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extra fees for riding lessons?

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  • extra fees for riding lessons?

    I have been taking weekly lessons for a few years with the same trainer. Some of the policies seem to be shifting more and more of the cost and risk to me with no added benefit. For example any time a lesson is cancelled for weather, lame horse, trainer ill I end up paying for the lesson with no option to make it up. And I am asked to "chip in" more and more for the upkeep of the horse I regularly ride - farrier, clipping and blanketing, supplements.
    Previous places I have ridden tried to offer makeup lessons and I was never charged extra for upkeep of the horses. I feel like I have gotten backed into a situation where I am part leasing the horse, but without any of the benefits or even a say in what the expenses will be!
    Am I just out of touch with the current business model or am I being taken advantage of?
    "Don't go in the arena without your sense of self, or your sense of humour" ~Foxtrot's

  • #2
    It is not the norm where I am from to have a lesson student directly pay for fees associated with the keeping of a lesson horse unless they are leasing it.

    Comment


    • #3
      If you are taking a weekly lesson there should be no chipping in for anything to do with the care of the horses.
      I also would not be paying for lessons that were missed due to weather, trainer ill, horse lame and no make-up.

      I certainly understand paying for the lesson if I can't make it at the last minute do to working late, my illness, my kid's illness etc..

      Unless you are leasing the horse you should be paying the lesson fees and that is it. If you are leasing or part leasing you should have a signed contract itemizing how much you pay each month and what items or portions of items are your responsibility.

      It sounds like you are being taken for ride by this trainer.
      Oh, well, clearly you're not thoroughly indoctrinated to COTH yet, because finger pointing and drawing conclusions are the cornerstones of this great online community. (Tidy Rabbit)

      Comment


      • #4
        That sounds like you're being taken advantage of to me. I mean, my current lessoning situation is extremely flexible and not applicable to the general population but when I used to take proper "lesson barn" type lessons...I was given the opportunity for a make up within a certain time frame if I missed a lesson. I would've been assigned a different horse if the horse they would've put me on was lame. The only time I would've been paying for the lesson would have been if I canceled at the last minute.

        I was never asked to chip in on the horse I regularly rode when I settled into riding one horse for a majority of my lessons at one barn.

        Do you have an agreement written down with the trainer regarding your training relationship? I would definitely sit down with them and spell out what terms you're willing to work with and if they can't agree to that anymore, it might be time to find a new trainer.
        The Trials and Jubilations of a Twenty-Something Re-rider
        Happy owner of Kieran the mostly-white-very-large-not-pony.

        Comment


        • #5
          If you are just taking a weekly lesson, then you should have a set fee for the lesson and that's it. Normally, if the horse is lame, you ride a different horse. If you cancel within the no cancellations window, you have to pay (or no make-up). If you cancel outside the cancellation window, or if the trainer cancels, you don't pay (or get a make-up if you pay for a chunk of lessons up front).

          If you have a part-lease, you have a contract that specifies what you get (i.e. how many days of riding, who else gets to ride, on what days, etc.) and what expenses you are expected to cover.

          It sounds like you need to re-negotiate your situation.

          Comment


          • #6
            You should not have to pay for a missed lesson unless it is your fault that you are unable to ride (stuck at work, car trouble, sick, etc) and cancel at the last minute. (And in reality I've found most trainers are pretty lenient with this policy for a true illness, etc, and are just trying to put a penalty on the flighty types who will randomly no-show.)

            Lame lesson horse = they assign you a different horse to ride. Bad weather (assuming no indoor) or trainer sick = lesson rescheduled OR trainer cancels, you don't pay.

            If you aren't leasing or getting any benefit aside from riding in lessons that you pay for, you shouldn't have to pay into the horse's care at all. (Unless you are asking for something extra to be done - example horse wouldn't normally be clipped but you want to show it - or you choose to do so. I know some people like to buy items or a massage, etc, for a favorite schoolie. But it should not be an obligation.)
            Flickr

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            • #7
              Is this a small private barn where the BO is the trainer and only have 1 or 2 horses for you (and a few others) to ride or a bigger school with many school horses to choose from?

              Not that I think you should be paying for the upkeep of a school horse but sometime there are situations where it is not that simple.

              Ex. A friend of mine kept a pony at her barn for one of her friend to use for her daughter. There was no problem for a certain time but then, daughter wanted to compete, wanted to jump and the pony wasn't getting younger. Yep, a piece of drama later, they figured out who's paying for what.


              Cancelled lessons because of trainer's sickness, horse lameness or weather should be postponed.

              Last minute cancellation should be paid fully or partially, depending on agreement.

              Any of these issues should be talked between you and your trainer.
              ~ Enjoying some guac and boxed wine at the Blue Saddle inn. ~

              Originally posted by LauraKY
              I'm sorry, but this has "eau de hoarder" smell all over it.
              HORSING mobile training app

              Comment


              • #8
                Unless you are leasing the horse you use in lessons there is no reason you should have to pay for anything related to its care. I can't think of a single place I have ridden or taught that charged like that. And not offering make-ups for something that is not within your control (weather, etc.) is ridiculous.

                You are definitely being taken advantage of! I suggest finding a more professional place to take lessons.

                Comment

                • Original Poster

                  #9
                  Yes, it is one of those "not that simple" situations. A smaller barn with most of the clients owning or leasing their own horses (many in full or part training) with only a few weekly riders like myself, so it is harder to reschedule than if there were lots of lesson horses. Funny thing is I ended up here because lots of trainers wouldn't take on a once-a-week client, but I was very up-front that this was all I had time/money for. Now I wish she had been as honest as the other trainers that said, "sorry, not worth my time" right away.
                  "Don't go in the arena without your sense of self, or your sense of humour" ~Foxtrot's

                  Comment

                  • Original Poster

                    #10
                    OK! These responses are pretty clear, and I think I got the message - I was just hoping against hope that I was wrong.

                    I guess I will be trying to renegotiate, and failing that looking for a new trainer.
                    "Don't go in the arena without your sense of self, or your sense of humour" ~Foxtrot's

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      1. You paying for cancellations not caused by you is wrong.

                      2. Lessons on school horses seem expensive but often barely pay for what it costed to keep the horse for that day. I don't know very many programs who do the maintenance those hard-working, been-there-done-that-so-that-they-can-teach-you-something animals need. If you add in that cost (plus the money that the trainer needs to make for that hour), you are looking at much more. In this case, expect to pay a whole lot more for those one-hour lessons.

                      IME, it ends up being cheaper in the end to buy lessons from the best trainer running a lesson program that you can afford. You'll get more careful and knowledgable instruction. You'll learn how to ride correctly and be able to work on things that a less sound and less-well-schooled horse won't let you approach. You'll get farther faster and that's where you save money in the long run if you are serious about learning to ride well.
                      The armchair saddler
                      Politically Pro-Cat

                      Comment

                      • Original Poster

                        #12
                        You are right - I never would consider not paying for a lesson I cancelled, for whatever reason. It is more when the trainer cancelled, either for reasons beyond her control or reasons entirely within her control.

                        MVP - you make excellent points, and I expected to pay a premium for limited lessons, and I do. Plus the extras. Your point about getting lessons from the best trainer you can afford is right on the money. I will have to think long and hard about what my goals are and if the current situation is helping me meet them.
                        "Don't go in the arena without your sense of self, or your sense of humour" ~Foxtrot's

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by MissAriel View Post
                          MVP - you make excellent points, and I expected to pay a premium for limited lessons, and I do. Plus the extras. Your point about getting lessons from the best trainer you can afford is right on the money. I will have to think long and hard about what my goals are and if the current situation is helping me meet them.
                          Sadly, you are discovering why those other trainers said, "meh, the once-a-weeker isn't worth my time." I'm not sure why you'd wish for this one to have been that honest up front. Had she been, you would have avoided this situation.... but then you would have been lesson-less entirely.

                          It sucks huge rocks that this sport is so expensive. Really, the cost you-- AND your trainers-- are bumping up against is the cost of keeping a useful animal.

                          The pros who have dismissed you at the door have not been wonderful ambassadors for the sport. But I'll bet they've been in the industry for a long time.... and have been asked to compromise their salaries or their animals to accommodate those of us with not enough money to pay for good care and good instruction. They get burned out and abrupt, that's all. Don't take it personally, but do appreciate that there is some hard truth behind their being unwelcoming.
                          The armchair saddler
                          Politically Pro-Cat

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Sounds like the trainer needs lessons in the "costs of doing business." They won't be in business much longer if they expect people to be paying for services they're not receiving or "chipping in" for what is considered standard overhead expenses.

                            Let's change the scenario a bit and make this situation one with your hairdresser. Would you still be asking this if your hairdresser still charged you for your hair appointment even though they were sick and had to cancel? And if they asked you to pitch in because the client restroom needs painting? I'm sure you'd be finding a new hairdresser. This is no different.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by mvp View Post
                              Sadly, you are discovering why those other trainers said, "meh, the once-a-weeker isn't worth my time." I'm not sure why you'd wish for this one to have been that honest up front. Had she been, you would have avoided this situation.... but then you would have been lesson-less entirely.
                              I don't know that the trainer should have been up front about it not worth their time, obviously they thought she would be if they started lessons with her in the first place. But they should have been up front about how much it was going to cost.

                              Maybe they didn't realize the full cost of having a once-a-weeker on their program and how it would affect things and that they'd need to ask for more than whatever the OP is paying to offset it. They still could've been up front and said that they needed to re-negotiate the arrangement and change the fee due to their miscalculation instead of just tacking on these ridiculous fees (paying for a lesson that the instructor cancels, really? Do they do that to everyone or just the OP?) as they go along.
                              The Trials and Jubilations of a Twenty-Something Re-rider
                              Happy owner of Kieran the mostly-white-very-large-not-pony.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Having a once a weeker come for lessons doesn't mean the horse is standing around the rest of the time. If it is perhaps there is a reason. The trainer is lacking what it takes to get more students.
                                Some riders change their horse, they change their saddle, they change their teacher; they never change themselves.

                                Remember the horse does all the work, we just sit there and look pretty.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  That is not the norm. There is a long time horse lady here in the Nashville area with a lesson barn that tells her clients to pay for all kinds of stuff AND THEY DO IT!! What a racket!! Going to events, she has them buy different bits if needed, hay bags, grooming supplies, etc. I know this because I worked at a tack store they all came to and I'd ask,"Is it your horse?" and they'd say,"No, I just take lessons on it." Blew me away. Amazing.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    I would think there would be a lesson barn around that the once a weeker is pretty normal and easily accommodated.

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by MissAriel View Post
                                      OK! These responses are pretty clear, and I think I got the message - I was just hoping against hope that I was wrong.

                                      I guess I will be trying to renegotiate, and failing that looking for a new trainer.

                                      I would. Sounds like you are being taken advantage of big time.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        There's a barn around my parts where the BO has been able to get the boarders to pay for new arena footing, dragging equipment and even diesel to drag the arena... Mind you they are already paying over $650 to board!!!

                                        Comment

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