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Trainer Commission on Leasing a Horse

I have been working with my trainer to sell a horse, and it looks like the sale is turning into a year lease instead. I was prepared to pay trainer 10 % of the sale price. What’s the going rate for trainer commission associated with a year lease of a horse? Thanks!

Texas location. Going rate is 10% for lease and 15% sale.

I would expect to pay the same commission rate that was agreed upon for the sale, if not discussed prior.


Same percentage for either.

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Wow. How long until we are splitting the sale proceeds 50/50 with the trainer?


Neither of those commissions are remarkably high given the level of work and effort that your typical “A”-circuit trainer puts into buying and selling. (Now, don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of deals where every Jane or John who’s ever looked at the horse sticks out their hand, but most the time, commission checks to primary trainers are warranted.)

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Trainer, if they are any good, will do as much work finding and negotiating a lease as a sale. You are also compensating trainer for their years building a reputation as trustworthy and developing a network of trustworthy contacts.

Compare it to going to a doctor or lawyer. You are paying for more then that 15 minute office visit.


In my frugal ( cheap) mind it seems like maybe a small " finders fee" type of thing may be appropriate but

Percentage fee of what?? Usually in a lease aren’t they just covering board and maintenance type things? No actual lump sum profit / monthly fee is paid to the one who owns the horse , correct?? Just taking over some of( or all) of the costs?

I have never leased so please explain.

well then that adds to the fees as there is current boarding contract that must be terminated

Is the horse being moved? I missed that and I didn’t see where the trainer is also the BO?

even if remaining the current boarding contract would become void with the change of responsibility unless there is provision allowing leasing

Lots of people do paid leases. Where not only is the leasee covering the monthly expenses for the horse, but also paying an annual fee to lease the horse. If the horse is experienced a lease fee is normal. I think typically the fee is 1/3 of the sales price per year. May be more for specialty leases like for a specific circuit or equitation show.

I have never paid for a trainer commission on a lease though, so I’m not sure if the commission is based on the full sales price of the horse or the annual lease fee amount.

edited for spelling


No. Leases can range from free (a care lease, as you describe) to upwards of six figures per annum for a top equitation horse or hunter. Leases are usually close to 1/2 of the horse’s value or sales price—a number that’s trended upwards from 1/3 in recent years. The commission is paid on the lease amount, e.g., the trainer takes home $5k on a $50k/year lease.


That would be called a care lease or free lease and it’s only one type of lease.

In the rated show world, a paid lease is much more common. The one-year lease price is less than the sales price, but still not cheap, for example, lease price low 5 figures, purchase price mid-5 figures.


Eh, in a show program, trainer’s don’t usually niggle too much over who’s coming or coming.


Around here six figure leases are common. Worth getting 10% of!


A friend leases a children’s hunter for $1000 a week or $10,000 for circuit at WEF. And you don’t even want to know about pony leases.


10% of lease price common for me. Especially for show horses, doing the work to secure a good match for a nice hunter is just as much effort as a sale. Mid five figure leases are not uncommon these days. I would be prepared to pay trainer same commission as a sale. She’s getting the deal done, even if the deal has changed slightly!

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Those aren’t usually posted on here are they? Usually what we see on here is someone wanting to split costs or have someone else foot the bill.

I can’t imagine it being a win for the one paying unless they win big money in competition? Kind of like car leases. You shell out big bucks and have nothing to show for it in the end. Yes you got to use the car but that is about it…

ETA: That also describes horse ownership for many of us doesn’t it!

Leases allow you access to a horse that you might not otherwise be able to afford or need for a long time - like a big Eq horse. This works for people with a timeline like kids who will age out, they can lease something that’s proven to be able to do the job for a year or two before aging out.

Same thing for “step up” ponies and horses: especially with kids outgrowing ponies so fast, it’s easier to just go from lease to lease. Often people in a good program can progress VERY fast - if they have bigger goals, it can make sense to lease the 2’ saintly lesson type horse this year, the 2’6” more talented horse next year, and a 3’ or 3’3” medal type the year after. Very few people can buy and sell those horses on the timeline they’d need if they want to show a whole season, nor afford to board and train two while the previous one is for sale.

People who can’t commit to 30 years of horse care, but know they can afford to ride and/or show for a few years can lease - no long term commitment. MOST leases cost money on top of the care - you’re putting wear and tear on a horse that you don’t own (and have no real incentive to maintain for long term usefulness, if you’re an unscrupulous type). The lease fee makes it worth it to the owner, and usually also helps pay for the horse’s retirement.

Same thing with cars: the people for whom leasing makes sense tend to “upgrade” a lot. Or they’re planning on moving back overseas or to a public transit city, so they only need the car for a year or two. The lease fee covers the wear and tear on the vehicle, plus the costs to maintain/repair it when the lease ends, and gives the company a “reason” to send the car out.