My husband and I went to look at 2 horses for lease tonight. We still consider ourselves beginners...we have been taking lessons for 1.5 years and didn't start riding until we were both 39. We pretty much have the w/t/c down pretty good. We absolutely love it and are addicted.
I saw an ad on craigslist for horses for lease. (Both thoroughbreds...but advertised as very gentle and safe) Each one was $200 a month..on farm...and that price included everything. All we would need to do is ride and shower the horses with attention. It would be a month to month lease.
The farm was beautiful...situated on 70 acres with an outdoor riding ring and wooded trails.
When we first went out to the field with the owner of the farm, she took us to the horse she thought would be good for my husband. This horse is just being boarded there. The owner of the horse is in the process of getting a divorce and doesn't have time for it anymore and asked if the barn owner could find someone to lease it. The first thing I noticed was this horrible smell and then I saw that the horse's halter had embedded into the poor horse's skin. I immediately pointed that out to the barn owner. She seemed mortified and said that it must have just happened. Now, she brings that horse into a stall to feed it everyday...how could she not have noticed that???? If she didn't see it, she sure could have smelled it. She blamed it on the horse's owner...that she hadn't been out to groom or take care of her horse in months. I was immediately turned off but thought we would see what happened.
She then showed me the horse that she thought would be good for me. This one was actually owned by her...she pointed to a horse that was a good 200-300 pounds underweight. (her words) I am not really familiar with thoroughbreds....I have only ridden QH's but her back seemed so bony and she looked swaybacked to me. Once again, I know nothing about the breed so I am not sure if she just looked so bad because I am used to my fat and happy QH lesson horse. The BO said that she was out of town for a couple weeks last month and that this horse is so attached to her that she loses weight each time she goes away. She said her brother feeds her but she won't eat.
I don't know why we didn't leave right then because I just had a bad feeling in my gut...but we decided to go ahead and tack them up and ride them. (To the BO's credit, she did clean and medicate the wounds on the first horse before we tacked him up)
The horses are extremely well trained and very easy to ride. They have great energy.
The BO really, REALLY, wants us to lease these horses so we can show them the attention they need. And I know they do need the attention...but $400 a month is a lot of money for us and I didn't envision us riding malnourished horses with open wounds.
I usually rely on my gut to tell me what to do and my gut is telling me that these are not the horses for us. But then the guilt sets in because I know those horses need someone like my husband and I to ride them often and show them love.
So, I need some experienced people to tell me what you would do. Do you go with your gut and run far, far away?