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The 15% Surprise

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  • The 15% Surprise

    I'll relate the facts as told to me, and invite your commentary.
    I will withold my own opinion for the nonce.
    Friends have a child who has been showing and training at a local H/J barn. Small time trainer. Child has inexpensive horse that has been safe but less than brilliant at showing.
    Parents wish to upgrade to enable child to be more competitive. Confer with trainer, establish maximum budget, authorize trainer to begin search. Trainer offers several prospects; all of which are unsuitable, being either green or re-cycled local mounts, and all of which are priced (coincidentally) at the maximum budget number.
    Parents decide to begin searching on their own. Contact agents. Find several quite suitable horses, and prepare to travel to try them.
    Are then informed by trainer that if they purchase a horse on their own, they are obligated to pay trainer a 15% commission on the total purchase price of the new horse. If this is not paid forwith, both the old horse and the new one must vacate the barn immediately.
    When parents asked why they should pay an onorarium for a transaction with which the trainer had no involvement, they were told
    by trainer "because that's the way it's done in the horse show world".
  • Original Poster

    #2
    I'll relate the facts as told to me, and invite your commentary.
    I will withold my own opinion for the nonce.
    Friends have a child who has been showing and training at a local H/J barn. Small time trainer. Child has inexpensive horse that has been safe but less than brilliant at showing.
    Parents wish to upgrade to enable child to be more competitive. Confer with trainer, establish maximum budget, authorize trainer to begin search. Trainer offers several prospects; all of which are unsuitable, being either green or re-cycled local mounts, and all of which are priced (coincidentally) at the maximum budget number.
    Parents decide to begin searching on their own. Contact agents. Find several quite suitable horses, and prepare to travel to try them.
    Are then informed by trainer that if they purchase a horse on their own, they are obligated to pay trainer a 15% commission on the total purchase price of the new horse. If this is not paid forwith, both the old horse and the new one must vacate the barn immediately.
    When parents asked why they should pay an onorarium for a transaction with which the trainer had no involvement, they were told
    by trainer "because that's the way it's done in the horse show world".

    Comment


    • #3
      bullsh*t, i would leave!!
      \"it\'s not what you win, but who you beat\"
      Member of Acrylic Nail,Horseless Riders,Mommies, and Pennsylvania Cliques!

      Comment


      • #4
        I can't say in my entire time i've been in the horse world have i ever heard this. Would they consider moving their horse/horses? I'd get out of that barn as easy as that.

        -sorry for short post, im about to leave-

        Comment


        • #5
          Unfortunately, I have heard of this before, but I can say that I'd never ride with a trainer who did this. I would, however, pay a trainer a small "thank you" if I knew they put a lot of time and phone calls into horse hunting for me and I ended up finding one on my own--as a way of saying that you recognize the time they've spent on you. However, the idea that it's expected, and at such a high rate, is ridiculous. Also important to keep in mind however is that a trainer should approve a horse before it's purchased, even if you found it on your own...it's good to get a professional opinion on whether the horse actually is a good fit and whether the horse is reasonably priced, suitable etc. and whether the seller has a bad reputation for beign a swindler is more likely to be known to the trainer.

          Comment


          • #6
            I have never heard of that...I agree with the others that if the trainer started looking and the parents eventually found one on their own, some type of payment would be appropriate, but that sounds odd to me...15% on a horse the trainer didn't even find...maybe that is her way of charging for time spent 'approving' the horse...I'm interested to see what others have to say.

            Comment


            • #7
              Sorry, I'm on the other side of the fence. If one has a trainer, one pays them a commission upon purchase if one expects to keep the trainer. If the horse purchaser no longer wants to be affiliated with said trainer, by all means they should purchase their horse and go on their way. If they expect their trainer to train their purchase he gets to evaluate it and is paid accordingly. Frankly, I think the fact that the trainer is willing to keep the customer, even with a paid commission, is surprising, considering that they acted without him and are basically behaving in a manner that will quickly label them "nightmare customers" and make it difficult for them to find any trainer at all. That IS the way it's done.

              Comment


              • #8
                C Boylen...

                exactly...........but I would ask if the 15% is firm and could they arrive at a middle ground.
                [url]http://www.horseshowbiz.com
                [url]http://www.ijumpsports.com

                Comment


                • #9
                  CB--yes, but what we don't know here is whether they're upgrading from a 800$ pony to a $5000 pony or a 25K pony to a 75k pony. People don't shop (hopefully) for 75k ponies on their own, but people who buy 5k ponies do.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    first I have heard of this and disagree with the message. A lot of trainers want you to go through them and it is not just for the money.

                    On the other shoe though often well meaning parents and kids go out to avoid commission fees and bring home something unsuitable or not broke or no the right horse for the job. Then the trainer must make it work and when it does not the client sometimes blames trainer. If your in training with someone why would you NOT consult and use their expertise in helping you find the right horse???

                    I see both sides but more often than not a less than suitable horse is purchased. There is more to a horse purchase than one or two good test rides and a good vet check..

                    A trainer or agent (a good one) investigates the show history, talks to other trainers n the know about the horse, evaluates the horse personality, movement, suitability, style and conformation for soundness. A good agent uses their many years buying horses and evaluating them to make the best possible choice for you. All of this for 10-15% and the stress. Often it is not enough for what a good agent does!

                    ;-)

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Sorry, but C.Boylen... I have to disagree. Only in part that the trainer sounds like he/she is out to get money by showing them horses that aren't suitable for the rider. Not to mention if all the horses are at their maximum budget (seems a little fishy). From, what the person posted, they started going through the trainer and were unhappy with the horses the trainer was finding. I would certainly hope a trainer would have more connections for finding a horse than a client but somehow they managed to find a horse on their own and shouldn't have to give 15% to a trainer that didn't lift a finger to help.

                      I do agree that a "thank-you" should be given to the trainer for any effort he/she has put forward. BTW, a few phone calls is nothing and usually not time consuming (I do it all the time and it only takes me a minute or two to figure out if the horse is a possibly candidate for whatever I am looking for)


                      Just want to clarify that in most cases I think people should go through their trainer. I just don't like the trainers that ONLY care about money instead of finding the "right" match. (I am saying this trainer sounds like he/she is the first type= money hungry) Otherwise she/he would be showing them horses more suitable for the rider.
                      www.solitudefarm.com

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        It does happen, and honestly it's why I would never buy a horse without my trainer--because if that's their policy, it makes it awkward. The parents should have asked before they searched on their own. However, just because it happens doesn't mean it's right, and it's one of the more annoying conventions.

                        As to only looking at the top of the budget--most trainers will do this, as well. However, more often than not, it's an "honest mistake" in terms of not being savvy. The parents say, top of the budget is 15K, or 150K, and the trainer asks around, and when other trainers ask what the range is, automatically every horse in the barn is priced at the top of that range.

                        Either way, the trainer seemed unable to find a suitable mount, and was clearly not forthright about their sale policies, with a first-time (or relatively newbie) family, so I think maybe it's just a bad trainer/client match.
                        Um, I don\'t spell check. Deal with it.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I'm afraid I don't see the difference SunnyBunny. It's a respect issue more than a money issue, although people who buy 5k ponies still have trainers who need to make money in order to run their businesses.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by SemiAutomatic:
                            Sorry, but C.Boylen... I have to disagree. Only in part that the trainer sounds like he/she is out to get money by showing them horses that aren't suitable for the rider. Not to mention if all the horses are at their maximum budget (seems a little fishy). From, what the person posted, they started going through the trainer and were unhappy with the horses the trainer was finding. I would certainly hope a trainer would have more connections for finding a horse than a client but somehow they managed to find a horse on their own and shouldn't have to give 15% to a trainer that didn't lift a finger to help. (I am saying this trainer sounds like he/she is the first type= money hungry) Otherwise she/he would be showing them horses more suitable for the rider. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
                            If they're that unsatisfied with their trainer, and feel he or she was out to cheat them by showing them overpriced and unsuitable prospects, then they should take the horse they purchased on their own and leave, not stay and haggle over commission money. If that's the case the money is certainly not the problem.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Wow, I am going to wade in here. I think this is quite silly, what other business does this? Real estate, car dealers, stocks, etc etc? How is it that the horse business gets away with this.

                              Now its said that the trainer should get this money even if they did not find, or approve of said animal. Then what is the commission for? I agree that the trainer should be compensated for time spent at a rate that is equal to the hourly lesson rate (thats how I do it anyway)or some other pre-set fee. A commission is paid for the trainer to evaluate the animal for its suitablity for the job, the riders ability etc. You are paying for their knowledge of animals, industry standards, rider etc. Basically asking them to make a prediction on the sucess possible if horse is purchased for this set of clients. So if trainer does not perform those things why is a commision due. Pay for time spent and expenses (phone calls, videos etc) at an hourly rate.

                              As for keeping the client- it amazes me that someone who goes out on their own and purchases a horse is someone who should be ousted from a barn. If they buy a horse that is a puke, totally unsuitable for the intended purpose and they expect the trainer to 'fix' it, then tell them that you want no part of this, I mean as a trainer you are allowed to turn down horses/people that you do not feel you can or want to help. But to 'fire' them as a result of them making their own decisions?

                              When a trainer demands that level of control do they also offer the same level of responsibility should the horse that they 'approved' turn out to be less than suitable or sane or sound for the buyer?

                              I grew up in this business and have been a professional for over 15 years and I have never agreed with this. My obligation and fiduciary duty is to my clients, that means I have an obligation to do the best for my clients. I have always wanted to find the best horse for the best deal that my clients could afford, I have many times forgone my commission if it was the difference in a so-so horse and one that was 'the one'. I figured that it was a good thing for me as that nice horse came into my barn, paid monthly training fees, went down the road, won prizes, got trainer more recognition, more clients, sold more horses etc.

                              In this situation that the OP is talking about it seems to me that there is no trainer-clinet relationship and the trainer is forgetting that these are clients and that the trainers job is to represent them in whatever manner benifits them the most.
                              Sometimes going forward is as simple as never going backward.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                One more thing ,
                                C.Boylen wrote 'It's a respect issue more than a money issue, although people who buy 5k ponies still have trainers who need to make money in order to run their businesses.'

                                My understanding of how you made money in any business was that you provided something (a good or service) to earn it.

                                Commissions and money made on my own sale horses are what buys the property, new trucks trailers etc what pays the monthy bills or keeps my business running is the clients who have their horses in training, lessons and show fees.

                                Respect goes both ways. A client goes to a professional because they need one. They know they are not well informed in this area (I know, I know there are those that clearly do not but think they do) so they go to someone for help and should be able to trust that that person is looking out for their best interests at all times no matter what. How do they make money to run the business? They do a great job, they have good horses and good riders and they win. Then more people want their services.

                                It is weird this standard we have.
                                Sometimes going forward is as simple as never going backward.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  WELCOME TO THE HORSE WORLD!

                                  Trainers like this give us honest, truely devoted trainers a bad name! But this isn't just about the money....

                                  It's about CONTROL. This said trainer is trying to control their clients. I think the problem here to lies in lack of communication between parties. The clients should have talked to the trainer and expressed their opinions about the horses they were being shown.

                                  It's also aboutRESPECT It is a bit of a slap in the face to the trainer. But shame on the trainer for not being knowledgable enough to pick out suitable mounts!

                                  I agree with paying a trainer for their time. But 15%? The trainer is being greedy. And to fire the clients? Well then honestly this trainer does not care about what is best for the student.

                                  I hope they get outta there quick!
                                  (]~~[) Amy (]~~[)

                                  * I hope I never get too old to ride, despite the injuries and pain, because I cannot imagine not doing the thing I most enjoy in my life.*

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Nope, wouldn't pay commission if the trainer didn't find and arrange sale. And no, I don't find it surprsing that said trainer would be willing to keep them on, clients are clients. Finding a horse on your own without a trainer...the horrors!! And people lament the continuing degredation of the h/j world....
                                    You know, if you took this jello, put it in a mold and froze it, you could be like look....an emerald. Dude, I'd kick some guys ass he ever tried to give me a jello ring.

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      I'd leave without a second look back. The only thing the horse world is about anymore is money. How much money can I steal from those people? 15%? Well then, gollee, I'm gonna take it!

                                      It's not about horses anymore and it's truly sad. Maybe it never was about horses? Actually, I think it's our world today - we're money hungry and think we can't be happy without a bigger house, a nicer car, a $100k horse...and those things all cost money. So we beg, steal, borrow, and run ourselves more and more into debt to get these things that end up costing us more money...which in turn makes us less happy.

                                      Lute, I would tell your friends to find a trainer that suits them and will not charge them an unreasonable fee for a horse that they found on their own WITHOUT the help of said trainer. The trainer is being a greedy pig and is part of the reason the horse world (namely the hunter/jumper part) has such a bad name. I'm not saying a "thank you" isn't in order for the trainer's time spent finding unsuitable mounts. But 15%?? That's outrageous. I don't care if it's the way it's done or not. It's extortion.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        okay, I haven't really read all of the posts, so please forgive me if I repeat anyone

                                        I agree with C.Boylen- <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> If one has a trainer, one pays them a commission upon purchase if one expects to keep the trainer. If the horse purchaser no longer wants to be affiliated with said trainer, by all means they should purchase their horse and go on their way. If they expect their trainer to train their purchase he gets to evaluate it and is paid accordingly. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

                                        But, in this instance, the trainer seems to be going about this in kind of a shady manner-finding "unsuitable" horses that are at the max budget price makes me think it's one of those trainers who is just showing them horses that don't suit this person so they can go ahead and say "well, this is all that I can find in this price range, so if you're unsatisfied with what I'm presenting you, then we'll have to re-discuss your budget" ie: "I want you to spend more money so that I'll make more money" It would be different if the trainer found a few decent horses, or even none at all- not even unsuitable ones- then the trainer would be able to ask for commission, cause who knows, maybe the trainer already knew of the horse and knows of a problem they weren't told, or whatever.

                                        If they like this horse that they found, tell them to talk to their trainer and they can say either :
                                        -this is the kind of horse we think we're looking for, do you know of this horse and do you think it's a good match for our child? If not, do you know of any other horses like this in our price range?
                                        -this is the horse that we would like to buy, but we still would like your help in buying this horse.
                                        both situations you would, obviously, pay commission.
                                        OR if they don't like the way the trainer is going about things, perhaps it would be in their best interest to look elsewhere.

                                        Comment

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