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There's More to It

Your training bill can contain other expenses besides the monthly fee.

From The American Quarter Horse Journal

Before you budget monthly horse expenses, you need to know that your training bill could come in a bit higher.

There’s more to training a horse than just the trainer’s fee. There are normal upkeep expenses, such as farrier care and deworming. And if the trainer shows your horse, you can expect items like transportation costs and day fees to show up on your monthly invoice.

Maintenance Expenses

Here are some of the horse upkeep charges that are charged to clients:

    • Farrier care: The farrier care will either be included on your trainer’s bill or billed separately from the farrier. Some trainers tack on a “holding fee” if someone has to hold the horse while he’s being shod or trimmed.
    • Vaccinations: Your charges for these expenses will depend on whether the veterinarian provides the vaccinations or the trainer administers them. If the veterinarian provides the vaccinations, he might bill you directly.
    • Deworming: Most trainers do their own deworming of client horses, and all horses are put on the trainer’s deworming schedule. The type of deworming that’s done – daily or tube deworming – will determine your fees.

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    • Veterinarian services: These will either be added to your bill, or you will be billed directly by the veterinarian. Again, some trainers might include a “holding fee” to the bill if they had to help the veterinarian restrain the horse. Any special services, like acupuncture and chiropractic treatments, will be charged separately on the training bill or will be billed directly to the client.
    • Laundry services: Many trainers ask clients to provide their own horse blankets for their horses. Some trainers charge an extra fee for cleaning blankets.
    • Special feed and supplements: If clients request feed or supplements for their horse that would normally not be given by the trainer, then they will be charged for the costs.
    • Grooming: Some trainers charge extra for pulling manes, clipping and braiding and banding of manes. These fees range from $20 for mane pulling to $50 for a pre-show prep to $100 for a body clip.
    • Cattle charge: Cattle can be included in a monthly training fee. However, some trainers charge extra for the use of cattle.

Show Expenses

Here are some of the expenses that might be charged when a horse is shown:

    • Day fees: Trainers charge $35 to $60 a day, which covers the cost of supplies, such as rubber bands and hoof black. Hotel and meal costs could also be included in the day fee, or they might be billed separately. Some trainers will also charge higher day fees, such as $200 a day, if it is a special show with only one client horse being shown.
    • Lodging and meal costs: If the hotel and meal costs are not included in the day fee, trainers put this on the bill as a separate expense. It could either be a flat charge or actual costs while at the show. Some trainers will include the hotel and meal expenses of their grooms and assistants to the bill, which is also split equally among the horses.
    • Transportation: All trainers charge a per-mile fee for transporting your horse. On average, the charge is 50 to 55 cents per mile, and some trainers might require a minimum fee of $100. The mileage expense is charged per horse and is not split among clients. Any expenses on the road such as toll fees are split among clients, however.
    • Show entry fees: All show entry fees are the responsibility of the client. Many trainers will pay the show entry fee and bill the client, unless it’s something like a large futurity entry fee, and then the client usually pays it up front.
    • Stall and tack stall: Stall fees are billed to the client. However, tack stalls are split among all customer horses at the show. Shavings are also charged to the client.
    • Braiding and banding: Some trainers charge extra for braiding and banding, and also charge extra for keeping the horse groomed while at a show. This is usually $25 to $30 a day extra.
    • Amateur and youth show assistance: This is included in the day fee for some trainers. However, other trainers will charge extra for rail assistance or coaching amateur and youth riders. This can be as much as $35 to $50 more a day.
    • Miscellaneous show expenses: It’s not unusual for trainers to divide golf cart rental fees among their clients. Also, any extra fees such as cattle charges or paid warm-ups are also billed to the client.
    • Advance payment: If a trainer is going to a large show where he will be away from home for a few weeks, he might pre-bill for the show by charging the client a large lump sum, sometimes around $1,000. Some trainers will also ask for a “show deposit” of $100 to $1,000, which will be applied toward future show charges.

Miscellaneous Items

These are a few other things that should be considered when hiring a trainer:

    • Shared purse: This depends on the trainer. A trainer might take 25 percent of the prize money, after show expenses, but he might also split the winnings 50-50 before expenses are taken out. Some trainers will also stipulate for futurities that their minimum charge is $200 or a percentage of the prize money, whichever is greater.
    • Commission: If a horse sells while at a trainer’s, and sometimes even up to six months to a year after leaving a trainer, a 10 percent or higher commission from the sale price is due to the trainer. Many trainers will request this commission even if the owner locates the buyer. Trainers usually want at least a 10 percent commission, as well, if a client purchases a horse with their help.
    • Discounts: Some trainers offer a discount for multiple horses.
    • Laid-up horse: Many trainers will discount their monthly fee if a horse is laid up or if the trainer is unable to work it because he is away at a show.
    • Riding lesson: Lessons for amateurs are usually on top of the monthly training fee, but some trainers include two or more lessons in their monthly fee. Also, some trainers will charge extra if they have to tack and untack the horse for a lesson.

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Don’t Be Surprised

These are just a few of the items trainers might charge for training and showing a horse. But not every trainer charges for these expenses nor are the items listed here every expense that might show up on a bill.

Sit down with your trainer before he begins working with your horse to go over all possible charges and get an estimate on how much those expenses will be. You should get this information put in writing to avoid any surprises or discrepancies.