Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: New South Wales, Australia
There is a huge variety of leases out there - not just one set of rules. Some leases maybe simple where you pay an agreed fee and have the right to ride the horse on certain days - yet have no more responsibility. Others might require you to share the costs or the care responsibilities. Some, often called free leases, you basically have the horse and can keep it where you choose but are responsible for all costs and care. Some leases you can take them to competitions others you have to keep on property. So you really have to look around and ask questions.
Horses are expensive, but not necessarily prohibitively depending on your choices and area. Some places you pay $500+ a month for board, but other times you might be able to rent a paddock for under $100 a month, and supply your own feed and care.
Another variable is the sort of horse you have. Certain types of horses typically need less feed to hold condition, and many horses can be kept unshod, and lightly rugged depending on your area. In comparison others might need a lot of feed, expensive shoeing, many rugs which also means pay more/spending time on unrugging and rugging.
All in all consider costs of keeping the horse somewhere and the feed (which might be included) and leave a margin for when feed goes up. There is also vet care, both routine and emergency, farrier, rugs, tack, gear, as well as dental. Plus moving your horse around if you move around a lot, all up in the past year I would have spent over $1000 just in transport. And then there is petrol/gas costs going to your horse, if you have to go everyday or twice a day it can cost more than you pay to keep your horse there.
But saying all that, many of my friends spend more money on going out on the town once or so a week, or eating out often, than I spend on my horse. In particular one of my friends buys takeout every night, not extravagantly, but he can't cook, and he would spend more on that than I would on my horse. My uncle and his wife spend more on cigarettes than I would on my horse. So its all relative.
I had a horse through parts of university. It can be good to lease but it can be much harder to find a good lease horse than a good horse to buy - but this is dependent on your area.