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Part-lease dilemma - am I being unreasonable?

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  • Part-lease dilemma - am I being unreasonable?

    Due to my packed schedule and wanting a little relief from some of my horse bills, I have my horse in a “1/3 lease” situation in which my leaser rides eight times per month. I was originally looking for a half-leaser to split care costs, but this girl is a great fit for my guy so I agreed to the 1/3 lease instead. I charge her a (I think) very reasonable fixed price of $200/month which works out to $25/ride. She also has the opportunity to take lessons on him when her schedule allows.

    My leaser also has a busy work schedule so when we began the lease, she asked that I charge her per ride rather than a fixed cost per month, in case she had to miss rides due to work. However, as I already felt I was giving her quite favourable lease terms and am essentially also paying the opportunity cost of not finding a full half-leaser who would pay a higher monthly fee, I indicated that I preferred to stick to a minimum flat fee. Anything below that does not feel worth my while, honestly.

    Recently, between the insane heat wave that has descended on our region and a minor bout of cellulitis for my horse, there has been a period of ten days when we have been unable to ride. My leaser is now indicating that she does not want to pay the minimum fee for this month as she most likely won’t be able to ride 8 times before the end of July. She says she wants to ensure she only wants to pay for the rides she is able to do “under the circumstances.” Am I being unreasonable to still expect the full 1/3 lease fee? To my mind, I made it clear upon starting that I consider this a monthly part-lease, not a per-ride situation – and it’s to be expected that, within reason, minor situations might crop up that prevent us from riding for short periods – that’s horses!

    I did not have her sign a lease contract that covers this situation – more fool me – so I’m looking for guidance as to whether I’m being too strict with my interpretation of this situation, or whether I should give her a break.
    Thanks in advance!

  • #2
    I suggest you go ahead and write up a lease. It's not too late. Put in exactly what you expect. I wouldn't want to do the pay-as-you-go plan, either. You're not in the horse rental business. She may be a good match for your horse, but if she balks about this, I'd consider other leasees. Good luck.

    Now, for the days your horse could NOT be ridden, you may want to extend her riding time a little to cover that, but tell her she can pick up extra days, maybe, instead. She missed, what, maybe two or three days because of that.
    “Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.”
    ¯ Oscar Wilde

    Comment


    • #3
      I am from the other side of the World and we do not lease horses like you do over there. Usually if you lease a horse here you have the whole horse. In that case I would say you pay if the horse is sound or not.

      In your case in this situation cellulitis has nothing to do with how the leaser has ridden the horse. I would give her her money so as she can spend it to ride another horse. She leases so as she does not have the same responsibilities as an owner. She leases so as she can ride. She would be better off spending her money on lessons on school horses than on a lease on a horse she cannot ride. JMHO.
      It is better to ride 5 minutes a day than it is to ride 35 minutes on a Sunday.

      Comment


      • #4
        You are not being unreasonable. It is a monthly flat fee, not a per ride charge, and in that situation she has to take the good with the bad. I have done a lot of leasing and half leasing in the last few years, and never would have expected the owner to cut me a break because my schedule got bad or the horse had a few off days! You already rejected a per-ride arrangement, she's just trying to revisit it. At this point you may want to get her to sign something in writing that sets out your terms, otherwise you may have to continually revisit these discussions!

        Comment


        • #5
          I think a lease contract would cover whether leaser would pay during bouts of illness up to how long? Heat wave doesn't count. Cellulitis does

          Also of course monthly leases typically specify either party can quit at any time.

          Really negotiating this depends on how much you want to keep this specfifc leaser.

          Since there is no contract I would give her a break for this month, IE suspend the lease. Then start up with a lease agreement in place that you both sign off on. Im sure there are lots of models on line.

          Comment


          • #6
            [QUOTE=SuzieQNutter;n10168473 She leases so as she does not have the same responsibilities as an owner. She leases so as she can ride. She would be better off spending her money on lessons on school horses than on a lease on a horse she cannot ride. JMHO.[/QUOTE]

            Actually, over here the whole point of leasing or part-leasing is that you do treat it more like temporary ownership responsibilities, unless another arrangement is agreed to. What you describe is like renting a school horse, and if she wants to pay per ride, then lessons on a school horse is exactly what she should do. A lease does not guarantee you that the horse can be ridden on your days -- if it rains and the barn doesn't have a covered or an indoor, the owner certainly doesn't owe the lessee a partial refund, and it is the same for lameness issues. Those types of issues are covered by month to month lease terms or termination provisions. It is not the owner's responsibility to guarantee her a certain number of rides per month, although certainly in unusual circumstances I've had owners share extra time to make up for lost time, but they were not obligated to.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Madison View Post

              Actually, over here the whole point of leasing or part-leasing is that you do treat it more like temporary ownership responsibilities, unless another arrangement is agreed to. What you describe is like renting a school horse, and if she wants to pay per ride, then lessons on a school horse is exactly what she should do. A lease does not guarantee you that the horse can be ridden on your days -- if it rains and the barn doesn't have a covered or an indoor, the owner certainly doesn't owe the lessee a partial refund, and it is the same for lameness issues. Those types of issues are covered by month to month lease terms or termination provisions. It is not the owner's responsibility to guarantee her a certain number of rides per month, although certainly in unusual circumstances I've had owners share extra time to make up for lost time, but they were not obligated to.
              Thank you
              It is better to ride 5 minutes a day than it is to ride 35 minutes on a Sunday.

              Comment


              • #8
                I don't think you are being unreasonable; the weather is something you can't control and is part of the risk. That being said--please write up a contract. I agree she's getting a GREAT deal (I did a 2x week lease for $650/month, she could ride more if I couldnt, it was about a 1/3 lease)

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                • #9
                  I don’t think you are being at all unreasonable. You made it very clear from the start that you didn’t want to pay per ride. She has 8 rides a month and can still ride. It’s her schedule that’s stopping that now that the horse is sound. Get a contract and if she won’t sign then it might be best to find someone else. If you give in and let her pay by ride this moth she’ll likely try doing it again or switch to that permanently.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    At my self care barn a big reason people part lease is to get the chores done. You pay $200 and clean, feed, set up breakfast, on the days you ride. Some owners are happy to just do an exchange of ride time for chores, especially if they have a good job that keeps them very busy, more money than time.

                    Some horse owners insist that if you can't get to the barn, you still have to arrange chores coverage on those days, which could mean paying one of the free lance barn helpers.

                    No just skipping days. It really is full responsibility on the days you ride.

                    I would not agree to pay per ride because you want the cash plus you want to know horse is being ridden on your off days.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Madison View Post

                      Actually, over here the whole point of leasing or part-leasing is that you do treat it more like temporary ownership responsibilities, unless another arrangement is agreed to. What you describe is like renting a school horse, and if she wants to pay per ride, then lessons on a school horse is exactly what she should do. A lease does not guarantee you that the horse can be ridden on your days -- if it rains and the barn doesn't have a covered or an indoor, the owner certainly doesn't owe the lessee a partial refund, and it is the same for lameness issues. Those types of issues are covered by month to month lease terms or termination provisions. It is not the owner's responsibility to guarantee her a certain number of rides per month, although certainly in unusual circumstances I've had owners share extra time to make up for lost time, but they were not obligated to.
                      ^^This. At one point in my life I was taking weekly lessons. It was all I had time or money for back then. When the instructor tried to shift the terms of the arrangement to function more like a lease, but without any contract, by asking me to "chip in" for clipping, blanketing, extra feed, etc. I left.

                      There are pros and cons in both scenarios for both parties. It sounds like in this situation, both lessor and lessee had different things in mind, and now need to sit down and be sure they have agreement on how situations like this will be handled and write up a contract to that effect.
                      "So relax! Let's have some fun out here! This game's fun, OK? Fun goddamnit." Crash Davis; Bull Durham

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        As the owner, you are free to set the terms. I don't think it's unreasonable for you to insist on the full $200 (most leases are a flat fee, not a per ride basis, that's pretty traditional). But, I think that it is a red flag that she is "nickel and diming" you over not having been able to ride the horse for a couple of days. It tells me that she may not be as invested in the lease (or appreciate the lease) as much as you would hope. Or, alternatively, she may just not really understand how leases work--because there is definitely a basic level of commitment expected.

                        Here's what I would do. I would consider agreeing to her request this month, but then I would look for a new person to lease the horse and terminate her lease at that time, since she is apparently not comfortable with the terms you have requested. Obviously, on the next go round, I would have a contract and spell it out in writing what the monthly fee is and what happens if the horse is unrideable (or there are adverse weather conditions) so that there are no surprises or awkward moments for either party.

                        Alternatively, you could just say, "no, we agreed on a monthly fee, I don't control weather conditions, and a minor health issue or lost shoe or whatever is a normal, to-be-expected, part of leasing a horse." I don't know anyone who has ever given a break on a horse lease price because of the weather or a few days of a minor health issue. (A more consistent unsoundness would be a different story.)

                        I know you liked this person because she seemed like a great fit for your horse, but if she's not really committed to the lease it doesn't seem like this is a good situation overall.

                        Comment

                        • Original Poster

                          #13
                          Thank you so much for these great replies. I think I will go Scribbler 's route of eating the cost of a ride or two this month, then writing up a contract to be signed starting in August making the terms re. injury/inclement conditions very clear; if she is reticent, we'll end it there. Really appreciate the feedback!

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            IMO a less than half lease is a glorified rental. I seem to have a differing opinion from everyone else but I feel when someone less than half (or even regular half) leases a horse they typically do not want all that horse ownership entails, they just want more rides than a weekly lesson.

                            I've only run into this situation once but I was given a ride on another horse without even asking when my lease horse came up lame. Since it sounds like you have only own one horse, I would just give additional rides to make up for time lost. Even if you disagree morally, if you want to keep this leaser for your horse I would do it just to not leave a sour taste and then have her sign a contract so this situation doesn't happen again.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I’m going to disagree slightly Once you start getting below 1/2 lease the terms start varying a lot by situation so I dont think you can compare it to a regular lease and call what she wants unfair or unreasonable on its face.

                              If this were a school horse lease for what is essentially 2 rides per week if the horse couldn’t be ridden for 10 days they would likely swap in another horse or credit her the money towards the next month if there was nothing to ride. That may be her experience. Honestly when you’re leasing at less than 1/2 what you’re really paying for is the ride. In a school lease If it’s too hot and you can’t ride, you also may not have to pay. The idea being to generate new customers and people who have to pay for something they’re not getting tend to stop being customers.

                              Now you’re not a business and your horse isn’t a lesson horse so it’s different, but it might not feel different to her. And you know she doesn’t like paying for something she’s not getting because she wanted to pay by the ride to start with.

                              Whether you want to end the lease over this is up to you. Do you have other options? Could you give her additional days next month? If your priority is getting a fixed amount each month towards the expenses, then giving her 2 extra make up days next month doesn’t really change that it just cuts into your riding time.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Also, having ridden at a lot of lesson barns in my younger days, many if not most of the horseless hoarde were very invested in the welfare of the horses and very attached. Most of them didn’t own horses because they couldn’t afford it. Just because they weren’t willing to pay for rides they weren’t getting didn’t mean they treated the school horses poorly or were less than invested in them. Most of them spoiled them rotten.
                                So contrary to the poster above I wouldn’t judge someone’s care for my horse based on wether they were willing to pay money for him even when they couldn’t ride.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  $200/month for 8 rides on a nice horse is a bargain. Sounds like you have a good plan going forward.

                                  One thing you may want to explain to her is that having her miss rides is not a benefit to you, it is a cost and obligation, because then you are obligated to take time to make arrangements to get the horse exercised. Having a leaser with an erratic schedule and especially one that nickels and dimes like this can be more trouble than it's worth.

                                  Weather is not under your control and you should not owe her anything for that, honestly, or other issues with facilities etc. After all, you didn't get to ride either.

                                  If she is very tight for funds, then she needs to own that and figure out how else she can give you value - things like being very responsible and very regular in the riding times, taking over chores like tack cleaning or prepping feed, whatever. There are a lot of ways she could do that that would be beneficial. If instead she's tight for time, then she needs to realize that sometimes there are financial and personal costs to that.
                                  If you are allergic to a thing, it is best not to put that thing in your mouth, particularly if the thing is cats. - Lemony Snicket

                                  Comment

                                  • Original Poster

                                    #18
                                    NCRider, I agree that the situation is nebulous and not exactly standardized, so a contract will definitely benefit us both. And indeed, she appears to very doting in her care of my beloved guy and seems to get a lot of enjoyment from him.

                                    poltroon, that is an excellent point re. the time vs. funds tension. thanks for the reflections!

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Oddly enough the way a part leaser can also give you value is to be available on short notice to take over one of *your* rides when *you* get hung up and unavaliable. Sounds like that's not in the cards for her on her schedule but that's the kind of thing a good penniless-and-horseless partner can do to increase her value to the owner. Her sensation that because she's paying money that she's the customer is actually backwards for this particular arrangement. I say this as someone who has been both the lessor and the lessee at various times.
                                      If you are allergic to a thing, it is best not to put that thing in your mouth, particularly if the thing is cats. - Lemony Snicket

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        I don't think you're being unreasonable, but I would definitely offer her extra rides to make up for the time missed, just to keep everyone happy.

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