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IdahoRider
Jan. 14, 2011, 12:31 PM
I have been talking for a year about finding a lower level school mater to lease. I love my Arab gelding, but I think that my own riding would progress faster if I could concentrate more on my position and timing and less on keeping my lazy, sometimes resistant horse moving acceptably forward.

I don't want to sell my gelding, so I have considered a lease situation my best choice. I have had a few feelers out in the horse community, but nothing solid enough to really act on as come up locally.

I had a friend send me a Craigslist ad for a 19 year old Dutch WB mare for sale. Mare has been shown through 2nd level, purchased as a broodmare a few years ago. Not breed in that time due to seller's constraints. Arthritis, which supplements improve. Easy to work with. Seller states good for "light riding", but probably not up to the rigors of competition.

The asking price to outright purchase is beyond reasonable IF the mare is sound enough for what I want to do: weekly lesson w/t/c, some lateral movements and maybe two 30 minute practice rides weekly. I would have a PPE done even with a lease, just to make sure she is up to what I want to do and to make sure any maintenance program would be appropriate. And I would have my instructor "okay" the match before reaching an agreement. Mare has done nothing for a few years. It sounds like they have jumped on bareback in the pasture and walked her around a couple of times, but nothing much past that.

My friend e-mailed me the ad because there was a comment that a breeding lease was possible. I thought that if a breeding lease was possible, maybe the seller would be open to the idea of a riding lease. So I e-mailed and asked. Seller has asked some question about my intended use, my facility, etc. All appropriate to ask. But since she had not considered a riding lease (or any lease that takes the mare off her property), she is not sure she is interested. She said she has had a response from a woman that wants to possibly do the breeding lease.

Part of me thinks that I should just move forward with the intent of a straight purchase, mostly because she is soooo cheap and when will I ever get a chance to buy a nice horse for this amount? Assuming she vets well, relative to her age. But the sane part of me thinks that a lease is what I have been looking for, with very valid reasoning, and that is what I should stick to. If the seller is not interested in a riding lease, oh well. Better luck next time.

I need to be clear headed, right? And stick to my plan.
Sheilah

AnotherRound
Jan. 14, 2011, 12:45 PM
Mmm, maybe. Nothing wrong with changing your plan. However, there may really be some limits to the work she can do, and, if she has been off for a while and has arthritic changes, she may be harder to bring back than if she had been continuously worked, but you never know until you vet her.

Personally, with the possibility of her really only having limited value for you, I would lease her and evaluate her that way. If she reall turns out to have alot more ahead of her go ahead and buy her. Otherwise, lease her for a year or two and find something else to purchase.

I just supect you will end up with a horse which might not be able to be worked well, and quicker than you realized you have a pasture pet.

Depends on what you have, what you want, what you are willing to do, but that's my idea ofwhat might happen and that leasing for a short time to evaluate her would give you a better answer than deciding now to purchase .

AnotherRound
Jan. 14, 2011, 12:48 PM
edited to add: I would just make this lease short term, so that you can evalutate her and buy her at the named price in the lease, and you aren't ending up buying a horse you put work into and improved and upped the value, if you do decide to buy. Like make it a three month lease at the end of which you will re-new the lease for a year (providing the mare is healthy enough for your needs, passes a specific vet check, etc) or purchase the horse as stated price.

shawneeAcres
Jan. 14, 2011, 12:49 PM
Even with vetting her you really won't know what she can hold up to since she has been out of work for some time. She may be fine but then again may vet OK but be unable to bring back to working fitness or able to withstand what you want to do. You may end up with a broodmare at best, or a pasture pet if she is unable to carry a foal. Personally I would look for another option

InsideLeg2OutsideRein
Jan. 14, 2011, 12:50 PM
Since it sounds like you haven't even tried riding this horse yet, all of those considerations are pretty premature. See if you can go ride her, and then decide whether you even like her. Since you're already paying for one horse that's not such a great dressage horse, you want to make sure that the other one you pay for can do the job. So yes, a lease would be exactly the right thing. And who knows -- once your lower level schoolmaster gets you up to speed, you may want to advance even more as a rider, and then you'd be stuck with two horses who can't get you there if you had already bought an old, limited use horse.

I don't know what area you live in, but if you really start calling around trainers and start visiting them, in this economy, something oughta come up for you :)

Good luck!

(P.S. I was in the same boat with my OTTB. Leased schoolmasters in addition to riding him for almost 6 years, then finally bought my own young upper level prospect last year. And couldn't be happier with how my riding has improved thanks to my schoolmaster(s), and how my young one is exactly the horse I want!)

joiedevie99
Jan. 14, 2011, 12:53 PM
I would never buy a horse of that age that has been out of work for years and expect it to hold up for work. If they won't do the riding lease, find another horse.

IdahoRider
Jan. 14, 2011, 01:49 PM
Thanks for sharing opinions with me. I do NOT want a pasture puff at this point. I want a safe, made dressage horse that will help me advance my riding. I don't mind the extra maintenance an older horse would probably need. I consider that the trade off for the experience an older horse would have. But experience would be useless if the horse couldn't be in light-moderate work.

The idea of offering a lease-with-purchase-option after a certain amount of time (3-6 months sounds fair to me) is what I am going to go for. I don't want to take the time to go and see her if the lease option is not possible.

I do tend to get ahead of myself. So it helps me to decide on a reasonable game plan ahead of time and then stick with it.
Sheilah

KBEquine
Jan. 14, 2011, 10:04 PM
I think you can find a short-term lease of a horse that can help you improve.

We have a mare here who would probably have been what you want & would consider leasing her, in the right circumstances. I'm sure there are people where you are, who have horses they aren't using & maybe feel guilty the horse isn't getting used, who might be interested. I'm not saying I don't cruise craigslist myself. I do. I am all but addicted. But I don't expect to find a horse with the background/training you want on Craigslist. (Although admittedly, I DID see exactly that, once.)

BUT your time might be better spent cruising tack stores & if online, dressage organization or stable websites.

Good luck!

IdahoRider
Jan. 15, 2011, 12:46 PM
I am not much of a Craigslist fan, although my friend did find a nice Sommer for sale locally through Craigslist last year. I am not holding my breath that this mare will be what I need, although if she is it would be wonderful. Stranger things have happened, but there are so many unanswered questions at this point.

We just don't have a big, active dressage community here. I belong to the local chapter of the state club, and I take lessons with someone who is hooked in with the state and local organization. Most of the riders are like me, and the horses they might be interested in leasing out are like my gelding-working at training level basics. Why take on a horse that I can't learn from? There are some local trainers that might have school horses available, but I would lose my instructor and I don't want to do that.

We'll see. The seller is interested in exploring the riding lease. I hope to take a drive with my instructor at some point next week and take a look at the mare and hopefully get on her. My instructor has brought up all the concerns listed in the previous posts on this thread, so I'll have good guidance from her (as always).

Thankfully reading the responses here helped me clarify in my own mind that a lease really is the way I want to go, regardless of what horse I end up doing it with.
Sheilah

Melyni
Jan. 16, 2011, 12:17 PM
to the lease idea. And I say that because I have had some very negative responses when I mooted the idea of leasing a horse out. As in leasing a solid schoolmaster for money for a limited time. Everyone told me that no-one pays for a lease, they just pay the board, shoeing, showing fees and maybe the training, but actually paying for the use of the horse was 'just not done'.

I have a mare who is a solid 2nd level (Championship winner at 2nd level), and ready to show 3rd. Quiet easy to ride and work around. sound, 9 yrs old. Basically no holes in her and ready to go out and show, but with plenty of miles already.

A local rider was wanting a horse to get her scores on at 2nd/3rd so that she could go and do the 'L' judging program.
I was asked if I was willing to lease the mare. I said how much are you offering. and was told that you don't pay for leasing a horse, it should be free.

Now why should it be free I ask. It's not like they are going to training her up any, she's already 2nd/3rd, she has show miles. She's easy to ride.
If I let her go all I get is a horse a year older with yet more miles on it.

I was only tempted cos we have so many young horses who need to go out and show and get miles and it would clear a space in the trailer for one of them.

So I am left wondering do I have it all wrong? Is there no value in the use of a made show horse at the level you want to compete at?

Opinions please.
MW

mzm farm
Jan. 16, 2011, 06:12 PM
I think leasing is a fantastic idea for the rider. Often times not as great for the owner of the well trained horse. The horse learns, or should I say, unlearns, some of the refinement and skills taught to it, while the less skilled rider is trying to better themselves. It is understandable and expected. However the scenario that often unfolds makes me wonder WHY anyone would even consider leasing a "schoolmaster" type out to anyone.

Lets say that I have a nice smaller steed who is advertised for lease/sale elsewhere. He is safe, sane, forgiving, lots of trail and show experience, does all the FEI fun stuff (piaffe, passage, changes) no ones on him yet, all in a french link snaffle. Coming 10yrs old, no maintenance needs, no shoes needed, ride him every day or get on him once a week - he is thrilled to do whatever. No quirks, no bad habits under saddle, practically bombproof. In consistent work, ready to go NOW.

What is this creature worth as a lease?

Imagine my great surprise after talking to numerous dressage enthusiasts who think a horse should be free to lease, even a "professor" type whom they EXPECT to be able to learn from and benefit.

I think that perception in the dressage world precludes many qualified "professors" from being available. Don't get me wrong, I would be thrilled to help someone on their learning journey, but realistically, I just can't afford it. After putting in 6+years of training into an animal, how can I justify the risk of also bearing the expense of his lengthy retirement (should the unforseen happen while on lease) - all on MY DIME for YOUR benefit?

Pardon the rant, now I am going back to catch some much needed sleep - 36hrs without shut eye is messing with my brain:eek:

OP, good luck in whatever path you choose. I think you may find with dressage that the more you learn, the more you realize how much more there is to learn yet. Enjoy the journey!

IdahoRider
Jan. 17, 2011, 05:21 PM
Imagine my great surprise after talking to numerous dressage enthusiasts who think a horse should be free to lease, even a "professor" type whom they EXPECT to be able to learn from and benefit.

I tried to be mindful of making an offer that was within my realistic budget, yet still "sweet" enough to make it worth the owner's time to consider. I mean, she has the mare for sale. I wanted a lease to be attractive enough for her to consider.

So...I offered her a six month lease contract. Mare will live with me (or rather, mare will live at the barn I board at). I will pay all routine costs (farrier, vet, supplements, etc.). I will pay owner a lease fee of $75 a month for each of those six months.

Mare will be used in a weekly lesson by me, taught by a local instructor that is well known and liked. Mare will have great care, and will be worth more than current asking price if owner decides to sell her at the end of the lease period. After all, if she decides to put her back up for sale at the end of the lease, she can market her as a mid-level schoolmaster that can handle "X" amount of work and not just as an elderly broodmare. I really wanted to put together something that would be a win-win for everyone. Owner gets her horse conditioned and gets a few bucks for it. I get access to a horse that might help me move my riding to the next level. Mare gets to be spoiled rotten.

Owner has agreed to the terms and my instructor and I are scheduled to come check her out this weekend! I am so excited.
Sheilah

IdahoRider
Jan. 17, 2011, 05:32 PM
I wanted to add that I think there is certainly a place for the free lease in our horse lives. I put my senior gelding out on a free lease for a year when he was 21 years old. I had just had surgery and the recovery was a lot harder than I had anticipated. I heard of an older woman who was thinking about getting back into horses and wanted to lease before she purchased to see if she really had the time and desire to make it work.

She didn't offer any money, and when she put the word out that she was looking she made it clear that she wasn't looking to pay for anything past the routine stuff (routine vet, farrier). She had a wonderful horse property and could offer my guy a lot. She got a great horse and I got a whole year to recover my health without worry for my horse.

In this case, with the mare, I was the one who brought up the lease option. I figured it was up to me to make it as attractive as possible. That is why I offered the $75 monthly fee. I think it would have been rude to ask the owner to consider the lease without offering to pay something.
Sheilah

Bronte
Jan. 17, 2011, 06:00 PM
Okay, a 19 yr old broodmare (who may have done 2nd) is not a schoolmistress. She will be stiff, crooked and out of condition. I see no learning experience here.

IdahoRider
Jan. 17, 2011, 08:15 PM
Okay, a 19 yr old broodmare (who may have done 2nd) is not a schoolmistress. She will be stiff, crooked and out of condition. I see no learning experience here.
You're right. She might not be come back into enough condition to be much of a learning experience for me. But...I am willing to check her out and see if she might not work for a short term lease.

I am a middle aged re-rider with a broken back. I don't need or want a GP ride. A decent w/t/c will give me a huge learning experience. I guess that is the benefit of riding at the level I am currently at: just about everything is a learning experience!
Sheilah

alto
Jan. 17, 2011, 08:34 PM
Has this mare been on large pasture turnout? if so, bringing her back should be more realistic in the 6 mo time frame you're looking at ...
Try to get purchase rights for you to buy her for her original price rather than the new higher value price she may be worth in 6 months - I didn't do this, so stoopid me paid the dramatically inflated price as it was unimaginable to allow the horse to return to his prior existance ...

Melyni
Jan. 17, 2011, 08:50 PM
Has this mare been on large pasture turnout? if so, bringing her back should be more realistic in the 6 mo time frame you're looking at ...
Try to get purchase rights for you to buy her for her original price rather than the new higher value price she may be worth in 6 months - I didn't do this, so stoopid me paid the dramatically inflated price as it was unimaginable to allow the horse to return to his prior existance ...

Build into your (written) agreement, that you can purchase the mare at the end of the 6 months for price X, (agreed upon now).
If ou decide not to exercise your option to purchase then the owner can sell the horse for more if she so chooses.

It'd be well worth it. You might well fall in love with the mare and you'll hate to have pay the higher price for her when you did all the work to get her there.
MW

IdahoRider
Jan. 17, 2011, 08:56 PM
Has this mare been on large pasture turnout? if so, bringing her back should be more realistic in the 6 mo time frame you're looking at ...
Try to get purchase rights for you to buy her for her original price rather than the new higher value price she may be worth in 6 months - I didn't do this, so stoopid me paid the dramatically inflated price as it was unimaginable to allow the horse to return to his prior existance ...
Yes, she has been out on several acres since last year. She is low man on the totem pole as far as herd dynamics go, according to her owner, so she should be a good fit for the turn out buddy I have in mind if I take her. She was ridden regularly last year, but nothing past a stroll through the pasture bareback a few times since then.

I will absolutely make sure that the current low purchase price is part of the contract language. I know nothing about her bloodlines, they certainly seem to be the "old style" warmblood. But I sure don't know enough to say one way or the other. If anyone has knowledge in that area, let me know and I'll PM them. I wouldn't want to post them publicly until she is in my possession.
Sheilah

meaty ogre
Jan. 18, 2011, 12:46 PM
So I am left wondering do I have it all wrong? Is there no value in the use of a made show horse at the level you want to compete at?

Opinions please.
MW

In my opinion (worth exactly what you paid for it! ;) ) the person getting the most benefit should pay for the lease. Many leases are "free" because it's an even trade for both. One party gets the benefit of riding/showing a horse, and the other gets to keep the horse in work or cut their expenses for a bit.

In your situation, the rider is looking for a very specific horse for a very specific benefit to her. Should she have to go out and find a horse to meet her needs, she would most certainly pay, so I agree that in your scenario, you should be compensated for the lease.

However, this economy is making everything, absolutely everything crazy. There are a lot of nice horses out there in the cheap and free categories (though 2nd and 3rd level, not so much). Obviously significant maintenance costs or personality quirks that make the horse difficult to ride or handle would decrease the value, but again, to me, it's a checklist of who gets what benefits. Person getting more benefits pays:
I.e., if your horse is green and needs work, you pay a trainer to ride it.
If your horse is awesome and can teach someone/help them earn medals/awards etc., they pay
Somewhere in between is "free lease"/expense lease territory.

And of course there is nothing to stop those who will make every effort to try to get something for nothing! :)

Melyni
Jan. 18, 2011, 03:15 PM
In my opinion (worth exactly what you paid for it! ;) ) the person getting the most benefit should pay for the lease. Many leases are "free" because it's an even trade for both. One party gets the benefit of riding/showing a horse, and the other gets to keep the horse in work or cut their expenses for a bit.

In your situation, the rider is looking for a very specific horse for a very specific benefit to her. Should she have to go out and find a horse to meet her needs, she would most certainly pay, so I agree that in your scenario, you should be compensated for the lease.

However, this economy is making everything, absolutely everything crazy. There are a lot of nice horses out there in the cheap and free categories (though 2nd and 3rd level, not so much). Obviously significant maintenance costs or personality quirks that make the horse difficult to ride or handle would decrease the value, but again, to me, it's a checklist of who gets what benefits. Person getting more benefits pays:
I.e., if your horse is green and needs work, you pay a trainer to ride it.
If your horse is awesome and can teach someone/help them earn medals/awards etc., they pay
Somewhere in between is "free lease"/expense lease territory.

And of course there is nothing to stop those who will make every effort to try to get something for nothing! :)

I think you are right. But I suspect that the rider in questions thinks that she can find what she wants for free, and she possibly can, so she isn't willing to pay!

But we'll see. I am in no hurry, the mare gets better every day, and will be out at 3rd level this spring. She's sane, sound and easy to ride, so who knows.

I did offer the use of another horse (for free) who had some issues wherein he could not be ridden very hard and was limited to 2nd level or below.
I also offered a younger horse who did not have the training for 2nd yet, and needed show miles.
But neither was acceptable. Oh well. Life goes on.
MW

cuatx55
Jan. 18, 2011, 03:24 PM
I wouldn't touch this horse.... I wouldn't deal with a horse of this age who was OUT of work.

"light riding"= trail rides.

The only way I would ride a horse like this if it was CURRENTLY able to do second level work 3-4 x a week and not be sore after.

I have a 19 yo old dressage horse with arthritis, and its a LOT OF work and MONEY (legend) to keep the horse in work. I wouldn't expect a horse who is unfit to do third anytime soon (if ever). Its hard having an older horse.

The glamor of the upper levels quickly dissapate when reality sets in. Most horses can't do the same work they did prior to the time off.

Let her enjoy her older years. Also, based on what I have been told its too old to breed.

Ride if you want, but I would not get roped into anything as far as a sale. I LOVE older horses, but they have to be proven to be doing what I want otherwise I don't think its in anyone's best interest.

If you do buy this horse, it should be close to free. I'm well aware of the market, and this is probably a fair deal. Its a major project horse. Its NOT a schoolmaster, sorry.

The only horses I've seen do well after age 20 are arabians. I would make the exception for this breed.

IdahoRider
Jan. 18, 2011, 06:16 PM
The only horses I've seen do well after age 20 are arabians. I would make the exception for this breed.
I'll remind my Arab gelding of this when he reaches that age! He only has a few years to go, and I am counting on him staying sound and usable well into his 20's.
Sheilah