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Advice: Leasing out a hunt horse. UPDATE #18!

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  • Advice: Leasing out a hunt horse. UPDATE #18!

    I currently have my horse up for sale with an emphasis as a foxhunter (I won't go into details so as not to advertise). Right now he needs more hunts under his belt to a.)get back into shape, b.)have more experience and c.)gain more exposure to potential buyers.

    At this moment in time, it's not financially wise for me to be a full member when I can only squeeze in maybe 4-6 hunts a season. I work a M-F, 8-5 job with no sick or vacation time and I do not own a trailer, so am always at the mercy of someone with an open slot. I am restricted to 3 capping hunts if not a full member. I am open to leasing him out on a hunt-by-hunt basis and have talked this over with my trainer (who is a full member with colors) who agrees this would be a good idea. Right now, he's suitable for 2nd flight and hill topping. As he gets more fit, 1st flight wouldn't be out of his skillset (although I've never taken him on a rip-roaring hunt while out on 1st flight, but he's rateable in the open at a gallop in a group) .

    How does this work? I plan on contacting the MFH and hunt secretary to let them know I have a horse for sale, who can also be leased in the interim. My biggest fear is if my horse becomes injured while out with someone else. What can be done to delegate vet bills, if any? What is an appropriate fee to ask? Do I provide tack (I have no issue with bridle, but my lovely, fairly new event saddle is not easily replaceable. However I want my horse comfortable, fitting tack...)?

    Formal hunting starts in 2 weeks for us, so it'd be nice to get him out as much as possible during the remainder of cubbing season.
    Last edited by Heliodoro; Dec. 13, 2012, 05:18 PM.

  • #2
    I am in a similar situation (though Chief is fit) - marketing a horse with limited fox hunting experience (though a Training level eventer) as a hunt horse.

    I am PAYING a trainer to take him out cubbing. She is not a member of a hunt either, but I am paying the capping fees. I trust both her riding ability and her horsemanship, knowing when to say "this isn't working" (whether because he is too tired, because the footing is too bad, or becuase his behavior isn't good enough) and politely excuse herself). She hasn't had to do that, but I trust that she WOULD if it was the right thing to do.

    I would not have that trust in someone who was leasing a horse for the day.

    I took him out wth Old Dominion with the COTH hunt in March.
    She took him out twice last week with Loudon.
    I took him out wth Old Dominion with the COTH hunt on Saturday.
    She took him out with Blue Ridge this morning, and will take him out again later this week.
    And so on.

    I would NOT lease out a horse (ESPECIALLY a horse whose hunting talent is not yet proven, and who is not yet fully fit) on a "per hunt" basis, unless it was someone I knew REALLY WELL, whose horsemanship as well as riding were excellent.

    There are just too many things that can go wrong, especially if the rider does not have a long term vested interest in the horse's soundness and sanity.
    Last edited by Janet; Sep. 17, 2012, 10:43 AM.

    chief feeder and mucker for Music, Spy, Belle and Tiara. Someone else is now feeding and mucking for Chief and Brain (both foxhunting now).


    • #3
      Oh, yeah. Don't do that under any circumstance. You'll wreck your nice horse that way in about 1/2 of 1 hunt.
      BTW Janet **I** would happily hunt your big horse for you if you need me to. I think he's dreamy.
      Email me at home!
      * www.huntersrest.net -- Virginia hunt country's best Bed-and-Breakfast-and-Barn.


      • #4
        You need someone like Hunter's Rest

        Who is in the business of hirelings. I've never met her in person, but have spoken with her. I'd send a horse to her for experience in a heartbeat, and I'm certain it would get the necessary sales exposure as well.


        • #5
          Thanks 2ndYr.
          I'm not as much in hirelings as just making solid citizens by **protecting** them in the learning stages (as this horse sounds like) while they "get it" so that they can behave with more-or-less good humour when faced with a variety of riders. Once a horse "gets it" is when they can safely manage with more, or less, experienced riders.
          The other thing I do - which the OP sounds like she might not be doing - is hunt WITH my horses so I can keep an eye on everything. I ride a spare who could be/should be able to jump in as an alternate if the hireling loses a shoe/isn't working well/tired/etc. This way, I protect my guys from what Janet said.
          Its a little like how we inadvertently treat, say, a rental car vs. our beloved classic car. Not that one means to mishandle anyone else's horse but people you don't know, don't **know** your horse, so therefore can't feel a minor bobble which = a lost shoe, etc.
          * www.huntersrest.net -- Virginia hunt country's best Bed-and-Breakfast-and-Barn.


          • #6
            I suspect the OP is going to find that the people who can put really good mileage on a hunt-horse-in-training are either already being paid to ride horses that need mileage, have a list of people with made hunt horses who will let them ride occasionally for free to keep the horse legged up, or are otherwise not going to be interested in paying to train someone's horse. Even if the horse is offered for free--just to get the experience--the rider still has his or her time, capping or subscription fees, etc. invested in, again, giving the horse a training ride.

            I don't mean to rain on the OP's parade and I do hope something turns up. It just might be a little optimistic to think there's a market for leasing a horse that's admittedly not fit or finished, particularly if you wish to be choosy about how it's ridden.


            • Original Poster

              Well, it sounds like I'm at a loss here...

              I cannot afford a full membership this year and have 2 caps left for the season. Horse went out for his first outing this year this past weekend and outshined my trainer's horses that have been out at least 3+ seasons. We stayed 2nd Flight for 2 hours as we also had a green horse with us, but most of it was trotting at a good clip, both in the open and woods, and a couple logs to jump and 2 long checks/make ways that he stood for. Horse went out last year during cubbing with an experienced foxhunter while I was out on Reserve duty, glowing report followed. The only reason he hasn't been out more is due to my work conflicts and I had no idea how to start hunting 2 years ago. Horse is ridden 5x/wk, mostly long hacks, conditioning rides and some ring work to get back into shape since I was gone for a month for work. He's just not ready to safely gallop for 1hr+.

              I wish I could send him down to HR, sounds like she's got a great program, but that's out of the budget at the moment. I don't really know anyone around here that does something similar.


              • #8
                Bob Smith at Millbrook surely does
                * www.huntersrest.net -- Virginia hunt country's best Bed-and-Breakfast-and-Barn.


                • Original Poster

                  Originally posted by Hunter's Rest View Post
                  Bob Smith at Millbrook surely does
                  Not trying to be argumentative, but considering drive time it would only be 45min more to drop the horse at your farm HR!

                  I have contacted both the MFH and hunt secretary with my sale ad that does not mention anything about a day by day lease. Just trying to pass the word around. I'm going to start working him more with a hunt whip as I heard one of the Whips is looking for a new staff horse(he doesn't mind crops, dressage whips and a polo mallet). My trainer knows a lot of the goings on in our area and who's looking or might need a different mount, but as the WWW said "we must tread delicately!"


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Heliodoro View Post

                    I am open to leasing him out on a hunt-by-hunt basis and have talked this over with my trainer (who is a full member with colors) who agrees this would be a good idea.
                    How about having your trainer take him out a few times to give him some mileage?


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Heliodoro View Post
                      I'm going to start working him more with a hunt whip as I heard one of the Whips is looking for a new staff horse(he doesn't mind crops, dressage whips and a polo mallet).
                      Other skills you can install on and off the hunt field if you're looking to sell to staff would be calmly coming and going from the group at various gaits, passing other horses in crowded conditions, having things randomly touch his legs and belly (simulate the whip thong and hounds) without kicking out or moving away, bushwhacking, ponying (lead and follow), coon jumping, opening and closing gates, leading easily by the reins and standing politely while the rider is dismounted, standing to be remounted after the field has moved off...


                      • Original Poster

                        Originally posted by WildBlue View Post
                        Other skills you can install on and off the hunt field if you're looking to sell to staff would be calmly coming and going from the group at various gaits, passing other horses in crowded conditions, having things randomly touch his legs and belly (simulate the whip thong and hounds) without kicking out or moving away, bushwhacking, ponying (lead and follow), coon jumping, opening and closing gates, leading easily by the reins and standing politely while the rider is dismounted, standing to be remounted after the field has moved off...
                        What on EARTH is coon jumping? CooP? No problem there with coops!

                        Most of this we've worked on for a Master's Test "competition" our hunt hosts, last year was our first attempt. They are looking for the "ultimate hunt horse" that can do a little bit of everything. Events include make way, going away from a group showing all paces and standing quietly alone, opening and closing gate, leading horse over a fence dismounted and remounting, lowering/raising rail from horse back over a fence and whip accuracy. I wouldn't call him an expert yet, but he completed all the events last year (albeit a little on the slow side). I have the pic's of the 2 of us here:

                        Thank you for the input, I plan to keep working him towards being a better hunting citizen until he finds a new person.


                        • #13
                          That's super you have such a good local resource! It sounds like your boy is well on his way to making someone a great partner.

                          Um, that might be a regional term? Basically it's what coon hunters do with a mule: while dismounted, have your mount hop over something and stop before hitting the end of the reins.


                          • #14
                            Coon jumping = jumping from a standstill or walk (mounted or led) from any footing over any obstacle, big or small.
                            * www.huntersrest.net -- Virginia hunt country's best Bed-and-Breakfast-and-Barn.


                            • #15
                              What about finding a member of the hunt that you/your trainer trusts to hunt your horse for free? It could be a win-win for both - your horse gets experience without anyone having to pay a capping fee, and the rider gets a horse to hunt. It shouldn't be too hard to find someone who maybe only has one hunt horse and needs to give it some days off now and then, or whose horse is injured, etc.


                              • #16
                                Perhaps have the horse be ridden and watched by your instructor, trusted friend or yourself before the person takes the horse hunting. That way both horse and rider have an introduction to each other. I can count up 6 members or former members who need a good horse to get them (back) out hunting. Especially a sane, safe horse! Yes, be careful about who you put on your horse, but don't give up hope--there are probably many very capable riders who need a trustworthy horse to enjoy. Keep searching until you find a member whose advice you trust, then don't be afraid to say "no" to someone if you dont get the right feeling from them. Good luck!


                                • #17
                                  I third this advice -- keep asking around for someone who may need or want a hunt horse.
                                  I had a horse for sale last year who I thought would make a great fox hunter. I took him cubbing a couple of times with a local hunt to make sure his head wouldn't fall off, and then passed him on to a friend whose main horse was coming back from an injury.
                                  She hunted him a number of times -- she was a member of one hunt, but when she hunted with any other hunt I paid the capping fees. He grew into a lovely first flight hunter after about 6 times out, and then I felt comfortable having some (not always solid) buyers hunt him.
                                  He's now in a home where he'll be teaching an inexperienced adult rider how to hunt and I am confident that he knows how to make way, stand at checks, wait his turn at fences, stay in his place in the field, and ignore the hounds no matter what.

                                  If he is well behaved you can probably find someone who needs a horse, but I agree that you need to make sure it is someone whose horsemanship you can trust.
                                  The big man -- my lost prince

                                  The little brother, now my main man


                                  • Original Poster

                                    I just wanted to update everyone that the Goobster has found a new home as a foxhunter! He will be staying local with a colored member of the GVH who was looking for younger, shorter and more giddyup than his older Belgian and Goober fit the bill perfectly.

                                    After a week trial, where the new owner took a lesson with the MFH and hunting the first day of Late Season hunting, I got the call that they would like to keep him as their own! While bittersweet, I know this is a great home and Goober gets to do something that he loves full time. I just heard from one of the whips that Goober even got to go over some coops the other day! This is the horse that when I bought him 8 years ago was not the bravest soul and would stop frequently. My trainer told me previously the new owner(who is also a friend of hers) is not a jumper, which was fine by me, but the fact that Goobs did jump with him just about made my day!!