"Off the farm" lease questions - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 4 Old 07-29-2012, 07:39 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Jul 2012
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"Off the farm" lease questions

Hi Everyone,

I've been reading through and getting some great info so I thought I'd join to ask this question. I rode for about 18 years and then haven't very much in the last 10 years. My daughter is now 8 and has started riding and I would love to get back into it with her. We have a working 8 acre farm with the possibility of acquiring another 6 acre field next door (we have chickens and sheep). I would love to add a horse to our pastures and build a ring so we could have an instructor come to the house and teach my daughter and I and possibly my husband as well (and maybe my son as he gets older). We're comfortable with the daily upkeep and expense of the animals but I am trying to figure out the best way to have a horse here for our use. We have a trail system around our house and I would love to have a horse for basic pleasure riding, trail riding etc. Nothing too competitive for now. I have seen some talk on sale sites about off the farm leases where horses can be boarded at the leassee's barn near their house etc. What I'm wondering is if it makes sense to try to find a situation where we offered free board to someone for their horse on our property in exchange for us leasing the horse for our own lessons and riding. Would this be an even exchange board for lease or should I be expecting something else? I assume we would take care of vet and farrier bills etc, is this accurate?

I'm just curious what your thoughts are on this kind of situation. I don't know a lot about purchasing a horse and I thought this might be a great way to make sure my daughter stays interested and learn what we are looking for in a horse without the upfront cost.

Thanks for any responses!
Malean is offline  
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post #2 of 4 Old 07-29-2012, 07:56 PM
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Alberta, Canada
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In short, yes there are people that lease their horse out in exchange for all the horse's needs being taken care of by the lessee - this is most commonly referred to as a "free lease." As with any lease, the terms would depend on your exact contract with the owner.
Some things to consider:
- Many "free lease" situations are free for a reason; the horse can't be leased out for money.. i.e. there may be a problem that needs to be sorted out. Not always, to be sure, but it's something to bear in mind.
- Your contract has to be in writing and it must be bulletproof. Even the nicest seeming people can turn tail if something doesn't go exactly right. Get EVERYTHING in writing, even if it seems silly or that you can trust the person.
- Make sure there is a clause for you to terminate the contract early, and get the penalty, if any, in writing. In return, make sure there is an 'out' for the owner as well - usually a 30 days' written notice is sufficient.
- Be clear on who pays for what; i.e. Who pays for: routine farrier work (and does the horse just need a trim, or shoes?); routine vet work (and what does this entail - yearly shots/coggins/teeth float); emergency veterinary care; regular worming; tack and equipment, etc etc etc... The big one is vet care. What if the horse injures itself on your fencing and needs emergency care as well as puts itself out of commission for a few months? What if it suffers a career-ending injury while in your care, whether it was directly related to something you did or not?
- Carry equine health insurance, with the owner as the beneficiary. This is HUGE. This will take a lot of strain off the lessor/lessee relationship. The owner must be the beneficiary from a mortality claim, of course, but it can help recoup costs of big vet bills. If the horse dies while in your care, then the owner is comped their insurance amount so you don't have to worry about ponying up for the horse's perceived value.

I am leery about leasing situations based off my last experience, but they can work out fantastic for both parties involved.

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JustDressageIt is offline  
post #3 of 4 Old 07-29-2012, 07:56 PM
Join Date: Jul 2011
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I think it could potentially be a great idea or a great headache.

If you try to lease a horse in exchange for board and be able to use it, PUT IT IN WRITING. Everything in writing. Who pays the vet, the farrier, for the food, the blankets, for property damage, etc. IN WRITING. Even if it's a friend or family. Include a clause about what happens if the owner stops responding.

You'd basically be looking for a beginner safe, child friendly horse.

Now, there's the other thing. When you say free board in exchange for lessons you have to consider things such as - who decides the horse's diet? Some horses have special needs. You could end up with a horse that needs 15 pounds of grain a day and supplements. WHat about the farrier, who will pay for that? Vet visits, regular and emergency? Insurance?

Since you're beginners all around, I think it's better for you to take lessons at a facility first. Make friends, develop a network. Make sure that the kids are really going to stay with it or if it's just for a couple of months. A good trainer will be invaluable for teaching you and your family the things you need to know and riding skills. A good trainer will also be able to help you find a horse and plan out your lessons.

* I'm often reading and posting from mobile and Siri loves to make a mockery of the English language.
DancingArabian is offline  
post #4 of 4 Old 07-29-2012, 09:07 PM
Join Date: Jun 2012
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Free lease

I'm currently doing a free lease. The owner had 3 horses and she was going to college and could only afford to bring one horse with her so she chose the one she thought would take her the farthest. It's a year lease and I'm responsible for ALL costs and I had to get insurance on her. In one year I have the option to buy her and I also had a 30 day period where I was allowed to send her back if it didn't work out. We have a signed contract and the owner is allowed to to take the horse back if and ONLY if she has evidence the horse is being abused or neglected. We have a good relationship and she's very happy her horse is getting more attention now. I text her the occasional picture and she has come by once to check on her and said she looked wonderful. I got lucky to have a wonderful friendly owner to deal with but I'm sure a lot of owners would be extremely petty and negative and want you to do everything EXACTLY how they did it so just be careful with that.
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