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Paying old trainer commission?

Would love to hear opinions on this topic of mine!

I leased out my horse with the help of my trainer last year. The contract signed by the lessees is a ‘lease-to-possible-sell’ contract that I wrote up and handled myself. Anyways if they want to buy the horse at the end of the lease they can blah blah blah… I paid my trainer commission on getting him leased out.

Now, I have moved barns, work/ride with completely different people, and my horse may be selling at the end of this year. My old trainer and I ended on mostly good terms and keep in touch lightly. When I spoke to her last, she mentioned hoping that he would sell so that she’d get her commission.
I am the only one keeping in contact with lessee and lessee trainer regarding topics on my horse, getting updates and questions about my horse, ect. My old trainer is uninvolved in this lease now.

note that I have no contract with her regarding required commission upon sale of the horse

Please also mind I am 18 years old- young and learning, and do not want to be naive. I want to do things right.
Just wanting more opinions from people who can’t be biased!

Would you pay her the commission if the horse sells at the end of the year? And why?


I wouldn’t. But then much about the sales commission practices seem wrong to me.


You pay an agent to help you rent out a property. The actual contract is made between you, as house owner, and the people renting it from you. Later, you decide to sell the house - as it happens, to the people who were renting it - and you use a different agent to deal with the sale. Why would you then pay the first agent anything?

I think it is always useful to remove the word “HORSE” from any business discussion. It is a word that has a really weird way of twisting and warping what should just be a simple, straightforward deal, or a normal business relationship, into some massive psycho-drama and any sane, rational, adult judgement seems to go straight out of the window.


so you were 17 at the time this lease contract was initiated? If so, the contract was not enforceable. Minors (those under the age of 18, in most states) lack the capacity to make a contract.

Now that you achieved the age of majority you can write a new sales contract that would be legal


While true, that’s not really the spirit of this discussion.

Assuming the trainer is not involved with this horse at all, no, I would not pay sales commission in this case, particularly since it isn’t mentioned in the contract.


I assume the way the trainer is looking at it is that the possible sale was always part of the transaction. She did the work to market the horse or find the leasers and the horse is now selling as a direct result of those activities (even if there was a year lease in between), so why wouldn’t she get the commission? This is why discussing commission before putting your horse on the market is so important.

I think the main difference is just the lack of written contracts for selling/leasing agents in the horse business. A real estate agent would never agree to sell/lease your property without a contract, but horse trainers do it all the time.


Then what was the commission for the lease for?

I don’t think that in a situation as described (no further contact from the trainer after the lease is signed) two commission payments applies. I would agree if the trainer had on going input with the leasing party and was doing things to make the sale happen. (Not sure what that would be off the top of my head, but… )

@jumperjockey572, curious question - have you asked your current trainer for their thoughts on this question?


Because the leasers leased the horse.

It’s clear the OP and trainer never discussed what would happen if the leaser bought the horse, and they made different assumptions.

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I agree that they clearly did not discuss this.
In this situation I think that was an error on the trainer’s part and not the OP’s part. The OP was a minor and the trainer expected something that seems out of line to me.

I am always the one who says there is more to selling than you realize and the trainer deserves their commission even if you think they did nothing. I do not think that here. The trainer earned their commission for the work they did here. There is no second commission needed.


I agree. And the life lesson for OP is… get a written contract for everything to do with the horse world.


I wouldn’t pay a second commission.
The (previous) trainer has done nothing to earn it.
They were already compensated for their work in the leasing of the horse.


No. She got her commission on the lease as per your post below.

Since you are not at her barn and she has no direct involvement with you , or the current lessor( aside from boarding? ) and lessor has her own trainer ,as far as I can see any sale monies go to you alone.


Does the contract contain language specifying that the lease payments are to be applied towards the purchase price?

In my opinion the only reason you might want to consider giving her the commission she wants is if it would ruin your relationship and you need to keep that bridge from burning for any reason. If you no longer live in that area and don’t really care if she hates you afterwards, then definitely don’t pay her again. However if it might lead to drama/gossip/weirdness in your community, you might just want to think twice or have an honest convo with her about it!


Thank you for the response!

Yes I have discussed this with my current trainer and she does not think a second commission should be paid.


No nothing is owed the trainer if the horse sells. You paid them for the service they provided at finding a lease home.

The relationship is no longer. The relationship between them and your horse is / was over

You dont need to pay off the former trainer to keep in her good graces either. That story has been told over and over again here. You dont need to tell her anything about further events with this horse.


Does the contract contain language specifying that the lease payments are to be applied towards the purchase price?

No, nothing in contract stating she gets commission if and when my horse sells.

Sorry, I worded my question wrong! In most lease to purchase situations, there is a so-called purchase option clause which sets forth the eventual purchase price that you and the lessee agreed upon: e.g
The lessee has the option to purchase Flopsie at the end of this lease period for $40,000." Then either that $40k is divided out by the number of months the lease runs, or a lump sum lease payment of 1/3 or 1/2 etc is owed at lease inception with the remainder made as a balloon payment at lease end.

Will you be deducting the lease payments made by the lessee from the purchase price? And did you and the lessee agree to a sale price before executing the lease? It would be especially hard for the trainer to argue she’s owed additional commission either way. I agree with others that she seems off in left field with this.

I’m going to disagree here. I think in this very specific situation the old trainer deserves a commission. (And, FWIW, I have paid 2 commissions in this exact situation). She helped you find the other party and you ended up with a lease to buy contract. You paid a commission on the first part (lease) and you’re really just continuing with the second part of the SAME contract. She is responsible for you ending up in this contract and she should see it through. Just like if you had written a lease with monthly payments or a six month trial lease, it’s still all part of the same deal which she brokered. You would not be selling this horse to this party without her acting as the agent in the beginning.

If it were a slightly different scenario I would think differently but for this scenario I would pay her.