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Lesson cancellation fee: does this sound right?

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  • Original Poster

    #21
    Thanks for all the feedback --
    In answer to a few questions in the thread ...

    1) There are no school horses per se at this barn. It's a small private boarding barn where the BO gives lessons to owners.

    2) This horse does 3-4 lessons a week, mostly w/t with kids. I do dressage-wannebe things with him.

    3) The BO definitely makes money off this horse by giving lessons. She and the owner are friends, and I don't know whether the owner gets a boarding break in addition to the lesson surcharges.

    Comment


    • #22
      Well I understand your frustration!

      It sounds like they are modifying the contract to "you will pay an extra $40/mo (if you ride weekly), a cost you can avoid if you make all your lessons!". I think that's probably fair. I know back in 2000 I paid $25 a ride to use another boarder's horse so my BF and I could ride (before I got my "cavvy") and we are talking basic "ranch broke" trail gelding. I think people are right about the lease agreement, as that would likely cover whatever her concerns are (she'd get her money whether or not you showed up).

      If another owner offers a better deal, I guess I'd take it, as it doesn't sound like you agreed to this initially, but it seems like she just wants to make sure she has a committment from you. I don't know how easy it is to get another person in your spot, even with advance notice. When I book assessment/testing appointments, I charge for anything less than 72 hours notice (which clients know) because those are longer,harder appointment to fill.

      I have to say that with five kids, to still be making horse arrangements DOES speak of some committment!

      Comment


      • #23
        This just sounds like a very non-traditional arrangement.

        I think usually you either share lease on a horse where you pay a fixed amount and get to use the horse X amount per week...and you pay regardless if you actually use your alloted time.

        Or the facility offers a price reduction for board order to use the horse in the lesson program. In which case the owner of the horse probably has a little less control over who is actually riding the horse.

        I do think the $10 fee is very small compared to the luxury of being able to take lessons with your preferred trainer who doesn't have a lesson string and you don't have a horse nor do you have the commitment of a lease.

        If you are starting to feel used, I think you should shop around for alternative arrangements at other facilities. maybe you will find something more suitable- and maybe you will discover that you are really lucky to have the arrangement you currently have.

        Comment


        • #24
          Originally posted by GrayTbred View Post
          I'm a former boarder at my lesson barn, but sent my horse to a retirement farm last year.

          Now I take once-weekly lessons on another boarder's horse. A little background on her:

          She never rides, grooms or even visits her horse
          She has 5 kids, none of whom rides or has any interest
          She lets the horse out for lessons to help offset board
          She and the BO/instructor are good friends

          For my lesson, I pay $20 to the boarder for use of her horse, above and beyond the lesson fee. That's fair.

          Occasionally I have to cancel because of work/personal conflicts. The BO is now telling me that with every cancellation, I have to pay a fee to the *boarder* of $10. And this doesn't just apply to last-minute cancellations. She's talking any time I miss a weekly lesson, even with ample notice.

          Does that sound right? I'd understand a last-minute cancellation fee for the instructor, but I don't think I should be subsidizing the boarder for use of the horse when I'm not in a lesson. I signed no contract committing me to X number of lessons per month.

          What do you think?
          So boarder gets a break on board AND your $20/lesson to use her horse?
          And now owner wants you to pay her a cancellation fee, regardless of how much notice?
          How many more ways can they split horse up to make bank on him? And are you sure owner is getting the board break AND your extra $20?

          Many years ago I moved and left my horse behind for a couple months. Originally I was asked could trainer use him for lessons with her adult student who had done Medal/Maclay with trainer back in the day. Sure, that's great. Then I was getting billed for training rides while rider was getting charged for lessons. All while I still paid full board... of course trainer knew none of this until she and I talked.
          I call what they did to me and what they are doing to you double dipping.
          It's not cool. The charge for the horse regardless of notice to cancel lesson makes no sense to me...
          Yo/Yousolong April 23rd, 1985- April 15th, 2014

          http://notesfromadogwalker.com/2012/...m-a-sanctuary/

          Comment


          • #25
            Originally posted by Plainandtall View Post
            This just sounds like a very non-traditional arrangement.

            I think usually you either share lease on a horse where you pay a fixed amount and get to use the horse X amount per week...and you pay regardless if you actually use your alloted time.

            Or the facility offers a price reduction for board order to use the horse in the lesson program. In which case the owner of the horse probably has a little less control over who is actually riding the horse.

            I do think the $10 fee is very small compared to the luxury of being able to take lessons with your preferred trainer who doesn't have a lesson string and you don't have a horse nor do you have the commitment of a lease.

            If you are starting to feel used, I think you should shop around for alternative arrangements at other facilities. maybe you will find something more suitable- and maybe you will discover that you are really lucky to have the arrangement you currently have.
            I agree. I think it is definitely an unusual case. I've heard of getting a reduction on board if the barn uses your horse in a lesson, but I've never heard of the owner of the horse charging if the student cancels. I've heard of a cancellation fee, of course, but not for the use of the horse.
            Whether or not it is worth it is a separate question. If you like the trainer and you only cancel your lesson a couple of times a year, then it might be worth it. The horse sounds safe and reliable, and that is important. One of the reasons that I started a half-lease was that I wasn't able to find a barn nearby that had lesson horses. Lesson horses seem to be harder and harder to come by. If there had been a scenario like this available, it would have been cheaper to do what you are doing versus doing the half lease arrangement (though I'd have had less riding time to practice). If your schedule is unpredictable and you have to cancel your lesson more regularly, then it might be worth it to check out what your options are as far as lessons go.

            Comment


            • #26
              Does this "fee" apply if you change your lesson time? This way you wouldn't be "canceling'.
              Not my monkeys, not my circus.

              Comment


              • #27
                That just seems silly to me. Last minute cancelation fee is one thing, but charging for a cancelations that is made days or even weeks in advance when you can easily put someone else on the horse that day is just silly. While $10 in the grand scheme of things isn't that much it’s the reason behind it that would make me made.

                Sounds to me like the owner of the horse needs to either lease it out or sell the horse if its a financial thing.
                "There are only two emotions that belong in the saddle; one is a sense of humor and the other is patience."

                Comment


                • #28
                  Or the OP can just not use that horse and find an arrangement that suits her better.

                  It's the owners fault that she doesn't want to continue with an unreliable agreement on use of her horse? Wow, entitlement at it's finest.

                  I agree the owner should just part-lease/lease the horse out, she'd get more money and it would be a reliable monthly income towards the horses expenses, whether the leaser decided to take a day off or whatever. And unless the OP wanted to do the part-lease, she'd likely be unable to use the horse in lessons and then there wouldn't be a problem.
                  2016 RRP Makeover Competitor www.EnviousBid.com

                  Comment

                  • Original Poster

                    #29
                    Originally posted by VCT View Post
                    It's the owners fault that she doesn't want to continue with an unreliable agreement on use of her horse? Wow, entitlement at it's finest.
                    Perhaps you missed this part of the background information, but there is no "agreement," reliable or otherwise, connected with the owner or her horse. I am one of several students who use this horse.

                    And I certainly don't expect entitlement -- I was just asking if a missed-lesson surcharge to an owner is an everyday occurrence.

                    Comment


                    • #30
                      And to whom do you write that check for $20 or $10 dollars? Separate to the HO or rolled in to the trainer/BO? Just askin''..............
                      pace, path, balance, impulsion and ??

                      Don't panic! Ralph Leroy Hill

                      Comment


                      • #31
                        The owner may structure the use or non use of her horse in whatever way she wishes.

                        The student may also decide whether or not the terms work for her.

                        Comment


                        • #32
                          It seems reasonable to me, but as others have said...if you dont like it, shop around . Im currently in the leasing boat now as well and got to foot the bill for a month of lay up for my (half) lease horse as well the corresponding vet bill. Horses are expensive and I consider it worth it not to have any long term liability for lameness or the hassle of having to sell if/when circumstances change.

                          Comment


                          • #33
                            Btw, my situation is also informal and was started because I wanted a horse to lesson on with this particular trainer.

                            Comment


                            • #34
                              The possibility exists that HO is paying no board and BO is effectively full free leasing horse for lessons. She gets a schoolie without any upfront outlay. Any fees additionaly paidl to HO and by OP and others riding horse could be split bewen HO and BO and could end up being a decent monthly sum. At 4 lessons a week, $20/ride thats $320 a month in cash.
                              F O.B
                              Resident racing historian ~~~ Re-riders Clique
                              Founder of the Mighty Thoroughbred Clique

                              Comment


                              • #35
                                If I were you, I'd want a formal, written agreement. It is my business who my money goes to. If I'm paying the boarder for use of her horse, fine. But I'd make sure that cheque is being written to the boarder, not the BO.

                                I'd be surprised if Linnys outline wasn't the case - it would be unusual if the BO was using the horse in lessons, which benefit her financially, and getting full board on top of that. In the UK working livery situations are very common, where cost of board (livery) can be worked off by horse being used in lessons a certain # of times a week. The difference is that these agreements are written up formally beforehand. If I were the owner of this horse I'd want a formal part lease/lease if I wasn't getting reduced or free board for use of my horse in lessons by the BO.

                                If I were you I'd want to know where my money is going and that the BO isn't pocketing that extra $10-20.
                                "Choose to chance the rapids, and dare to dance the tides" - Garth Brooks
                                "With your permission, dear, I'll take my fences one at a time" - Maggie Smith, Downton Abbey

                                Comment


                                • #36
                                  Originally posted by GrayTbred View Post
                                  I'm a former boarder at my lesson barn, but sent my horse to a retirement farm last year.

                                  Now I take once-weekly lessons on another boarder's horse. A little background on her:

                                  She never rides, grooms or even visits her horse
                                  She has 5 kids, none of whom rides or has any interest
                                  She lets the horse out for lessons to help offset board
                                  She and the BO/instructor are good friends

                                  For my lesson, I pay $20 to the boarder for use of her horse, above and beyond the lesson fee. That's fair.

                                  Occasionally I have to cancel because of work/personal conflicts. The BO is now telling me that with every cancellation, I have to pay a fee to the *boarder* of $10. And this doesn't just apply to last-minute cancellations. She's talking any time I miss a weekly lesson, even with ample notice.

                                  Does that sound right? I'd understand a last-minute cancellation fee for the instructor, but I don't think I should be subsidizing the boarder for use of the horse when I'm not in a lesson. I signed no contract committing me to X number of lessons per month.

                                  What do you think?
                                  I had a little riding school for a few years. If we used our livery horses we just rolled up the price into the lesson fee which was paid directly to us. But we booked out the livery's horse for those slots and paid them or deducted the money from their livery & feed fees. Our rule was that if you failed to notify us at least 12 hours before your lesson you would lose your entire fee. Other than that it would be fine.

                                  The world worse situation is that you have your lesson prepared, you have your 1 hour slot fixed in the diary, you have turned away other customers and you have paid to book the liveries horse for the hour and your horse is stood in tack ready to go and they either dont turn up or call to cancel there and then. Arrrrr!!!! its beyond frustrating and so yes the next time they called to book they would need to pay the outstanding balance from the previously cancelled lesson before we would accept and further bookings, sure they complain but when we explained as above they were usually cool about it.
                                  YAY!! I finally figured out how to upload a photo! lol im such a computer loser!

                                  Comment


                                  • #37
                                    I would say it is unusual but not unreasonable. Whether you can find a situation which suits you better is the question I would ask myself...
                                    http://wildwoodfarmnc.com

                                    http://cantersgutenberg.wordpress.co...g-quiet-goose/

                                    Comment


                                    • #38
                                      I understand your frustration, but I also think you might not fully appreciate having such a nice, willing horse available to you for lessons at a bargain-basement price. When you add everything up, I pay a LOT more than $20 per ride on my own horse who is ridden 5-6 days per week. The way they have broken up the payments to instructor and horse-owner is unusual, but the surcharge for using a horse that you otherwise pay NOTHING for is very typical and reasonable. It isn't off-the-wall to expect you to pay when they are holding a lesson spot for you each week on this horse. His expenses don't change, even if your personal life prevents you from riding one week.

                                      Bottom line, if this arrangement isn't working out for you, then you can always walk away.
                                      "Winter's a good time to stay in and cuddle,
                                      but put me in summer and I'll be a... happy snowman!!!"

                                      Trolls be trollin'! -DH

                                      Comment


                                      • #39
                                        I think the words used are wrong. It is called a cancellation fee, but if you were to call it an partial lease at 80$ a month, and the owner is giving you a break if you cancel a lesson of $10 a lesson. Viewing it like that makes it seem like a real great bargain!
                                        www.headsupspecialriders.com

                                        Comment


                                        • #40
                                          Originally posted by GrayTbred View Post
                                          Perhaps you missed this part of the background information, but there is no "agreement," reliable or otherwise, connected with the owner or her horse. I am one of several students who use this horse.

                                          And I certainly don't expect entitlement -- I was just asking if a missed-lesson surcharge to an owner is an everyday occurrence.
                                          I understand there is no reliable agreement, but there IS an agreement - you get to use her horse in lessons. The deal in the past was you get to use her horse when you feel like it and she gets to pay the bills whether you show up or not.

                                          Now she is trying to get some sort of reliable income from the use of her horse.

                                          If you don't like the new terms, then don't use the horse. It's simple.

                                          And no, it's not a "typical" thing but as someone else said the owner is free to come up with whatever works for her - her horse. And you are free to do whatever works for you.

                                          The more typical arrangement would be that the instructor would pay a lease fee to the owner for using the horse in her lesson program and she would build into her cancellation policy/fee an amount that would help cover the lease in the event of people canceling. You're just sort of "skipping the middle man" here with what is being proposed.
                                          2016 RRP Makeover Competitor www.EnviousBid.com

                                          Comment

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