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[RC] Contract Terms with Trainers - k s swigart

From: <geckogal85@xxxxxxxxx>

Maybe I should have put Only trail purposes.
God, you guys take things so literal on ridecamp.
Lighten up and actually read the post don't read
into it!

You are asking for advice on how to write a legally binding contract.
You had better be prepared for people to take what is written literally
(which, incidentally, is completely the opposite of "reading into it").

And I can guarantee you, if it comes down to needing the written
contract to settle a dispute between the parties of a contract (which is
the only reason for having one), that NOBODY will have any sympathy with
your position if you tell them (when they try to interpret your written
contract) that they need to "lighten up" because that isn't what you
meant and perhaps you should have written it differently.

If you don't trust this person to buy equipment for your horse that your
horse doesn't need and stick you with the price of it as well as getting
to keep the equipment, then you shouldn't be trusting the person with
your horse (just as, if you don't trust this person to train your trail
horse on the trail without your consent you shouldn't be trusting her
with your horse either).

Everything you have asked here on Ridecamp in relation to your dealings
with this trainer suggest that you have absolutely no faith in him/her.
Detailed written contracts with multitudes of terms to cover every
eventuality are for parties that don't have any trust in each other.
Parties that have no trust in each other have no business entering into
agreements over the care and handling of horses.

I write plenty of training agreements (mostly for liability reasons to
do with third parties) with my clients, and to protect both parties to
the agreement, the thing that I make the biggest point of including is
to have an easy way to get out of it if it doesn't go as hoped such that
both parties will feel as though they have done their best but that it
didn't work out, through nobody's "fault" (probably because the horse
didn't totally cooperate with the people's expectations).

The contract that you are suggesting has no such easy exit clause.  It
is way too much of an all or nothing deal.  There are SOME horses that
no matter how much training they have by whom will never be "completely
saddle trained and safe to ride."  What are you going to do if one but
not the other of you comes to this conclusion about this horse??????
What if both of you come to this conclusion about this horse after the
trainer has spent three years trying to achieve it????

WHO gets to decide that the contract is over even if it hasn't been
completed?  You can take back your horse (or not transfer it over until
the training is "done") but the trainer can't take back any of the
training.  Consequently, if you are not happy with how the training is
going, will you be allowed to say "don't keep training my horse, and
since you haven't finished the job I don't have to pay you anything."
Or will the trainer be able to say "No, you have to let me keep trying
my ineffectual methods because the contract says that I am to work on
the horse until the training is done no matter how much time it takes
after which you will have to give me my payment."

Exit clauses before the contract is complete is one of the most
important things to put in a contract (especially one as insanely
open-ended as this one).  And almost all of them contain methods of
"partial payment" along the way so that neither party feels completely
stiffed if the contract ends before completion.  There is no way to do a
"partial payment" when the payment is a horse.

So, what you need to put in this contract to make it equitable is
something that allows the trainer to get paid something (if not the
horse itself) if the terms of "completely saddle trained and safe to
ride" are not met to everybody's satisfaction but you want to terminate
the contract anyway.

And after you write it and sign your name to it, you can be damned sure
that if you ever need it, that the people reading it are going to take
what you have written literally but will also "read into it" if you have
left monstrous gaping holes like including the terms "completely saddle
trained and safe to ride."

If you don't ever need it, it doesn't matter what it says; it could be
written in Greek.

In essence, the question that was asked was "how do I write a good
contract with a trainer, I have no experience with this."  And the
answer you are getting is "don't include the terms 'completely saddle
trained and safe to ride.'"  No good contract would contain these terms.

The problem with your proposed contract is not the terms you haven't
included.  It is the terms that you have included.

If you want to enter into a contract with poorly stated terms no matter
what the advice you are getting to the contrary, go right ahead.  Just
don't count on this contract protecting anybody in the transaction.  It

But, if you are determined to proceed anyway, then the additional terms
that you need to include to make it even mildly palatable (and easier to
ajudicate for anybody who will have to if you and your trainer cannot
agree) are some other conditions that allow one or the other of you to
get out of the contract before it is complete.

Orange County, Calif.


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