Discussing trainer's show fees?

A bit of a rant/whine here, but trying to keep this short and sweet and diplomatic. :o

I ride in the PNW, and recently got my trainer’s updated rates for this show season. I’ve only been with this trainer for about 2-3 years, and I like her and her barn. She’s not a BNT, but has been around for a while… doesn’t tend to have a lot of clients that do the shows anymore, at least anything rated.

I’ve been at other barns and I know more or less the general expected fees for the shows. I’m of the opinion that she is way overcharging her clients on the show fees… considering it’s a local fun show only 20 mins down the road… and most of the clients going help with all the load/unload of the trailer, setting up and take down of the tack stalls and such, and do their own grooming and stall cleaning. It’s just a one day show, but generally we go down the night before to school and overnight there.

She charges $100 day fee, $85 for hauling, $25 for setup, $25 per trainer ride, $20 per meds if the horse needs bute or whatever… She actually ends up being more expensive than the entries fees for the fun show. From my research looking on other local barn’s sites, she’s even more expensive than the fancy AA show barns.

Now obviously I can just take my business elsewhere if I don’t like it. But I do like her and her training, her barn is nice and a good location. Should I just discuss with her about her rates? Should I even bother, if it probably won’t make a difference?

Just wondering if anyone else has had a similar experience. :o

How many clients do you think are going to the show? If she doesn’t have many students that show, then she may need to charge more so that her revenue for the day makes it worth while for her to show vs stay home and teach. The other barns may charge less because a majority of the clients participate, so higher volume of people = lower rate per person to make up the same revenue for the day. She may also not want to go to shows and deal with hauling and such, and this may be her way of discouraging it.

I have never been at a barn that charges for “set up” though, so not sure what that is. Perhaps clarify this fee: maybe she only charges for set up to the people that aren’t there to help?

The day fee is a little steep, the hauling and the ride prices are very fair, IMHO. Maybe the day fee “should” be $50 instead of $100 but I’m not going to leave a trainer I really like over $50. If it’s that big a financial concern to you, you could consider going and asking to avoid the day fee by doing all your own warmup, prep, etc.

The doing an overnight to go to a show 20 minutes away is perhaps more problematic for me, because that doubles your day fees and creates expenses for bedding, stalls, etc, that I’d rather not pay.

Is her $100 day fee per day or for both days?

I know a day fee is normally per day but the way I read the post I think it is for both days, so that $100 includes the schooling/lesson the night before and a whole day of showing. Is that correct?

“Set up” is a pretty common add on for shows. It just covers the extra time and work in setting up away show stalls, spreading the bedding, hanging buckets and nets, unloading the trunks and setting up the tack and groom stall(s) and hanging the drapes/decorating. It does take quite a bit of time and effort

Most trainers charge based on their costs and what they have to make to justify taking the day(s) away from the home barn where they can teach multiple lessons.

A BNT taking most of their clients to an away show is going to make just as much or more money as they would teaching at home while the SNT with most clients staying home loses teaching income and ends up having to charge show clients more to compensate for the lost lesson income.

OPs trainer has been in business for long enough to realize this and price accordingly, she charges what she must. OP might see about working off some if it or doing her own warmup, grooming etc. instead of asking for a reduction.

So these are her set costs no matter who/how many come(s)… Her sign up at the barn has about 5-8 people attending right now.

The show is on a Sunday, which is usually her day off when she doesn’t teach.

$100 day fee I think could include both days… but some horses come morning off and get charged the same thing. What does a day fee usually include for you guys?

Set-up fee I wouldn’t mind… except we usually do our own set-up? So not sure why we are being charged that. It IS just a fun show, so no trunks or drapes or anything really fancy. Just setting up buckets in stalls, spreading shavings, setting up the tack stall (hanging bridle hooks and saddle racks, pretty much).

I just looked at a show bill:
$50 day fee
Misc horse expenses: $352 (for 2 weeks at Thermal)
Misc trainer expenses: $424 (for 2 weeks)

This includes feed etc, the trainers hotel etc, split amongst the 7 of us riders who went down for 2 weeks.

Hauling is separate.

This is in the PNW at an small/mid-size A show barn.
The misc expenses go down the more people there are to split with.

If the day fee is for the whole show (school the night before and coaching that day) it is reasonable. If it is $200/show ($100/day) that is high as a line item, but reasonable too if she isn’t charging you for her lodging and meals separately which you didn’t say she was. Most barns split trainer expenses amongst the clients; this would account for the higher day fee if she just charges you a higher day fee and pays for those herself. In fact, it’s quite cheap in that case.

She charges what she’s feels her time effort and expertise is worth, Also of Note , "Sundays are normally her day off " … I wonder how many of her clients work 7 days a week?? For her this is work, not a hobby . On the other hand if every client is taking care of set up and tear down and all that goes with it and the trainer doesn’t even have to be there for that or responsible for anything associated with it, then no set up and tear down should be charged , however if the owners just help with what they can , that fee should stand. I often see owners " helping " but they may not be there to load / unload the trailer … or load trunks ect… on the trailer , or in a late class and can’t help tear down , or can’t get there early enough to bed there stall ect…

Usually fees are fees.

I once switched trainers and after our first day of showing together she told me she was cutting my day fee in half $75 to $38, because I took so much less effort to get to the ring- I flatted myself, learned my course myself, and did 2 warm up jumps.

I find it a little odd that hauling 20 minutes R/T is $85, but I also find having grooming/tack/any stalls at all for a 1 day fun show a little odd.

I ride with a mid-size barn in OR. We show a decent amount, usually bringing anywhere from 4-15 horses to the shows. For A shows, I pay $75 day fees, which includes coaching and the trainer riding my horse as necessary, plus a stall cleaner/helper-type. We do our own set up and take down with help from our stall cleaner. We’ll get a groom when we have 10+ horses to help trainer during pro days, but for the most part we DIY and share the work. We don’t have a set up fee, even when we’re doing drapes and everything. We do pay a small supply fee that includes show sheen, bute, etc., I think it’s usually like $10-20 for the whole week. For smaller single day schooling shows in town, I usually end up paying around $150 total, with all my classes, day stall, and hauling included (that’s not staying overnight though).

Now, I think my barn could and probably should charge more for showing, but to me it sounds like you’re being overcharged, ESPECIALLY for a smaller schooling show. How you want to deal with that is another question…maybe just ask your trainer if she can walk you through the charges? You don’t have to be combative about it, I find that my trainer is always very open to talking through the costs for people and it can be helpful to me to understand why I’m getting the bills I’m getting. Maybe your trainer has a reason for charging so much. Or maybe not. But it’ll at least open the conversation.


Set-up fee I wouldn’t mind… except we usually do our own set-up? So not sure why we are being charged that. It IS just a fun show, so no trunks or drapes or anything really fancy. Just setting up buckets in stalls, spreading shavings, setting up the tack stall (hanging bridle hooks and saddle racks, pretty much).[/QUOTE]
Just… All that just takes time and energy.
My trainer never charged a set-up fee but I see nothing wrong with a fee for that.

So she is working on her day off.
When I work on my day off I get paid time and a half.

Is she having to pay someone back at the home barn to cover the chores she would normally be doing herself but she can not because she is at the show?

What a day fee covers is trainer specific.
It does not really bother me that your trainer has decided to set one fee that covers two days. If you want to come the day early you get to school that day if you do not want to come a day early you do not school. It is up to the specific horse/rider.

I would just not go to the fun show?

I’d pay those rates for a multi day rated show.

Whether it is an A show or a fun show, it’s still a ton of work to haul horses somewhere and pack/unpack for a show. In this case, the set up might not be as fancy, but because it is just for two days it is a lot of travel and set up for two days, whereas for an A show it usually is 5-7 days with a chance to be a little more settled in. Your trainer’s fees don’t seem unreasonable to me. I think it is pretty typical that at local / fun shows the entry fees are just a small part of the cost. Your trainer isn’t saving any money just because the entries are cheaper.

Does the day fee cover care? If so, I’d say it’s reasonable. If just coaching, then I’d say it’s steep for in-barn coaching clients.

Meds fees? Is this common? Honest question!

Well…if set up is including bedding etc, then doesn’t really matter to me who does the work as that is fair.

In my world…eventing…most competitors will have their own rigs and own stalls etc. For a small overnight event…if I’m taking a groom, I expect to pay about $100 a day plus expenses for a groom (I only take a groom if I have multiple horses). Most trainers will charge between 50-150 a day depending on how much they help. Many charge ala carte…so per course walk or warm up helping.

Basically…I’d expect to pay for a “day” rate at any show…at least about the same amount as I pay for a lesson or slightly more unless the only “coaching” I get is a course walk for xc (as is typically because often my trainers are competing themselves). A single course walk is typically 20. Most of my trainers charge between 80-120 a lesson.

I don’t think those fees are that out of line, and I too am coming from a more low-key barn doing local shows. My trainer’s fees are as follows:

$175 a day Fee includes: Preparations for each show or schooling the day before inclusive of a lesson, transportation to locally and coaching for the day at the show/schooling. School pony and/or horse use is included. This is for shows/schoolings within 45 min drive time. (Additional mileage will be charged according at current posted rate)

She does mostly Pony Clubbers, so the “all inclusive single rate” is less confusing for everyone involved.

For people who own and trailer their own horses, the fee is $65, which is basically just coaching for the day. (No school horse fee, no hauling fee, etc.)

It’s just a schooling show. IMO you shouldn’t need a trainer ride or drugs or even a stall all for a schooling show that close to home. Part of the point of a schooling show is the schooling.

I think she’s way undercharging you on the trainer fee considering it’s her one day off. A lot of the rest isn’t or shouldn’t be necessary in my opinion. Paying someone else to haul your horse is always going to be expensive.

My trainer’s day fee covers her rides and schooling also, it’s a flat fee per day for all the days we’re at the show. It applies on the day we haul in and that covers set up. We pay the grooms and braiders directly so she doesn’t add that to her fees. For an away show we all split her hotel expenses etc.