This is an excellent thread!
I can say though that I am guilty of this myself. Only not really intentionally, but I am guilty. I started working with Lacey (my trainer/BO does a lease a horse for a year, then decide to own it or not sort of deal like FowlPlay was talking about) 2 years ago. My every intention was to own her by the end of the year and ride off into the sunset happily, yadda yadda yadda. Well, last July (the end of the year) came around and I wasn't financially stable. I had no money coming into my possession and no prospects, really. So I told my BO that I'd like to half own Lacey in exchange for paying to get her hooves done on a regular basis and continuing to work with her. She agreed, but we didn't do any sort of contract (which we should of, hindsight is 20/20, right?).
Basically, long story short, I still have no money but now my BO says I own Lacey. She's put all Lacey's paper's in my name and everything so it looks like she's mine, but I know this isn't a good situation. I mean, for sure I'm going to make up a payment plan with the vet if Lacey goes 3 legged lame or colics or something, but I don't have the money to get her teeth done or her shots. Personally, those are two mandatory horse ownership things, in my mind, and since I can't do them, I shouldn't own a horse. But I do own a horse, and I couldn't ask for a better horse, but I really wish I didn't.
I bet that really isn't a super common scenario though... Not many people have a horse forced upon them, I would think... My plan for the summer is to save atleast half of everything I make, money-wise, for a safety net for Lacey, but that still won't cover teeth and such. It's a hard spot.
I thoroughly agree: I should not own a horse.
Fabio - 13 year old Arabian/Lipizzaner gelding
Hazel - 14 year old Angora goat
Atticus - 4 year old LaMancha/Alpine cross goat
Rest peacefully, Lacey.