Question: I'm getting ready to move my 2 year old into a new training barn. I don't want to offend anyone and get off on the wrong foot, but is it ok to ask questions? I don't want any surprises.
Answer: With the year just starting, and spring being just around the corner, it's time to start thinking about getting your two year olds and futurity prospects into training. So what I've done is compiled a list of questions to ask any prospective trainer, the list will be easy to print and keep handy. Some of these may be ones that you haven't thought to ask.
I hope this list assists in the process of tracking down a trainer that you can feel comfortable with and will trust to do a super job with your baby. The relationship between the trainer and the owner is built on friendship and trust, but above all, it is still a business and honesty is the best policy.
- What is your training cost per month?
- What is the due date for the payment?
- What are your late fees?
- Are lessons included?
- Who is responsible for the vet and farrier? Do you bill me or do they bill direct?
- Who is responsible for insurance on the horse in training?
- If a horse is sick or injured, is there a discount rate?
- How often is the horse worked?
- How long is a typical work session?
- How many days per week of riding?
- Is the trainer or the assistant trainer going to be riding the horse?
- Do you have a minimal requirement of the days for starting a colt?
- Feeding Program
- What type of grain is fed?
- What type of hay is fed?
- How many times per day are they fed?
- Who is responsible for supplying the supplements?
- Show fees and expenses
- What is the rate charged per mile?
- How are the show fees covered? Deposit or credit card?
- How are the winnings split between the owner/trainer?
- What shots/vaccines/etc. are horses required to have when coming into training?
- Deworming schedule?
- If a horse is sold while in training, what is your commission rate?
- Who is responsible for paying a split commission if another trainer is involved?
- Do you, the trainer, get a commission if the owner sells the horse while in training?
- Scheduling Visits
- Do you require an appointment for me to come and watch my horse being worked?
- Do you work horses the same time every day?
- Am I able to drop in anytime?
- What other information do you require?
- Club membership papers?
- Insurance, if applicable. *be sure all are current.
- What type of notice do you require if a horse will be taken out of training?
- How long should I expect my horse to be in training before being able to show?
- Long term goals?
- Short term goals?
- Rider goals?
- Horse goals?
- Who's going to show the horse? Trainer/rider?
Putting a colt or new horse into training is a very exciting and expensive venture, so be sure that you ask whatever questions are on your mind. Ask; you will really hate yourself when the question that you never ask ends up costing you hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars. Remember that horse training is a free enterprise and every trainer has their own set of rules and standards. So, if you are uncomfortable with them, or their training methods, you don't have to do business there.
As always; Ride Hard, Be Safe, Have Fun - Steve Kutie