So I'm going to be moving about 500 miles from where I am currently located to attend a grad school program and I need to figure out what to do with my horse. I currently have a super easy (but slightly green) OTTB that would be a great project for an advanced kid to work with. I was always lucky growing up that I had people willing to give me horses to ride since my parents couldn't afford to buy me one, and I'm thinking it might be nice to repay the favor since school is going to keep me so busy. What are the basic logistics related to free leasing my guy out? This is what I was thinking- let me know if there is anything that seems way off base.
-They pay board, farrier, vet, general upkeep, all lesson/clinic/horse show costs.
-I have it in the lease that I can take the horse back at any point if I see that he is not being taken care of properly.
-I require that the rider takes at least one lesson per week on the horse with a reputable trainer (at their cost, but I want to make sure a trainer is regularly involved).
- Lease term of one year, with extension very likely after the year is up.
Now this is the part that I'm not sure of- I will continue to pay his monthly insurance premiums (only colic/mortality coverage), and in exchange I would like to be able to come by and hack him once every two weeks or so (with prior approval/coordination of dates with his leasee).
I currently have my horse free leased out to a wonderful woman, which is part and parcel of the free lease deal. We've known her, the horse is still at the barn where I've always boarded him (same barn manager, vet, farrier, etc.). So essentially, we've changed very little except for his regular rider. The horse requires maintenance and though very sound, charging a lease fee didn't seem totally necessary. It's also to our advantage to keep the horse where we know he is (exceptionally) well-cared for. Lovely Lady wins, we win.
She pays board, lessons, vet/chiro/farrier/dentist. We continue to pay for insurance, and since we ask her to use my custom saddle on him, any saddle fitting adjustments as well. We don't have any written agreement about my coming out of NYC to hack him from time to time, but as long as I ask nicely and give her a couple weeks' notice, I have had no issue getting some saddle time.
I currently have my horse free leased and my lease agreement sounds about like yours...I dont have anything about me coming to ride him though. I also put a clause in mine that says they CAN NOT sub-lease him out...Ive had people do this before...they get a nice free lease and then make money off of it by subleasing to someone else. For me, I WANT to know where my horse is and who is riding him...so having someone sublease him out takes any control away from me in deciding that.
Also, I have had a hand in two paid leases that stated they were required to take at the least monthly lessons with a reputable trainer...and neither did. Unless the horse is in the same barn you ride at, with the same trainer, its hard to know that they are, or are not taking lessons, and with whom. I suppose if you KNEW they were at a large show barn that may be easier...these two horses went to private type barns that had trainers but they did not require lessons, etc in order to board.
Never Ride Faster Than Your Guardian Angel Can Fly
Way Back Texas~04/20/90-09/17/08
Green Alligator "Captain"
If you lease to someone with a full time job, wanting to ride every other (I assume...) weekend might put a crimp in your leasee's plans. If you can do weekdays then it might be less of an issue. But... you may get really busy with school and not actually make it out there that often. I'd leave that fairly vague in the lease ("owner will have the option to ride the horse occasionally, but not more than twice a month").
Specify exactly who is allowed to ride the horse. You don't want them letting a friend ride, friend gets hurt, insurance company finds out you own the horse, etc., etc. You may even want to extend that to who is allowed to *handle* the horse -- only the leasee and the barn staff. (See above and substitute friends getting feet stomped on, etc.)
Work with a lawyer to get the right wording in your lease contract about liability. I've mentioned Jennifer Hagan before, she did the agreement when I leased Patrick out to a Pony Clubber years ago.
Require some kind of written update -- could be Facebook posts or something more formal. Instant written record in case things start going wrong. My leasee wrote in a journal in the tack room and I could review it when I came to ride (it was a half lease, we both updated it).
Good luck! If you find someone with similar views on horse-keeping, it can work out very well.
Make sure your horse is micro-chipped before it leaves the premises. Based on several disastrous free leases written about on these boards, I would require monthly pictures of the horse with a newspaper showing the days date. I would make sure the BO where the horse was to be kept knew that under NO CIRCUMSTANCES was the horse to leave her premises without a phone call to YOU. There have been way too many horses that seem to go *poof* into thin air on free leases.
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Having had a horse that went poof, I can't emphasize enough the need for a contract, and for a designee of your choice to be able to monitor the horse on an at-least monthly basis, plus random visits. Lots of bad things can happen when you are an absentee owner. If the horse can be leased within the barn, that is the absolute best-case scenario.
Life would be infinitely better if pinatas suddenly appeared throughout the day.
I think you need to be a lot more specific in your lease -- I always have specified who is allowed to ride the horse, where they can take the horse, what tack to use, that I need to be notified for any non-routine vet care, etc.
Personally, I would not get involved in a 1-year lease -- I'd start with a much shorter amount of time and then re-evaluate. I know the idea of a year can give you a sense of security, but that can backfire if you don't like the situation.
I would strongly suggest doing a PPE before the lease starts so everyone agrees about the horse's general health and state of soundness.
I concur with making sure that the BO knows the horse is yours and that it cannot be removed from the property without your permission and that you are in touch with the trainer who gives the lessons.
That said, most leases work out well. The problem is the ones that don't can be a disaster.
I am finding that it is much more difficult to find someone to free lease my horse than what I originally thought. I figured people would be lining up around the block for a free lease...but then again, nothing is ever really "free."
"A horse gallops with his lungs, perseveres with his heart, and wins with his character." - Tesio
By all means, have a lawyer involved. I have found the best way to do this is to explain to the lawyer what I want, in my words, and let the lawyer turn it into legalese. The lawyer can also advise you about things you may not have thought about, to protect you and your horse.
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My guy is sort of free leased out right now (I know she lurks, so hi!)
I pay insurance (mortality and major medical to take the scary out of emergency decision making), front shoes, routine vet, and a small amout towards his board (approx 1/4 I think, I honestly don't know what board there runs).
I also had a nice but also sort of green OTTB and it just worked out right. He is an amateur ride with the right management (lunging!) but I was running out of tools to progress with him (he is much more horse than I needed in the talent/learning respect, he mastered everything I was capable of teaching him within the first 8 months of having him). I was also having boarding/trainer issues and needed to figure out a way to move on.
My husband is slightly horrified with the bills for a horse I never see - but the quality of the lease is more than worth it. He's at a highly-respected 'A' barn in a larger area. She's had him 3 months and he's doing courses, getting his changes, and rocketing around like the big idiot that he is with a rider that can keep up with him (he's finally learning to trust a capable rider instead of my 'um... You can jump this... If you want...'). His rider is very driven, talented, and I agree with her philiosophies. She also seems to like him
He's a forever horse (he weaseled his way back into my life 3 years after I got out of horses, I foaled out his momma several times and knew him as a racehorse) so I don't know that I would go for just an advanced kid at his point, even if it got me out from under his bills.
Also, practically, I wonder how easy it would be to find someone to do it when nice but green horses are so cheap right now. Yes, you wouldn't have the long-term commitment... but all vet bills, lessons, board, shoes, etc ... most would rather get something off the track myself and be able to resell.
I also got good opportunities as a kid, but generally they were either free to me or paid (and I did get to ride a few nice ones)
But as some straight up advice - get the full major medical. What if the horse needs emergency surgery they can't afford and you're unavailable and they euthanize? Major medical helps me sleep at night.
When I listed my horse for a free lease I had several tire kickers...my horse is 12 turning 13, not the hack winner, nothing fancy, but honest and an easy keeper. Not an ubber easy ride but not overly complicated so I said no beginners but at the same time he is not something a pro would want to ride...while he is perfect for ME, he is just not THAT nice.
I found people were either in two camps...they either wanted a lovely 3ft "A" show hunter for NOTHING or they wanted a "horse" for the sake of having a "horse". I had considered putting a small fee, say $500, on the lease just to weed out the rift raft but didnt.
I was ubber honest in my add and when people called I interviewed them to the 10th degree. I made it clear...this is MY horse and I retain ALL control. I got lucky and found a great situation for me and my horse as well as the lady who leased him, but it took some time. She pays his board, shoes, and general upkeep. She is also reponsible for any and all vet care he requires while in her care...this includes normal and routine stuff along with emergancies. Any sort of injury, even simple stitches, they are required to call me ASAP. I asked for the names of her vet and farrier ahead of time and while I knew the vet, I met the farrier to make sure he wasnt some nut job.
I had him listed for lease a year or so ago as well and had THOUGHT I wanted a teen to take him and such...had two look at him, two kids that I KNEW and had worked with for a few years...man oh man am I glad it didnt work out with them...they ended up getting paid leases on nice horses and did not hold up to their end of the bargain at all...had they been my horses and I knew about it I would have yanked them out ASAP...so it goes to show, even though you may think leasing to someone you know is the best thing, in the end it may not be.
Never Ride Faster Than Your Guardian Angel Can Fly
Way Back Texas~04/20/90-09/17/08
Green Alligator "Captain"
You will need to inform your insurance carrier the horse is leased out and no longer in your direct care, they can put a rider on the policy covering him in the care of the leassor. If you don't, they can deny a claim or delay needed treatment authorization trying to track you down.
This can work but, really, most people that cannot afford a horse look for a free lease but also cannot afford the kind of quality monthly upkeep costs most owners expect. That goes double if you are leasing to a younger person still living at home or in typical low wage starter jobs that really don't understand the costs or have any way to cover them of anything at all goes wrong or the rates for needed services go up. All it takes is a $50 increase in board at the same time farrier and vet services go up and they come up short.
Sorry but have sat and watched these things deteriorate for too many years. Set a lease fee (which can be lowish if you like, say 500) to be paid in full before you turn him over, get a PPE and get a GOOD contract with a copy to the BO or trainer where the horse will reside. If your prospective leassee cannot afford to do these things, they probably are not going to be able to afford the horse, particularly with a regular lesson requirement which can also increase in price over a year.
Personally, I would only go thru a trainer(s) and that horse would stay at that named barn. I leased quite a few as leasee and leassor and that was clearly stated in each contract.
You can't trust the horse being moved and/or the BO or trainer not knowing the lease terms. You also cannot trust your leassor to admit when they are overextended. BTDT, had to get a lawyer to get my own horse back when it was siezed for back board. I got blindsided with that when I went to pick him up after lessee failed to keep regular contact.
If you must, go month to month and visit at renewal time with a new contract. That way it can't get too gosh awful bad and leave you cleaning up a big financial mess.
Last edited by findeight; Nov. 20, 2012 at 04:35 PM.
When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.
I didn't read all of the responses but if i were you, i wouldn't free lease him out. I say this, because did a free lease on our horse and it was awful. We had everything in writing and the lady seemed lovely each time she came to the barn before the actual lease started. As soon as she took our lovely horse from the current boarding situation to her boarding barn...everything went downhill. The weeky "promised", simple e-mails and pictures stopped. she wouldn't return phone calls either. Needless to say we went to where the horse was being boarded and were horrified. Horse was skinny (horse hadn't been gone for very long) and very upset. We took him off that property immediately only to find that his back was pretty much ruined from a very poorly fitted saddle. it took months for that horse to trust us again but he does now and we will never, ever, ever do anything like that again. Again, we thought we had all of our ducks signed by both parties and in a row. But as soon as the horse leaves then it's "anything goes". I hope that if you do end up leasing out your horse, you find the perfect person. Just be very, very careful.
I know a lot of people have good experiences leasing their horses but I didn't. I bought a horse that was in a 1/2 lease and decided to continue it for a few months , mostly to help me keep the horse ridden since it was a second horse. I thought the lessor was an experienced horse person, but it turned out they knew little about horse care. They couldn't even be relied on to wrap the horse's legs after jumping. (They had been known to wrap in the wrong direction....) I had all the responsibility because it was my horse and I had all the consequences. They just rode and that was it. Needless to say I got out of the lease at the earliest possible time.
Before you enter into an agreement ask yourself if you really need to do this. What would be the harm if your horse was out to pasture for a year? Nobody will care for your horse like you do. And if you decide to lease him, make sure the lessor is qualified and capable of taking care of him.
I leased a horse at my old barn for about 3 years. All the arrangements were done through my trainer, who was also the BO (meaning, after I expressed my interest in leasing, they drew up the contracts and had both the horse owner and I sign them, they kept the paperwork, and I had to inform the BO of any changes to the contract). Here's what was agreed to in my lease:
I paid for:
Minor medical expenses (i.e. if the horse needed stitches, a short course of antibiotics, etc)
Weekly lesson (included in boarding fee)
All fees associated with going to horse shows (trailering, stabling, training fees, etc)
The horse owner paid for:
Routine, scheduled vet care (2x yearly dental and shots)
Major medical expenses (i.e. if the horse had colicked and needed surgery, the owner would have paid)
Owner provided horse, halter, lead rope. I promptly replaced the halter and lead rope, and provided saddle, pads, bridle, bits, boots, grooming supplies, fly spray, etc.
In my case, the horse owner was completely absent - they owned the horse, but never came out to the barn, and really wanted nothing to do with it (who knows why they got him in the first place!!!). I ended up being lucky in that the horse never needed major medical attention of any kin. I ended up picking up some of the other expenses like getting his teeth done and getting his annual shots, just because I'm (usually) a nice person. I did need their permission before moving him off the property for horse shows, etc., but otherwise was free to do with him as I pleased.
It was an open-ended lease - I started leaseing him on XX/XX/XXXX date, and had to give 30 days written notice to the BO, who then contacted the HO in order to terminate the lease.
I think any leasing situation is a give and take.
Adversity is the stone on which I sharpen my blade.