Join Date: Jul 2015
Location: Western Massachusetts
There are pros and cons -- and pitfalls -- to any arrangement.
Some rescue organizations are run by people who do not want to ever let go of control of their rescue horses, so when you 'adopt' them, you essentially have no property rights to the horse. This can be fine or turn quite ugly, since the emotional range of rescuers ranges from the compassionate yet practical, to the flat out crazy. And it can be hard to tell which is which until the rubber meets the road, so to speak.
Leases can range from anything from a competition trainer's schoolmaster show horse (which all the expenses of showing added in, as you are discovering) to just sharing expenses in exchange for riding privileges with someone, without the burden of ownership (nor the control, of course).
There are lots and lots of cheap or free horses out there too. All of them have a reason for the price, and depending on what that is, it might work for you. Bear in mind that the purchase price of the horse is a tiny percentage of what a horse costs. TINY!
My horse was free, because she was untrained, unregistered, small, not a popular breed, and a plain dark color. Nobody wanted her, was the reason she was free. The first year I had her, I put two months professional training into her ($1000/month including board), erected a run-in shelter and enclosed a half acre and built a hay shed (2 years in I've spent about $6K on shelter alone) bought a saddle a bridle shoes a different bridle lessons lunging equipment a different bit more lessons yet another bit riding clothes a blanket a trailer a new truck because the old one wasn't strong enough new tires for the trailer hay supplements vet bills more hay more suppolement shoes trail boots more hay still more hay more supplements yet another set of reins different stirrups and on and on and on and on. Horses are very very expensive creatures. They are a money pit unlike anything except maybe a yacht.
If you have the money, buy a nice horse. If you don't, or don't know whether you do, or don't know where you'll be living in a couple of years, don't buy a horse. Don't adopt a horse either. Lease one. Then if your plans change, you just give notice on your contract. Simple.
Short horse lover