Leasing a horse during the pandemic
Hello, I just would like some others’ input on an awkward situation.
I have been half-leasing a horse for over a year and a half. In mid-March, the barn he is boarded at closed to clients due to the coronavirus stay at home orders. We don’t know how long this will last, my guess is at least until May or June. My question is, am I obligated to still pay for my lease or lessons, even though I can not even see the horse?
For background, I do not have a contract with either the trainer or the horse’s owner (now I wish I did!). I pay $450/month for 3 rides/week, and $260/month for four lessons/month. So it’s not an insignificant amount of money! I am a veterinarian so I am still working, but my partner who I live with is a freelance photographer and so is now essentially unemployed for the foreseeable future. I already paid for the entirety of March but only got to ride for half of it and only received one out of my four lessons, and no one has offered to give me any money back.
It’s still the first week of April and so far no one has said anything to me about payment, but I don’t want to look like a jerk for not paying anything, and I don’t know how to respond if they come looking for payment. My trainer also has mentioned several times how she is riding the horse 3 days per week. I never asked her to do that, but I’m worried she might expect payment for it. I of course appreciate that he’s still getting worked while I can’t ride, but at the end of the day, he’s someone else’s horse. If I owned the horse I would completely understand the need to pay board and for training, but I only half-lease him.
Thanks! Any thoughts anyone has would be appreciated!