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How Much Does it REALLY Cost to Lease a 3'6" Eq Horse?

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  • How Much Does it REALLY Cost to Lease a 3'6" Eq Horse?

    My daughter is going into her last junior year, and it will be her third year riding in the 3'6" equitation. She has been to Regionals and Harrisburg, and hopefully will make it to Nationals this year and next.

    We have taken the path less traveled by so to speak, and have jumped from horse to horse trying to find one to stick with, but usually do a year lease or lease-to-buy option.

    There seem to be a lot of young horses for very reasonable prices due to the economy available right now, but my daughter would really prefer to have an experienced horse for her last year.

    So I'm almost afraid to ask, but how much would it be to lease an experienced 3'6" equitation horse for a year?

  • #2
    About a third of the purchase price is a general rule of thumb. I know some people who charge close to that to lease a horse JUST for a big final though. That's one of the reasons I stopped doing the Eq when I was a junior. If you weren't on somebody famous's horse, you weren't winning no matter how well you rode.

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    • #3
      I would say around 50K a year, for a good Big Eq. horse.

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      • #4
        BytheBook - I think it will depend on what part of the country you are in and what are your D's ultimate goals. Is she just looking to qualify for a final or is she expecting to be competitive at a national final? I agree with the third of the purchase price, but you really need to work with your trainer on what the goal is for your D before you start shopping for the horse.

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        • #5
          Yes we are definitely working with a trainer.

          Both trainer and daughter think she is capable of being extremely competitive at 3' finals and going to the 3'6" finals for good experience. Of course it would be ideal to make the second round at Harrisburg but realistically we just would be looking for a horse that would be able to deal with the questions asked at that level of competition.

          We ride on the East Coast in the New England area, which I get a feel is an area that tends to have very good, but very expensive horses. I guess the question is whether the economy has influenced the lease fees or not. Because we have a fair amount but definitely not over $50k to spend for the year.

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          • #6
            How muc does it really cost to lease a 3'6" Eq horse

            You can easily count on $4K to $5K per month

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            • #7
              BUT...do you NEED a competitive Eq 3'6" horse? Or a 3' horse that can also do a little 3'6"?

              I am a little foggy on that...you said a 3'6" Eq horse but you are talking about a 3' Finals on a competitive basis-like in it to win it-and mention getting around safely for the 3'6" experience.

              That little detail makes about 20k difference in leasing an Eq horse.

              The really top 3'6"ers are usually available for part of the season only...like Indoors or Florida. And their home trainers supervise them. And they cost like heck. They don't usually send them out on leases for a full season at somebody else's barn.

              But you can go well below that and get a really good 3'er that can also handle that 3'6" course well enough to keep her safe. Those are available for the year and can go home to your barn at a much more reasonable price. Anything from 30k to 50k would seem to me in the ballpark for that kind of horse.

              Of course there are all kinds of options for alot less then that...but you did say it was DDs last year. So you need it ready to go right now, that will keep the price up.
              When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

              The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.

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              • #8
                You can't do the 3' and the 3'6" finals in the same year. You may do the 3'6" regionals and then the 3' finals. If you don't have a ton of money to spend, that may be the wise thing to do and give your daughter more of a chance to "be in the ribbons" at the 3' finals. The 3' finals only have about 30 or 35 people in it, whereas the 3'6" finals have almost 300 in it. The 3' finals are very technical and you will still find that people have nice eq horses for it. It just depends on what her goals are and whether she is aiming to ride as a professional in the long run or not. It would be so much nicer to say you were "x" place at the 3' finals, rather than nothing at the USEF finals.

                However, it is your daughter's last junior year. Both of you should definitely talk with the trainers and let them help you decide what are realistic goals. Since you are in the NE, you have a lot of wonderful trainers in your area that are able to help you. Our daughter did the 3' finals and it was a wonderful experience. She then did the 3'6" finals and helped get a horse sold. The horse had been known to stop at times and she had an "arm flapping" thing going on at the end of the ring. She said she did it to help the horse relax (knowing that this was a sale horse and wasn't hers) and was just out of the top 25. She had a beautiful ride other than that. "Arm flapping" isn't exactly a good thing in an eq finals. We don't have a famous name, so that plays into it as well.

                I noticed in the eq finals, the announcers don't bother to announce the horse's names unless it is a "famous horse." They should either announce all of them or none of them. It is an eq finals - not a hunter finals. However, people notice and if all other things are equal, i can assure you the one called back will be the one on the "famous horse."

                The other consideration is that the 3' finals have 4 judges and they take the average of the scores to determine placings and callbacks. The 3'6" finals only have 2 judges. All of the trainers at the 3' finals thought the placings were correct both years we were there. How often do you hear that? I think it was due to the fact that there were 4 judges, thereby having fewer "politics" involved.

                Good luck in your decision. I have heard of quite a few of the big eq horses being leased for $50k just for the six week time period of all of the 3'6" finals. Don Stewart generally has quite a few horses for lease during finals. You can go try his horses and see which one your daughter is able to ride well.

                However, I would think the best option would be to have something nice that she can have fun on all year. I am sure she would be able to qualify for all of the finals. You could then decide what you want to do. You are able to compete in the 3' and 3'6" eq classes at a lot of shows in some zones. Your trainer will be able to tell you. Perhaps you won't have to make a decision about which finals to compete in until next summer.

                I can understand your daughter wanting the experience at all levels. She will be able to do the USET eq finals (3'6") until she is 21. That is something else to consider.

                Good luck with everything and let us know how everything goes. No matter what - tell her to have fun and enjoy this last year!

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                • #9
                  [QUOTE=juniormom;4346480]You can't do the 3' and the 3'6" finals in the same year. You may do the 3'6" regionals and then the 3' finals. If you don't have a ton of money to spend, that may be the wise thing to do and give your daughter more of a chance to "be in the ribbons" at the 3' finals. The 3' finals only have about 30 or 35 people in it, whereas the 3'6" finals have almost 300 in it. The 3' finals are very technical and you will still find that people have nice eq horses for it. It just depends on what her goals are and whether she is aiming to ride as a professional in the long run or not. It would be so much nicer to say you were "x" place at the 3' finals, rather than nothing at the USEF finals. [QUOTE=juniormom;4346480]

                  Actually - while you are correct about not being able to do the national 3' finals and the 3'6" finals, in New England you can do the MHC Junior medal (3') and the NEHC Junior Medal (3'3") and do the national 3'6" finals at the same time and most of the big eq kids do.
                  Last edited by juststartingout; Sep. 1, 2009, 09:57 PM. Reason: typo

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by juniormom View Post
                    Good luck in your decision. I have heard of quite a few of the big eq horses being leased for $50k just for the six week time period of all of the 3'6" finals. Don Stewart generally has quite a few horses for lease during finals. You can go try his horses and see which one your daughter is able to ride well.

                    I have a friend who did the 3'6 Eq finals on a leased horse. She qualified on her horse but new her horse was not fancy enough to have a chance at finals. Her parents spent $30,000 for a horse just for the few weeks of finals, and that was one of the ones in the lower lease price range.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by juniormom View Post
                      You can't do the 3' and the 3'6" finals in the same year. You may do the 3'6" regionals and then the 3' finals. If you don't have a ton of money to spend, that may be the wise thing to do and give your daughter more of a chance to "be in the ribbons" at the 3' finals. The 3' finals only have about 30 or 35 people in it, whereas the 3'6" finals have almost 300 in it. The 3' finals are very technical and you will still find that people have nice eq horses for it. It just depends on what her goals are and whether she is aiming to ride as a professional in the long run or not. It would be so much nicer to say you were "x" place at the 3' finals, rather than nothing at the USEF finals.
                      Actually - while you are correct about not being able to do the national 3' finals and the 3'6" finals, in New England you can do the MHC Junior medal (3') and the NEHC Junior Medal (3'6") and do the national 3'6" finals at the same time and most of the big eq kids do.
                      The NEHC Junior Medal is 3'-3'3, not 3'6.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        How important to her is winning? I have students that have pretty big horse budgets by most people's standards, but they still aren't willing to drop the cash necessary to be at the top at finals. Instead they have all opted for equally as nice, but non famous 3'6" horses that can pull double duty in the children's jumpers as well. They all value the relationship with the horse though - they (and I) feel a win on a pinch hitter type horse for finals isnt as sweet as on the horse they have worked with all year. Each and every one has managed to qualify for finals on their guys though, multiple years.

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                        • #13
                          JinxyFish -- this is exactly the way my daughter feels. That she wants all of her hard work with difficult horses to pay off, but she'd still prefer to stick with one horse for the whole year. She is very into the relationship she forms with her horse, and always feels that she rides best on a horse that she has had time to form a bond with.

                          This is the reason we are torn with which route to go: a greenie with a good brain that may or may not be ready for finals next year, or a year lease on something experienced. The good thing about getting a green horse is that we would be more likely to make a profit in the end, but 'ribboning at finals' is a little more up in the air.

                          She is currently riding a very experienced eq horse, but he has a tendency to be spooky, and he is also getting older (14) and may need to move into the 3' divisions next year. However, if given the choice she would most likely choose to ride him at finals instead of a horse she could lease because of the bond they have formed together.

                          As for 3'6" finals, she doesn't need a proven winner, nor could we afford a proven winner, but I think she'd like the chance to be competitive at Harrisburg or Maclay.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Then get something "green" (read: not AS experienced as the pro eq horses) and see what happens. As was pointed out, she can always keep USET as a long term goal if the horse isn't ready for finals next year.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by hj0519 View Post
                              The NEHC Junior Medal is 3'-3'3, not 3'6.
                              You are absolutely right - sometimes touch typing is not all its cracked up to be - corrected my post above

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                              • #16
                                Sending you a PM.

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                                • #17
                                  heartinrye--thanks! I replied to your PM!

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                                  • #18
                                    Okay, I'm going to chime in with a question... Keep in mind that I've never been an eq rider and my horse only cost me $350, so this stuff is WAY out of my league.

                                    Does it not make more sense to BUY the big eq horse for the year? Even if you have to mortgage the house and get a ton of insurance- would it not be cheaper in the long run if you can sell the horse after Finals and get your investment back?

                                    I mean, I know you run the risk of the horse getting hurt- but it just seems like $50,000 is a lot of money to pay to lease a horse for 6 weeks if you can buy the whole horse for what? $500,000? Then sell to someone else after another year of experience at the 3'6 levels for the same price?
                                    "My shopping list is getting long but I will add the marshmallows right below the napalm." -Weighaton

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                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by LearnToFly View Post
                                      Okay, I'm going to chime in with a question... Keep in mind that I've never been an eq rider and my horse only cost me $350, so this stuff is WAY out of my league.

                                      Does it not make more sense to BUY the big eq horse for the year? Even if you have to mortgage the house and get a ton of insurance- would it not be cheaper in the long run if you can sell the horse after Finals and get your investment back?

                                      I mean, I know you run the risk of the horse getting hurt- but it just seems like $50,000 is a lot of money to pay to lease a horse for 6 weeks if you can buy the whole horse for what? $500,000? Then sell to someone else after another year of experience at the 3'6 levels for the same price?
                                      Wrong. Look at the economy. You could be stuck with a horse that you paid hundreds of thousands for, be tight for cash, and basically have dug yourself into a hole. What if the horse goes lame after you buy it? then POOF, all that money that you hoped to get back is gone. No, too much risk.
                                      My parents and I always preferred to do a lease; we didnt have to worry about reselling it or if some freak accident happened and we were stuck with a horse whos sale value has hit rock bottom (never happened but its always a possibility, and with my parents having to support my siblings as well, they couldnt chance it.)
                                      I leased a big name top eq horse for 45,000 for a year. Then again the owner never planned on selling him so the price was significantly lower than what it should have been.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Keep in mind that USET finals are different than the other eq finals. Many kids ride their jumpers (and x grand prix horses) for this class - it is much more demanding, and you need a very scopey horse to be safe. I would not think of taking a horse than can do the 3', and maybe jump around a 3'6" course there. You would be way out of your league.

                                        And there is a reason it costs so much to lease an equitation horse! At Harrisburg, it is amazing to see how many riders "self eliminate" - often at an unusual jump that a green horse will balk at. And with a class that large - it almost needs to be that way. But how sad for a rider who prepares so long for that class to go in and not get around the course.

                                        You have a major decision ahead of you - good luck. But be clear on your goal. IMO, if you don't show all year long, and perhaps do the Florida circuit, your daughter just won't be as prepared to do well at finals. Yes it can happen otherwise, but they are seasoned competitors, and ride at a very high level. Good competition promotes good riding with few mistakes. And face it, the judges remember them.

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