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Leasing a horse - questions!

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  • Leasing a horse - questions!

    I was offered a full lease on a horse and I had some questions. I plan on having the horse insured, my questions are really about what I can do to cover MY butt in the event the horse injures himself.

    Is it common or legit to ask for a clause that states if the horse injures himself I will not be liable for anything beyond what the insurance covers? I suppose I am concerned that in the event something happens (horse kicks himself or has one of those nightly mystery injuries) that I am not going to be on the hook for insanely expensive ongoing medical care for a horse that is not mine.

    I am not opposed to helping out for various normal vet care or smaller things my real concern is simply if heaven forbid the horse injures a suspensory in his stall one night I don't want to get into a long drawn out battle over costs.

    Having said this, I have leased in the past without a clause of that nature but would like to add something in to cover myself since the longer I have been around horses the more paranoid I am!

    Thanks!
    Last edited by Tanyanoel; Sep. 27, 2011, 06:51 PM. Reason: spelling

  • #2
    I think most leases spell out what you'd be responsible for. I agree that you should not be responsible for the costs of the horse injuring himself, unless it was due to your negligence ofcourse.
    "Sadly, some people's greatest skill, is being an idiot". (facebook profile pic I saw).

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    • #3
      I would definitely like a clause of this sort. I've heard of leases in which you would be responsible for bills that the horse incurs under your care and I was thinking this was common, but I may be wrong on that. I've never personally been part of a full lease, and the only was I was almost part of gave all veterinary costs to the person leasing the horse I owned. I've heard it's a way of keeping the leaser accountable for what they do with the horse and less likely to return a broken mount to the owner. For me, it just made sense given some of the specific circumstances of the lease.

      I think there was a previous thread on here about who's commonly responsible for these costs and for how long... I think in the H/J forum?
      If the pony spits venom in your face or produces a loud roar, it is probably not a pony. Find another. -The Oatmeal

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      • #4
        It can be done lots of ways- just depends on what you can agree to.

        I'd sit down with the owner and divide up the following responsibilities:

        Routine vet (teeth, shots, coggins), maintenance (joint injections, Adequan, Legend, etc.), mortality insurance premium, major medical/surgical insurance premium, deductible on claims put through insurance, emergency/lameness claims not covered by insurance, amounts over the maximum insurance coverage per year, co-pay on insurance claims (if your policy has them), non-veterinary health (chiro, acupuncture)

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        • #5
          Writing as someone who has leased out one of my horses numerous times in the past, I always insist on a lease clause that makes the lessee (the non-owner) responsible for any injury to the horse (or my equipment) while in the custody and control of the lessee. Without such a lease clause, there is nothing to protect me or my horse from suffering abuse, poor care, bad judgment on the part of the lessee. Limiting liability to the conditions of and amount of an insurance policy would not be enough for me. If a prospective leasee was not willing to assume that risk, I simply didn't lease the horse. That only stopped one prospective lessee, numerous others accepted my liability shifting provisions.

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          • #6
            When you are looking at a horse to lease, use the same precautions you would if you were going to buy him. Get a vet check done on the horse (especially if you will be liable for veterinary and farrier care). Test the horse in the discipline you wish to use. If you are planning on riding the horse, ride him several times before making a decision, if you are planning on jumping, be sure to jump the horse on several occasions. It is also good to bring along a trainer or educated friend to assess the horse and help you with your decision.
            Dr. Mark Rhodes
            stair battery
            Green Living

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            • #7
              Really, it is whatever you and the owner agree to do. It's very smart to address these issues up front when there is no emotion involved. Make sure you have everything in writing.

              I've leased out several horses but they have been "on farm" leases where I still was seeing the horse every day and monitoring their health

              If it were an off farm lease I would probably want the person leasing to assume more risk.
              Equine Ink - My soapbox for equestrian writings & reviews.
              EquestrianHow2 - Operating instructions for your horse.

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              • #8
                Boy! This is a tough question. In the past, I did lease a horse for breeding....twice actually, one mare and one stallion. With the mare, I was required to carry a mortality insurance policy, and if you do that, be sure you also buy the companion health care policy. An insurance company will demand that you pay the health costs up to the insured value of the horse is before the mortality kicks in (when you can put the horse down unless it is an immediate emergency like a broken leg.) With the stallion, it was basically done on a handshake as I had known the people for many years. Had anything gone wrong....horse got injuried, or liability occured because the horse got out on the road, or any of those other nasty things that can happen...well, everybody would have been up a creek.

                Presently, I have a neighbor's mare in my barn...another handshake situation, where it is more like a shared lease rather than a full lease, as the owner does provide some of the feed, etc. She has told me several times that horses will be horses and she figures her horse could be injured as easily (probably more so) on her property than on mine. She is actually relieved to have her horse here because it takes away some of her liability should I be hurt while riding on her property. This mare is fairly green, though mostly sensible...but, horses are horses.

                I have friends that have also taken horses on handshakes, and probably in today's economy, this is happening more than most of us are aware. Horses in any form carry risks, whether they be owned by us, or just leased by us. You and the horse's owner need to have a very frank conversation about what is expected, and if you do not know this person or maybe even if you do, these things should be written down and signed and dated by both of you.

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                • Original Poster

                  #9
                  Thanks...

                  Thanks for the replies, they help. My trainer is adjusting a lease agreement to fit our specific needs on this horse so that both parties involved are covered and everything is well spelled out so that there will hopefully not be any surprises when it comes to who takes care of what!

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