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Booking Fee - What's it really for and what is reasonable?

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  • Booking Fee - What's it really for and what is reasonable?

    I was just glancing through a stallion auction and looking at stallion ads, and I noticed one farm that has a $500 booking fee on top of the advertised stud fee (and no, that is not an all inclusive type booking fee)

    The stud fees are not cheap, especially for the farms relatively young and unproven lineup of stallions, and the $500 booking fee on top makes them seem just plain pricey.

    That said, I'm not a SO. I have no idea what goes into that side of the breeding operation. Fill me in. What does a booking fee cover (because I notice many SOs waived their booking fee for the auctions) and what is typically reasonable? I just always assumed it was an "office fee & non refundable" portion.

    Just curious.
    The rebel in the grey shirt

  • #2
    JB

    Great question! I was wondering the same thing.

    I have been keeping an eye on some of the auctions, too. Most of the stallions that would interest me are the ones that have the booking fees, which are not included in the auction bid. I noticed that a lot of those stallions have no bids, either.

    Since most of those stallion owners include the booking price in the breeding fee in their regular contract, why not do the same for an auction?

    It kind of defeats the purpose of the auction, which, I believe, is to help mare owners have an affordable chance to breed to a nice stallion?
    When in Doubt, let your horse do the Thinking!

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    • #3
      Because the stud fee is donated to the auction organization. The booking fee and the collection fees go to the stallion owner/vet if using an outside collector.

      I agree a $500 booking fee is high, their way of compensating the donation.

      And also why we are seeing less and less auction participation.
      Don't let anyone tell you that your ideas or dreams are foolish. There is a millionaire walking around who invented the pool noodle.

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      • #4
        It is suppose to cover the "paperwork" cost, and in some cases, covers first collection fees. In reality - it is so the SO gets something for the "donated" stud fee. And I agree, $500 is quite a bit.

        The other thing to be aware of - if you end up CHANGING the mare (i.e. mare one doesnt' get pregnant, dies, whatever), many SOs will change a 2nd "booking" fee. I got caught in one of those a few years back with a booking fee (after buying a Hanoverian breeding in an auction where no booking fee was advertised). I paid the first booking fee ($450 which included NO collections!), maiden mare didn't conceive, SO wanted another booking fee to transfer the breeding. I forfeited everything - it just wasn't worth it (didn't help that stallion had sub-par semen). Be careful, although there are many good stories on stallion auctions, there are some bad stories too. I want to clarify - I didn't buy the breeding through one of the big registry stallion auctions, this was for a fundraiser for a specific event. But it did sour me on that SO

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        • #5
          As both a Stallion Owner and Mare Owner, I am NOT a fan of booking fees. If memory serves me correct, the practice of using booking fees actually comes from the Thoroughbred industry...and once it made it's way into the warmblood and sport horse/pony world, it's seems to have gone out of control!

          That being said, it CAN serve a purpose for busy stallions and busy Stallion Owners so that a Mare Owner is required to "reserve a spot" to their stallion. Especially if a stallion is limited to X number of mares per year or they are busy with shows, etc. But for those stallions that maybe only get 3-5 mares per year, in my opinion, that booking fee is just another way to squeeze more money out of the Mare Owner.

          As someone mentioned above, it is sometimes done in the Stallion Auctions so that the Stallion Owner gets a little bit of money thrown their way after donating a stud fee. But many Mare Owners agree that it tends to be a deterrent when placing bids!
          www.DaventryEquestrian.com
          Home of Oldenburg, Westphalian & RPSI approved pony stallion Goldhills Brandysnap
          Also home to Daventry Equine Appraisals & Equine Expert Witness www.EquineAppraisers.com

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          • #6
            I am a SO that charges a booking fee. It is a small "portion" of the stud fee that is used similar to a deposit. It is non-refundable. My feeling is that once I receive that booking fee, I make a commitment to that MO and her collection becomes paramount. If I was scheduled to attend a show around that time, I would cancel (No frozen semen.) I also feel as though it establishes better lines of communication between the Mo and myself, in terms of how the mare is cycling, etc. It is merely a "commitment". The balance of the stud fee is not due until prior to the first collection. I personally don't agree with charging another booking fee if the mare is transferred or another mare is used in the original mare's place. That being said, when I did donate to auction sites, I did not charge the booking fee. Only the collection fee, which I had to do so I wasn't loosing money. (I use an outside collection facility as I am not set up to do my own collections.)

            FWIW, I am also a MO. I have looked at the auction sites and wouldn't be as inclined to choose a stallion whose owner charges a booking fee.

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            • #7
              As a MO, my understanding is that the booking fee is basically a portion of the stud fee that you will have to pay again to reserve your place in the stallion's book for the coming year. Some stallions have (and should have IMHO, to keep the value up of youngstock) limited books. Also, if you have a mare that takes multiple seasons to conceive, I think it helps cover the trailering expenses, pay them for their time, etc for the coming year that the SO will be helping me get me get my mare bred. As long it is a reasonable fee (about 1/4 or less of the stud fee), I don't mind paying.
              I was actually wondering about auctions, though...in particular the VPBA auction, if those stallions were still charging a booking fee on top of the stud fee?
              http://summerwoodwelsh.com
              Summerwood Farm Welsh Ponies~
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              • #8
                I'll answer as a stallion owner - we trailer to SBS to have our stallions collected. The $200 booking fee helps to offset the loss of 2+ hours of my riding time (stallions go to be collected first thing in the morning while it is still cool - which is prime riding time in the summer). Normally, I am paid $75 per ride. The additional $50 goes to pay the staff who have to 'cover' for my absence and defray the fuel costs. I do not factor in the wear and tear/insurance of the rig as those are farm operating costs and we would have those regardless of having stallions. There is no 'cushion' added to cover the annual EVA boosters or CEM testing for each stallion - those are also 'operating costs'. If my mom were having to do the hauling, we would have to charge more as her lesson and riding fees are higher and she is harder to 'replace'. We are optimistic though and have a lower Booking Fee as we expect the stallions to get their mares pregnant in a single cycle.

                If it is a last minute collection (for this year and all subsequent years), I will have to haul to Chesapeake City which is a full 3.5 hours round trip. For the time being, I will 'eat' those additional costs but that may change due to competition scheduling in any case.

                ETA: I have stopped donating to Stallion Auctions as those have been very trying and difficult learning experiences - for instance 4 out of 8 donations have been breeding nightmares - 6 or 7 cycles and then the mare turns up barren (as a last resort client finally did a biopsy & cytology) and those were full on donations of services - no booking fee charged...and a huge personal $ outlay of time, wear and tear on the stallion and fuel. It is easier to work with a MO with some sort of a payment plan than to do that again.
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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Summerwood View Post
                  Some stallions have (and should have IMHO, to keep the value up of youngstock) limited books.
                  This is what we have always done with our stallions.
                  www.DaventryEquestrian.com
                  Home of Oldenburg, Westphalian & RPSI approved pony stallion Goldhills Brandysnap
                  Also home to Daventry Equine Appraisals & Equine Expert Witness www.EquineAppraisers.com

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                  • #10
                    My stallion's fee includes a $100 non-refundable booking fee. I have donated two breedings to two different auctions and in both my booking fee is included. I am only breeding him to limited mares so the booking fee is so that I know the MO is serious and does plan on using the breeding. If they back out and I can't fill that spot in his book then I have covered some of my costs and time.

                    I don't think booking fees should be anymore than $200. It is just an extra way for people to make money and I don't think it's fair, a reasonable booking fee is fair IMO. I also think SOs should always include the booking fee in the stud fee when they advertise. When you see "$500 stud fee" then in smaller print under it you see "$350 booking fee" it almost feels like false advertisement! lol
                    Oakwood Farm
                    Home to Rowntree Welsh & Half Welsh Hunter Ponies!
                    Bloodlines includes Llanarth Senator, Rosedale Top Cat, Telynau Elgar & more!

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Summerwood View Post
                      Some stallions have (and should have IMHO, to keep the value up of youngstock) limited books.
                      I have to ask... what stallions in North America have to limit their books? I can only think of one stallion who allegedly had over 100 breedings in a season and that was over a decade ago when the supply of sport horse stallions was considerably less than it is now.
                      www.avenir-farm.com

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by baywithchrome2 View Post
                        I have to ask... what stallions in North America have to limit their books? I can only think of one stallion who allegedly had over 100 breedings in a season and that was over a decade ago when the supply of sport horse stallions was considerably less than it is now.
                        I agree. Any SO I know in North America would love to have more breedings. This idea of "limited book" is just to put pressure on people to hurry up and breed (pay)
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                        • #13
                          I bought a breeding in an auction. Mare lost her pregnancy to a dystocia. Got her back in foal, but pregnancy aborted somewhere along the way. Meanwhile the stallion died. The SO allowed me to keep the contract if I paid a $300 booking fee since I bought the breeding in an auction.

                          Due to the wretched economy, I put all the mares on hold for the past three years. I am not alone, knowing what my friends have done.

                          Stallions need offspring on the ground, there is nothing better than a top quality baby out in public.

                          Sympathies to a SO trying to service an unhealthy mare, but I have to think MO are going to be really cautious about the mares they want to use before running up thousands in vet bills.
                          www.oakhollowstable.blogspot.com

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by aab View Post
                            I am a SO that charges a booking fee. It is a small "portion" of the stud fee that is used similar to a deposit. It is non-refundable. My feeling is that once I receive that booking fee, I make a commitment to that MO and her collection becomes paramount. If I was scheduled to attend a show around that time, I would cancel (No frozen semen.) I also feel as though it establishes better lines of communication between the Mo and myself, in terms of how the mare is cycling, etc. It is merely a "commitment". The balance of the stud fee is not due until prior to the first collection. I personally don't agree with charging another booking fee if the mare is transferred or another mare is used in the original mare's place. That being said, when I did donate to auction sites, I did not charge the booking fee. Only the collection fee, which I had to do so I wasn't loosing money. (I use an outside collection facility as I am not set up to do my own collections.)

                            FWIW, I am also a MO. I have looked at the auction sites and wouldn't be as inclined to choose a stallion whose owner charges a booking fee.
                            Exactly! This is how I handle my stallion a small portion of the stud fee is paid up front as a "booking fee". I limit my stallion as I only do live cover and I show him, so I on;y breed a small number of outside mares each year
                            www.shawneeacres.net

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by baywithchrome2 View Post
                              I have to ask... what stallions in North America have to limit their books? I can only think of one stallion who allegedly had over 100 breedings in a season and that was over a decade ago when the supply of sport horse stallions was considerably less than it is now.

                              Honestly I have no idea about horses, I breed ponies, and even then I am not sure any would approach the 100 mark. But I am sure there are some QH and TB stallions that may fall in this category? Ponies tend to be like potato chips , but as a MO I still like to see some limitations on the amount of babies a stallion is siring in a given year, including the SO's own breedings. JMHO
                              http://summerwoodwelsh.com
                              Summerwood Farm Welsh Ponies~
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                              • #16
                                Originally posted by Summerwood View Post
                                Honestly I have no idea about horses, I breed ponies, and even then I am not sure any would approach the 100 mark. But I am sure there are some QH and TB stallions that may fall in this category? Ponies tend to be like potato chips , but as a MO I still like to see some limitations on the amount of babies a stallion is siring in a given year, including the SO's own breedings. JMHO
                                Yes, sorry I wasnt including TBs or QHs.
                                I would like to see lots of offspring from a stallion, so that I have a better idea of what he needs to be crossed with in an ideal world:-).
                                Also, if I see that he has sired lots, yet they arent winning, or pleasing to me, then I know he isnt adding much to an equation, so best to look elsewhere.
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                                • #17
                                  I think the booking fee is more of a deposit. I have a stallion that will close early and a lot of people have paid the booking fee to hold a place. It doesn't make the breeding more or less expensive it just holds the breeding. I do think that some stallion owners make people pay a new booking fee every year if the mare doesn't get in foal which I think is wrong.
                                  www.grayfoxfarms.com Home of Redwine, Aloha, Federalist, Romantic Star and Rated R.

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                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by baywithchrome2 View Post
                                    I have to ask... what stallions in North America have to limit their books? I can only think of one stallion who allegedly had over 100 breedings in a season and that was over a decade ago when the supply of sport horse stallions was considerably less than it is now.
                                    This. I have worked with 2 SOs as of late that do not have booking fees. They purchased their SOs in EU and EU doesn't do this so perhaps they are following the EU model.
                                    "Sometimes you just have to shut up and color."

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                                    • #19
                                      From a TB racing point of view, the booking fee is a deposit toward stud fee. It covers the teasing and handling of the mare during breeding. (We don't charge extra for that.) A guarantee that we will find a place for your mare and do our very best to get her in foal. We work HARD for that.

                                      Booking fees are no longer in fashion in the TB industry.
                                      It's a uterus, not a clown car. - Sayyedati

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                                      • #20
                                        We would never put a booking fee at more than $150. Anything more than that is unfair to the mare owner.
                                        It's a uterus, not a clown car. - Sayyedati

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