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  1. #1

    Default Leasee and a showing issue

    I'm posting under an alternate just in case. I partly need to vent, but advice might be helpful too so if you've got it feel free to fire away!

    I've got my horse half leased to a very nice teenager. They get along great and she keeps him exercised on the days I can't get out. She also helps out a lot as far as expenses as she covers half the board plus half of his shoeing. Her family is wonderful and overall we have a great relationship...

    There is always a but though, isn't there!

    In the past two years I have been very accommodating as far as showing goes. There is no guarantee in the contract that she'll be able to show but at this point I have definitely set a precedent. I don't ask for much, just gas money to get him to the show and back. I don't ask for compensation for my time even though it takes a lot of it when she has a show, plus time spent getting him back to where I need him after not having ridden for three or four days. One or two rides and he stays at the level I'm working him at, but more than that he starts to slip. To date I have had no problem doing this, I love giving her the opportunity and don't mind supporting her as far as time goes.

    Lately things have changed for me though. Number one, my horse is on the cusp of hitting my goals for him and will be showing at that level next season with me. He is older and this may be one of the last opportunities to reach that goal. I didn't get to show at all this year due to other financial obligations so I essentially see next year my last hoorah with my heart horse. The leasee is showing him in general shows and 4H, not in his discipline. As a result any riding days taken away from me and any rides where I have to reschool what we've been working on mean that he and I take a step back in achieving our goals. In addition to that issue, the other one right now is time. I work full time and at the moment I'm working A LOT. I'm also finishing up a degree so I'm taking two classes a term and have a young horse, two retirees, and a farm to take care of at home, plus an SO to spend time with. Frankly it's a miracle I make it up to ride and often means I'm getting up at 5AM to get to the barn before work. Oh, and on top of all that my truck to haul the horse trailer is broken.

    As a result of the above, there have been three shows that the leasee has wanted to go to since the end of last month that I have had to say no to. Frankly even if I had the time I wouldn't be thrilled about them. It's October, show season is over in my mind and it's time to focus on schooling for next year. I gave excuses for the first two, true ones, but not really laying out the situation. When I got this most recent request I told her what was on my plate and that I really can't make any time commitments like that until after the new year. Unfortunately now I'm getting requests to let someone else haul him. I've already told them no to this type of thing in the past. I'm absolutely not comfortable with someone else hauling him if I'm not present. I do not want put it on someone else to feel my wrath were something to happen and on top of that he's too old to insure. They always tell me "no pressure" but it feels like a guilt trip, especially when mom and daughter are both texting me about it. I realize that "No." is a complete sentence and I feel like I've said no pretty clearly, yet the requests pop up again periodically.

    Mostly I'm just venting but additionally I'm not really sure what else to say or how to say it diplomatically to get the subject to drop. I've requested some time to talk about expectations for next year as he's not going to be available for the shows outside of his discipline. I will still be supportive of her showing but want her to focus on his discipline and show at recognized shows that I will already have him at. I want to talk about these recent requests at the same time we discuss next season. I'm wondering if we should draw up a separate showing contract or an addendum to the current contract to put things in black and white? Or is a verbal talk good enough? I really like this kid and her family and I want to avoid straining our very good relationship. I definitely don't want to drive her off the lease as financially it's really helpful for me right now - I'm not sure I could afford to keep him with the trainer without the lease.



  2. #2
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    Sep. 30, 2011
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    Speaking from my experiences as a teenaged leasee...

    Is the leasee interested in showing the horse in your discipline of choice? If she does not seem particularly interested (and is primarily interested in 4H, etc.), you need to be prepared that "x type of shows at y level are the only ones I allow" may be deal breaker for the leasee and her family.

    If she has expressed interest in your discipline is there a way to make showing at the shows you prefer more appealing to her/her family? This could be financially (for example expressing that show costs other than entry fees will be split, perhaps making showing at a level higher than they could previously afford attainable) or in terms of opportunity/exposure for the rider.

    I have never been on your side of the situation, but it seems to me that focusing on the fact of his age and your carefully budgeted time may be a more diplomatic approach than emphasizing the fact that you need more time to get him back to where you want him training-wise after she has rides multiple days in a row. When you do have a discussion about showing, it may be worth getting in writing that only you are to haul him so that does not become an issue again in the future.



  3. #3
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    Jun. 30, 2009
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    Arrange a meeting with the lease family - start the discussion with how you feel about the horse & why you're just not comfortable having him hauled by anyone else, apologise for not being able to support their show plans of the previous month, give them a chance to express their disppointments/plans as well.

    Then introduce your plans & what you envision happening with your horse over the winter/next show season.

    Again listen to your leaser's side just as courteously.

    Consider compromises.
    Consider the possible result of no compromise ie the loss of the lease - is it better to compromise with your leaser or to give up on some of the training.



  4. #4
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    What alto and Rain said!

    Also, from your post I want to say you seem very level-headed and well-spoken. Further, I think you have been very generous thus far in hauling her to (it sounds like) quite a lot of shows.

    But that doesn't mean you can't change the expectations for next season based on all you said about horse's age and level of training -- though I agree with RiderintheRain that I probably wouldn't put it in terms of lessee's rides putting you back in horse's schooling. However, I do feel it should be understandable that you could say "horse and I" have finally reached my goal/dream of being ready to level up in discipline x, therefore I really have to have a different level of commitment to horse and with horse's time, which will require focusing on going ONLY to x type of shows, more schooling in x discipline, etc. -- and if teen would like to be a part of that, you'll be thrilled to welcome her at your shows and work to schedule classes at those shows that teen can be in, split costs, etc. All the while knowing that it could mean they decide to lease elsewhere.

    You aren't being at all unreasonable to want to focus on your own goals for your own horse. And again to me you have been very generous so far taking lessee to lots of shows and only asking for gas money. However, I don't think the subject will "just drop" with them unless you do really lay it out and explain in a focussed discussion your changed needs for horse's time. Without a lengthier discussion about the subject, they may not fully realize your position and it could make them feel like you have "mysteriously" changed in some way and they may make all kinds of incorrect assumptions about why you "suddenly" won't take lessee to her shows any more.

    Good luck and I'm sure you can work something out. Hopefully teen might enjoy the opportunity for advanced mentoring from you in your discipline. I know I would have loved to have shown as a teen, in whatever discipline!
    "However complicated and remarkable the rest of his life was going to be, it was here now, come to claim him."- JoAnn Mapson



  5. #5
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    Not sure I understand your question here. It is your horse.

    Are you worried about them backing out of the half lease if you specify where they can show your horse, in what and who would haul your horse? Leaving you unable to handle the board, vet, farrier expenses with enough left to show in your chosen discipline?

    Unless these people are family members you HAVE to work with? They are not your BFFs and will fade away when the lease eventually ends. It's fine to be diplomatic but don't get trapped into trying to please them as friends or worrying they will think less of you if you make the half lease terms closer to what you want for your horse.

    You have every right to just say no to some of what you have complained of here. It is YOUR horse and they are sharing it with a half lease under your supervision. You call the shots.
    When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

    The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.



  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alternator172 View Post
    It's October, show season is over in my mind and it's time to focus on schooling for next year..... Mostly I'm just venting but additionally I'm not really sure what else to say or how to say it diplomatically to get the subject to drop.....I'm wondering if we should draw up a separate showing contract or an addendum to the current contract to put things in black and white? ..... I definitely don't want to drive her off the lease as financially it's really helpful for me right now - I'm not sure I could afford to keep him with the trainer without the lease.
    Personally, I think the OP is setting up a situation where the leasee could walk. If losing the lease is going to result in leaving the trainer (and hence all this preparation for next year's showing goals), then it is self-defeating, isn't it? I would look for a win-win situation, not a "my way or the highway" stance. The latter is fine to take, but only if one can support the horse independent of the lease.

    For me, show season is in full swing in October. My horses compete in eventing, dressage, and driving. They also go to the occasional hunter show. I have no idea what discipline shuts down in October and I think this is just an artiface of the OP's mind.

    It has been a long time since I was a horse mad teen, but I still remember how much I loved to go to horse shows. I lived for it. I suspect that teen might be the same way. And remember how urgent and important everything seemed as a kid?

    Since we don't know what the OP's discipline is, I can only agree with the suggestions that the OP find a way that the teen can show the horse in these type of shows. Being inclusive is going to maintain that lease. And if is simply not going to work out, please consider if an occasional lower level show would be possible. The teenager needs to have something to aim for. Remember, her parents have the option to lease a horse that can go to these shows. Compromise if you can.

    I definitely think that if you can come up with an agreement on the showing, then it needs to be put in writing as part of the lease agreement and followed. While I respect the OP's desire to be the only one to haul her horse to shows, I would try to consider if there weren't circumstances where someone else (perhaps the trainer) could haul. I do my own hauling to most shows, but I certainly let someone I know and respect as a horse person haul one of my horses if I am unavailable.

    I see nothing wrong the teen and her mom trying to find a way to get to the show that is acceptable to the OP. In fact, given that the OP is being disingenuous about her real reasons is only making the matter worse. They think there really is a possibility to show; there really isn't. I know I would be irritated if I had my time wasted in that manner.

    So if I wanted to continue the lease, I would double down on improving communication and seeking the leasee's input in making my plans for next year. I would focus on compromising so that it was win-win.
    Last edited by IronwoodFarm; Oct. 17, 2012 at 02:27 PM.
    Where Norwegian Fjords Rule
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  7. #7
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    It sounds to me that, your current goals for the horse being what they are, maybe this girl isn't the leaser you want. If I had a leaser who was riding in a way that required me to fix things in how the horse went, I'd be questioning whether she/he was the right leaser for my horse.

    Do as suggested above and describe how you feel as clearly and plainly as you did in your OP and find out whether or not your leaser is willing to abide by your conditions. She might not. It could well be that she really likes the 4H shows and doesn't want to get serious about your discipline and quit the 4H shows. Putting myself in her shoes, I can imagine ending a lease and looking for another one if the owner said, "Because I want my horse competitive at 4th Level dressage (as an example) next show season, I don't want you doing 4H with him any more" if 4H was what I really loved doing. On one hand, fair enough, really, but you can understand the leaser wanting to find a new lease horse whose owner would let her to the 4H shows and wasn't hung up about October being the end of the show season.



  8. #8
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    Oct. 16, 2012
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    Thank you guys for your advice. This will definitely help as I plan the conversation when we sit down to discuss.

    I'm definitely wanting to help her do as many of her 4H shows as possible next year as it will be her last year but I already know that there is a big one in particular (state) that I am going to have to say no to because it's a week before our regional championships and I will need that time to prepare. I knew this prior to the last month so I knew we'd have to have a discussion. I feel like it's better to do it sooner than later to give her the option to either find a different horse for 4H shows or altogether as you said above. Unfortunately I'm not super negotiable when it comes to missing our own shows, like I said this might be my last hoorah with this horse and we'll be making our FEI debut, which has been something I've dreamed of since I was a teenager. I've worked my a** off with this guy to get here so I can't miss out

    Fortunately she is interested in and shows him in dressage at 4H, along with the requisite huntseat classes and does very well in that arena. What I would like to see happen is for her to get serious and prep for recognized shows next year. Since most of our shows are technically separated into two shows I figured I'd have her show him at the Friday shows and I'll show him the rest of the weekend and she can pay 1/3 of the stabling and gas plus her entries. Now I just have to sell that plan effectively!

    She has set some pretty long term big goals for herself in dressage in relation to where she is now and I want to try to encourage her to take the steps to reach those goals. She has talked a lot about getting into regular lessons with my coach but hasn't done that yet. I'm not sure if it's because she's a bit intimidated or if it's a time or money issue. I worry a bit that the lack of follow through is because she has done so well at 4H, I'm not sure she understands how different that is from recognized shows. I really want to encourage her as I don't want her to go to her first recognized show and get a harsh reality check. Hopefully we can make that happen this winter.

    I definitely don't want to lose her, she is great with my horse and loves him. She's also perfect in that she doesn't work him too hard - she's riding at about first level. He's a really great horse and in reality I'm sure that my coach or I could easily find another half leaser but I think it would be hard to find someone that fits as well. I'm sure the people who would be good enough riders and attracted to him would want to do the upper level work with him. I'm afraid he'd break down too quickly with two people trying to school at that level and frankly, I'm worried someone else would screw up all the training I'm putting on him. I've been VERY luck to have someone who is talented but takes it easy on the old man!



  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Caol Ila View Post
    It sounds to me that, your current goals for the horse being what they are, maybe this girl isn't the leaser you want. If I had a leaser who was riding in a way that required me to fix things in how the horse went, I'd be questioning whether she/he was the right leaser for my horse.
    Just to clarify - I don't have fix things she does or undo anything major... She rides him well but in a lower level frame. It's more that he's not 100% confirmed at the level we're working at so he loses it quickly... Really this is the case with any upper level schoolmaster - if you have a first level rider on them for too long the upper level moves get rusty. Since he's not totally confirmed they just get rusty quicker so we have to slow down after I've been off of him for a bit.



  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by IronwoodFarm View Post
    For me, show season is in full swing in October. My horses compete in eventing, dressage, and driving. They also go to the occasional hunter show. I have no idea what discipline shuts down in October and I think this is just an artiface of the OP's mind.
    I think this is somewhat dependent on where you live. I know up here, unless you do indoor shows things are over.

    I agree with the previous poster as well, if the leasee's riding skills are such that you have to reschool your horse than this is going to slow you down to your goals and she may not be the right fit for what you need.



  11. #11
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    When you live in New England or the Midwest, show season does pretty much shut down in October. There may be some schooling shows during the winter, but that's about it. Virginians are seeing the first point-to-points in March; we're still hunkered in for the winter.
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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by IronwoodFarm View Post
    I see nothing wrong the teen and her mom trying to find a way to get to the show that is acceptable to the OP. In fact, given that the OP is being disingenuous about her real reasons is only making the matter worse. They think there really is a possibility to show; there really isn't. I know I would be irritated if I had my time wasted in that manner.
    Wow, I really don't think I've been disingenuous... I sure hope not anyway. I was very up front about why I couldn't take her to the shows this month, as noted in the first post. I have a TON on my plate right now, I honestly can't take a day out to spend at a show. It's just not in the cards at the moment. I was caught off guard by so many requests because things basically shut down at the end of September in my area due to weather. There are a handful of indoor schooling shows in winter - I can count them on one hand - but otherwise we're done until late April or May.

    It is true that we haven't had a conversation about next season, but I've already requested some time with them to discuss it. I feel like I'm giving her plenty of time to make a decision about what she wants to do by having that conversation now rather than waiting and springing it on her in say, April. I also have to note, I am not taking showing off the table. I would be thrilled to support her in coming to recognized shows with me - which she has said is her ultimate goal - and I am happy to take her to any 4H shows that don't conflict. If she decides she's not into dressage as much as she thought and wants to do 4H with another horse that's fine. I'll be bummed but I understand. Losing her ultimately won't affect my training - I have several options if she goes another way that will allow me to continue.

    One detail I left out earlier - the 4H showing really only came to play this past summer. Prior to that she rode another horse for the general 4H stuff but that horse was sold so I let her use my horse this year. When she had the other horse my guy was her dressage mount and she only took him to the occasional 4H dressage and schooling dressage shows - none of the other stuff. Since I didn't show this past season it worked out fine but we will definitely need to talk about non-dressage expectations for the future. Dressage is his job and that's why she wanted to lease him so we will definitely need to talk about where her interests are and if this is the best situation for her now.



  13. #13
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    We do have winter here in Virginia, although nothing like the Midwest or New England. However, there are such things an indoor shows, too. We can show year round here.

    Now that the OP has responded with more detail, I think getting a plan that appeals to the leassor is the next step. It sounds like she is half-way there.

    One thought about the 4-H shows, coming from a long ago 4-Her. The reason I liked the shows so much was because it involved other kids. Is it possible that the leassor could join a local GMO with a solid program for juniors? If she had other kids to hang with, I think the recognized shows might be very attractive. And have some goals for her to achieve, too! Again, many GMOs have year end award programs and even team competititions. That's something that she might find attractive -- working on the GMO award and being on a junior team.

    I also think it would be helpful to acknowledge that the state 4-H show is a big deal to her. It was something to aspire to when I was a kid. I know the current state show in Virginia requires that kids have to qualify for it. Anyway, if you acknowledge the importance and offer something that could be even better, that would mitigate some of the disappointment.

    At any rate, I hope it works out for the OP and the leassor.
    Where Norwegian Fjords Rule
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  14. #14
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    OP - having a horse that is in just about the same position as yours, I can understand your training concernsand wanting to reach your goals. I would think about the following as a compromise: Determine what number and frequency of 4-H type shows could work for you - say one per month for example. Maybe no shows over the winter. Look at your anticipated calendar and block out times that you need to have your horse FOR YOU. With all this, also maybe consider a reduction in the amount they are paying you. OR dont tinker with the lease amount and tell them you will cover stall fees at recognized shows to encourage them going that direction.
    You can lay all this out in the discussion w/ them, along with the "love the kid's relationship w/ horse but here's where I need to go". Also, the thing that comes to mind is that good 1/2 leases are hard to find if you are the rider wanting a capable horse. Do they have other obvious options?
    In any case, I would document whatever agreement you have re the showing and definitely stick to your guns re no one else taking him. Too much can happen...
    We don't get less brave; we get a bigger sense of self-preservation........



  15. #15
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    I don't know where the OP is located, but there was certainly a fraternity of teenagers showing regularly in the recognised dressage shows in my region when I was a teenager. For quite a lot of those teens (not me, due to being far too socially awkward ), that was their social life. This was about ten years ago and I live about 8000 miles away from there now, but nevertheless I imagine there are similar groups of kids going through the levels. Is there a similar thing in your region?

    There also seems to be a lot of weight put on the "recognised" show thing, which I don't quite understand. I was showing Training/First/Second Level in recognised shows from age 13-18 and at the time, they had a junior/young rider division so you were competing against other kids your age. Sure, it was a USDF/AHSA show, but your scores were only compared to other teenagers, not professional adults. Perhaps you could convince her that recognised dressage shows aren't that scary after all?



  16. #16
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    I don't see any problem with telling her AND her parents your plans for you and YOUR horse for next year- and explain that the showing opportunities will be x (whatever the friday classes or whatever you want are).

    BUT you do need to be prepared that the girl might walk away- perhaps 4H shows are really important to her. I would start the conversation with how much you value her riding your horse and how well they get along...



  17. #17
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    Just to add, I would show up with a calendar with your show schedule on it. Since you can't both ride the horse at the same show (unless she is miraculously ready for 4th level in the spring), you need to mark down which shows have multiple days licenses as different shows. Then, I would honestly consider letting her show the last day (if its separate) and not the first. IMHO, it sets you up to do better as you won't have to fix things in warm-up for your first test, and it lets the horse have an easier last day at the show when he's already tired.



  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by joiedevie99 View Post
    Just to add, I would show up with a calendar with your show schedule on it. Since you can't both ride the horse at the same show (unless she is miraculously ready for 4th level in the spring), you need to mark down which shows have multiple days licenses as different shows. Then, I would honestly consider letting her show the last day (if its separate) and not the first. IMHO, it sets you up to do better as you won't have to fix things in warm-up for your first test, and it lets the horse have an easier last day at the show when he's already tired.
    Great suggestion! I noticed some key shows missing from the calendar but I can guesstimate when they will likely be for her. She definitely won't be showing 4th - more like 1st unless she really gets serious about lessons, then maybe low 2nd. I was thinking the first day might be good as a warm up but on second thought, you are probably right - where we can the last day might be better. I will have to look at how they are broken down - a lot of the time it seems the Friday show is separate and Saturday and Sunday are on one license.



  19. #19
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    I think you might find that the reason she has stuck to the 4H/ schooling stuff is money--recognized shows are a lot pricier and if she is half-leasing it might be because money is a concern for her family as well. So I would be prepared for that to be a dealbreaker if you can't be flexible. Can you survive for a year without half-leasing? Because it sounds to me like the best option would be to take a break for a year and then try to find someone new-- this girl might be in college by then by the sound of things?



  20. #20
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    If the leasing isn't so much about you making money, and you can afford a bit of a hit to your pocket (but one that will ultimately let you have a better schedule with your horse) I would do say the following:

    "Hi, Leasee. You and Dobbin are doing so well together- it's great to have a competent caring rider around when I'm just unable to be here every day. I wanted to check in and find out what your goals are for the upcoming year. Have you considered showing at any of the shows I attend? It would be easier for both of us, and Dobbin, to be on the same schedule. If you are agreeable to showing when I show, to help with the costs of the more expensive shows and the necessary lessons with my trainer I will reduce your lease price by $x per month. You will still be responsible for costs $a, b, and c."

    That's what I would do if this girl and/or simply having the horse in regular decent work was more important than my financial bottom line.

    If it's more about getting your horse's costs covered, I would still same the same as above, minus the "I'll reduce your bill" part.



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