I'm in the same boat. My horse has been out 24/7 since I got him 1.5 years ago. When he went out on "trial" they only turned him out for 4-8 hours a day. I was really worried but he was also ridden every day.
It worked out fine and now he is out much much more now that they know him and trust him. If the horse is also being ridden daily, I wouldn't worry too much. Is the horse going to get more turnout when the weather gets better?
Bottom line, if the horse is anxious from not being out, they'll be able to tell. They may not like his behavior if he's cooped up. Or he might love being in a stall. My guy transitioned beautifully to being In most of the day. Weirdo!
Charlie Brown (1994 bay TB X gelding)
White Star (2004 grey TB gelding)
Maybe I am a little particular, but its a free lease and I'm still responsible for the bills. I'm not getting anything out of this situation except a few days of exercise for my horse, I'm just not sure its worth it. He might be burning the same calories being turned out 24/7 for that matter.
do you have a ring at home? If you aren't making much money from this situation what about advertising a free lease on him at your place to an experienced rider? You would get to keep him at home and he would get exercised.
I too can be a little controlling with my horse lol. I would like to partial lease him so I don't have to ride 5+ days a week. He has to be kept in shape to stay sound due to an old muscle injury. However, I have a hard time trusting someone.
Oh yeah...take him back. Do you at least have a great contract with him? What if he were injured during the trial or lease?
If its a free lease, they should be paying for EVERYTHING! (In my opinion of course). The only upside I could see to it is if you're going to sell the horse in the near future and they're just getting him in shape so that you can sell him for more money.
If I were you, I'd take him back! The worrying on your part is not worth this lease.
Charlie Brown (1994 bay TB X gelding)
White Star (2004 grey TB gelding)
I think you need to do a little research on what exactly a free lease is.
IME, a free lease is where the person leasing the horse pays ALL bills. Board, farrier, vet, etc.
Someone is getting a great deal out of the situation.
If you want to continue to free lease him out, I would suggest a revision to the lease contract so that it is a true free lease or if they won't agree to that, bring him home and advertise him again for a free lease.
However, I will agree with whoever said leasing may not be the right option for you if you feel like you need to micromanage his care.
"People ask me 'will I remember them if I make it'. I ask them 'will you remember me if I don't?'"
Aside from the details of the free lease which is not to your advantage, I think you are really overstressing. Horses are adaptable, and some do enjoy some stall time. If the horse is happy, why are you stressing so much? I have one that actually hates turnout. He gets it anyway, but he can not wait to get back in. I think this is more of a control issue, and if you can not relinquish any control then your should not lease your horse out.
The horse is used to living outside and prefers to do so. In rain, cold, and wind he still does not come in, even though his stall is always accessible. So I'm pretty sure I'm no imposing my preferences into him.
I could not get a definite amount of work he would get per week, and on top of it today they decided that 32 degrees with light wind was too cold for turnout, nor was he worked and wouldn't be until Thursday. Given the weather we're looking at this week that means about 4 days straight in a stall, doing nothing. Who would honestly find that acceptable?!
To me, stalling a horse for this period of time, especially one that normally lives outside is not right. I brought him home today and he was thrilled to get out and romp with his buddies.
I didn't work this hard to get my farm, which allows me to manage my horse like a living animal vs a car or toy, to watch him sit in a box days on end.
Well first I think you're kind of like the mother that sends her kid to college and then comes to visit 2 days later and calls 3 times a day.
That said, you can always keep looking for a better lease situation, there are many places in your area that turn out for 8 - 12 hours a day but most of them WILL keep horses in if it is rainy and cold or there is a blizzard or something.
Would someone ride him less in the winter and more often when it gets warmer? Sometimes I only ride 3 days a week when it is very cold but when it's warmer I ride 5 days a week.
I think that being ridden at all would be better exercise then just standing around grazing.
I would expect a free lease to mean the person leasing would pay board and farrier expenses if they wanted him in shoes.
Windward Farm, Washougal, WA- our work in progress, our money pit, our home!
So..they are paying board to ride your horse 2-3 times a week. The difference between home, where you foot the feed bill but horsey is "out 24/7 in all kinds of weather" and the boarding situation where horsey is only out 6 hours a day, but ridden and his feed bill is paid for by someone else is that you think he'll be miserable? How often was horse ridden/worked by you? What other care do you do (shoeing or trims? basic teeth/worming/shots?) that you would like the lessee to take over?
Seems to me you prefer to have horsey in your care, not in someone else's care. People who are willing to lease, are willing to give up control. You don't seem like that kind of person.
And, frankly, your horse will survive on the amount of turnout and riding provided in the boarding situation quite nicely, probably. But only you'd know that, and it sounds like you are projecting your dislike of a stabling situation onto this.
Proud member of the "Don't rush to kill wildlife" clique!
I've had to learn to compartmentalize a lot of things in my life. When I'm working I certainly have periods of down time, but there are long stretches when I just can't focus on outside distractions, even family or horses. I've figured out with time that even though things aren't PRECISELY the way I would do them, and I'm not available every second, most living beings (my family, pets, and horses included) manage to survive and even thrive without my constant vigilance. I think it's kind of therapeutic to make the inner control freak pipe down every now and then.
Most of my horses prefer to be outside, too, but I'm of the opinion that them being able to cope with being stalled is a vital life skill for any horse that is every going to go anywhere. This time of year, when the horses are turned out they do NOTHING but stand around in muck and frozen ruts. Yes, they're out and not in, but I don't get bent out of shape if they have to spend a day inside once in a while since the footing right now isn't conducive to them wandering or playing anyway.
I think you should take him back (but I'm neurotic about turn-out too). He's getting less exercise, not more, and he's stuck in a dusty pooped- and peed-in stall for 18 hours a day at best, and 24/7 at worst. This is a big change for his metabolism, his feet, his muscles, and his mental health. It's not necessarily horrible, but it's not what he's used to or what you think he would prefer. Gently tell the leasor that you are so grateful for the time she's put in, but you've realized that you are just not comfortable with the level of activity he is getting, and you would rather end the lease before his inactivity leads to a mental or physical injury. Re-state, gently, that the reason for leasing was to increase the horse's activity, yet he is getting less opportunity to move around in the current environment. Be gracious, be charming, but be an advocate for your horse.