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Trying horses without a trainer? How much does your trainer charge?

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  • #21
    Originally posted by lotc2005 View Post
    The seller I purchased from sells everything from young horses to six-figure imports read to show grand prix. They were extremely accepting of the fact that I was horse hunting without a trainer. They never questioned it once.
    Kind of OT, but the OP worried about discouraging sellers by not bringing the trainer to the first test-drive. How often is this the case?

    Reading here, sellers complain about noobs and tire-kickers, often explaining that if the person has a trainer on board, that somehow "pre qualifies" them as a serious buyer.

    IME, sellers haven't asked me for this. Maybe they know from the first conversation that I'm serious and that's why I'm being pro-active in buying the right horse for me with my money. Or perhaps they learn that I'm not an idiot when I ask them to ride their horse before I get on it. I don't know.

    But I do think that the Serious Sellers or Serious Agents like the buyer's trainer let the person with the money check out the horsey merchandise in the way they want. The gamers want to separate the Wallet Holder from the decision a little more. JMHO.
    The armchair saddler
    Politically Pro-Cat

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    • #22
      I've never had a seller blink at me trying the first time without my trainer but I have also always made it clear on the phone that that was the plan (I try first, if I like the horse I make an appointment to try a second time with trainer in tow, if I want to buy I then set up PPE at that point). No seller has ever had a problem with that protocol.
      ~Veronica
      "The Son Dee Times" "Sustained" "Somerset" "Franklin Square"
      http://photobucket.com/albums/y192/vxf111/

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      • #23
        Originally posted by copper1 View Post
        Speaking as a trainer, I am more than happy to have my riders shop without me but certainly would like them to have me give the prospect a look see before they make the purchase. All depends on the individual! some get so excited about a new horse that they don't look past the "glitz" to see if there is a problem that may not work out for them.

        For better and for worse, the trainer needs to decide that the horse is one she can improve as well. After all, this is what the training client expects and many, many trainers have types of horses they can and cannot improve.

        I say this because one of the usual and horrible patterns in our industry is new trainer pronouncing previous horse a POS and asking the new client to sell + buy soon after arrival. It's very hard for the HO to figure out who's right-- new trainer or their experience with the horse that says he's not a POS, but also not one that Old Trainer could further. Oh, and it sucks worse when Old Trainer helped client buy Now-POS.
        The armchair saddler
        Politically Pro-Cat

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        • #24
          There is nothing wrong at all with going to look at horses by yourself. In the end it doesn't matter how perfect the trainer thinks the horse is, if you don't like it than it is not the horse for you.I did this when shopping for a horse for my son. I had 20 horses lined up that i went and saw first. Out of these 20 horses only three made the cut. At the point I got the trainer involved and we chose a horse. Some horses were falsely advertised, some were plain just not suitable. There was no point in wasting the trainers time. I paid for his time on the final three horses and was very happy with the way things went. The trainer was happy because I had not wasted his time with horses that were not at all suitable. I knew what type of horse was needed and I kept that in mind.
          www.tayvalleyfarm.com
          My other home.

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          • #25
            I won't let a horse in my barn anymore without imput/preapproval, so if your trainer is like me, definately talk to them before buying! I learned this the hard way, after a client bought a horse on her own (not even with a PPE)...which with very little research was shown to have some dangerous habits that I didn't want in my barn (very food aggressive) . I was stupid enough to let her bring the horse in and regretted it very quickly. I have contacts and experience my clients don't have, and can save them a lot of grief.

            I do like my clients to do most of the leg work, and typically don't charge a commission unless I had to travel considerably, or be heavily involved, in which case i bill for my time.

            As for someone coming to try without their trainer; that one depends. Usually if the person rides with someone I know of, or asks intelligent questions I have no issue with this. If the horse is green or has quirks I will want to at least talk to the trainer to assess suitability, in particular if the person trying is a minor.

            OT, but what I do have trouble with is minors coming to try horses with the trainer but no parent...puts me in a tricky spot with regards to waivers.
            Freeing worms from cans everywhere!

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            • Original Poster

              #26
              Originally posted by CHT View Post
              OT, but what I do have trouble with is minors coming to try horses with the trainer but no parent...puts me in a tricky spot with regards to waivers.
              You could easily solve that by having a PDF copy of your waiver, e-mailing it ahead of time and having them bring it signed. I did almost all of my riding as a junior as a working student far from home and on the road with my trainers alone, so horse shows, etc. were always a little annoying in terms of waivers.

              Thanks all for your answers!
              “Don’t ask yourself what the world needs; ask yourself what makes you come alive. And then go and do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” -Howard Thurman
              (}---{)

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              • #27
                I don't have a problem going by myself, but I took my trainer anyway. She's awesome, her prices are reasonable, and I value her opinion. I hesitate to take a 'friend' because I don't want someone who's going to tell me what they think I want to hear - if the horse is a bad match, will a friend be comfortable pointing that out (and telling you why)?

                If you don't plan to purchase without a trainer's approval, be up front with the seller about it. I didn't mind showing my sale horse to whoever wanted to see him, but it was a nightmare to try to schedule people and keep any kind of order when people came without trainers, then wanted to schedule a second visit but didn't know the trainer's schedule, then IF the trainer visited they said "no way, you can't buy a TB" (or some other very obvious and well advertised aspect of the horse - height, age, etc)... it just wasted everyone's time.

                After that experience, I think that if you intend to buy only after a trainer has OK'd the horse, you might as well bring them on the first visit. If you intend to buy without a trainer, then go ahead and do what you want.

                I got sidetracked and didn't answer the price question. My trainer has a set fee for day trips and we discussed and agreed upon a fee for a longer, out of state trip (which included airfare, hotel, etc.) I think the day trip fee was $50/half day or thereabouts? I don't remember the amount for the big trip.

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                • #28
                  A good trainer can tell quite a bit from videos. Hint, hint.

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                  • #29
                    My last horse shopping experience, my trainer actually recommended that I go try horses first, and if I like them, she would come to see them. Saved both of us a lot of time and money as the first 3 I saw, I knew 5 minutes into my ride that I didn't want them. Trainer came to see the one I loved, and while she wasn't 100% on board, she said she gave it her blessing (she wanted me to buy a made show horse, I wanted a project) 3 months after bringing my girl home, she told me she's really glad I followed my gut and bought the mare because she was perfect for what I wanted to do.

                    I really think when it comes to horse shopping, the potential owner needs to listen to their gut and that's often easier when they do it on their own.
                    Strong promoter of READING the entire post before responding.

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                    • #30
                      I was in a similar situation earlier this year. I spoke with my trainer and negotiated a 7.5% commission + travel expenses. I looked at a lot of young prospects and he steered me towards older but green and I am so glad he did. I ended up finding a 10yr old ex-broodie looking for a job in the show ring. I tried her, then I had him try her and do flexsions, and after she passed the PPE I bought her. It worked out really well as I received the value of his experience but I did the grunt work.

                      I agree with the above posters that you discuss boarding, training and showing expectations with your trainer way before you start responding to ads. I found it helpful saying i was working with trainer x, because breaders and other trainers took me more seriously. Also having an agreement about boarding, training and showing may factor into how flexible your trainer maybe with commissions.

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                      • #31
                        I was in a similar situation earlier this year. I spoke with my trainer and negotiated a 7.5% commission + travel expenses. I looked at a lot of young prospects and he steered me towards older but green and I am so glad he did. I ended up finding a 10yr old ex-broodie looking for a job in the show ring. I tried her, then I had him try her and do flexsions, and after she passed the PPE I bought her. It worked out really well as I received the value of his experience but I did the grunt work.

                        I agree with the above posters that you discuss boarding, training and showing expectations with your trainer way before you start responding to ads. I found it helpful saying i was working with trainer x, because breaders and other trainers took me more seriously. Also having an agreement about boarding, training and showing may factor into how flexible your trainer maybe with commissions.

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                        • #32
                          CHT's answer is closest to my practice.

                          I charged a flat hourly fee for my time. My business was teaching and riding, so if I wasn't in my ring, I needed to be compensated at my usual hourly rate for my time away from the barn. I tried to avoid buyer's commissions as they create an inherent conflict of interest, and if you have an indecisive tire kicker, you'd have to make a 20% commission on the sale of Rumba to truly be comped for your time.

                          I had no problem with a competent student doing first looks themselves and showing me video to narrow the selection, and then going to see the top 1 - 3 candidates in person. It's an efficient way of doing business. No need for a client to pay me to drive an hour each way to see a horse that we both realize is unsound or unsuitable in the first 10 minutes. (Happened!)

                          If we encountered a "trainers only" seller, which is not uncommon in hunter barns in my area, I first made sure then seller knew that I was not taking commission but a per diem, and to reduce the price on the horses accordingly. Then I would try to arrange to see as many horses as would potentially fit my program, and bring as many students or clients that had legitimate interest so as to make the best use of the seller's and my time.

                          In some cases, the seller would be willing to show my client the horse without me present if I talked to the seller first, made the introduction and told the seller what to expect.

                          Minors are a whole 'nother deal, but I don't think the OP is a minor.

                          In short, the OP's plan is fine and sensible as long as she makes sure the trainer's on board first.
                          The plural of anecdote is not data.

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                          • #33
                            I always look at the horse myself, without a trainer. After all, it's my money involved not the trainer's. LOL. And your trainer isn't giving a warranty either.

                            If I find a horse I like I ask my trainer to go with me for a follow up visit and the fee is prearranged based on how much time is involved. We discuss the horse and I make the decision.
                            And I always make sure the selling trainer understands I'm not paying any commissions, just a flat fee to my trainer.
                            Fan of Sea Accounts

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