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Would you ever half lease your show horse, is that crazy???

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  • Would you ever half lease your show horse, is that crazy???

    Hi, Just curious if anybody ever half leases their nice, show quality horse? I ride 3-4 times a week. Sometimes more, sometimes less. So I've been debating the logistics and benefit of half leasing. It couldn't be just anybody - would have to be an experienced rider with previous show experience, approved by me and my trainer, and they would have to take lessons with my trainer. So obviously this situation wouldn't suit a backyard rider. I don't have to lease, but I wondered if the extra ring work with an experienced rider would be beneficial for my horse (who doesn't give me much trouble at all, but she's still learning) *or* is it just a pain to deal with?

  • #2
    I don't think I would lease the horse I have now, but I know a lot of people at my barn who have done half leases on their horses. In most cases, its been juniors at the barn who want a show mount for the season so its been a relatively easy and painless process (no bringing strangers into the equation).

    However, be prepared to potentially find riders who are looking for more saddle time, and not necessarily able to "improve" your horse. I know that was the boat I was in when I half leased, I had just started lesson with my current trainer and was looking to ride more frequently, so I started half leasing one of the personal horses in the barn. I would say in no way did I "improve" him, lol. But...it was a nice financial break for the owner who now had someone to pay half of all the expenses, plus he was being worked on a more regular schedule and had attention from someone 6 days a week, instead of 1-2. So if you horse can take it, and you find the right person, I think it can work out really well for all parties involved.

    ETA: you might want to be flexible on riding time. My only real available times to ride are evenings and weekends. There was another horse for lease but his owner had the same exact schedule as me, so it wouldn't have worked out (and she wasn't willing to give up her riding times either, rightfully so)


    • #3
      In the right situation, it can work very well. I know of several young adults who had really great junior careers that can't afford to support their own horse or a full lease that have worked out arrangements with people who have nice show horses, but lack time and/or money to support them. In several cases, the lessee was able to provide solid miles for greener horses with timid or more novice owners that really benefitted both the owner and the horse.


      • #4
        I did it years ago with a made show horse.

        It worked for a time, but then didn't!

        It was a personal issue, not that the other rider wasn't ok, but it was a personality conflict (hers and mine), so I cancelled it.

        The original agreement was month to month. The best thing I did was making it a short term 30 day notice cancellation lease...


        • #5
          In my 20s I part leased a nice but green horse for several years. I think it was mutually beneficial because the horse's owner wasn't a solid enough rider to ride him independently or show the horse, so I got a nice horse to ride, the horse got some show miles, and the owner no longer had to pay full training + for the trainer to show to get those show miles.

          I am now older and more entrenched in my career, family life, etc and have a nice show horse. I am considering some sort of part lease because I can only manage to ride 3-4 days per week and my horse needs to be ridden 6 days per week. If I do decide to look for a lease, I will be very choosy and try to be very clear up front about my expectations/ requirements for the situation. It is a tough decision. I don't need someone to "improve" my horse, but at the same time I don't want someone who will ruin my horse either. If I move forward, I won't advertise the situation it would only be through word of mouth.

          So long story short, I think people do part lease out made show horses. I think it can be appealing to amateurs that own horses but need to balance riding with work and family. I don't think it is a crazy idea.


          • #6
            I know of several people that have done or are currently doing this. In their cases it's worked out well and they've done it month by month. It helped defray costs all around, and because the riders in question were generally fairly good and were getting excellent coaching, it helped the horse while benefiting the rider as well.


            • #7
              I'm trying to find a half-lessee for my boy now- he is not a super fancy show hunter, but at this stage of his life, he is the perfect move-up horse for someone coming off of a pony who wants to do really well at local horse shows or win the Steady Eddy award in the pre-Children's; or a novice adult or re-rider looking for something sane to have fun on. So my difficulty in finding someone may not generalize to your situation if you have a younger horse that is big show quality. The hitch for me, and it may be for you as well, is the "must lesson with my trainer" or "on-farm half-lease" thing. A friend of mine does half-lease her nice show horse and what has worked well for her is a flexible arrangement re. riding time and keeping things on a month to month basis; her half-lessee right now has other real-world commitments that would have prohibited her from signing a year contract.
              "I'm not always sarcastic. Sometimes I'm asleep." - Harry Dresden

              Amy's Stuff - Rustic chic and country linens and decor
              Support my mom! She's gotta finance her retirement horse somehow.


              • #8
                I've half leased some very nice show horses, mainly because the owners were busy and didn't have enough time to get the horse out enough. All of the leases came from in the barn so no trainer conflicts or anything like that happened. Although I'm far from a pro, I'd say that I'm a decently experienced and capable rider, so that definitely helped in getting the leases since the horses were top notch, show quality. If you do want to half lease your horse out, look for someone in the barn first. I think it's better to be picky than just letting anyone ride, (and probably ruin), your horse. Also, make sure the leasee's personality clicks with both the horse and you. My leases went really well because the owners and I communicated with each other very well. The minute something happened with the horse, we both knew. Now, even after those leases have ended, I still have great relationships with the owners. Good luck!


                • #9
                  I know several individuals who do this, mainly because as working amateurs it's hard to find time to go to the barn more than 3-4X a week.
                  I was recently approached by someone who is interested to lease my show horse and I am considering it. But, as mentioned by several, I wouldn't just let anyone do it, and I would require they take lessons with my trainer regularly.


                  • #10
                    The extra work for your horse could be beneficial to him/her fitness wise and for experience, but as mentioned previously you would have to find the right rider, that could be hard. I do know of two people who are leasing one horse. One gives the horse a great ride, the other not so much. But at least the horse is getting one good rider.

                    Now I could see it being tricky during show season if you found a good rider and that person wanted to show. But in that situation communication is key and I'm sure you could work something out. As long as you both communicate I think it could work out well.
                    "There are only two emotions that belong in the saddle; one is a sense of humor and the other is patience."


                    • #11
                      I currently have two girls partial-leasing my hunter, and honestly, it's a great situation for all of us. I get a little break on board money (and getting down to the barn with my busy schedule), and both of them get a safe, fun horse to ride and show. One of them shows him in the 2'6 Pre Children's hunters, and the other will be starting the 3' equitation on him soon (she just started riding him this month). When I have time to show, I do the Adult Amateurs Hunters.

                      Both already ride with my trainer- I wouldn't feel comfortable doing an outside half-lease because my trainer knows how much he does in each of our lessons and can judge how much work he's doing over the course of the week. Since my horse is a thoroughbred, he thrives on the extra work and attention, but if he seemed to be getting worn out we would cut back.

                      It's not for everyone, or for every horse, but my guy is a fairly straightforward horse and both of these girls are competent riders who just don't have the funds to own or full-lease. I know that I don't have time to ride him as much as he needs to be ridden (he could easily go 7 days a week without a break, but we usually give him a day off), and I can't afford to have my trainer ride him all of the time (plus, I think it's good for them to be ridden by people who DO make mistakes). What it comes down to is finding the right rider and the program that works for you.


                      • #12
                        I would suggest being a bit flexible about the lesson requirements. Also, keep it month to month so that either you or the person leasing can terminate easily.

                        I half-leased for a while when I was looking into purchasing a horse. I decided to half lease to ease myself into an ownership situation. I wanted to see if I would have the time to own, and I wanted a chance to improve my riding ability so as to have more choice in horses when purchasing. Like other posters said, I certainly didn't "improve" the show horse I was leasing, but I didn't ruin it either.

                        Another situation that I've observed is this one: a mother who is a cabable rider wants to half lease a horse in the barn so that she can ride at the same time that her daughter rides. In this case, the mom just wanted to be able to share time with her daughter three days a week - the days that the daughter was simply exercising her pony. Mom trotted the leased horse around for 20-30 minutes while daughter practiced. Mom wasn't interested in lessons or improving her riding, although she rode just fine. Horse got some low-impact exercise, while owner got a break in montly expenses.

                        I provided the example above to point out how the "must lesson with my trainer" rule might limit interest in the half lease. I can imagine a similar situation with a talented college student with enough money to lease but not a lot of money for lessons. I suggest enforcing that rule on a case by case basis.


                        • #13
                          The fundamental problem with leasing a nice horse, especially one that is coming along, is that quite often any rider who is good enough to improve or sometimes even just maintain the horse at their current level is not going to want to pay a lease fee. They are either going to want a free lease, or to be paid for their riding, or they are going to want to put their money into bringing along their own horse. Obviously there certainly are exceptions to this. I think that in most cases having the trainer involved helps with this but to me it is what would keep me from leasing a horse.

                          Problems with half leases include dividing up the riding time--often both people are going want to ride on the weekends--and that anyone who is only riding a couple of days a week is not going to be as good of a rider as someone who is riding often enough to want a full lease. Some horses do well with two different riders, some horses get sloppy or less tuned in from having different people on their back.

                          The key to successful leasing is being picky and finding the right match, not just going with who ever is interested.


                          • #14
                            I've been the happy recipient of someone who half leased their show horse; I learned a lot. I don't know about your situation, but if you can work it out with the right person, it can change someone's life and certainly their riding.


                            • #15
                              I am looking for a lessee for my horse now. I was always a die hard ride 5-6 days/week ammy until my health and job commitments got in the way. I did my first half lease for a short term (college kid home for winter break who wanted to stay up to speed with riding team) which just ended. There were pros/cons but overall it was a good situation, my horse got the extra exercise and attention so when I was able to ride she was fit and ready to work, and someone keeping an extra eye out for cuts, making sure her water bucket was full, and appropriate blankets being on, plus a little extra cash in my pocket. Cons: lessee was working with a trainer and could get lessons on particular days, so I had to be flexible with my riding time, and my tack could have been a little cleaner. Overall, my horse was happy and going well, which was my main reason for doing it, since it was hard for me to keep her conditioned on 2-3 rides/week.


                              • #16
                                In this day and age with expenses and work etc ., it is a perfect answer if you are lucky enough to find the right rider for your team. My horse always knew was is me riding her and she was never any different once I got on. I always thought it was important to keep the fitness for the level of work my horse was doing.
                                Proud member of People Who Hate to Kill Wildlife clique


                                • #17
                                  I do. To the right rider.

                                  We actually share leased a horse for a year because neither of us could ride 5-6 days/week. That worked very well for both of us. I've known her for awhile, trust her entirely, she's a much better rider than I am, and she won't overwork a horse. If anything I have to ask her to do more sometimes, and that's just fine by me.

                                  We now share my hunter mare. She leases 2 days and pays 1/3 of board, farrier, massage. I'm happy to keep the price reasonable and keep this lady around. It benefits all of us. It was especially beneficial when my girl was greener, of course.

                                  Neither of us show a whole lot so it works out. That could be an issue otherwise. And I probably wouldn't lease to a minor, ideally.
                                  Born under a rock and owned by beasts!


                                  • #18
                                    I do it with my show Hunter. He does the A/O Hunters and some 3'6" eq. when my daughter is home from college. I ride him in lessons with the H/J trainer on the flat. I do a 1/2 lease with a dressage rider as I did not want him jumped by anyone other than my daughter and the H/J trainer. So 1/2 the week he does dressage and the other he gets to play Hunter. It has worked out great so far. The dressage keeps him in shape and supple without pounding his legs. He is only jumped about once a week as a tune up. I did not want a junior trying to qualify for medal finals or learning to jump 3'6" on him as I did not want anyone to overwork him or screw him up. Besides most juniors don't understand the privilege of riding a nice horse where the adults get it.