I did lease at one barn, but wasn't lucky. Someone did something to her, so she was unridable for while (couldn't put saddle on), but I already paid (and of course was neither reimbursed nor got another horse to ride ).
Everytime I've ever leased a horse it was either a Full Lease or a Partial Lease.
Partial lease would be pay half of the board, and get to use the horse half of the days in a week, every week.
Full Lease, what I am about to sign into right now if I don't buy a horse, is where you pay full board, and are the only person to ride/show that horse. It is essentially your horse (you cover expenses) but you don't have to "buy" it and the owner has a right to terminate the lease given a 30 day notice, as well as you do too.
The only expense that isn't covered is if the horse is ill or there is previous soundness issues that arise. Anything that wouldn't have been caused by the person leasing the horse.
Just be careful about it and make sure both parties know all the workings of it before you enter into it.
I leased a horse for three months on a partial lease... It was terrible, because the lady didn't actually want me to ride her horse-ever-and was only doing it because she was short on cash. I just had a really bad experience with it, but I also know people who have loved it. I think it's a good way to be sure you're committed to it.
I think it is important to make sure that there is some sort of lease contract that you and the owner are signing stating specific details of your lease. Price? How much riding time? Etc. If everything is carefully covered going in, hopefully it will save heartache in the long run. :)
I think leasing can be a great opportunity to see if you really want to go the next step and own a horse. The expense and responsibility for the kids leasing my horses is much less than if they were to own...and owning is not realistic for most of them. I charge them $150/month flat rate (I cover all horse related expenses), they get their own grooming supplies, headstalls, helmets, and reins (I have had too many broken by kids), and they use my saddles and pads. The ones that stay around long enough start getting their own stock pile of tack going though. They ride for 2 hours, twice a week.
Leasing can be a great option if you are not ready to purchase your own horse. I have leased several times before and had great experiences. The horse I own now was a horse that I started off leasing and ended up buying. All of the leases I have ever done were "free leases". Meaning that I had use of the horse if I paid the expenses (board, farrier, etc..).
As said before, just be sure that you are clear about what the expectations are in the lease. Make sure you and the owner understand who is responsible for what. If the horses were to need vet care, who is to pay, etc...
A friend of mine ended up leasing her horse to somone I knew and it turned out really bad because the horse became sick and the person leasing the horse did not get the horse the vet care he needed. The horses owner lived out of state and I happened to see the horse daily. I ended up having to intervien and call the owner to let her know what was going on.
A few questions I would ask and would want in writing:
1) Is there a fee to lease the horse and how much is it?
2) Are you going to pay full or partial board? How much is the board? Is the horse to be kept that it's current facility? Is the horse stalled or pasture boarded and does the leasee have the right to move the horse to pasture board if appropriate for that horse?
3) Who is responsible for Vet bills?
4) Who is responsible for farrier bills?
5) What equiptment is provided?
6) Can the leasee take the horse off property for shows, trail riding, etc...?
7) If the horse is injured, who should be notified? Is the horse to see a particular vet? Farrier?
These are just the ones I can think of. Pritty much, just be sure you know what you are getting into before you decide to lease and it can be a great experience. You will find your riding improves and you may get the idea of what it is like to own your own horse, so that one day, when you are ready, you can purchase your own horse knowing what to expect.
I've had very good experiences with leasing, both at large and small places. Every lease I've had has been with the owner assuming all expenses of vet, farrier, etc and includes use of tack and grooming supplies. This makes the most sense to me since saddles and bridles aren't "one-size-fits-all" and I've preferred to ride a horse with tack that it is familiar with. The horse I am leasing now is a 5 yr old Andalusian gelding and fortunately the owner has two saddles, so I use her deep-seated dressage saddle (because I have a bigger butt than she does) and she uses the smaller all-purpose saddle. If you can get into a good arrangement with an owner/barn with no conflicts over riding motivation and scheduling, leasing is great if you simply do not have the property or the financial means to own a horse outright.
I can never quite decide what I thinjk of leasing as I have had both positive and negetive experience with it. One thing you have to make sure is that you talk about everything with the owner and then put it all on paper, and then both sign it with witnesses. A lot of people go and just lease a horse without discussing anything or putting anything down on paper. They think that the owner is nice and they are nice so everything will work out. You have to talk about things such as if you are at a competition, horse breaks its leg or something do you have the authority to put it down if you can't contact the owner. A situation such as that happened to one of my friends and it was horrible. If something happens like that you have to decide if you would pay for the horse or not, and if so agree on a market value before you start the lease.
If you are going to do a lease I would do what we call a "free lease" in Australia. Basically you take over the horse for an agreed period of time and pay all the fees and bills. You are the only one who rides it and you can take it to competitions, pony club etc. If you do a half lease where someone else is riding it then you can get in tricky situations if the horse gets sick, or you both want to take it out on the same day.
My experiences with leasing have been varied. When my first horse was out of work for a couple of months I leased a friends horse who she never rode. She paid agistment and some food and in return I would look after her other horse everyday, even though I only rode her main one, Rubicon. We filled out a lease form for pony club and such, and I took him to a few comps. He was very untrained and I put hours and hours of work into this horse. Then a guy who did saddle stuffing (he was very dodgy) came out to see the horse and saddle, and met the owner who was pretty good looking, wanted to get with her so he said I was bad to the horse and stuff to get her attention or something. I adored that horse so much and it really hurt me so after that I was really turned of horses. Basically she took the horse back and it was all pretty not nice. So I bought another one of my own and he was a much better horse so it all worked out for the best, but after having a horse taken back I was really upset.
Earlier this year I leased a quarter horse 3 year old just to see if I wanted to get back into horses or not. That was okay but I just didn't want to put so much work into a horse that wasn't mine.
Overall I think buying is better, but I think keeping horses is easier in Australia than the US, so maybe its a bit different over there. If you're not sure you want a horse then leasing can stop you from making a big mistake but I think overall if possible owning your own horse is the best option.