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Co-ownership....have you done it?

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  • Co-ownership....have you done it?

    There is an article regarding co-ownership ( http://chronofhorse.com/article/plan...wnership-horse) that made me wonder how many of you have done this....successfully or otherwise Also curious why you entered into the arrangement (affordability?).

    I'm more interested in scenarios with friends versus something along the lines of a formal syndicate or with some professional.

    Look forward to hearing the stories!
    Last edited by comingback; Feb. 8, 2012, 10:24 AM. Reason: Typo

  • #2
    It is not a good idea. There are no two people that think exactly alike so conflict is guaranteed.


    • #3
      I've done it several times. But with non-horse-type partners; more like Show Jumping enthusiasts.
      Stoneybrook Farm Afton TN


      • #4
        I think it depends on the situation. For a AO types, 2 or more owners/ riders would be a recipe for disaster. On the other hand, for those who just want to be an "owner" and not a rider (it does happen), I think partnerships can be a good way to get a much nicer horse than you afford on your own.

        It happens in horse racing all the time. They do part owners in eventing. I know some very average people who would find it very exciting to be part owner of a GP jumper (or in my world a Louisville quality open gaited horse), just like the the groups or 20+ who run a horse in the KY Derby. Split b/w 10 people $20K/yr training becomes reasonable. I've been surprised that more younger trainers don't push this as a way to get their hands on better horses.
        Visit my Spoonflower shop


        • #5
          I think that the "between friends" scenario that you describe is a guaranteed setup for disaster, especially if it is a scenario where both people would be riding and sharing the horse. In that case, an infinitely better scenario would be for one person to own the horse outright and half lease it to the other person with a contract that could be terminated with a reasonably short notice period if either party was unhappy. The chronicle article uses co-ownership of a car as an example, but that is a very poor example IMO because the stakes are much higher with a living creature caught in the middle.

          I have seen many co-ownership situations go up in flames. The reasons are so myriad that I'd be writing a novel to list them. Sometimes it's something crazy, like a co-owner smoking pot in the horse's stall (thankfully nothing went up in flames but the relationship!), but more often it is a simple disagreement over some issue related to management of the horse or one owner's life and priorities change.

          The co-ownerships that I have seen work are more of business type deals where the horse isn't a "personal" item to each owner. For example, foal shares and racing syndicates where the plan for the horse as well as each co-owner's interests and responsibilities are clearly laid out as well as basic "what if" scenarios in a comprehensive contract.

          I also have seen co-ownership situations work out well between the owners of nice young horses and trainers with ability but no $$$ for a fancy young horse. But, I have also seen those partnerships go up in flames occasionally as well, mostly because when people entered into the agreement they forgot to figure out ahead of time how they would end their partnership if things didn't work out.

          The most important thing to put in the contract IMO is how to END the partnership should things not work out (should one owner lose the ability to pay, should there be a serious disagreement about the horse's management/training, should the horse become permanently lame, should the horse require extensive vet bills).


          • #6
            I own my hunter prospect with my best friend.
            He didn't grow big enough to be her dressage horse so I told her I'd make him up as a hunter for her.
            She obviously knew before agreeing to this how I ride and how I treat horses and had seen other horses that went through my program. She is very hands off and only comes out to ride him a couple times a year but we talk on the phone all the time so she always knows what is up with him. Also, I pay every single bill on that horse; the only thing I didn't have to pay for was a purchase price.

            I am also willing to do an "off-the-cuff" co-owner relationship with clients that want to do sale horses. If I think I can make a horse worth enough to cover profit for the owner and a reasonable cut for me, then I am willing to train "for free" until the sale of the horse. Personally I think if a trainer is holding out a shingle as, "I'll help you with investment horses" the trainer should take on some risk too. Not, "I'll help you spend spend speeeennnnd your money, and cover my @$$ first, and then maaayyybe you'll get a little back."
            If they don't make money, I sure as $#*t don't either.
            Last edited by meupatdoes; Feb. 8, 2012, 11:38 AM.
            The Noodlehttp://tiny.cc/NGKmT&http://tiny.cc/gioSA
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            • #7
              Originally posted by meupatdoes View Post
              Personally I think if a trainer is holding out a shingle as, "I'll help you with investment horses" the trainer should take on some risk too. Not, "I'll help you spend spend speeeennnnd your money, and cover my @$$ first, and then maaayyybe you'll get a little back."
              If they don't make money, I sure as $#*t don't either.
              I think I love you. Where do I send the chocolate next week?(owner speaking )
              Visit my Spoonflower shop


              • #8
                In the context of the article where two riders would buy a horse and split its costs? I definitely would not do it! There is way too much room for conflict. In that case, I think it would be smarter for one person to buy the horse and the other person to share lease it with clear cut expectations both financially and time-wise on each party.

                I think co-owning an investment horse, with one person designated as the rider (one of the partners or a trainer) and the main decision maker, can work fairly well provided there is a clear cut agreement outlining the responsibilities of each party in the investment. I highly recommend utilizing an attorney for this type of document, more so than a lease agreement, so they can help you iron out the contingencies and provide methods for dealing dissent before they become a problem.

                I think there is always going to be tension or drama in a co-ownership arrangement because, as we all know, horses rarely progress linearly, a lot of unexpected things happen, and it generally costs more than expected to care for the horse.

                What happens when the horse gets hurt? What happens if the horse doesn't work out as expected? What happens if one of the partners runs out of money? How do you handle expenses for the horse and what level of communication is expected amongst the partners? How involved are each of the partners in making decisions with regard to the horse (day-to-day, monthly progress reports, here's the money have fun with it, or something in between)?

                The most important thing to consider in a partnership is how to end the partnership because they all end, some better than others.


                • #9
                  Looks like BeeHoney beat me to it while my computer was stuck!

                  Meupatdoes ... Like red mares, I wish more trainers would take on your philosophy. Thank you.
                  Last edited by salymandar; Feb. 8, 2012, 11:27 AM. Reason: Deleting duplicate.


                  • Original Poster

                    I agree with everything that has been said. I just felt that this situation must happen enough to warrant an article but wasnt sure. I dont know that I would ever go into this with a friend....and they may be sick of me before I even got a contract completed because I am the queen of "what ifs" and would be doing everything to cover my a@@ in every imaginable situation (and probably still would miss something)! God help the attorney I would hire for that agreement

                    I suppose if everything is put out on the table and it is a business agreement it probably will end better than two buddies who want to share a horse


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by BeeHoney View Post
                      I think that the "between friends" scenario that you describe is a guaranteed setup for disaster, especially if it is a scenario where both people would be riding and sharing the horse. In that case, an infinitely better scenario would be for one person to own the horse outright and half lease it to the other person with a contract that could be terminated with a reasonably short notice period if either party was unhappy. The chronicle article uses co-ownership of a car as an example, but that is a very poor example IMO because the stakes are much higher with a living creature caught in the middle.
                      I agree - this is a MUCH better way to do it. I've seen these co-ownership gigs go very, very wrong. I've also seen a few that work but those are the minority.
                      Equine Ink - My soapbox for equestrian writings & reviews.
                      EquestrianHow2 - Operating instructions for your horse.


                      • #12
                        I don't have any experience with it myself, but at the barn I used to work at, there were quite a few cases where very wealthy women didn't want to do as much riding (one due to the fact she was getting older, another because she just didn't enjoy it anymore) but still wanted to own horses. The BO was the co-owner of the three horses, he was the one who kept them in work and rode them. The other owners had payed for the horse originally, and were responsible for vet and farrier bills and show fees, but didn't pay for board or training.
                        IMO having one rider and one "non-rider" who has a good, professional relationship with the other owner, is the only way a co-ownership can really work.
                        "It's hard to wait for something you know might not happen, but it's even harder to give up when you know it's everything you want."
                        Blog | YouTube


                        • #13
                          my parents did that with my first pony. A family friends daughter wanted a horse too so they thought they would get a horse to get it out of our systems and then sell it later. Well, that plan worked for the other family, the girl only came out a few times a month and got bored. So they sold their half to an other family that we were friends with after a year and that worked out okay but the pony was too much for her and I was looking to move up to a horse so we sold the horse together, split the tack, and called it good.
                          It worked great in this scenario because everyone involved was a first time horse owner in a well run barn with a trainer to help things run smoothly. I could not imagine doing anything like that now with my horse since im a bit of a control freak along with the fact that I would hate have disagreements on things like farriers, show schedules, how the horse is ridden, who we train with, etc.
                          So i think it can be done, it worked especially great for me (convinced my parents to get me a pony right?) and as long as its the right group of people getting involved its a great way to reduce cost of owning a horse.
                          Last edited by DressageOverFences; Feb. 8, 2012, 02:50 PM. Reason: i cant type


                          • #14
                            I have co-owned two horses and will shortly be co-owning a third. They have all been co-owned by the same people (ie. me and my Godparents).

                            When we started this arrangement it was because my family had time but no money and theirs had money but not as much time. We each had restrictions that kept a whole horse from being reasonable. I was 14, Godmother was in her 50s.

                            I was reckless and wanted to jump, gallop, and goof off. She was timid, a re-rider, and interested in learning. I dictated the horse that we had to buy (16.2 6y/o OTTB gelding with a few months of retraining) and she agreed. We did not work with a trainer but did have an agreed upon boarding situation. We set days that we would ride and clean his stall and filled in when the other was ill or couldn't make it. Every bill was split 50/50 down to hoof moisturizer and brushes and blankets. We each had our own set of tack.

                            When I went to college we talked about what to do with the horse and agreed to lease him out for the time being. She had two other horses by this point on the farm and was happy working with them with her husband. When one of the leasees asked if they could buy the horse we talked it over and realized that (a) we didn't want to sell to them (b) we didn't want to sell at all and (c) this horse would be the perfect horse for Godmother to learn dressage on which is something that her other two horses were less capable of.

                            As I graduated college I sold my half to her for exactly what I paid initially (this was our agreement, that if we sold him to the other partner no matter the market value of the horse at the time the half would be sold at 1/2 purchase price). He is happily doing dressage with her now and pops over the occasional jump from time to time when I get a chance to ride him.

                            A few years later we entered another partnership, this time over another young TB that was given to us, and this one ended differently. As he was free there was no purchase price. I kept him, trained him, paid his expenses (low as I was living on a farm). They did not ride him. They paid 1/2 of all vet bills and we had the expectation of sending him to their farm in a few years to be Godfather's trail horse. I enjoyed training so it was fun for me as well. Horse sadly was euthanized due to a injury after one year.

                            I am completely aware at how unlikely it has been that we have remained close and have enjoyed co-owning horses. It takes a good relationship and two stable, honest people. We talked through all issues and were honest about our fears and problems. We respected each other.

                            Now ask me if I would co-own with another person.

                            I would not.