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Is it possible (or wise) to lease out a horse that is for sale?

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  • Is it possible (or wise) to lease out a horse that is for sale?

    I have had a horse in training for about a year with the goal of selling him. I have a temporary financial situation that necessitates bringing him home for a couple of months (leased farm/barn for my other horses so no incremental cost to have him here on pasture).

    I had the (I thought) bright idea to try to lease him out while he is not at the trainers. I felt that he could stay with the person leasing him if all was working out, because he is only 5 and needs mileage too. I'll admit I am a bit iffy about how the lease would end if it IS working out.

    So I have a potential lessee who wants to try him out. And wouldn't you know I just got a fairly serious-sounding sale inquiry! Feast or famine...

    So that made me wonder if there is a way to make this work, or if it would be better to just have him off BOTH markets (lease and sale) while I can't afford the trainer. For the current case, it should be apparent by the end of this month (when he will leave trainer) whether the potential buyer is serious. In the meantime I might have the potential lessee try him anyway, with full disclosure that there's someone interested in purchasing. But beyond that... like what if I get a sales inquiry the DAY BEFORE the lessee takes him? Or while she has him? Do people agree to a certain time period for a lease that both parties must honor, or do lessees get horses sold out from under them? Not familiar territory for me. Thanks for your insights!
    Shall I tell you what I find beautiful about you? You are at your very best when things are worst.
    Starman

  • #2
    Unless its a paid lease, the leaser should be aware that he's for sale and know that there is a possibility he could be sold without notice! This has happened to me, when I wasnt aware the horse was for sale and it was quite annoying to have put in all that work and prep for show season to be left without anything! If I had been made aware upfront it would have been easier, or given me the option to find a different mount. But, if your horse is quality and can provide a learning experience for the leaser then she may be willing to take the risk!

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    • #3
      It can work- but not sure it would be worth it for the rider for only 2 months, unless it was free (not even expenses) and they were desperate.
      I did it a while back and it worked out fine. I had the horse for about 6 months, maybe a bit more. They got some recent good show results and I got a horse to play with for just costs when I was not in a position to buy one.
      It only worked because both of us were pretty reasonable people so there was no problem with me making the horse available to be seen and them doing it so often that it interfered with my training of her.
      There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man.(Churchill)

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      • #4
        Leasing could be worth it to put miles on the horse, but I think you'd have to discount the lease cost to make the risk worthwhile. It also depends how you are marketing the horse. A horse with pro-training and then an ammeter rider for a few months could be a selling point.

        There were times when I was leasing that I took on young, green horses. I worked with a trainer and really wanted to increase my skills as a rider of young horses. I was very good at getting horses off the farm to trails, clinics and small shows. I was not as skilled in training the horse in contact (dressage and jumping horses). Most cases I paid a very low or no lease fee but did commit to one lesson a week with the trainer and often also paid the trainer to ride once a week to keep us on track. I did this with 3 young horses and it worked out great for me, trainer, owner and horse.

        The only thing I would do differently is have a lease to buy option in the contract. I did not think I would would want to purchase any of the horses at the time. One I gave an offer on and the owner turned it down since the horse had so much training (all done by me!). She took the horse home and last i heard never did sell.

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        • #5
          I recently free leased a horse that was for sale and it worked out fine for both me and the owner. I had him for about 6 months and he was shown to probably 8-10 potential buyers over that time.

          The downside from the owner's perspective was that I was mainly trail riding the horse so he wasn't tuned up on the flat or over fences. For this particular horse that wasn't a big issue, but it wasn't optimum for horse being marketed to the show market.

          Also, we had a contract that spelled out expectations so there was no misunderstanding from the get go.
          If you believe everything you read, better not read. -- Japanese Proverb

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          • #6
            If it would only be for a couple of months, I'd pass. If your horse is marketable enough as is, best to send him back to the trainer's to be shown when you can afford it.

            I'm always leery of leasing a horse, but much moreso when the horse is for sale. What if lessee inadvertantly injures the horse? Not worth the risk.

            JMO.
            In loving memory of Laura Jahnke.
            A life lived by example, done too soon.
            www.caringbridge.org/page/laurajahnke/

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            • #7
              You could stipulate to the lessee that the horse is for sale even through the duration of the lease. Should the horse be in her possession for more than 30 days ( 60 days) whatever agreed upon really, and is sold while under her care ( lease) she/he earns X commission on the sale, say 10%.

              It would give the lessee some motivation to put some work on him and market/show him. Regardless of "who" finds the buyer lessee is still keeping him fit and training him.

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              • #8
                I do agree with ESG though- I personally will never do another lease (from the owner’s standpoint). But, they do and can work out. If it came down to it, I would *maybe* do another one, depending on who and where.

                Certainly make sure the horse is insured!!!

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by ESG View Post
                  I'm always leery of leasing a horse, but much moreso when the horse is for sale. What if lessee inadvertantly injures the horse?
                  ... or one whose style of riding and/or training creates some royal PITA issues with the horse. Working with a trainer isn't necessarily protection from that. There's a local "BNT" not far from me, who remains popular (though somewhat waning...) in spite of a knack for ruining horses. I would absolutely be hesitant to lease a sales horses, but if you're going to do it, vet the lessee and their trainer well!
                  "I did know once, only I've sort of forgotten." - Winnie the Pooh

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                  • #10
                    I did it. The deal was a free lease (nothing extra on top of care) in exchange for helping me sell the horse. The kid leasing him rode him for me for prospective buyers, which took some scheduling - 3 (buyer-seller-kid) schedules instead of just 2 (buyer-seller).

                    I had a very specific contract that spelled out the deal about showing the horse and that the horse could be sold out from under the kid, what happens if anyone got hurt including a purchase price if the horse got hurt, etc.

                    The kid learned a ton on that horse - he was a much better rider at the end of the lease than he was at the beginning, but my horse also gained much needed experience. He got mileage jumping (something I don't do) and got exposed to a lot more than he would have at my farm. And I didn't have to pay for his expenses during that time.

                    Turned out the kid leasing him bought him, which is what the horse wanted - he loved that kid. Worked out for everyone, but I wouldn't say it was stress free. I would definitely do it again but only under the right circumstances. I went with my gut that the kid and his family were good people.

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                    • #11
                      Horses that are leased are also kept for sale all the time. If it is a show horse that is being leased out generally the leasee has to keep it at a show barn, thus giving you a little more insurance that the horse is actually being kept in shape and in good condition. The lease contract usually gives the leasee the first right of refusal on the sale of the horse, that is potential buyer offers $10k for the horse and leasee is willing to pay it but buyer does not offer more then leasee gets horse. The leasee should of course pay insurance on the horse, and it is up to you if you want to charge a lease fee and if you want to state in the contract that whether or not that will apply to the final sales price should they decide to buy the horse. Also I would recommend defining the length of the lease.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by SuperAlter View Post
                        You could stipulate to the lessee that the horse is for sale even through the duration of the lease. Should the horse be in her possession for more than 30 days ( 60 days) whatever agreed upon really, and is sold while under her care ( lease) she/he earns X commission on the sale, say 10%.

                        It would give the lessee some motivation to put some work on him and market/show him. Regardless of "who" finds the buyer lessee is still keeping him fit and training him.
                        In many situations this would not work, FYI, you can't pay an amateur a commission on a horse sale, against USEF Amateur rules. You could pay a commission to a pro, junior exhibitor, or someone who does not give a poo about their amateur status. But that is not generally how things are done.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Renae View Post
                          In many situations this would not work, FYI, you can't pay an amateur a commission on a horse sale, against USEF Amateur rules. You could pay a commission to a pro, junior exhibitor, or someone who does not give a poo about their amateur status. But that is not generally how things are done.
                          You are right, Im not sure why or how I read between the lines but I assumed it was a younger rider. Although, it says no where in her post the age so Im really not sure where that came from pshh, its Monday!

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                          • #14
                            As to why I said define the length of the lease: I have seen several lease situations where the leasee would just as soon drop the horse off at the owner's door on their way home from the last show or just because they have decided they don't like the horse anymore without giving the owner any notice! Also for some people who lease they do so to avoid paying to costs of keeping a horse in the off season, good for them to save money, not so good for you to feed and shoe your horse 3-4 months out of the year because someone else doesn't want to commit to year round horse responsibilities. So if a lease is going to be less than 12 months I would charge more per month than if someone were to agree to sign a 12 month contract.

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