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Horse injured while out on lease with two months left... advice?

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    Horse injured while out on lease with two months left... advice?

    I thought about writing this under an alter, but at this point I'm too upset to care anymore.

    I'm currently in grad school abroad and free leased my horse to one of my coach's clients. Lease period began last June (2019) and was set to expire August 2020. He's got full medical/mortality insurance that his rider pays the premiums for. Horse and rider were doing great together, his only issue was a reflare of EPM that was addressed with meds - and I paid for half of the cost of the medication/treatment that wasn't covered by insurance.

    Horse was just diagnosed with a high proximal suspensory ligament strain two days after she competed him. Vet says that there's some bony change at the origin, indicating there was some inflammation there before - how long, I don't know.

    Lessee just emailed me saying she wanted to terminate the lease and is giving me 30 days' notice (July 31). There's no clause in the lease agreement that allows for this - only one part that says if he's basically starving to death I can remove him from her care at any point; otherwise it's until August 31, 2020.

    Considering I'm a) over 9,000 miles away and b) the injury was caused while under her care, am I wrong in thinking they should at least see it out until the end of the lease agreement? I don't expect her to want to take him back in September and do rehab/etc., but he lives on the family farm and it's not like I'm asking them to pay $1500/month in layup board. At this point I'm ready to pull his shoes and chuck him out in a paddock once he's healed (if he ever heals) as I don't even know if I'll be able to get back into the U.S. after I finish my degree in December.
    Last edited by FrittSkritt; Jun. 29, 2020, 04:40 AM.
    Blog
    Translation
    fri [fri:] fritt fria (adj): Free
    skritt [skrit:] skritten (noun): Walk

    #2
    Well, not sure how you have a contract without a termination clause. What if you wanted the horse back?

    What happens if she keeps the horse until the end of August? How do you get it back then? What if she had wanted to end the lease in August (assuming no injury). What would have been the plan?

    Is the horse on stall rest? What kind of care is she providing for the injury?

    Comment


      #3
      Originally posted by FrittSkritt View Post
      I thought about writing this under an alter, but at this point I'm too upset to care anymore.

      I'm currently in grad school abroad and free leased my horse to one of my coach's clients. Lease period began last June (2019) and was set to expire August 2020. He's got full medical/mortality insurance that his rider pays the premiums for. Horse and rider were doing great together, his only issue was a reflare of EPM that was addressed with meds - and I paid for half of the cost of the medication/treatment that wasn't covered by insurance.

      Horse was just diagnosed with a high proximal suspensory ligament strain two days after she competed him. Vet says that there's some bony change at the origin, indicating there was some inflammation there before - how long, I don't know.

      Lessee just emailed me saying she wanted to terminate the lease and is giving me 30 days' notice (July 31). There's no clause in the lease agreement that allows for this - only one part that says if he's basically starving to death I can remove him from her care at any point; otherwise it's until August 31, 2020.

      Considering I'm a) over 9,000 miles away and b) the injury was caused while under her care, am I wrong in thinking they should at least see it out until the end of the lease agreement? I don't expect her to want to take him back in September and do rehab/etc., but he lives on the family farm and it's not like I'm asking them to pay $1500/month in layup board. At this point I'm ready to pull his shoes and chuck him out in a paddock once he's healed (if he ever heals) as I don't even know if I'll be able to get back into the U.S. after I finish my degree in December.
      I would do what is best for the horse, both parties have to give and take here so that happens first.
      Maybe find a vet for a second opinion and have them advise what is what with that injury.

      Since you are so far away, try not to get mad about the situation in frustration.
      Keep being the sensible one if the other party gets edgy about this and keep working to figure what is best for the horse, right now.

      Here we have rehab barns, they even have under water treadmills, etc. and work with all kinds of vets.
      For just two months, could you get the horse to one of those and that would give you time to find where to go next from this?

      Here is the one well run one, the owner a former very good vet tech:

      https://runningtfarms.com/equine-sports-therapy/

      Bet there may be one close to where your horse is, if your vet thinks that would be a good place for him to rehab.

      Comment

        Original Poster

        #4
        It says I'm allowed to take him back basically whenever I want to (e.g., I don't have to give a reason), but otherwise he's under her care until the end of the lease period.

        Considering the earliest I could come back would have been August 2020 (had I not stayed on for an additional semester, which is what I'm doing), this was the best way to ensure he was getting cared for until then.

        The plan would have been to find a new lease for him, had he not been injured.
        Blog
        Translation
        fri [fri:] fritt fria (adj): Free
        skritt [skrit:] skritten (noun): Walk

        Comment

          Original Poster

          #5
          Originally posted by Bluey View Post

          I would do what is best for the horse, both parties have to give and take here so that happens first.
          Maybe find a vet for a second opinion and have them advise what is what with that injury.

          Since you are so far away, try not to get mad about the situation in frustration.
          Keep being the sensible one if the other party gets edgy about this and keep working to figure what is best for the horse, right now.

          Here we have rehab barns, they even have under water treadmills, etc. and work with all kinds of vets.
          For just two months, could you get the horse to one of those and that would give you time to find where to go next from this?

          Here is the one well run one, the owner a former very good vet tech:

          https://runningtfarms.com/equine-sports-therapy/

          Bet there may be one close to where your horse is, if your vet thinks that would be a good place for him to rehab.
          Well, the other frustrating part is that the current insurance claim on his injury will be made by her, and paid to her, so if he suddenly ends up going to another place next month, I need to find a new horse power-of-attorney (for lack of a better term) to deal with insurance... which will be a giant pain in the ass.

          I'm not in a financial situation where I can spend $2,000/month on rehab, especially when he's 18 and at this point we don't know what his prognosis is long-term.
          Blog
          Translation
          fri [fri:] fritt fria (adj): Free
          skritt [skrit:] skritten (noun): Walk

          Comment


            #6
            Have you talked to the coach about this? I say this not because I think a coach is some amazing thing who is the only one who knows how to do stuff, I say it because the coach knows both parties and is there to know the general situation.
            Do they think they can have this client follow thru with the lease for the one additional month?
            Does this client know that them ending prematurely is putting a pretty serious hardship on you and putting the care of the horse's injury into the hands of an unknown?

            Comment


              #7
              BTDT with a horse incurring suspenseful injuries in both fronts when on free lease when I was in law school. I took the horse back and chucked him out for a year of Dr. Green on the family farm. He healed very well but then got ringbone so was only rideable for a short time after that. Frankly that is what sounds reasonable at this point, given your constraints. I doubt you will even be able to get insurance on him given his age. I would ask that the lessee continue the “lease” until the end of the lease date on paper so if there are any follow up vet expenses you can submit them through her policy (and pay the rest).

              Comment

                Original Poster

                #8
                Originally posted by trubandloki View Post
                Have you talked to the coach about this? I say this not because I think a coach is some amazing thing who is the only one who knows how to do stuff, I say it because the coach knows both parties and is there to know the general situation.
                Do they think they can have this client follow thru with the lease for the one additional month?
                Does this client know that them ending prematurely is putting a pretty serious hardship on you and putting the care of the horse's injury into the hands of an unknown?
                Yes, hoping that will help. I'm so upset about the whole thing - it was incredibly hard leaving him behind but knowing he was in good hands made it less painful. They were a great pair together and it hurts that much more knowing he's not going to have a person to look after his well-being... I'm stuck here and most likely won't even be able to go home to see my family for the holidays let alone check up on my horse.
                Blog
                Translation
                fri [fri:] fritt fria (adj): Free
                skritt [skrit:] skritten (noun): Walk

                Comment


                  #9
                  I am so sorry you are dealing with this when you are so far away. Insurance covers the horse, not the facility so it should still be in effect if you have to move him. I agree with talking with the coach and asking if they can continue to care for the horse until you return even if you have to pay for it. Jingles for you both.
                  McDowell Racing Stables

                  Home Away From Home

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Originally posted by FrittSkritt View Post

                    Well, the other frustrating part is that the current insurance claim on his injury will be made by her, and paid to her, so if he suddenly ends up going to another place next month, I need to find a new horse power-of-attorney (for lack of a better term) to deal with insurance... which will be a giant pain in the ass.

                    I'm not in a financial situation where I can spend $2,000/month on rehab, especially when he's 18 and at this point we don't know what his prognosis is long-term.
                    The idea of leases, of course depending on the contract terms, is that the one leasing can walk off if the horse is not available for the use it is leased, like in case of injury.

                    I would say in that situation, appealing to the good graces of the leaser that it keeps going under the terms of the lease and so taking care of the insurance details, maybe adjusting the amount of the lease way down this last month, could help keeping things the same for a bit?

                    Sorry you are there, horses getting injured is heartbreaking and even more when being so far away.
                    Hope the trainer involved may be able to step in and help until you can decide where to go next with this.

                    Comment

                      Original Poster

                      #11
                      Thanks all. It's a free lease but she is paying about $90/month to cover his insurance premium. Ideally if they can keep him on small paddock turnout until he's cleared for big kid turnout without any additional treatments, that would help immensely.
                      Blog
                      Translation
                      fri [fri:] fritt fria (adj): Free
                      skritt [skrit:] skritten (noun): Walk

                      Comment


                        #12
                        what were your plans at the end of August if she did not extend?

                        What farm is he at? What are the monthly obligations of the leaser, money wise?

                        Personally I would simply eat the last month. It sounds like you got a good deal; horse with your trusted trainer, the EPM issue. These are challenging times and adding to them is probably not to anyones advantage.

                        If he is at your trainers farm, ask trainer to lay him, up same if he is on the lessees farm.

                        A month off in august will harm no horse, let alone one who probably needs 4 months off.

                        He is an aging horse with a history of EPM. What is your long term plan? Probably time to start that now.
                        _\\]
                        -- * > hoopoe
                        Procrastinate NOW
                        Introverted Since 1957

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Since it's a free lease, could you pay the leasor the insurance premium amount? That way they technically will still have the lease, and the insurance will be valid.
                          You can't fix stupid-Ron White

                          Comment


                            #14
                            While I realize that the point of leasing is so that you can get out of the commitment if you need to- these people obviously did not read the contract or they did not care and I kinda feel that by signing up for a year lease they are obligated to care for the horse for a year. Hopefully the coach knew this was a year long commitment on their end and is willing to explain this to them? If the horse is at home on their own farm, I'm sure you can come up with some kind of agreement for the horse to stay there until the end of August one way or another, as long as things stay civil, and give you time to find another option.

                            I'm not sure where you are located, but it would be ideal if the horse could be on stall/small paddock turn out for now and then go to a retirement style facility for the rest of the year. You don't have any family that is horsey enough to look after him? I don't, and my husband isn't either, so if something happens to me (and I was recently in the hospital for a few weeks so it did) a friend of mine gets custody and control of my equine.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Re: Insurance. I'm sorry, is this a policy that you retain on the horse (that she's been paying because she's leasing him) or a policy that she took out on the horse because she is leasing him? I thought the whole point of having an insurance policy on a horse out on lease was so that if something happened to it the leaser was protected and the owner was NOT shit out of luck? So that whatever care the horse needed for whatever injury the horse had would be paid for BY INSURANCE? The insurance money for the injury should go with the horse for his treatment.

                              My opinion of these people is diminishing.

                              Comment


                                #16
                                Under the circumstances, it seems that she is responsible for paying the agreed upon expenses through the end of the lease. Since there is no lease fee, that likely means board and (assuming the contract requires it) the insurance. At $90/mo this is not a big expense, after all, considering she *may* have caused a career ending injury to your horse.

                                I would try as hard as possible to treat this as unemotionally as possible (although I totally understand and appreciate that it is emotionally devastating.) Speak to your coach, remind them that there is a contract in place, and perhaps get the coach to speak to the person leasing your horse to remind them of their contractual responsibilities here. If not, you may need to send a lawyer's letter.

                                Now, given your circumstances, you could also consider a middle ground, particularly given the horse's previous bout with EPM which perhaps caused him to be out of action for a bit during the lease - obviously something that wasn't caused by the lease rider. So you could consider negotiating a bit here. You could relieve her of any other expenses she may be incurring (farrier, any board) and just maintain the insurance. FWIW, typically insurance REIMBURSES expenses incurred for care - she is most likely not in a position where she can make a claim, take the payout, and just hand the horse back to you. Also, even if the insurance policy terminates in August, most clauses allow for ongoing care for a period of time (though you may have to pay the premium.) Going forward, lesson learned - when you do a lease, even if the leaser pays for the insurance, the horse OWNER should be the beneficiary of the policy.

                                Good luck and since it's only a strain and not a tear, remember that your horse may well come back from this just fine.

                                **********
                                We move pretty fast for some rabid garden snails.
                                -PaulaEdwina

                                Comment


                                  #17
                                  I feel that the lessor is responsible for the horse until the end of the lease. However, there is then always the question of how responsible she feels or will will act.

                                  It would be wisdom to contact your trainer to assure yourself, that in the interim before your return things are handled well.
                                  Some riders change their horse, they change their saddle, they change their teacher; they never change themselves.

                                  Remember the horse does all the work, we just sit there and look pretty.

                                  Comment

                                    Original Poster

                                    #18
                                    To answer a few questions - the insurance policy is under my name, goes until December, but she's listed as a loss payee for major medical. He actually didn't have much time off during his EPM re-flare - he got his meds and they continued competing under the vet's discretion. The $90/month is a pro-rated amount for his insurance premium (since he's 18, it's over $1k).

                                    He lives on the family farm, so boarding for her is a minimum cost. They offered to keep him there for $800/month for me, which is not something I can swing financially.

                                    My trainer is aware of the situation, I'm hoping that will help. At the same time, I'm having a tough time with the email trying to diplomatically tell the lessee that she can't just dump him a month early because it's convenient for her (without sounding like an asshole). He's been nothing but a good boy for her, has taught her a ton, won her a few ribbons... the least they could do is keep him the last two months.

                                    My plan for him if he didn't have a rider was to put him in a cheaper retirement/field board type situation, but he's happier having a job.
                                    Blog
                                    Translation
                                    fri [fri:] fritt fria (adj): Free
                                    skritt [skrit:] skritten (noun): Walk

                                    Comment


                                      #19
                                      Originally posted by FrittSkritt View Post
                                      It says I'm allowed to take him back basically whenever I want to (e.g., I don't have to give a reason), but otherwise he's under her care until the end of the lease period.

                                      Considering the earliest I could come back would have been August 2020 (had I not stayed on for an additional semester, which is what I'm doing), this was the best way to ensure he was getting cared for until then.

                                      The plan would have been to find a new lease for him, had he not been injured.
                                      You had your pro set up this lease, right? I'd put this on my pro a bit. She should put the horse's needs first; know that you can't come home to do the care; point out to the client that the right thing to do is just keep him/care for him just 30 more days than she'd like (because in this situation, you stand to lose way more than she does even though she probably had more to do than you did); and then lean on the lessee to do the right thing.

                                      If your coach can't make the lessee do the right thing, then I think she at least needs to step up and become in loco parentis for your horse until you can get back or he gets turned out. You might have to cover the costs (which I know you said you cannot), but as the professional horsemen in this deal and the agent who set up this lease, she needs to backstop the horse.

                                      Rather than e-mailing the lessee and trying to make this argument about doing the right thing for the horse (first) and not being a dick in business when the world is small, can you get your coach to make it? It might work better coming from her because the pro has a tad more moral authority and because the lessee (presumably) wants to continue her business relationship with the pro. She doesn't have a compelling reason to do the right thing by you, it would seem.
                                      The armchair saddler
                                      Politically Pro-Cat

                                      Comment


                                        #20
                                        You could also ask your leasor if she would continue to look after him until you can find a place to move him. You don't have a lot of time if you need a stall for August 1. Split the cost for August if you can't find a place til Sept 1?

                                        Comment

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