View Full Version : How much to lease FEI horse for?

Oct. 15, 2011, 12:32 AM
I am considering leasing out my horse and I have no clue what to charge. He is my baby, I've had him for 11 years now, and we're in a bit of a unique situation.

A bit about him:
17 year old 15.3h TB geld. I keep him on glucosamine because he has some arthritic changes in his hocks and stifles, but nothing that he won't work out of in <5 mins. It's really only noticeable in the winter when he hasn't been going outside. He had an eye removed, but it doesn't affect him in any way, no special care.
He is a bit conformationally challenged, (downhill, long backed) and his gaits are nothing spectacular but he's been known to get 7s for them in tests. He is a pretty easy ride, as in, he responds exactly to the rider's body, even if the rider doesn't realize they are asking for anything (schoolmaster syndrome). Completely bombproof and been-there-done-that. There's a running joke a my barn that anyone who spooks my horse gets a prize.
A little bit of a mouth worrier but much better in a double than a snaffle, though he can be ridden in a snaffle.
Competed PSG this past season, got a 65% his last time out, got me my silver medal. Has pretty good 4,3&2-tempis, piaffe, passage, and full piros. His extended trot sucks. If I end up not leasing him out we will probably shoot for I1 next season.

Also you can get on him bareback with a halter and go hack anywhere.

He would be perfect to teach someone the ropes but, because of his build, will never be a super competitive horse. The only other schoolmasters I could find lease ads for were either fancy warmbloods or broken. He is neither. He isn't even acting old yet (I can take him out hunting, first field, and come back 3 hours later with him still fresh).

Sorry this got so long. I figured the more information I gave the more helpful and accurate the suggestions could be. Plus I love to talk about my horse :)

Oct. 15, 2011, 12:33 AM
I'm in the midwest, because I know that makes a difference too.

Oct. 15, 2011, 01:07 AM
no idea.. but it's obvious that you love him alot :) He sounds very special.

Oct. 15, 2011, 01:27 AM
You lease him out for the same as any other horse, whatever the cost of keeping him, or whatever percentage of the cost is. I've done this plenty of times.

Oct. 15, 2011, 03:17 AM
You are kidding, right? Lease him for the cost of keeping him? That is a free lease, not a paid lease. What about compensation for the wear and tear on the horse (and possibly screwing up his training, etc), and the use of the tack and equipment?

I have an FEI horse too and I would never in a million years consider free leasing her. It is too risky for me! I'd need compensation for letting someone use a valuable horse and my risk of loss!

When I was shopping for my schoolmaster, if I could have found it, I would GLADLY have paid to lease a schoolmaster. It would have cost me less than buying my own schoolmaster and I wouldn't have to finance it's retirement.

A lease of an FEI horse should compensate the owner for the risk of the loss of use of the horse. It should also include a clause requiring the person leasing the horse to purchase an insurance policy on the horse for mortality and major medical care. It should also set forth the terms under which either party can terminate the lease. Paying the cost of board is a given--you have to pay to board a horse whether you own it or lease it, it's part of the cost of doing the sport.

Typically the lease amount, in addition to the terms set forth above (and perhaps others, such as stipulating what trainers can be used, how much training has to take place, and where the horse can be boarded, etc.), should be a percentage of the value of the horse. There are plenty of certified equine appraisers out there and perhaps one of them could get you a valuation on the horse and you could charge, say 10% per year the horse is leased.

Oct. 15, 2011, 07:31 AM
Leasing is more common in the hunter/jumper world, and its been a long time since I showed jumpers. But the rule of thumb was a year lease would cost 1/3 of the horses value.

So lets say, fair market value for your schoolmaster is 60,000. Id lease him for 20,000.

Oct. 15, 2011, 08:43 AM
I'm of two opinions here: First, if you want to keep him close to home at a facility that you are comfortable with and be able to check on him in person regularly, then do a free lease. I did this w/ my TB schoolmaster but he was 20 at the time.

Second opinion: if you want a lease fee; advertise him as a young rider horse; and be prepared for him to be further away, harder to visit but presumably and hopefully w/ a good trainer and rider. But he sounds perfect for a smaller YR!!

Realistically on the lease fee, I'd think that the value of the horse - ie what you could sell him for - is probably in the neighborhood of $25k. The breed and size are a drawback as is the age - any buyer would look at the real likelihood that they would be responsible for his retirement years, and that takes a special buyer.

Oct. 15, 2011, 08:54 AM
It's a tough question and I am no expert, but (and he sounds wonderful, by the way), I'd call around and ask some trainers. Might be the way to find a leasable situation for him as well.

As you love him, I'd care more about him being nearby where you could check on him, or under the care of a good trainer than the max $ amount. He would appeal more to a rider trying to get experience or min scores for a medal, than a competive yr looking for high scores/regionals. I just would call or email some trainers who you think are good and go from there. As he sounds so nice and is also a bit conform challenged, who the trainer is and how much they might push this horse would be of great concern to me and I would choose the lease per how he is treated rather than $.

Oct. 15, 2011, 09:38 AM
Are you leasing him because you won't be able to ride as much as you'd like to? Or are you thinking of using the funds from a lease fee to do something else with?

I vote for keeping him close to home in a good situation regardless of what lease fee you can get. He is on the older side, so I wouldn't take the risk of having him further away.

Oct. 15, 2011, 10:48 AM
Dressage leases are (for some reason) much different from Hunter/Jumpers. I've seen a few older schoolmasters (3rd level through PSG) leased for the cost of upkeep - BUT they have been kept in partial training to keep the horse tuned up. So maybe that is something worth considering - the horse must stay in training with a trainer you approve?

Oct. 15, 2011, 11:02 AM
I think at best you are looking at a free lease situation. Network with your local trainers to see if you can get him placed.

Oct. 15, 2011, 11:32 AM
I know of two "free lease" situations. The first is with a horse being "loaned" to a trainer. The owner still covers board and upkeep and medical, but the trainer is putting the training on for free so that they can show the horse. There is a possible payback to the owner too in the form of lessons. What the owner is getting out of the wear and tear on her horse is a few levels of training put on much faster than she could do herself. What the trainer is getting is a very high quality horse to show at FEI levels.

The other free lease situation I know about is an older horse without much training. The owner doesn't have time or space for the horse at this time. The person leasing is paying all the expenses of the horse while she has it, and putting some training on.

So it can work with or without board, depending on the situation. Most of the other "free lease" situations I have seen involve an owner who can't ride for whatever reason (once was because she was being treated for breast cancer) and the person leasing the horse is required to put the horse in partial training so that the horse's training is advanced during the lease. The advance in the horse's training is what the owner gets out of the lease.

If the horse is good enough that someone could get their medals on it, I don't see why the person shouldn't have to pay something for the use of the horse. If the horse lacks training, then I don't see why the person shouldn't have to pay for a trainer to ride the horse several times a week, as compensation for the lease. It just depends on the situation.

Oct. 15, 2011, 12:37 PM
Your horse sounds very similar to my horse (14 years old now), and where I expect he'll be in training in a few years, assuming he stays sound.

It's funny because my trainer asked me this week what I was going to do with three riding horses once I start riding my yearling, and we discussed the possibility of finding a junior rider to lease him. I really only have time for one horse in serious training and to keep the other horse reasonably fit for trail riding.

For me, it would be worth it to free lease my horse if I could find the perfect situation for him, a rider with a trainer I could trust to be sensitive to his needs and to provide the turnout and exercise he needs, and to absorb the expense of his supplements and maintenance, which are not cheap. And to be close enough that I could see him regularly and monitor his health and happiness.

I would expect the lessee to buy their own tack and equipment, except for his halters, blankets, sheets, and a maybe basic bit and bridle that already fits him. Just speculating here.

And, of course, I would never go forth without a comprehensive contract, thoroughly reviewed by Cowgirl.;)

Oct. 15, 2011, 03:45 PM
No, I'm not kidding. I know of some people around here trying to "compensate" for the training on the horse by charging a lot for the lease, and I think they've been advertising for three years. I partial leased my GP horse, and several FEI horses to ride, and ride means hit the trails, get them out, play with fun stuff if you can. It was the cost of expenses and I keep them with me. Of course, I had a lot of wannabes want to get the fun of it that I wouldn't let ride. I was looking for people to get the horses out more and reduce my expenses.

I would NEVER lease a horse off property, free or cost. If it's my horse, no way am I letting it out of my hands. I had a TON of people wanting to free lease a great horse I had for sale off property. No way. One 4th level horse we did let go off property with someone with a trainer I knew and trusted because the owner went to college and pretty much got out of riding.

The cost of keeping horses has gone up a lot, and a lot of people are getting out of it. There used to be a lot of people out there looking to lease. In the last four years, there are very few, and the few that are out there are not people I would let ride my horses unmonitored. It is difficult to find someone to lease and even pay the costs. If you're trying to "get" something more out of it, you'd better be a good salesman. The hunter market has a whole process of doing that, but those people have a LOT more money and there are a lot more people.

I assume you're trying to lease to cut expenses and/or because you can't ride as much.

Oct. 15, 2011, 04:30 PM
I have done a broodmare lease and a competing horse lease.. as in free/feed lease..with trainers I knew.. both ended unhappily.. I will NEVER free/feed lease again unless it is into the barn where I am at. Nobody takes as good of care of my horses as I do.. the trainers just get too busy to really keep track of things.
I would consider the fair market value of your horse (and likelyhood of actually selling) and ask a variable of 10 -30% of value per year.. have a great contract, cover your bases.. and then set whatever money you get aside..so you have it for expenses/vet work when you get your horse back.

Even if your horse is doing good competition-wise, age, the eye and general conformation would likely bring his value down some. I would ignore the breed part, as trained horse is a trained horse.

Oct. 15, 2011, 04:33 PM
I know a competitive GP horse being leased for
$1500/month plus they pay all expenses.
Now, I could not have PAID $2000 a month for
someone to lease my GP horse, he is such a loon.:D

Oct. 15, 2011, 05:12 PM
a very interesting question and no wonder the answers are all over the map. As you've discovered, there aren't too many comparables to your horse, who is special in many ways, some good, some bad. The thing is, he doesn't have too many years left of use.( Are you able to give him a decent retirement when his working days are through? or would it be better to sell him?) And depending exactly where you are in the midwest, the market may not bear anything. Best would be to advertise him on his merits and state the lease fee to be negotiated, depending on the leaser's experience, location and goals.

Now, what do you want for yourself and the horse?

Someone may just appear that is almost at your level, is working on their silver and is willing to pay his full board at your barn, while you remain free to compete and train him to the I1 level. That could work. It could also work that a less experienced rider takes him to her barn and you can't ride him anymore, so they pay a lease fee that enables you to buy another more competitive horse.

Perhaps some deserving young rider grabs your heart strings and you give someone a leg up with an incredible deal.

whatever happens, your horse is a gem and I wish you good luck.

I have just leased one of my (solid second level/3 foot hunter) horses to a junior rider who will benefit greatly from the experience. Iam currently unable to ride, so one less horse to take care of is better for me. I gave her a free lease, but of their own accord, the family of the rider is giving me $100/month plus riding priveleges at a barn with an indoor(its a bit far for me to travel regularly, but its a nice gesture). They are able to do this because the horse is rock steady and well trained, and the owner of the stable has given them their board at a considerable discount because the horse will also be used for the riding for the disabled program once a week and as a schoolhorse for the more experienced riders in 2-4 lessons a week. Its winwinwin all the way around. The horse stays fit, the junior gets a super schoolhorse to learn on, the disabled program gets a nice horse and other students will benefit. Not every horse could handle such a varied program, but this one will. I hope you find something that works as well for you and your horse.

ETA: interestingly, the fee the family has given me works out to about 20% of her value per year, if I had sold her. She is competitive, has scored in the lower 70's at first and upper 60's at second, can jump and trail ride alone, but like your horse,is an "off.breed"

Oct. 15, 2011, 07:22 PM
I am only leasing him because I can only afford to keep 1 horse and I need to get a youngster going so I will have something to ride once the little big man officially retires (I am apprenticing now, in the process of going pro).

He is not competitive enough for a JR/YR horse, but could certainly get someone medals.

As far as keeping him close, I already have 2 people lined up at my barn for him and another good friend with her own farm who hauls in for lessons, so that's no concern. Now that the possibility of me leasing him out has been mentioned, everyone is asking 'how much' and I don't know what to say. Selling him isn't really an option; I don't think I could stomach it.

I have his retirement provided for; there's a place I could pasture board him for next to nothing, but he isn't ready to retire yet.

Oct. 15, 2011, 08:16 PM
You sound like me. I would do a basic cost of keeping him--board, shoes, vet, feed, etc. plus a little on top--divide that by 7, and charge an appropriate amount for however many days a week they ride. Go a little over your costs so you're not screwing yourself and you have a little extra for emergencies, but not so much you don't have any good choices. YOU pay his bills, they pay you, so you're staying in charge and things don't go wonky. The person that lives away, I dunno. Even if you really trust them, that's a different thing.

Oct. 15, 2011, 08:49 PM
I think if I were in your shoes I would ASK for $400 a month (in addition to expenses). Not sure why...the number just sounds right. But I would be willing to negotiate for the right match.

But I would make sure you detail exactly what expenses they are responsible for-- i.e. '"he must get shod every 5 weeks by xyz farrier and his hocks injected every 6 months by xyz vet, eat xyz supplements etc..." to ensure his upkeep and maintenance is by YOUR standards not someone else's.

Oct. 15, 2011, 08:57 PM
I am so happy you won't sell him and are providing for his retirement !! Yea!! I guess the issue is, do you have a feeling for what the people at your barn will pay? If there are two people at barn interested, how would you decide which one ( or could two people share him?) . It would be lovely if he could stay at home barn and you could visit him every day.

Oct. 15, 2011, 09:59 PM
I think if I were in your shoes I would ASK for $400 a month (in addition to expenses). Not sure why...the number just sounds right.

This is why pricing in the horse market is often unpredictable and nonsensical. Because so many people price horses at something that "just sounds right." $400 x 12 = $4800... if you consider 10% of the horse's value a reasonable annual fee, this means that he would have to be worth $48,000 to justify the cost.

If you can find a competent rider who will keep him at your current barn, pay to maintain his shoes and medical upkeep to YOUR specifications, and invest in several training sessions each month to keep him performing well at his current level and maybe even start moving him toward I1, a "free" lease may not be all that unreasonable. You just have to prioritize what you want to get out of a lease situation... if you want to make money off of him, then you'll probably have to be flexible on where he goes and what sort of care/training he receives. If you want to be very specific about those details and keep him close to you, you will probably need to be negotiable on the lease fee. Many people decide that it is worth it to have someone simply assume all of a horse's expenses if it means that they can be very specific about the other details.

Oct. 15, 2011, 10:04 PM
I would sit down and talk personally with a couple of the people ( or start with the most serious one), and see what they can afford or what their thinking is. Do you kind of have a feeling for their financial situation? To some people, $400 a month is reasonable, to others, it is too much to take on plus lessons, board, shoes etc. You want to price it that they can sustain the lease for the long term, not drop out after 3 months, or decide that due to high ongoing cost, they are better off buying a horse...my take on it anyway, if it were me and he could stay at barn or close to home with a trusted friend I'd ask $200-$250 a month , but that is just me. I think you need to have a chat with these people, since you know them, and let the conversation evolve and see which of them can really handle it.

Oct. 15, 2011, 11:28 PM
A PSG horse that is sound enough to show and "get someone their medals" is worth way more than a free lease that's for sure.

Like the hunters, I would ask for 1/3 the horse's value. If he is worth $15k then ask for $5k/year.

Also discuss what happens if the horse is injured....? Who will pay the vet bills? What if the horse is laid up? Who pays the board then? Have a contract.

Oct. 16, 2011, 12:06 AM
I personally would just ask for all the horse's expenses - and I do mean every one, down to the shoes, the vet, the supplements and the like. I would expect the lessee to pay for regular lessons and possibly training rides. And I would want the horse to be with a trainer I personally trusted.

You could ask for a bit on top of that if you really wanted, especially if what you do is to have one check written to you and you pay all the vet and farrier and the like.

If you can get more than that... go for it. When I boarded in Southern California, merely full board and training was such a big chunk of change that getting a fee on top was pretty hard.

Oct. 16, 2011, 12:25 AM
I have a friend who leased hers out to a young rider (who won a gold medal with him at NAYRC, IIRC) for expenses only. Now, she was trying to sell the horse and hadn't been successful and figured that the lease might help. (she ended up keeping him after she got him back tho)

Oct. 16, 2011, 06:01 AM
For a special boy like that I would want the RIGHT situation (the right people, not too far away, excellent care, frequent updates) more than I would want to make a bundle. If I were you I'd just put feelers out there -- advertise in a few GMO newsletters, get the word out that there IS an upper level horse for lease, contact a few trainers you trust or know by reputation. Perhaps a BNT could use a schoolmaster for their clients? Anyhoo, tell them you want to be reasonable but need the right situation -- negotiate a price after you meet and they try him out, based on what they want, and you figure out if they're the right leaser for your wonderful-sounding boy. Personally he sounds like a gem.


Oct. 16, 2011, 11:17 AM
This may not be a popular response but I've leased nicer horses than this for FREE. By that, I mean they were "built for the job" WBs, sound (or sound "enough", lol) had their sight and no major vices. Of course, I agreed to keep the horses going, if not advancing their training, took lessons with the trainer and also showed the horse. Some sold, some went back to the owner and I've never had a problem. It was a great opportunity for me to ride FEI horses, the owners got out from under the expenses and were able to "keep an eye" on things, horses were happy...win-win for everyone. :yes: And heck, most of my instructors over the years have let me ride their upper levels horses and I've not even had to pay for a lesson. They just want to see how their horses look doing certain movements and make sure the training is solidified. They aren't porcelain dolls, gals, they're horses.

Oct. 16, 2011, 08:09 PM
When I "graduated" to a younger horse, I free leased my 4th level Holsteiner to someone who took lessons, showed him, and had a vet for a husband. He was absolutely built for the job, very low maintenance, won everything, 7-8 gaits, totally bombproof at the shows, fabulous all round. He got the best care, and then when she was done, he came back. He is now 27, retired in the field. Doubt that I could have gotten any $ for a lease in our area, and he was never for sale. He won a wall-full of blue ribbons and championships for me, and is just living the good life now! (the old geezer- he still plays hard to catch)