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Leasing/Half-Leasing your horse? Opinions needed!

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  • Leasing/Half-Leasing your horse? Opinions needed!

    I have a wonderful wonderful wonderful (not that I'm biased....) horse - the kind of horse who "makes" a rider. You know, the one where at a horse-show, people say "Hey Tazzy" but don't quite know the owner's name!

    He has brought me from crossrails through the 3 foot hunters - We've gotten grand champion year end awards several times, he's my buddy, my best friend. We are currently showing in the 3 foot (and kicking butt, if i do say so myself!). He's bombproof, beginner safe, but with someone who will ask him and push him, he REALLY shines! And he's relatively still young.. (13.)

    Here's my dilemma: I don't really "want" to ride anymore. I love HIM dearly, and I LOVE riding, ut for some reason the "urge" just isnt there. I took most of the winter off, expecting to get bitten by the bug come spring, and it just hasn't happened. I am thinking of leasing - but have heard many, MANY, horror stories! Along the idea that people just don't take care of what isn't theirs.

    I'm located in central NJ, all the leaser would have to pay is board on the horse + shoes and supplements. (and vet fees should anything occur.) There would be no "lease" fee. I just want a good horse, to continue to have a "Job." He's too young to just sit, and has too big of a heart and talent that it'd be a shame.

    Am I crazy? Will I regret this? Any Do's and Don'ts? I will post pictures of my handsome man later on in the day. I'm torn!

    Picture of the Handsome boy:
    Last edited by TesignedInGold; Jun. 22, 2010, 07:30 PM. Reason: picture

  • #2
    Is your horse currently in a barn with a trainer and BM you trust? Have there been other leased horses in the barn and were you comfortable with how they were treated? If so, you should be fine doing an in-barn lease which I find are the less stressful kind.

    Of course it goes without saying that you would need to do a detailed lease agreement. When I leased one of my horses, the trainer had lease agreements we could work from. Since mine was also an in-barn lease, I also worked with the trainer and BM to make sure everyone was on board as to the terms.

    If you do an out of barn lease, again you will need to make sure you are comfortable with the trainer and BM and how they treat other leased horses. You should also make sure the horse is close enough that you can keep an eye on it and have an escape clasue in the contract if you are unhappy with the horses treatment.
    Auventera Two:Some women would eat their own offspring if they had some dipping sauce.
    Serious Leigh: it sounds like her drama llama should be an old schoolmaster by now.


    • #3
      I don't think leasing out your horse is a bad idea at all in your situation. Seems perfectly reasonable to me.

      It will be up to you to decide what makes you feel comfortable/uncomfortable. My comfort level would be sending him to a trainer that I trusted who has a safe and comfortable facility for my horse. (Or ideally, would stay in my barn with my current trainer, but that doesn't always work out.) Somewhere close that I could check in on him if needed.

      I would write up some general "rules" in my lease that would make me feel more comfortable as well. For example - I would require that he be wrapped when he is shipped. I would require the leaser takes regular lessons with said trainer. I would have to see how I felt about the leaser doing trail rides, etc - would I trust that person not to accidentally let my horse step in a ground hog hole? I would require the horse gets at least 2 days off a week and at LEAST one full week off every six months.

      I would require the leaser have their own tack. (I MIGHT provide a bit. Maybe. But other than that...leasers are too hard on my stuff to let them use it. Probably would give them blankets though too.)

      I would require that I evaluate the fit of the saddle of the leaser on my horse and require the leaser to use saddle fitting pads if there is an issue. No sense in letting your horse get a sore back.

      What about insurance? That would be interesting to hear opinions about. Do you carry it on him? Is it valid if you are leasing him out? Do the leasers get insurance? I mean, a 3 ft packer that wins has to be worth some dough.

      Just some thoughts.


      • #4
        You are picking people-- rider, trainer, barn/BM, vet farrier-- a whole management team along with the person who leases the horse. If you can work within your barn, do that first. Otherwise, look for the trainers you like who have seen this horse around and are part of his fan club.

        Of course put things in writing and do have the lessee buy major medical and mortality insurance. I wouldn't ask them to buy loss of use insurance.

        But what do you want in the future? If you just want to own your Great Old Buddy and insure a good life and retirement for him, then leasing is a great idea. But going in, you must accept the possibility that you will not get back the same horse. If he is, in fact, good at raising up beginners, he won't have the same skilled ride you give him now. He'll have more milage on his body as result of that work, but also being ridden a little incorrectly.

        Just know that going in. The best people and best agreement you can write won't be able to insure that you get back a horse that's as good as he is now. If you want to sell him, on the other hand, this is the time to do it.
        The armchair saddler
        Politically Pro-Cat


        • #5
          I've done both on and off farm leases and have had both good and bad experiences. On-farm lease was great because I was still playing an active role in my horse's care. I managed ALL aspects of farrier, vet, feeding, etc - I billed the lessee her portion of everything each month in one amount. She loved my guy and it worked out really well. I'm doing something similar with the mare right now. She's boarded at the farm where I lesson/show and I'm sharing a lease with a great rider who also loves her. It's a bonus that she works at the farm so I know the mare is getting taken care of very well.

          I recently did an off-farm lease for my gelding and I'm not sure if I'd do it again. The people who had him were nice but they called me up out of the blue and said they didn't want to lease him anymore. He'd been fresh with the rider...turned out she had a lot of other commitments going on (teenage kid) and didn't have time to ride him, so when she did he was a little full of himself (he does better when he's in a consistent program). When I went to pick him up they said "he's been really headshy for the past couple weeks - we have trouble getting his halter on him." I did notice it but was able to get the halter on and just chalked it up to him being fresh and taking advantage of them. I got him home and tried to take his halter off and he flipped out. Turns out he had a huge lump between his ears - he looked a bit like a conehead. I also noticed what looked like a scab on the lump. Concerned it was an abscess I took him to the vet right away. They had to sedate him to look at it - he had a 2.5" laceration on his head and the bump was a really bad seroma (bone bruise). The vet said it had happened 2-3 wks beforehand and he must have really hit his head hard to have such a large bruise. Fortunately the bone wasn't broken. Still unsure how it happened and the people who had him say they don't know either. They did pay the vet bill, but my biggest problem with the situation is that they didn't think to wonder if something might be wrong when he suddenly got headshy. Not saying they knew what happened or did it to him - accidents do happen. But when a normally quiet horse is suddenly crazed about putting his halter on/off (and won't even let you touch his head), wouldn't you wonder and maybe call the owner and/or the vet? I'm still dealing with him being headshy and he still has the lump 3 weeks later...I just hope I'm able to clip his ears, etc in the future. I'm thankful it wasn't anything more serious but the experience has definitely made me rethink sending him out on another off-farm lease. I'm just too particular about how my horses are cared for to feel comfortable handing them over to someone else.


          • #6
            Well, what everyone sees as the downside in leasing horses is probably actually the upside. Many people sell horses only to find out later on that horrible things have happened to the horse and have no ability to fix them or help the animal out. The nice thing about leasing out horses is you have the opportunity to fix and/or stop all of the horrible things that are happening to your horse

            That "head shy" story sounds horrible, but that also could have happened had you sold the horse and the end result wouldn't have been them returning the horse and you cursing and swearing and making the horse better but the horse being donated or sold at an auction and starting down some bad path in life based on one lack of paying attention.

            No one will every love "Sparky" as much as his mother does, but well-vetted leasors can be a very helpful filler when you have a horse that you don't have the time/interest/ability to pay attention to to get the horse the attention and exercise he deserves. Focus more on finding the best fit for your horse and not the best money, if his welfare is the most important consideration to you.


            • #7
              I think mvp brings up alot of good points.

              How many have come back better than when they left? ( I just had this conversation with a trainer a week ago)


              • #8
                For what it is worth I had very positive experiences leasing out an older gelding for many years. The keys for my success were 1) the person leasing had to be in a lesson program with a trainer I knew/approved 2) I had to approve the barn and 3) I had drop in privileges (and I did fairly often). I had one lady that leased him for four years It was a great solution for me as I wanted to keep this horse for life (which I did) but I had two other horses at the time and did not have time to ride all three. I think leasing out this guy and the steady activity contributed greatly to his excellent health. (he lived to be 39).
                Last edited by Ponyclubrocks; Jun. 22, 2010, 09:23 AM. Reason: spelling!


                • Original Poster

                  He is currently at a barn with a trainer/barn owner that I love. He's been there for 4 years - he is happy. He's had the same "team" for a while, they know him inside and out. The farrier we have is PERFECT at keeping his 4 white feet healthy, my trainer/BO knows him inside and out, and I like to say the vet only knows him for vaccinations, which is enough for me!

                  I would LOVE for him to stay at my current barn - I trust my "Team" 110% and know that he would be well taken care of. My barn offers 24 hour turnout, or as much/little turnout as you'd like. 300x150 riding ring with full course, Large stalls with windows, a customized feeding program, no "hidden costs" - Board is the same rate month to month and EXTREMELY affordable for the area. (We are not far from all the main show venues. They don't charge for blanket changes, or "Extra feedings," or to feed supplements, etc etc. They'll worm if you provide wormer.) Ideally, I would love for him to stay here, and I think its a great facility for anyone! Most boarders have been there many many years - there is a low turnover rate.

                  I'm not looking to make a quick dime off my horse - would just like his costs covered, and for someone to learn from and enjoy him as much as I did. But I'm terrified to send my perfectly mannered horse away and have him come back a monster with injuries. He's the kind of horse that can be ridden every day, or once every six months and he is never fresh. I've had offers of up to $40k to sell him, but I refuse. I love him and refuse to take a gamble with his well-being and his life.

                  Does anyone have any "good" stories about leases. I've heard a bunch of "He came back malnourished and crippled stories!" to scare the manure out of me!

                  Also any Lease contracts that you can share?

                  Here is a picture of the Superhorse winning in the 3 foot hunters!


                  • #10
                    refrences,refrences,refrences....i have had 2 horror stories happen to me leasing my horses out and really i personally won't do it again.but thats just IMHO.i would make sure there is paper trail and and ask for refrences to check to make sure leasee will take care of said horse properly.
                    sorry to hear you have lost interest..i had that feeling for 3 yrs and now regret it.as i am now starting from square one sort of speak.anyways,just make sure things are in all the right place and stuff if you still decide to lease out your horse.half lease is a good way as well.as if you change your mind down the road,and want your horse back,that it is still yours etc.


                    • #11
                      If you stipulate that the horse must remain at his current barn, you would at least have the confidence of a team you trust to care for him, or let you know if he wasn't being properly cared for. It may limit your potential leasors but it seems as though you are more concerned in his welfare than the money.


                      • #12
                        I have had both good and bad experiences. No horror stories, just mild irritation. One lessee was always switching days on me. Not a huge deal, just made my 1/2 of the 1/2 lease a lot less easy for me to schedule. Another was a kid who just could not get it through her heard that jumping 1 day/week meant 1 day/week and that the horse was a living creature who had to sometimes be cooled down. Neither situation was terrible, and I worked around it both times. I did lease the same horse another time to a wonderful kid who treated him like her own and was an ideal lessee. So it can work.

                        I think they key to making this work is that both parties have to be on the same page about their expectations. If they want to show 4x/month and you want the horse to go to a pleasure home, it just won't work and the best of contracts won't save you. AND you have to have a good, thoughful, tailored contract. I write them all the time (I am an attorney) and am happy to share mine with you-- but to make it really work you can't just recycle someone else's agreement-- you have to discuss and put in writing the terms of YOUR agreement with the lessee. And really THINK THROUGH all the "what ifs" and cover the bases to protect both parties and the horse.

                        As someone who just found out her A/A horse is injured, perhaps permanently-- I can tell you that there ARE good, responsible adults out there who would JUMP at the chance to free lease a horse like yours. The key is for you to find someone who you trust and who has the same expectations as you. Be choosy about who you lease to and what situation, and I think you can end up in a fine situation. I think the problems arise when the lessor doesn't do their homework, doesn't put the agreement in writing, and/or the lessor/lessee want two different things from the lease.
                        "The Son Dee Times" "Sustained" "Somerset" "Franklin Square"


                        • #13
                          I'd like to share my experience from a different side of the fence.. as the person who leases the horse.

                          First of all, I think that everyone who has suggested that you keep your horse in the same barn with the same team has the right idea. They know your horse and will likely be able to keep you informed should your lessee not be the most verbal of people. You know the place and it is most likely convenient to where you are for when you want to visit.

                          Be choosey with who you go with, its not unlike looking for a horse I would imagine. You would want to make sure that the rider is a good fit for your horse as well as a good fit for your program for your horse. If you decide to go with someone who is a minor, I would suggest that you make sure you get along well with the parents as well as they are who you would have to take any issues up with and they are the ones who would be signing the contract.

                          I started out part boarding the horse that I am now leasing and I like that we did it that way. I got to see if I really liked the horse enough to take the next step and knew that I got along well enough with his owner. We have some communication issues, but his owner does ride at the same barn (on a different horse) and I can always leave a note. I go to my coach when I have questions about his health and I trust her judgement completely. He is on the same supplements he was on prior to the lease and if we change anything, I leave a note for his owner. I would like to think that I am a really good lessee and I take care of this horse like he if he was my own.

                          Looking at others in the barn who lease horses that are from outside, they are just as diligent in taking care of them, however they tend to have more communication issues as they can't "run into" the owner and have those quick chats to inquire about quirks or past history. Its not about reinventing the wheel, having an involved (but not TOO involved) owner is great for figuring out answers to training issues that may have cropped up in the past. Our trainer/coach is very active in all of our barn activities and it is a rule that we do not jump outside of lessons. As a rule, they always get a day off (at least) after a show, etc.

                          I think it is absolutely essential to get along and trust the person with your horse, and barring being able to know them well, you have your trainer actively involved with your horse because I certainly hope you trust them!


                          • #14
                            I've only been on the leasee side of the equation but I can tell you that I agree with the above poster who said there are responsible people out there who would jump at the chance to lease your horse. I'm currently leasing now and everyone has told me I take better care of the horse than his owners ever did, and that he is lucky to have me. I've shelled out more than my 1/2 share of the monthly lease fees to make sure he is shod, has plenty of food, and it UTD on everything. My trainer sometimes feels bad that I'm paying more than was agreed upon, but for me the horse comes first (as with all the animals in my life, I swear they eat better than I do!!). I may not be as good a rider as his original owner, but that is why I lease him under the supervision of a trainer.

                            So...if you can find a good situation at your current barn, I would do it. Just wanted to make sure you didn't feel that all leasees are scary, neglectful people!


                            • #15
                              I have been on both sides of leasing and have been lucky to have had only good experiences.

                              I think the most important thing is choosing the rider, trainer, and barn very carefully.

                              I can't imagine not providing the best of my ability for someone else's beloved horse that has been entrusted to my care. I think the horses thrive from the extra attention and having a job.

                              Good luck!


                              • #16
                                If you do want to go outside your barn, this is where you ought to enlist your trainer's help. He or she will know colleagues and their programs well. Your trainer will also be able to speak "pro to pro" about what kind of management works best for your horse.

                                If your horse already has a fan club of pros, these are the people to approach first.

                                No one intends to damage a leased horse, really. This is true in part because they put in some money and getting out of one lease or into another is a PITA. Assume good will.

                                But ignorance or even a different way of doing things might bug you. Not all of them are obviously damaging or large. How many people, for example, would try to give a horse more TO time when their regular approach is to lunge before getting on? How many people do use chiropractors but don't offer frequent opportunities to roll or give their horses a physical therapy-type correct dressgey ride?

                                See what I mean? You have to figure out how much difference Superhorse can tolerate in programs and how much Superhorse's devoted momma can put up with.
                                The armchair saddler
                                Politically Pro-Cat


                                • #17
                                  I completely understand your concerns, as it sounds like you have a great horse. I do agree that for every lease horror story, there are plenty of untold great lease stories. Like some of the others here, I'd love to find a great horse to free lease and I would treat it like gold, just like I would my own horse, and I myself would probably be more cautious because I have to report back to someone else on the health and well-being of their horse.

                                  I would love for a horse's owner to drop in and visit, too. I wouldn't mind if they watched me ride either, as long as they were kind about any shortcomings in my riding that weren't detrimental to the horse. It's difficult to ride a horse as well as the person who has ridden it for years, so you do have to consider how you'll feel if it is in barn and you see him being handled and ridden. You may have to be okay with "different" as long as it isn't harmful.

                                  With a good lease agreement, I think you could reach a point where you'd be comfortable. You should definitely like and respect all the people who will be handling the horse, training the horse, etc. You have to feel comfortable discussing issues with them if you need to as well.

                                  Good luck! I wish he was in Florida.


                                  • #18
                                    Well, I've leased out my semi-retired hunter on and off for the past 5-6 years, (in-barn only) and I can say it's been a blessing! I've given Reilly the lifetime deal, but 7 years ago he hurt his hoof and could no longer do the 3ft hunters, and I'd moved on to doing jumpers. He needed to do something, and as I work full time, it was too hard to ride him and my other horse.

                                    During this time, I've leased him out to three wonderful ladies (each for a year or two), and it's been a joy to see him getting used and adored. He's been able to teach these ladies and each of them have gone on to buy their own horses.

                                    I've only done in-barn, but I'd consider out of barn if my trainer knew and respected the other barn's trainer.

                                    I have a contract and a waiver of liability that I'd be happy to share with you. PM-me your email and I'll send it along.


                                    • #19
                                      A good story

                                      Just to add my experience...

                                      I have leased my WonderHorse out twice. The first time was a lady my age, at my barn, that I had ridden with for a couple of years. I really liked her and her style, and our trainer, and had good confidence that he would be managed as I had been. She moved up from 2'6" to the 3' with my guy and it was great for them both. He had been there done that, which gave her confidence, and it kept him going while I was in grad school. I don't know if he came back better, but he certainly was still at the top of his game and in much better shape than if he had sat while I was in school.

                                      The second experience was a half lease with a lady in the barn. Again, I was familiar with her riding already and knew she was great. In this case as well, it was beneficial to me and the horse. I couldn't ride enough on my own, and the lady did a fantastic job with him, and also got to do some showing.

                                      In both cases the horse stayed in barns I knew and approved of, with a trainer I liked. I also knew the person leasing before agreeing to the situation. I think it worked out well for both sides, as they did a great job with my horse, and it kept him going when I couldn't ride enough. It also took the money pressure off of me.

                                      I think it can be a good think in controlled circumstances.


                                      • Original Poster

                                        Originally posted by mvp View Post
                                        See what I mean? You have to figure out how much difference Superhorse can tolerate in programs and how much Superhorse's devoted momma can put up with.
                                        THIS is the problem! Tazzy is more then adaptable. he's done Jumpers and then was swept off to the short stirrup hunter ring with out an issue! He is the go-to guy for any "horse" issue. You need to pony a green horse? Call Tazzy. A nasty pony needs a turnout buddy who can outrun him, and then stop to graze until he catches up? Call Tazzy. Beginner learning to canter? Tazzy it is. Trail horse? Tazzy. Horse who will show 17h 2 year old that trailer is not scary and will self-load? Tazzy!

                                        He is perfect in every single way! (Except when he accidenty stepped on the cats tail - not so perfect then....)

                                        Its ME! I don't care which side of the horse you brush first, or if you choose to dress him in Blue instead of his normal choice of Pink. But I find it CRUCIAL that he be well-fed and well cared for. He's given me his all for 4 years now, and he deserves nothing less then proper care. He's not a hard horse to keep weight on, but he does need meals twice a day, his feet shod properly, and a little love and attention is much appreciated!

                                        Every person in my barn either has a horse (or 2,) of their own, or is a lessoner who can not really afford board.

                                        His fan club is extensive, but they tend to already be at barns and would probably want to do an off-site lease.

                                        I will not sell him - he's a once in a lifetimer.