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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul. 22, 2008
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    1,391

    Default Free Lease Vent

    Lots of people told me that free leasing my horse was a mistake and now I've got to say they were probably right. So for all of you out there considering a free lease situation, please let me share a cautionary tale. I think that even a small, token lease payment should at least help the lessee appreciate the value of the horse they are leasing.

    Last spring I leased out my 14 year-old TB gelding. He had raced with 40 starts but had had a few years as a pasture puff before I bought him when he was 12. Though he had never jumped before he took to it quickly and within nine months was cantering 3' courses with changes, and he brought home a tri-color nearly every time out, including at some local rated shows. My goal at that time for the 2009 season was to show him in the 3' AA division with the intention of perhaps moving up to the A/Os by the end of the summer.

    Then last winter I had a great opportunity to buy a fancy young horse to bring along and at the same time I was limited in my ability to show by both family and financial circumstances. Since I was quite attached to my gelding and had always intended to provide him with a forever home and as I also hoped that my oldest son would be ready for him within a couple of years, I felt that a lease was a good option. Unfortunately where I live the mindset of most people is that a lease means "free lease". At that time a girl at my barn was looking to move up to the children's hunters but was having trouble selling her large pony. She's a good, confident rider and seemed eager to show as much as possible during her last two junior years, so I thought they would be a good match. Plus since she's at my barn I could keep an eye on him.

    To try to make a long story short, she gradually lost interest in my horse, riding him less and less. He's a good guy but like many TBs he needs regular work. To make matters worse, when she did show him she would do up to 13 or 14 jumping classes over a weekend, and this on a horse who was not being properly conditioned.

    Now they are ready to end the lease, and I'm about to get back a horse who will need a lot of work to get him back to where he was. I probably could have sold him last spring for a good price or even found someone off-farm to lease him for a fee but now he's a year older and is not a horse for a novice rider looking for a packer to carry them around a 3' course, which would seem to be the best market for a horse that age.

    Sorry for the novella. I'm just really frustrated at the moment. Though I'd love nothing more than having two horses to ride, I can hardly handle one as it is, both in terms of time and money. I knew I was taking a risk but I had hoped they would act in better faith.



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec. 28, 2008
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    1,418

    Default

    Even free leased horses should go with a signed contract that covers things such as how many classes/show they can do and at what heights. That's always a bummer but I have to ask: If she was in your barn and you were aware of what was happening why didn't you talk to her about your concerns?



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep. 19, 2002
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    recent FL transplant from IL
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    7,174

    Default

    I have to sort of agree with WorththeWait95...the horse was in the same barn so you could keep an eye on him. If you saw they weren't riding him enough, why didn't you speak up? If you saw they were over showing him, why didn't you speak up?

    I hate to say it--but some people see leases as something to be used & returned. Even if they do pay a lease fee. They want their money's worth. They aren't necessarily concerned about the long term well being since they are only in it for the short term.

    I'm sorry you feel the people who leased your horse weren't very nice to him.
    "I'm not crazy...my mother had me tested"



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun. 29, 2008
    Location
    San Diego
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    2,223

    Default

    I hear ya, leased out my horse when I first got her to a gal with a few years riding experience. Well, that was all she had. Even with a contract she thought her lease payment covered a certain amount of 'rides' per month, so when the weather would be bad or the horse was lame she would expect make up rides. Thank goodness in the contract it allowed me to end the lease any time, which is what got me out of it after catching her not cooling out my horse after a hard ride before feeding her. Moral of the story, I won't ever lease again.



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar. 14, 2006
    Posts
    799

    Default

    EAY I hear you and agree....need a contract and a fee. This is especially so with a knowledgeable horse that has something of value to offer to a riders development.



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec. 23, 2005
    Location
    Harrisonburg, VA
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    2,322

    Default

    What kind of trainer lets a rider do 13-14 jumping classes in a weekend ? I dont care what kind of conditioning a horse has--that is just rediculous.

    Talking about jumping his legs off.
    Windswept Stables-Specializing in Ponies
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  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul. 22, 2008
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    1,391

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by WorthTheWait95 View Post
    Even free leased horses should go with a signed contract that covers things such as how many classes/show they can do and at what heights. That's always a bummer but I have to ask: If she was in your barn and you were aware of what was happening why didn't you talk to her about your concerns?
    We do have a contract. It does specify that he is to be maintained in good, show ready condition but does not cover the number of shows or heights that he can do. To be fair to her, she did only show him once per month and for at least the first part of the summer he was still in good condition. I did mention my concerns to her, mostly via our trainer, but she always answered that he was "old" and that she didn't want to overdo it. She doesn't seem to understand that that just makes proper conditioning even more important.

    I do admit that I should have been more up front about my concerns, but for the most part he's been happily grazing in his field and I was optimistic that she would finally get serious about him and I still think they could be a good team. To be honest I was also concerned about the financial implications of their ending the lease early.



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul. 22, 2008
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Windswept Stable View Post
    What kind of trainer lets a rider do 13-14 jumping classes in a weekend ? I dont care what kind of conditioning a horse has--that is just rediculous.

    Talking about jumping his legs off.
    She meets her own trainer for these shows, and this routine seems to be standard practice at this show series. I found this out by looking at the results, which are posted online. I got the impression this was a fairly widespread problem after reading some of the threads that have been started here about instituting rules limiting the number of classes that a horse can do. These are not USEF shows but they are rated by our state association so there are stewards present.



  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep. 19, 2002
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    recent FL transplant from IL
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by EAY View Post
    To be honest I was also concerned about the financial implications of their ending the lease early.
    I don't think any money would be worth allowing them to overjump my unconditioned horse.
    "I'm not crazy...my mother had me tested"



  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov. 28, 2006
    Location
    ON, Canada
    Posts
    854

    Default

    I'm sorry to hear that your situation did not go well.

    I have a free lease on a fantastic, experienced hunter and I can say that I have to agree that the kind of care I give her is the exception, not the norm.

    I love her like my own and treat her like she is worth a million dollars. I often go without to make sure she gets the best of everything - care, supplements, vet work, training, properly fitting tack and equipment. I would never want her owner to say the kind of things you said about your leaser about me.

    It does seem to be that that these days most people do not value what they get for free.

    Hopefully, you find some comfort that there are people like me out there.

    Perhaps you could find a part boarder instead, to help offset the costs?
    Proud Member of the "Tidy Rabbit Tinfoil Hat Wearers" clique and the "I'm in my 30's and Hope to be a Good Rider Someday" clique



  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jul. 22, 2008
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    1,391

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Spud&Saf View Post
    Perhaps you could find a part boarder instead, to help offset the costs?
    Is this a Canadian expression? I'm not familiar with it. Is it like a partial lease, where the person has the right to ride a certain number of days per week?

    I'm happy to hear that there are situations like yours where the lessee treats the horse as their own. At first I thought it was going to be the same for my horse. They really seemed to like him and even decided to put him on joint supplements at their expense.



  12. #12
    Join Date
    Apr. 29, 2006
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    3,558

    Default

    Yup, usually when someone talks about part-boarding, it is where they continue to ride their horse and 'share'.

    That's too bad your situation didn't work out. However, don't let one bad experience turn you off the possibility forever. I have had the opportunity to meet many really nice riders through part-boarding my horses. They always treated them very well. Perhaps part-boarding and taking an active role in what the horse is doing would work better for you in the future.



  13. #13
    Join Date
    Apr. 8, 2004
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    The Great, uh, Green (?!?!) North!
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by EAY View Post
    Is this a Canadian expression? I'm not familiar with it. Is it like a partial lease, where the person has the right to ride a certain number of days per week?

    I'm happy to hear that there are situations like yours where the lessee treats the horse as their own. At first I thought it was going to be the same for my horse. They really seemed to like him and even decided to put him on joint supplements at their expense.
    I think it is - I used it all the time in Ontario, but people in BC had no idea what it meant. Basically a partial free-lease.

    I've free-part-leased a number of horses; I think you had someone who would have been irresponsible if it were her horse or one she owned. Leasors aren't all negligent!
    "Adulthood? You're playing with ponies. That is, like, every 9 year old girl's dream. Adulthood?? You're rocking the HELL out of grade 6, girl."



  14. #14
    Join Date
    Sep. 13, 2007
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    717

    Default

    I did an in-barn free lease, WITH a contract. Ended up with my horse being retired way too early, and me leaving the barn on bad terms.

    Lesson learned: NEVER LEASE OUT A HORSE AGAIN.



  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jan. 20, 2006
    Location
    Aiken SC
    Posts
    334

    Default

    I'm very sorry for your bad experience w/ the free lease. If it weren't for free lease situations my son, who is a talented rider but unfortunately doesn't come from a family that can throw down 5 figures for a horse, would have nothing of any quality to ride. I wish WE had been the ones to lease this horse from you, as he sounds exactly like what we're looking for right now. Any time we've free leased a pony/horse, it's always involved a written contract, sometimes involved insuring the animal. I can't believe anyone could be so inconsiderate of a horse to show in 13-14- OF classes in a weekend, fit or not. No matter what is customary in your area, I would spell out exactly how I wanted my horse handled ina contract, even if no money changed hands. He is, after all, YOUR horse and if they can't live by your terms- find another horse. This kind of behaviour( and it happens more than you realize) makes it hard for the others that are considerate of the horse and the owner who was kind enough to permit them to ride the horse.
    " It's about the horse, and that's it."
    George Morris



  16. #16
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    Jan. 24, 2000
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    Default

    First off, I'm sorry your leasing experience was not good.

    Second, I'd advise you to please not write off the whole idea! As both leasor and lessee, I have had some GREAT experiences and a lease -- partial or full, "free" or with a lease fee on top of expenses -- can be good for all concerned.

    Finally, I'd recommend that you take this as a learning experience. As already stated, this is YOUR horse. When I have leased out one of mine, a painfully detailed contract (which I'm happy to share) is signed. I specify what the horse may be used for, how often s/he is to be ridden, what tack may be used, and that any showing or other unusualy work is only with my express permission, granted in advance. There is also a clause in there about following verbal or written instructions from the owner. And everyone understands that if I'm not happy with the day-to-day stuff, special things like shows or off-site trail rides will not be allowed!

    On the fee, unless you get your guy to the point that he is a properly conditioned, reliable packer, it's unlikely anyone will be willing to pay a fee on top of expenses for a lease. I suspect that a better bet would be to stick with a free lease (or a partial lease), and use a great contract to cover all your expectations up front ... and then make it clear from Day One that Mama is watching and if Mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy.
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