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Leasing question

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  • Leasing question

    After many years of ownership, I am venturing into the world of leasing a low-level eventer with some miles and wanted to get a sense of what people felt was an average/fair price. In the Northern Virginia/Maryland area, it seems like most half leases are about $200-$250/mo for 3-4d/wk +/- shoes. But....the eventing barn where I ride "suggests" $350-375/mo for 3 d/wk + mandatory 4 lessons/mo, or $250/mo for 2 d/wk + 4 lessons/mo

    Any thoughts on these prices? Tips on broaching the subject with the owners without sounding like a money-pinching snit? Am I uncouth for thinking of negotiating a price?
    And the wise, Jack Daniels drinking, slow-truck-driving, veteran TB handler who took "no shit from no hoss Miss L, y'hear," said: "She aint wrapped too tight."

  • #2
    I recently had a greener mare on free lease. i just paid her expenses. I have also known a few people recently who have been able to lease low level horses (i think the 2 im thinking of competed thru Training) on a free lease as well, i think they just cover insurance, farrier,vet etc... So that is always a possibility too. Lots of people just want to find a good home for their horses without giving up full rights, so many times it is more about finding a good situation for the horse. Hey, its worth a shot to ask anyway.. all they can say is they are firm on the lease price!
    Good Luck with your search!


    • #3
      Most half leases I've seen are roughly half of board and/or shoes, plus or minus a buffer for routine expenses like vet care. Sometimes it's a little less when there's a lack of facilities (example: no indoor arena) or the lessee will have to provide some of the accommodations (like an appropriate saddle or trailer) or a greener horse. Often it's a little more when the rider has more to gain from the lease than the horse does, and it sounds like this is "that kind" of lease.

      The lower-level packer is a rare horse in general, and it's even more rare to find it available for half lease with access to a quality trainer. I would imagine they could charge a premium and still find someone to pay it. For example, what a crackerjack deal for someone trying to get their Pony Club D-3 rating.

      I was horseless for 15 years, so I can relate to wanting to get the most/best possible riding for the best possible price. It's hard to say without seeing the details, but to my eye, that's a fair price for a half-lease on a made horse who can show you the ropes. It would be a holy ripoff if the horse were green/difficult or if the facilities/trainer situation was non-ideal. Also a holy ripoff if it's way out of line with half of board/shoes, but if you're in NoVA/MD, I'd imagine board is a pretty big chunk of change (like $500+).

      You can certainly ask the owners if they'll negotiate. If you ask politely, they shouldn't take offense. But do remember that from their side, you may be getting a lot more from this lease than they are. The horse is getting additional wear and tear, they lose their access to the horse 3x weekly, and they assume a greater risk of liability/injury by bringing in a third party. Once you account for half of board and shoes, you may find that they're charging a bargain rate for those intangible opportunity costs.
      Head Geek at The Saddle Geek Blog http://www.thesaddlegeek.com/


      • #4
        For a half lease since the horse will stay on its home farm you are pretty much dealing with set costs (board, shoes). Even if the horse belongs to the farm, it is taking up space that could be used for an income-producing boarder.... so I would expect to pay half that, approximately. At my barn, board is $400/month, so $250 month covers a half-lease (including shoes) which is 3 days/week. I did board briefly at one barn that charged extra board for a horse that was half-leased, feeling that it was probably going to be using the arena more often than a horse with only one rider!!!

        Do you mean it is $350-375 for 3 days plus four lessons included, or $350-375 plus you have to pay for four lessons? What is regular board at the barn?

        Third Charm Event Team


        • #5
          Are those prices on top of 1/2 expenses or in lieu of?

          While there are paid leases in eventing, unlike hunter jumper world, it's the exception generally, particularly at the lower levels (you will see horses leased for Young Riders). Often it's a pay-the-bills kind of lease: usual practice in eventing, particularly for lower level horses, is the free lease: you pay half/all of the horse's day to day expenses plus your own show and lesson fees, but no other fee (sometimes you have separate negotiations about who pays the insurance on the horse). This sounds like a lease of a schoolhorse? Think about it this way: calculate up what the average ownership costs are at your barn (board plus farrier plus routine vet plus insurance) and divide by two, then add back the costs of whatever lessons/shows you have and see how that number compares to what you were quoted.


          • #6
            If you had to pay for board, basic vet care, and farrier, and the farm was a nice one with an indoor/ outdoor and good trainer on the premises, $600-$700 a month would probably not be out of line, especially in that area.

            If you're able to ride something quirky, and willing to do it at a place that doesn't necessarily have much in the way of a ring/ jumps, and can haul a horse yourself for lessons and events, you might be able find a bargain, though.


            • Original Poster

              Regular board at the farm around $600 + lessons. Any boarder (or leasor) is required to take 4 lessons, paying an additional $160 or so, out of pocket.

              The thing is the facility is great and one of their instructors is amazing , ICP III, but I feel like $350 for a greenie is a rip. I don't want to look elsewhere because I lovelovelove my instructor. Also, I have no plans on competing again right now, though 10 years ago, when I was in Pony Club, I was competing at training on my own horses. So, leasing a packer would be for my benefit & sanity, not the horse's.

              I just can't make the financial commitment of buying + boarding right now, thus the reason I am investigating leasing. I *want* to buy, but DH and I are spending $3-4k/mo on paying back student loans as fast as possible, so the extra $ for buying a project + board + vet + shoes + everythingelse & stashing cash for a down payment on a new house isn't avail.

              Unless we move, to say, middle-of-nowhere-VA, which would be MY pick, but DH works for the govt.
              And the wise, Jack Daniels drinking, slow-truck-driving, veteran TB handler who took "no shit from no hoss Miss L, y'hear," said: "She aint wrapped too tight."


              • #8
                Well, if board is 600 bucks, 350 works out to about 1/2 board plus 1/2 farrier and routine vet care. It's not a ripoff -- that's half what it costs to keep ANY horse at that farm. If you ride 3 days a week and the horse has a day off every week, you are getting 50% of the ride times.

                375 is maybe pushing it (and I'd find out what farrier costs are -- it can REALLY very from 4 plain shoes [or 2 plain shoes, or none!] to fancy schmancy special shoes. I have used the same farrier for years but my horses' bills depend on what work goes into their feet).

                I'd be a bit more uncomfortable with requiring 4 lessons a month, but that's just me. I love taking lessons and spend wads of money on them (relatively speaking), but I want the ability to pick when/how to spend my money in a given month. If I'm not competing and I'm feeling broke, I can dial back.
                The big man -- my lost prince

                The little brother, now my main man


                • #9
                  Half board plus $50...sounds more than fair to me. Unless you also have to pay farrier and vet bills. And didn't you say the horse has miles at the low levels?


                  • #10
                    i think that is fair, but there are many for free lease out there, but then you are going to have to pay full board, so i think this is a much better deal.


                    • Original Poster

                      Well, I appreciate the perspective. I hope people don't think I am evilly laughing to myself and twiddling my fingers, thinking "how I get an extra hundred bucks a month from these suckers?"

                      I just want extra ride time, on something who is well schooled, without the monetary black-hole of owning right now. The last time I owned (10 y ago), I am embarrassed to say, my parents did the $ part and I did the rest, but all the horses lived on our farm, my trainer was next door, etc. Woe is me
                      And the wise, Jack Daniels drinking, slow-truck-driving, veteran TB handler who took "no shit from no hoss Miss L, y'hear," said: "She aint wrapped too tight."


                      • #12
                        Also confused.... is it a greenie, or a lower level horse with miles? Very different beasts. Either way, obviously cheaper to half-lease than to buy your own or free lease and pay full board..... sounds very reasonable to pay approximately half the expenses for half the use of the horse at a very nice facility.

                        One assumes that if you love love love your instructor, the required lessons are not a big deal, so not sure why that is even an issue. I sure wouldn't let someone lease my horse if they weren't taking lessons from someone I approved of, no matter what level they had previously competed at (I can think of a half-dozen Advanced riders I wouldn't let near one of my horses without an armed guard!!! Especially if it was a green horse.)

                        Third Charm Event Team


                        • Original Poster

                          Sorry for the confusion! Looking for a low-level eventer, but the horse I am riding in lessons, who is avail for lease is young, green, no miles, ottb, awkwardly jumps about 2', trots small courses, not consistent on leads. He would be $350/mo and another option on same farm is a packer, competed through training/prelim, i think, is also $350/mo. same price, diff levels.

                          lessons aren't an issue other than $
                          And the wise, Jack Daniels drinking, slow-truck-driving, veteran TB handler who took "no shit from no hoss Miss L, y'hear," said: "She aint wrapped too tight."


                          • #14
                            Sounds like the packer is a better deal. I would guess the greenie will become a more feasible deal once the packer is taken.... law of supply and demand. When there is another game in town, the greenie is not worth $350/month.... when he is the only option, he is.

                            Third Charm Event Team


                            • #15
                              Seems fair for the Maryland/Virginia area, where board probably averages $600-$800 per month. If you free leased a horse, you would have to pay full board + shoes, vet, any additional expenses. I half-lease an UL horse that can be a tricky ride except for xc, where he is a packer, for 1/2 board + $50. I do not have to pay shoes, vet, etc. I feel like its a pretty good deal for a horse with that much experience, especially one that is fairly young and sound and that I can compete. I would definitely go with the packer, though, unless the greenie is a better match for you. Why would you pay someone to train their horse, then give it back when it is trained?


                              • #16
                                I'm in the Nova area and when I was lookling to lease my mare I asked $350/month for 3-4 days/week. I think it all depends on the barn and type of horse you are leasing out. I also agree that finding a nice lower level packer for lease is going to be tough. Good luck though, I know how frustrating it can be to not have a horse to ride!


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by La Chasse View Post
                                  Regular board at the farm around $600 + lessons. Any boarder (or leasor) is required to take 4 lessons, paying an additional $160 or so, out of pocket.

                                  The thing is the facility is great and one of their instructors is amazing , ICP III, but I feel like $350 for a greenie is a rip. .
                                  If board is $600 per month, and you are not paying for insurance, vet bills, and farrier, then $350/month is SUBSTANTIALLY LESS than half what a full "free lease" would cost you.

                                  It is a bargain, not a ripoff.

                                  But I am confused. Your first post says "low-level eventer with some miles " and this one says "greenie".

                                  chief feeder and mucker for Music, Spy, Belle and Tiara. Someone else is now feeding and mucking for Chief and Brain (both foxhunting now).


                                  • #18
                                    It sounds like you have two horses to choose from in the same lease price range? That's a no-brainer: go for the experienced one.

                                    I have actually done both - I half-leased a green OTTB (and would probably not do it again), and now I lease one of those rare lower-level packers. In the first case, I found myself wondering why I was spending hundreds of dollars to get this horse to steer at the canter, jump from a reasonable distance, etc., and get myself bucked off occasionally in the process. Now, every time I ride, I know the horse is worth every penny and then some.

                                    If you have a limited amount of time and money (like most leasers), you ought to find the horse that is most suited to your goals and best able to help you progress as a rider.
                                    "A canter is a cure for every evil." -Benjamin Disraeli