policy regarding last minute cancellations for non emergency reasons. IIRC it was they had to have 6 sign up to go and 7 days out, you were going to be charged whether you went or not unless somebody got hurt or seriously ill.
                                Last edited by findeight; Oct. 6, 2012, 02:21 PM.
                                When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

                                The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.

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                                • #36
                                  Find Eight, thank you so much for taking the time to explain it - and yes NOW that makes complete sense! I guess over the last couple of years, I've just been lucky and able to take the time off work. But now I completely understand, thank you again for clarifying.

                                  Comment


                                  • #37
                                    Originally posted by meupatdoes View Post
                                    Well, in this case you would be hiring and paying ADDITIONAL labor to what you already have. That makes perfect sense. In my program everyone knows that normally there are no grooms, but if we are at the show and need a groom to have everyone ready by the first class of the day, they can see that the ADDITIONAL help was hired. Not just the SAME help paid the SAME as usual. Obviously if a trainer is paying additional compensation for additional labor, that ought to get passed on to the customers who are consuming that labor.

                                    But I have been at barns where it is the same groom getting paid the same by the trainer, regardless of how much extra work he is supposedly doing, and despite the fact that the horses are paying full board/grooming/tacking at home already. Groom polishes up the same horse that was on full care grooming board at home, handwalks the horse that would have otherwise been turned out for no extra compensation than he usually gets, trainer pockets $75 a day.

                                    Do you pay your grooms more/hire additional grooms for the extra work they are doing (ie the handwalking/extra mucking etc)?
                                    DD is a groom/manager and is paid more for show weeks than when she's at the farm. Her days are much longer at shows - often at the show at 5:30 AM and sometimes pretty late in the evening if her horses are in night classes.

                                    Another thing to consider is that when grooms are at home they usually do additional work around the farm which is of value to the trainer. At shows there's additional work but it's all related to the show, so should be expensed to the clients via a day fee.

                                    Comment


                                    • #38
                                      Our barn made similar changes within the last couple of years due to people canceling from the show last minute. Our new rule is, once you send in your entries with the barn, and trailer fees are payed, there is no backing out. You still have to pay trailer, stall, trainer, and day care fees. Our rules are in place because a couple years ago we had 6 clients going to a bigger show with the trainers, and only 2 ended up actually going (one horse injury, tow rider injuries, one with money issues). Because so many people backed out, the two that did go ended up paying way more than they bargained for, considering stall splits for tack/grooming stalls, paying more for transport since there were fewer horses, and the trainers lost a bunch of trainer fees. So now we have those rules so nobody gets screwed. People were mad at first, but it's really not fair to leave someone else to pay your stall splits and trailer fees because you decided you can't afford it after you already committed.

                                      Comment


                                      • #39
                                        Originally posted by meupatdoes View Post

                                        [snip]

                                        This thread has inspired me to have a clear "Last Day to Cancel Or Your Horse Will Be Billed As If He Went" date indicated going forward in the event of multiple customers attending the same show. Simple enough to send an email out with all of the projected costs tallied in advance, a reminder that these charges are based for all involved on the number of horses attending the show, and that after Day X this is how the show bill will be calculated regardless.

                                        That is a great idea. Something like what Meup suggested helps send a clear message to flakey people but in a very professional way.

                                        My biggest gripe when it comes to organizing activities is when people cancel at the last minute. It makes logistics difficult for the organizers, the remaining folks either have to pay more for the same stuff, or the organizer eats the cost, or the event gets canceled altogether.

                                        Comment


                                        • #40
                                          This is why I take care of my own horse.... my head hurts.

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