Prize Money Payout Structure for Grand Prix Jumper Rider?

Hi all!

I have searched the internet for this, but can’t find much info- so hoping someone here has some insight on this topic.

I purchased a young horse and my trainer has single-handedly developed her from the young jumpers up to the 1.45m level. The horse is now at the point in her career where she is consistently placing in large classes with significant prize money. I want to make sure my trainer is compensated with a portion of the mare’s winnings, but he and I are both new to this type of discussion.

Does anyone have any examples of payout structures for Grand Prix riders who are riding a client-owned horse? Is there a % based on prize money tiers (ie; $6,000 - $9,999 would be a different % payout than $10,000 - $25,000?). I’m sure it varies by rider and owner, but I’m hoping for a bit of insight to get the conversation started and to ensure I’m being 100% fair to the rider who is doing all of the hard work!

Oh it entirely depends on the specific agreement.

There are few riders who get the lions share, and as an example, an Olympian I knew who made his same monthly salary while competing in the Olympics for one of the most well known and well regarded owner/trainers in the world. That number would shock you, and not in a good way.

There is no set percentage breakdown or really even industry standard between riders and owners.

This is also why so many of the top riders do a lot of clinics and training of rich clients, sales of horses to lower tier riders, etc.

Their money does not come primarily from winning classes, that’s the profile they need to make money doing all the other things.

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I can only speak to the one arrangement with which I have actual knowledge. I have no idea if this is standard. I would call him a mid level jumper rider. Wins some up to the 25k classes, struggles above that. Has an active barn with a good number of a variety of client levels. He gets 10% of the prize money across the board. This is also in force for the hunters he shows.

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It does appear to be a very personal thing between owner and rider/trainer.

Variables to consider might be:
A) is the owner already paying for everything: purchase of horse, regular keep, vet and other maintenance bills, membership dues, show entry fees, transport, accommodation?
B) is the owner already paying a known monthly amount for the time, expertise and skills of the trainer/rider?
C) Is the trainer/rider sharing any costs in running the horse e.g. entry fees, accommodation away from home?
D) Is the trainer/rider paid a riding fee for showing the horse?
E) What are other owners paying to the trainer/rider?
F) What are the trainer/rider’s published rates e.g. day rate at shows? They are supposed to be professional.

If the contribution of the trainer/rider is “only” developing the horse to be successful in competition - thereby increasing its value - then to reward the trainer/rider:

  1. a percentage of any money won (depending on how much the owner is already paying out on the horse and training it) e.g. x% for a win, y% for a place, say 10% for a win, 5% for a money-winning place,
  2. make a contract with a clear agreement about how to split the money if/when the horse is sold e.g. 30:70, 40:60 to reflect the value added by the trainer/rider.

Get a written contract: it saves a lot of antagonism and heartbreak further along the journey.

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If it was me, and this probably isn’t standard, but I’d want to get what I paid for the horse out first but make sure trainer/rider was compensated. So that being said… if it was a 20:80 rider/owner split for example, I’d track the prize money and adjust once I knew I was close to hitting that threshold of horse’s initial investment to closer to 50:50. The way I see it, you covered my initial cost by that part, and we are equal partners throughout the rest of it, so it’s incentive to keep going strong.

Only have direct, personal knowledge of what has been reasonable and customary in my barns and my circle of close friends. Its been the same in two breeds and open competition in 3 different disciplines or inhand.

Rider/handler gets their usual fee for the class plus 10% of any prize money. Its certainly possible that percentage is larger for major wins but that would be between rider and owner.