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Half Leases

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  • Half Leases

    Hi everyone,

    I would love to get some feedback on half leases. Pros and cons from both the owner and the leaser.

    I'm considering leasing out my hunter. I don't have the time to ride her consistently with my pesky real world job and I think she would be perfect for a junior rider looking to do the children's.

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated!


  • #2
    I'm the lessee, currently half-leasing a great adult hunter. I pay a small lease fee (about enough to cover one horse show a month for the owner), as well as half of board and shoeing expenses. I do not pay insurance, supplements, or routine vet care, as the owner wants to retain complete control over those things and I gladly let her.

    We each have three days per week, although I really only ride twice so his owner actually gets to ride him more often than just three days most weeks. We have set days, but are both flexible with one another, e.g., Sunday is normally her day, but if I'm showing on a Sunday, she can ride on Saturday instead.

    I will say that my situation works because the horses owner is an older amateur who doesn't show that much or even jump that often. If we both had a desire to show regularly (twice a month for me), logistics would be much trickier.

    I know a lot of COTHers are overly paranoid about leases, but an in-barn half-lease with a good trainer to facilitate can really be a win-win for everyone.


    • #3
      When leasing to the right person, it can be great. I had someone lease one of my horses for two years and I was so sad when she bought her own horse! I trusted her judgment absolutely and she was a kind rider who always took great care of my horse.

      The most important things are that you must feel comfortable with the person who is riding your horse -- do they have common sense? A similar riding style? Are they responsible?

      Then put everything in writing. Who rides when, what they can/cannot do, who is responsible for injuries, etc. It is MUCH easier to figure this stuff out before emotions are involved.
      Equine Ink - My soapbox for equestrian writings & reviews.
      EquestrianHow2 - Operating instructions for your horse.


      • Original Poster

        Thank you for your reply. Tha Ridge, your situation is what I'm envisioning. My mare is quiet and uncomplicated. She always places in the top three in the hacks and has ribboned at AA rated shows in the pre-greens and adults.

        I would give the leaser three days per week (or more if I'm busy with work), with the weekends being flexible if there is a show. I would ask that she takes at least two or three lessons a month with my trainer and doesn't jump outside of lessons. I would cover routine vet bills, the farrier, chiropractic work, supplements and insurance and would provide the trailering when needed.

        I'm thinking I would charge a small lease fee plus half the board. Most likely around $600 a month.

        Does that sound reasonable?

        How do you handle injuries?


        • #5
          I have been on both ends. Currently my horse is half leased out to two young adults. I moved "out" of state and had to leave my horse behind for various reasons. Prior to this I half leased him to one of the girls while I retained the other half. It worked out great. We were very flexible with our schedules and always let each other know when the other was not going to be at the barn. She paid a flat fee and that covered anything.

          I set limits on jumping, tack used, etc. Now she is the "head lease" and has resumed most of the roles in ownership and takes great care of him. The barn owner is also wonderful and give me regular updates and I visit every few months when I'm in town.

          In my new location I found a horse to half lease. This worked out perfectly for me in terms on time and cost. However, the lessor did not have her stuff together at all. When I tried him out he seemed fairly sound (albeit stiff) when I tried him nothing seemed to out of wack, but I didn't really work him very hard and was really just trying to asses if he was sane or not. Come to find out that the horse is very stiff going one direction because the owner only rides IN ONE DIRECTION. Also, she told me that she only jumps once or twice a week - nope every day she rides the horse is jumping. Then she wanted to change days - I work full time and have a commute the days we agreed upon worked for me and I couldn't really change it. That was it, I had it. Thankful the lease was only month to month.

          I think a half lease works out only if both parties are extreamly honest with each other. Make sure your contract allows you an easy out if necessary.


          • #6
            I currently am trying to find someone to half lease my horse on farm also. I did it in the past with another horse and it can work out really well. Just put everything in writing so each person knows what is expected.
            I don't show anymore so I am not against a half leaser showing either. But at this point my horse is doing dressage and for hunters would need reschooling as I do not jump anymore.
            I have only had good experiences, the hard part.....finding the right person.!!

            PS: I would advise against a "small" fee because you may out price yourself...I prefer part board and part shoes and I want my leaser to be able to take lessons with my trainer....so adding on a fee could make it too much....just my 2 cents.
            Last edited by Parrotnutz; Feb. 11, 2013, 06:07 PM. Reason: forgot something
            Happily retired but used to be:


            • #7
              Originally posted by Parrotnutz View Post
              PS: I would advise against a "small" fee because you may out price yourself...I prefer part board and part shoes and I want my leaser to be able to take lessons with my trainer....so adding on a fee could make it too much....just my 2 cents.
              A fee is more than fair for the type of horse the OP is describing. (Virtually identical to what I'm leasing).


              • #8
                The best approach to injuries is to prevent them.

                Most of the time, Loss of Use insurance is too expensive to justify. These policies are also a b!tch to use in practice. Your "insurance," then, is having a management program that works and a lessee who will follow them or fit into the program that you know works.

                Since you want to keep the horse at your barn and have the lessee ride with your trainer, you are in pretty good shape.

                It helps, too, if your lessee has a sense of responsibility for the horse and knows how to be part of a team of riders, vets, farriers and trainers that keeps the mare sound and happy. The basic leasing deal, however, doesn't help this "team player" cause. In exchange for money, they get to use the horse AND enjoy the option to return the horse if it quits doing the job for any reason.

                You can write into the lease some options for care and rehab if the horse is hurt on the lessee's watch. In the one I wrote, the lessee had to be the obvious cause of the injury. IMO, it's too hard to assign responsibility if the horse generally goes lame. There's no point in creating a contract that's unenforceable and no one with a clue would sign one of those anyway.

                In my case, the lease started out month-to-month and would increase to a six-month term if the lessee wished. With respect to injuries caused by the lessee, she was responsible for vet care and treatment for the rest of the month in which it occurred, or for the duration of the lease. I got to choose the vet and care options, but agreed to do that by "industry standards"-- i.e. what most people would do for the horse of that age and value. This gave both of us some protection. The horse was not insured for major medical at the time.

                Regardless of how the lease was written, I would have let the lessee out of the six month deal had the horse gotten hurt and needed a long time to recover. When Horseling *did* get hurt (kicked by his a-hole paddock mate), we ended the lease at the end of that month. I paid the vet bills and treatment costs. Because I had read the lease with the lessee before we signed it, giving her a chance to ask questions about its parts or to modify clauses she didn't like, there was no discussion about whether or not I would refund the remainder of the month. What she learned is the benefit of leasing: Yeah, you pay for more than just the rides you enjoy if an Act of God makes the horse unrideable, but at least you don't pay for a whole lot more than those lost rides.
                The armchair saddler
                Politically Pro-Cat


                • #9
                  I am half leasing a horse currently. I just pay his board...and I get to ride him 3 days a week.


                  • #10
                    I half leased my favorite school horse (typing this makes me sad, I really miss having disposable income and him).

                    I paid a flat fee and was not on the hook for any board, shoes, vet, or anything else. I got him 3 days a week, but I also had to keep at least 1 weekly lesson.

                    My overall cost including lessons was about $700 a month.

                    We showed in low adult hunters.
                    The best sports bras for riders are Anita 5527 and Panache! Size UP in Anita, down in Panache (UK sizing)


                    • Original Poster

                      Thank you for all the replies! I'm so glad they're all pretty positive. I was worried I was going to read some horror stories.

                      Does anyone have any examples of a good lease contract?


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by RVF View Post
                        Thank you for all the replies! I'm so glad they're all pretty positive. I was worried I was going to read some horror stories.

                        Does anyone have any examples of a good lease contract?
                        I can send you my half lease contract, if you want. PM me your e-mail and I'll send it.
                        "I'd rather have a horse. A horse is at least human, for god's sake." - J.D. Salinger


                        • #13
                          Unfortunately a few half leases do turn out to be horror stories, where the kid wants something less than owning for their first time with their own horse and doesn't know what they're doing outside of a proctored lesson situation. While half leases can be great for both parties, definitely don't leave any gray areas in your contract and monitor the candidate with the horse for a few days. And absolutely don't be afraid to say, "sorry but I don't think this will work out," if you see an potential problems arising that cannot be fixed or will not be fixed.


                          • #14
                            we lease out our school horses on-site to our students here for a flat fee per month based on how many days a week they ride -most of them ride one day a week, some of them for two days a week. They are responsible for prepping and putting away their horses properly before/after, but that's it - it's a great situation for busy parents or adult riders because they get extra riding time at a low cost with almost no responsibility. It's a very laid-back place and program.
                            Teaching Horseback Riding Lessons: A Practical Training Manual for Instructors

                            Stop Wasting Hay and Extend Consumption Time With Round Bale Hay Nets!!


                            • #15
                              The biggest issues I've had when half leasing is when the person stepped outside the agreed upon rules or hoped that I wouldn't notice that they had broken something -- ie, riding on one of "my" days, so when I came to ride my horse was out being ridden, damaging my tack, or one time my horse was injured when being jumped outside a lesson (not permitted). I also have had issues where the person rode my horse in a way where the horse started developing bad habits but if you ride with the same trainer, that should be avoidable.

                              On balance I'd say out of four people I leased to, two of them were fantastic, one was okay and one I broke the lease.
                              Equine Ink - My soapbox for equestrian writings & reviews.
                              EquestrianHow2 - Operating instructions for your horse.