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Half Leasing a Horse

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  • Half Leasing a Horse

    Hey you guys! I know that there have been TONS of posts about this topic but I would really appreciate some advice as none others have really answered y questions.

    I have been riding for about 7 months or so and have gone through 4 lesson horses and am now on my absolute favorite one which, or course, ends up being my trainers horse. This horse is my heart and is extremely well trained. He is the right size, breed, coat pattern, and temperament. I am done growing so I don't need to worry about me outgrowing him in that sense.

    I would never dream of buying him from my trainer as he is her event horse as well as her heart horse unless she offered him to us or agreed to sell him to us.

    I am not looking at buying a horse anytime soon because I have only been riding for 7 months and have NO experience in buying or fully taking care of a horse. That is why I am hoping to half lease my current lesson horse that I previously described.

    My questions are abundant but I will only list a few to begin with. 1) How much do half leases normally cost per month from the get go? 2) What are you normally expected to buy? 3) How many times a week do you usually get to ride? 4) What costs do you have to help or fully pay for? 5) Do you sometimes get to trailer the horse to shows? 6) Are you expected to fully take care of the horse on the day that he is " yours? "

    I know that the best place to go for answers is my trainer but I am hoping to get a lease as a birthday/xmas gift because both for me are in December. I just want to be prepared for the expenses if I do get it as a gift or if I have to pitch the idea to my parents.

    Thanks for any feedback/advice!!!

  • #2
    I have done very inexpensive "free leases" of horses that are owned by my trainer's clients. For a half lease I paid half the board and half the shoes and rode 3 days a week, and was expected that one of those days would be a lesson with the trainer. I also did leases that were only 2 days a week and I paid 1/3 board and 1/3 of the shoes. In every instance all of the other expenses including insurance, vet bills etc. were paid by the owner. The owner also supplied the tack and all grooming supplies, horse clothing etc. although if my saddle fit I was allowed to use that instead. And yes, on the days I rode I was expected to fully care for the horse except for mucking, feeding and turnout which was done by the barn staff. I think something like this might be a good option for someone in your position. My leases were month-to-month, no advance payment was necessary. These horses had substantial show experience but were no longer being shown regularly, so they were very nice animals and well schooled although not especially fancy.


    • Original Poster

      Thanks BAC! I figured that I would at least have to pay a fee per month to be allowed to ride 3 times a week with a lesson that I would pay for and 1/2 the cost of the board per month. So I figured around $600 to $750 per month total

      Does this sound reasonable? .


      • #4
        I think it just depends on your trainer, "free leases" are not that unusual. In my case the owners didn't need the money but they didn't have the time to ride or be at the barn every day of the week, and they knew I would treat the horse as my own, so money was secondary. My trainer did a lot of those types of leases with her clients horses, many who were juniors who had other commitments after school such as sports, music, etc.

        If you are leasing the trainer's horse, it wouldn't be unusual for her to want a fee instead of board/farrier expenses though. The cost can vary greatly depending on your area, so I don't know if $600-$700 a month is reasonable or not.

        I would encourage someone with your limited experience to ride as many horses as possible rather than limiting yourself to one horse, but I understand that in this day and age many barns don't offer a string of school horses and that may not be possible for you. I was middle aged before I was leasing, I learned to ride at a local riding school with a large string of horses as a child which was great experience.


        • Original Poster

          yeah, I am not at a lesson barn anymore because my trainer resigned. But I followed her and she is now at a friends property. They don't have many horses whatsoever though. My trainer does work a 9 to 5 job at a computer company though so she may be interested in leasing her horse to me monthly so that he can be ridden more. I live in southern NH, does that help?


          • #6
            I have no idea what board costs in NH. A year-Long lease of a competitive show horse is usually 1/3 to 1/2 the sale price of the horse, plus ALL expenses for the horse as if you owned him including board, farrier, vet, insurance, and all the other expenses. But that doesn’t appear to be the type of horse you are thinking of leasing. So it’s really not possible for me to guess at a realistic figure. What is your trainer paying for board? She is going to want at least half the board plus more I would guess. Is there anywhere else you could lesson on school horses? Has your trainer even said she wants to lease her horse? Maybe someone from your area of New England could offer more realistic costs for your situation.


            • Original Poster

              Yeah, I am not looking at full leasing until maybe a year or two before I want to buy. So not for at least 4 more years. I am not sure what she is paying for board. I do not want to leave my trainer as I really like her training methods and no body else teaches biomechanics around me for a reasonable price. She has not said that she wants to lease her horse but if I talk to my parents about this then they can talk to her about it.

              If she does NOT want to lease her horse though then I would look for an out of barn lease.


              • #8
                Typically a half lease is half the monthly expenses for the horse with irregular costs prorated. So usually a bit more than half the actual board. Typically all tack is included because the owner certainly doesn't want the lesser using any old crap saddle.

                Now in general people will only half lease a horse to some one they feel is experienced enough to tack up and ride unsupervised.

                I would also say that if this horse is your trainers event horse he will be a much better ride than a schoolie. But he may not be safe for you yet outside the confines of a lesson where trainer is calling the shots.

                The way to proceed is to just ask.

                Say to your trainer do you think I am ready to think about leading a horse to ride outside of lessons? If they say yes, ask do you think Mr Eventer would be an appropriate horse for me to lease? If they say yes, ask how much a half lease would be and what it would include.

                Be prepared for your trainer to say you aren't yet ready to ride outside lessons or not ready to lease this particular horse.


                • #9
                  My mare is currently being half leased by a college student client of my trainer. Her lease includes 2 lessons and 1 hack a week, all tack, and the ability to show her when I can't (which honestly is pretty often with my work schedule). She pays $300 a month which covers board and is on the cheaper side of standard for a 1/2 lease in my area (Colorado). I pay for all vet/farrier/extra expenses as the owner.

                  It sounds like a half lease would be a good option for you right now. I'd approach trainer and express interest.
                  Fils Du Reverdy (Revy)- 1993 Selle Francais Gelding
                  My equine soulmate
                  Mischief Managed (Tully)- JC Priceless Jewel 2002 TB Gelding


                  • #10
                    I was thinking the same thing about the event horse Scribbler but figured the trainer would let OP know if he wasn't suitable. Of course in hindsight I remember riding horses I really wasn't ready for and only years later did I realize it wasn't my great talent but the fact that trainer had nothing else for me to ride and so took a chance which luckily for me always worked out.


                    • #11
                      Leases, whether full or fractional, usually include farrier, veterinary, supplements, whatever is spent for the well-being of the horse.


                      • #12
                        I'm puzzled that you refer to your trainer as "she" ("her", "hers) when in several of your other posts you refer to your trainer as "he", ("him" and "his"). Both apparently left the lesson barn where you were riding .

                        What am I missing? Is your trainer male or female?


                        • #13
                          Best to ask the trainer if they are interested in half leasing their horse to you and what terms they would consider before asking how the lease will work. Terms are whatever the two parties decide on and put in writing. There is no set standard. But if this horse is a Pro ridden Eventer, trainer might not want to let you ride it unless you are taking a lesson on it and that might not be worth the costs to you versus just paying by the lesson,
                          When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

                          The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by BAC View Post
                            I have no idea what board costs in NH. A year-Long lease of a competitive show horse is usually 1/3 to 1/2 the sale price of the horse, plus ALL expenses for the horse as if you owned him including board, farrier, vet, insurance, and all the other expenses. But that doesn’t appear to be the type of horse you are thinking of leasing. So it’s really not possible for me to guess at a realistic figure. What is your trainer paying for board? She is going to want at least half the board plus more I would guess. Is there anywhere else you could lesson on school horses? Has your trainer even said she wants to lease her horse? Maybe someone from your area of New England could offer more realistic costs for your situation.
                            Eek! So a $40K jumper would lease for $20K a year plus board/expenses? I'm having palpitations! Lol

                            What if said $40K jumper becomes lame and is permanently an 18" cross rails horse. These are the things that keep me up at night!
                            "Punch him in the wiener. Then leave." AffirmedHope


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by CindyCRNA View Post

                              Eek! So a $40K jumper would lease for $20K a year plus board/expenses? I'm having palpitations! Lol

                              What if said $40K jumper becomes lame and is permanently an 18" cross rails horse. These are the things that keep me up at night!
                              That is the risk the lessee takes leasing their horse out (and it is terrifying to think about)! Hence why the lease on a valuable competitive horse is high; I take part of the lease fee per year (in my leases anyway) and set it aside for the horse's care in case of an injury causing early retirement...ideally 40k jumper should also have insurance carried on him by someone as well!


                              • Original Poster

                                Skidy. I am sorry for the confusion. My trainer was a he but i nkw have a female trainer who is his wife. They are a married ciuple.


                                • Original Poster

                                  As for the horse, who is a competitive eventer. I ride him weekly in lessons and on Sundays after i do some barn chores with no supervision. So my trainer is fine with me riding with no supervision.


                                  • #18
                                    I have my lesson horse half leased currently. The lease fee is $550/month which includes 2 lessons and 1 free ride plus half the cost of shoes. Leasee has the option to join us at shows (mostly schooling, horse is sweet but nothing fancy) and other outings if we have something planned.
                                    Spend so much time improving yourself that you have no time left to criticize others.


                                    • #19
                                      As with all things in the equestrian world - it depends on your situation (geography, location, level of horse, what the horse owner wants to get out of it). A lot of it will come down to what the horse owner wants to get out of a lease.

                                      What a lot of people outline above is pretty standard - pay half the board, half the shoes. What does vary quite a bit between situation is what of the vet bills you are responsible for. Oftentimes, it's "half of everything" (routine & emergency). Others it's half of routine maintenance items (vaccination, worming, injections for a horse that needs upkeep). Do explicitly ask and make sure this is spelled out in a contract to ensure both horse owner & leaser are on the same page. These types of leases I have found generally have closest to a 50/50 split on sharing costs. Owner has 3 days, leaser has 3 days, horse has a rest day.

                                      Another type of lease that I come across fairly frequently but I think overall is not so common in the world at large, is one flat fee for an entire month (no add-ons, regardless of what the other incidentals are for the horse owner). The fee is based on numbers of rides by week (2, 3, or 4). Typically the 3-ride a week boils down to 1/2 of board (not 1/2 of projected monthly expenses), the 2 ride is a third, and the 4 ride is just over half.

                                      In general, both lease types specify that one ride a week should be a lesson. Training rides (professional-on-horse) are not taken out of the leaser's riding days. Depending on contract, but most often in my experience both types of lease allow for shows (clarify in contract of course!) but may be a re-arrangement of the riding days. If your scheduled riding days are Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday, then a show weekend may see you riding Friday/Saturday/Sunday for that week instead.

                                      Typically it will all come down to your contract. There are a bunch of different options out there, and not all situations are a good fit for all so taking the time to figure out what you want out of a lease, and then discussing it prior to agreeing, is a great way to set everyone up for success by ensuring all are on the same page.


                                      • #20
                                        As far as the details, a lot will depend on what else the horse is doing.

                                        If the owner is using this horse for lessons every day, likely they will not want to also do a half lease. Or the rider will be restricted as to times to ride (say, ride the horse in the morning because horse does a lesson in the afternoon).

                                        IME, leasing from private owners is more likely to involve a split of expenses, whereas leasing from a lesson program or trainer is more likely to just have a set fee, with the fee being high enough to cover the expenses above board. Usually a lesson program that leases horses will have that fee figured out and it will be standard for all the horses at that level.

                                        Some private owners are very loose on when the leaser rides, especially busy adults that don't always have time to do their own rides. But if the owner is actively using the horse, and that includes using the horse in lessons, or if there is a second leaser involved, then the schedule will necessarily be very tight.