Leasing Your Horse: Yay or Nay???
Soon when I start school, especially when I go to Vet Tech. school (hopefully), I was pondering the idea of leasing my mare so I don't have to put her in pasture up at my Dad's house. Seems like a great idea, getting paid to let someone play with YOUR horse, however, I have heard some disaster stories.
For instance, a good friend of mine leased her beloved morgan mare, whom she kept for many years, so that she could further her education. The leasers and my friend settled on an agreement to have a full lease on the mare and move her away to the leaser's stable/property. Well, after a few random check ups to ensure the horse is happy and comfortable, a year goes by with failed communication and my friend gets a bad feeling. So, my friend and family go for a visit to see her mare to find that her horse had been euthanized. WHy? Because the leasers could no longer afford the horse . . . This story is not made up.
So, I would like to heat some feedback on anyone else's experience with leasing. Especially any advice.
Its a tricky situation and I think that your friends story is an extreme.
Saying that, I think there are lots of inherent problems with leasing.
The first is that there are two main reasons why people lease; as a precursor to a first horse to gain experience, and because they can't afford the cost or responsibility of buying a horse.
There are problems with each of these. The first type being that if the person is not experienced with horses their riding may damage your horses training and their care may be lacking in some respects. They may also make decision that could put your horse in harms way. They could pull on their mouths, bounce on their backs and all in all you have a "damaged" horse coming back.
The second type has the problem that if they can't afford a horse of their own, can they afford a lease horse? Besides the initial outlay, lease horses are no cheaper. Will they be able to afford adequate vet and farrier care? Will their boarding facility be up to scratch? Or will these people take shortcuts to save money?
Then there is problem that it is not their horse, it is someone else's horse, and for this reason I have seen people take less care than they would a horse of their own. As you can't watch your horse, you have no idea what they're doing. Then there is all the accidents and liability problems.
Saying that, not all leases are bad, sometimes it works out really well. Sometimes your horse will get better trained and the rider can learn on them, and they'll love them as if they are their own. Then sometimes it works out horribly. If you do choose to lease have a really good contract. Perhaps have a "death" or "loss of use" clause where if either of these occur they have to pay you a pre-agreed sum.
To be honest, I'd prefer to leave my horse in a paddock.
I wouldn't lease to a random person. I might lease to a good friend who I knew well.
We leased one of our horses out once. This horse was wonderfully trained. He could be ridden totally bridleless, no neck rope or sticks included. Won money in reining/cowhorse. Calmest horse. Never stepped out of line...
When he came back, we took him right on a trail ride. He'd been on these trails a million times.
First thing he did was grab the shank of the bit in his mouth, put his head between his knees and explode. Now this is a horse that never ever bucked, not even when he was saddled for the first time.
Took him back to the arena and he refused to do ANYTHING. He pitched fits. Wouldn't respond. His soft mouth was hard suddenly and we could NOT get him to stop, when before all you had to do was barely shift your weight and he would slam on the brakes and slide 30 feet.
So yeah. Horse was ruined. Took a very, very long time to get him back to being respectful. And he's still not the same as he was. I don't think I would ever lease again.
I think it's an issue if you don't properly screen the leaser and or not setting up practical and safe conditions.
I've always thought that allowing someone to lease a horse and take them off your property, or to take them somewhere where you can't stop by to see the horse regularly is silly. If the person dislikes your barn, your trainer, or just doesn't want the drive time it is their loss. If you don't have a space to ride the horse where it's boarded and they absolutely need to board it elsewhere I believe it's still your responsibility to see your horse once in a while. A year of failed miscommunication is ridiculous. If the leaser ignores you more then twice, stop by! See what's up!
I'm currently leasing a horse so that I can participate on a local drill team and get some riding time. The owner made it clear I was not to board him anywhere else and is always welcome to come watch me practice/ ride, she knows the practice dates and times and we text often. It is her horse and while I care for him like he's my own, I know what she says in relation to his care goes. I've ridden for 15 years, and teach lessons twice weekly. I'm Simply a college student who cannot afford to pay the sticker price of a horse and full service board in my area. I can however easily afford a half lease price and vet bills heaven forbid they occur on my watch.
Not all leasers are out to ruin your horse. If you find someone who's taken lessons for at the very least 2 years who is interested in giving your horse a job I say go for it. Its common in my area for a leaser to be required to be enrolled in a lesson each week or even just once a month as part of the lease. It's all about the screening process and you or your family checking on the horse and rider regularly. I appreciate how friendly and approachable my lease horses owner is and it's more like borrowing a friends horse that way. I'm sure the open communication makes her feel better too.
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I think it depends on the horse, the person and what you intend to do. If you intend to use the horse again after the lease I don't think I would risk it. We have free leased a few horses to select people. These horses are all used by neighbors and are primarily companion or kids horses. The one arabian started out as a lease and is so LOVED by her new person that she probably won't come back which is great. That woman gets that horse in a way we never did its a good match. If it was a horse I wanted to ride again than I would not lease. So much weirdness can occur that you can spend more time undoing damage. All of our leased horses are with people who live near by, who get consistent yearly veterinary care for their animals (often from us) and if they are not working out they come back. We have a pony that was at a farm where the barn owner (not the leasee of the pony) was not feeding the horses. The leasee called said, we just found out the pony is not getting fed can we put her at your place again until we get a barn built. The pony crashed with us for a few months and then went back to its lease.
The thing is research it. I would not get into a lease expecting to make money or even brake even. I would do it because you think its a genuine good match and you accept that someone will end up with a broken heart if your horse is quality. The person you lease to will fall in love with your horse and you love your horse. One of you will be unhappy at the end of the lease.
make sure everything in a lease is spelled out in a contract. who pays for vetting, farrier, what happens in case of medical emergencies, who makes decisions, where can the horse go (on property, off property) who pays for tack, termination rights for each party, notification of change of status, etc spell it out in detail. your friends story is horrible but she didn't get a bad feeling for a year!? wow! was there still payment exchanging hands? we leased many moons ago..the horse we leased had waaay better care/attention with us than previously with the owner when he sat with zero attention other than the routine BO checks/feeding
Thanks to everyone who responded :) I think it is interesting how the majority of people here seem to be against it. For the most part I am too, but I still wanted to hear some input - guess when the time comes I will be putting her up in pasture :)
I have chosen to put my mare out to pasture due to my particular situation. Once she heals that is (long story.) My best friend back home was riding her for me. And she is the only person I'd trust to get on my horse. Even then, I know my mare will be different when I get home. But my friend rides a lot like me, so hopefully she won't be too different! I personally would NEVER lease my horse. We've done far too much work together for someone to come and screw it up. I'd rather her just be rusty, not confused.
I, personally, would not let anyone else ride my personal horse(s), let alone lease them. If I can get the farm I want, I'll have a few horses who will specifically be for lease/lessons/friends and I'll do routine tune-ups. Those will be horses I have no care to bond and show with, they'll be there for a specific reason, and only that reason.
I'm selfish with my horses and the ones I work with. I understand with a half lease, as I've been doing, that the owner/owner's friends will be on the horse, and that's fine with me. I did end a previous lease after the mare was bought because of how she wanted the horse handled (rainbows and butterflies, people..). While I never would've handled the horse like that (because it would've gotten me hurt, and did eventually get her new owner hurt), I'm not going to go against the owner's wishes, she is the one that "pays" for her (hasn't lately, supposedly..and mare might be repo'd by BO/previous owner). But, point being, if someone didn't handle my horse as asked, they would not be handling them at all. I'd appreciate someone being like me and saying that they're going to end the lease because it's not working out well enough than for someone to go behind my back and do something I've asked them not to.
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I agree !00% with everyone here
It's funny how there is a, call it selfish, little girl in me that just doesn't want to SHARE HER PONY. LOL
My jaw clenches at the thought of someone riding my mare. Like Army WIfe said, after all the work we personally put into our horse(s).
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