Equusite.com > Beginner Basics > Leasing a Horse
Leasing a Horse
WRITTEN BY: Cheryl Sutor [August 6, 2000]
There are many advantages and disadvantages of leasing a horse. Depending on your particular situation, you can decide whether leasing is a suitable option for you. The most common reason a person would lease a horse instead of buy one is that leasing allows you to experience the joys and responsibilities of horse ownership without actually having to buy a horse, and without having to deal with certain liabilities. This article should demonstrate what is involved in leasing a horse, and help you make the decision on whether or not it is right for you.
Finding a horse to lease:
A common place to look for lease prospects is in classified ads in your local paper, on the internet, and at your local tack shops. You may even want to make your own wanted ad in your local paper or on internet sites. If you are currently riding at a stable, ask the other horse owners at the farm if they know of any horses available for lease. Also talk to your trainer about a lease situation, and ask if he/she knows of any horses available for your situation. If you are particularly interested in a horse at the stable where you ride, mention it to the horse's owner. Many owners are willing to accept a share-lease situation, since it will cut down on their boarding expenses, and will allow their horse to get more exercise.
The full lease:
In the full lease situation, the lessee usually pays for all of the horse's boarding costs in addition to routine farrier and veterinary care in return for being able to use the horse whenever you'd like. The restrictions on the full lease are much less than on a share-lease, where the owner and lessee must communicate frequently about the shared details. The full lease usually does not restrict riding times and days, and also does not usually restrict access to the horse for special events such as horse shows.
The share-lease situation is less expensive than leasing a horse completely by yourself, but still allows you usually 3 days per week to work the horse. In the share-lease, boarding expenses are split between two individuals (usually the horse's owner and the lessee), in exchange for the lessee to care and ride for the horse 50% of the time. If you'd like to get involved in a share-lease, be sure that everything is clearly understood and written in a contract first. This includes where the horse will stay, how much is paid in expenses by each individual, schedules for the split riding time and special occasions such as horse shows, and who is responsible for the routine care of the horse.
Looking at lease prospects:
When you are looking at a horse to lease, use the same precautions you would if you were going to buy him. Get a vet check done on the horse (especially if you will be liable for veterinary and farrier care). Test the horse in the discipline you wish to use. If you are planning on riding the horse, ride him several times before making a decision, if you are planning on jumping, be sure to jump the horse on several occasions. It is also good to bring along a trainer or educated friend to assess the horse and help you with your decision.
Most full leases ask you to pay for 50% to 100% of the horse's board fees in addition to a lease fee. Lease fees are usually very negotiable. The full lease fee should be in the range of 25% to 30% of the horse's total value per year. So, if the horse is worth $10,000, the lessee will usually pay about $2,500 per year. The share-lease is usually less complicated in payments, because it is usually equal to ½ of the horse's boarding fees. Don't decide to lease the horse until both you and the owner are agreeable on the fees and conditions for your situation.
Before you decide to lease a horse, getting a vet check from a qualified veterinarian is a must. The vet check will allow you know what strong points and what weak points the horse has. By getting a vet check done, and by attaching it (signed by the veterinarian) to the lease agreement, it can help protect you when the lease is up by having all pre-existing conditions on record. When going over the paper work, read everything and always ask questions. Any questions that are answered should also be included in the agreement. Be sure that all aspects of the horse's care are outlined in the agreement, including who is responsible for illnesses and injuries and pre-existing conditions.
If you decide to lease a horse, be sure to get theft and mortality insurance on the leased horse. By doing this, you increase your protection should the horse become stolen or die while he is under your care.
Wrapping it up:
Seeing all of the advantages and disadvantages of leasing a horse should help you in your decision to lease or not to lease. Depending on your particular situation, leasing may or may not be suitable for you. Take all aspects of leasing into account before making any decisions, and either way you choose to pursue your horse activities, just be sure that your decision is right for your situation, and...always have fun!