Your New Horse
When you are ready to buy your new horse there are things you should know about working with your trainer on your search.
In general, if your trainer helps you find and purchase your new horse expect to pay a 10 to 15% commission (calculated based on the sale price of the horse you end up with.) We live in a world where we expect a deal, and lots of free stuff. But don’t try to negotiate on your trainer’s commission.
Behind the Scenes
Your trainer’s commission might sound like a lot of money at first blush. What if, you might say, we only look at one horse and they are perfect, and we bought her?
There are a lot of behind the scenes things to take into account when it comes time to pay your trainer.
It is quite possible that you would never have even seen the horse you bought were it not for the connections your trainer has built with other trainers, owners, and professionals in the area (and beyond). The horse you trialed might not have been on the market officially before your trainer made a call. And a good trainer will have put a lot of time and thought into what kind of horse you need, and many phone calls, emails, and text messages (and in person conversations at competitions and clinics) have probably flown about prodding the corners of the horse world for your next prospect.
All of it in service of finding the perfect horse for you. Mostly invisible and on personal time.
I would never have found Bear if I had been looking on my own! My trainer and I had talked in detail about my goals and needs and even at a competition in another state she was beating the bushes, talking to everyone she knew about the special horse her client needed.
He wasn’t for sale when one of her fellow trainers offered to let us come try him, because she knew and trusted Molly! He’s everything I wanted and needed, all because I trusted my trainer’s judgement.Josephine Robertson
For each horse Molly and her clients view she has typically spent at least 20 hours on research (and discarded a lot of unsuitable mounts) on the computer at home after working 10 to 12 hours at the barn. That time is rarely seen, but it is often where the perfect partnership is made.
Time is Money
Viewing a sale horse incurs other invisible costs for your coach. Viewing a sale horse with you usually means your coach has to cancel rides and lessons with others (which is money directly out of her pocket).
How often have you and your trainer stood in the aisle talking about your future mount, discussing your goals, needs, budget, and offering advice and counsel? Those hours are rarely billable, but they are usually time away from billable hours for your trainer.
Finally, remember that your trainer will spend time with the veterinarian (you are doing a pre-purchase exam are you not?) discussing your needs and goals and ensuring that the horse you choose will be suitable and capable of competing as you wish. Your trainer will have vetted and purchased (for herself or others) many horses in the past, and that experience is invaluable as you move through this process.
Wear and Tear
So you’ve got your new horse! Congratulations! While you wait for your new saddle, bridle, and other equipment to arrive you will probably be borrowing equipment from your trainer.
Add up the costs of the equipment your trainer keeps around just to loan out to students and clients. That bridle may be$500 – $1000, the saddle you are using up to $5,000 or $6,000. Then there are boots, surcingle, blankets, girth, and all the bits and pieces that take time to collect. (Your trainer’s supplies of extra equipment are limited and often in high demand, so don’t be slow to get your own gear and free up hers for others.)
Building a Firm Foundation
The first six months with your new horse set the tone for your whole relationship. As you and your new horse get to know one another keep in mind the extra time your coach takes helping you make the transition as smooth as possible.
The difference between a great partnership, and a quick and disappointing resale is often the help of your coach. It is hard to really put a price tag on a successful partnership, but maybe now 10 – 15% seems like a reasonable place to start.
Remember: skimping on the commission when buying a new horse takes money out of your trainer’s pocket, impacts their livelihood, and their ability to help you and other students. You might have thought your monthly training check adds up to a lot, but but once you take into consideration facility fees, insurance, medical coverage, continuing education, truck and trailer maintenance, and lost time when horses are injured or ill that yours or other client horses have because of injury; it comes to very little.