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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Was wondering what people thought on leasing a horse as opposed to buying a horse. I've never owned a horse, and I'm just now starting to take lessons but I think I'd really like to have my own eventually. As of right now though, I don't have space or really the money to own one by myself. So I was wondering about maybe half-leasing one somehow? I don't know the procedure, as to how well I should know the owners or if I can just find someone online, and how contracts to own living creatures would work? Any advice is very much appreciated.

Some background: I live pretty close to a major city, somewhat halfway between rural and very urban and the stables are at least 30 mins away from where I live, so if I were to look for a leaser, I can't be too far from them. Don't know if leasing is a good idea at all because of this.
 

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Leasing is a great idea for people who aren't ready to own but want a step up from lessons. My personal opinion is that if you're just starting to take lessons, you need to gain at least a few more months or a year or so of experience before you want to start handling horses alone.

However, when you do feel confident enough to groom, tack, walk/trot/canter, and bathe a horse on your own, leasing is an excellent step forward. On-farm leases would be your best bet, because leasing a horse off the farm is nearly equivalent to owning your own horse and being largely responsible for their care.

You don't have to know the person you're leasing from, and finding lease horses online is fine, but it would be a huge plus if your trainer knows them and/or their horse - that way, your trainer can guide you in the right direction and (preferably) occasionally give you lessons on your lease horse. It would also mean the horse is most likely near you already. Regardless, you should always test-ride a lease horse just like you would test-ride a horse you're buying, talk to the owner, don't be afraid to say it's not for you, use sound judgement. I cannot stress enough: bring a horse-knowledgeable person with you, ideally your trainer! They will know what questions to ask and might be willing to test-ride the horse too and tell you what they think. They will also be able to tell you if the lease is overpriced, not suited for you, the owner won't be pleasant to work with, etc.

Most trainers would be more than happy to help you find a lease horse and I think it is by far the best decision to go through them to help find and/or test a lease horse. An on-farm half-lease would be a great way to start, that way you're not solely responsible for the horse it'll be less expensive than a full lease. But again, take lessons for a while first!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Leasing is a great idea for people who aren't ready to own but want a step up from lessons. My personal opinion is that if you're just starting to take lessons, you need to gain at least a few more months or a year or so of experience before you want to start handling horses alone.

However, when you do feel confident enough to groom, tack, walk/trot/canter, and bathe a horse on your own, leasing is an excellent step forward. On-farm leases would be your best bet, because leasing a horse off the farm is nearly equivalent to owning your own horse and being largely responsible for their care.

You don't have to know the person you're leasing from, and finding lease horses online is fine, but it would be a huge plus if your trainer knows them and/or their horse - that way, your trainer can guide you in the right direction and (preferably) occasionally give you lessons on your lease horse. It would also mean the horse is most likely near you already. Regardless, you should always test-ride a lease horse just like you would test-ride a horse you're buying, talk to the owner, don't be afraid to say it's not for you, use sound judgement. I cannot stress enough: bring a horse-knowledgeable person with you, ideally your trainer! They will know what questions to ask and might be willing to test-ride the horse too and tell you what they think. They will also be able to tell you if the lease is overpriced, not suited for you, the owner won't be pleasant to work with, etc.

Most trainers would be more than happy to help you find a lease horse and I think it is by far the best decision to go through them to help find and/or test a lease horse. An on-farm half-lease would be a great way to start, that way you're not solely responsible for the horse it'll be less expensive than a full lease. But again, take lessons for a while first!

You have much knowledge! Thank you so much for the advice. Maybe i'll wait until next summer or fall to look into leasing as I'm only starting out. I love animals and I love caring for them and I figured if I'm gonna ride horses, then I should take care of them because it can't only work one way. I'll definitely ask my trainer about it!
 

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Leases are a nice way to ease into owning a horse, and/or “own” a horse without the extra expenses. I lease my current horse!

It works differently based on the barn, owner, etc.. Some places will do full leases; you get to ride the horse when agreed upon, taking it to shows with permission and etc.. Some places will do half-leases, sharing the horse with another rider or allowing the horse to be used for lessons. The best thing to do would be to sit down with whoever is in charge of leases and get the terms and condition on paper. Read through them, make sure you understand them.

I would, however, get a little bit more experience riding lesson horses of various difficulties. You will progress slower, IMO/IME, because you are riding one single horse. One the other hand, you’ll create a bond and a have a leave of trust with the horse that isn’t as easy to find and build when riding different horses every week. Depending on what is or is not provided, it can cost just as much as owning a horse. Because of the terms set by our contract, I pay for farriering, any show fees, and any training fees. It ended up being over $6,000 in 10 months!

As a leasee and from the information you gave me, I would recommend taking lessons, gaining experience, getting to know the barn, looking at available lease horses, and creating a savings account before putting your money on any one horse. Looks at different barns, and ask about the monthly payments; find the plan that works best for your style. Don’t forget to consider things like weather (does it rain a lot? do they have an indoor arena to ride in if the weather is bad? How accessible is the barn during the winter, if it tends to snow a lot?)

Leasing is a great option, though, for those who are prepared!

Edit: It seems as though you have gotten some similar advice lol! I didn’t see that post otherwise I would have simply agreed with them!
 

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I agree with leasing first, and with taking more lessons before you lease. Since you won't be committed to one place or one horse, you can try lessons at various places and see which you like the best. I don't know about other barns, but at my barns they will do lessons on lesson horses and they also have horses to lease. This can work out well, since your instructor would know you and know all the horses for lease as well, and could probably make a good match.
 
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Since you are just starting out, I also agree maybe waiting a bit (like until next year) to actually lease. The more you know, the better. :) Just have fun with it! You can see if anyone at the barn is leasing a horse (perhaps a lesson horse). Or just take lessons at other places if you aren't happy with the current place.

Enjoy your lessons!

Leasing is great, it's like owning a horse, but without all the responsibilities. I used to lease a horse & I enjoyed it a ton. Saved me money, too. Now I own a horse & it's definitely a lot more expensive. :lol: But, definitely make sure you have a written contract.
 

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In the UK at least there are two common terms:

Lease/Loan - is slightly more formal in that you'd arrange x amount of days for 6 months for example. In my experience ppl leasing are more involved with the hoof and vet care of the horse, even if it's just to arrange farrier visits or vets, even if the owner foots the bill etc etc

Share - sharing is more informal where u pay to care and ride the horse for one or two days a week, including the usual duties. Rarely are you involved in the overall decision making in care of the horse.

My friend shared two ponies for £10 each 1 day a week. Being that it was "just" a share day for each pony she could end it at anytime (notice is always preferable) and had no commitments to them other than care on that day. While the terms are more interchangeable based off what I wrote I think sharing is a great first step to learn the basics. Once you feel more comfortable then taking on a more formal lease is a good option!
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Leases are a nice way to ease into owning a horse, and/or “own” a horse without the extra expenses. I lease my current horse!

It works differently based on the barn, owner, etc.. Some places will do full leases; you get to ride the horse when agreed upon, taking it to shows with permission and etc.. Some places will do half-leases, sharing the horse with another rider or allowing the horse to be used for lessons. The best thing to do would be to sit down with whoever is in charge of leases and get the terms and condition on paper. Read through them, make sure you understand them.

I would, however, get a little bit more experience riding lesson horses of various difficulties. You will progress slower, IMO/IME, because you are riding one single horse. One the other hand, you’ll create a bond and a have a leave of trust with the horse that isn’t as easy to find and build when riding different horses every week. Depending on what is or is not provided, it can cost just as much as owning a horse. Because of the terms set by our contract, I pay for farriering, any show fees, and any training fees. It ended up being over $6,000 in 10 months!

As a leasee and from the information you gave me, I would recommend taking lessons, gaining experience, getting to know the barn, looking at available lease horses, and creating a savings account before putting your money on any one horse. Looks at different barns, and ask about the monthly payments; find the plan that works best for your style. Don’t forget to consider things like weather (does it rain a lot? do they have an indoor arena to ride in if the weather is bad? How accessible is the barn during the winter, if it tends to snow a lot?)

Leasing is a great option, though, for those who are prepared!

Edit: It seems as though you have gotten some similar advice lol! I didn’t see that post otherwise I would have simply agreed with them!

I'd love to own a horse one day but for now, I'd just like some access to riding a horse without it being a lesson session. Like practicing the lessons without it actually being on lesson time. I want to be able to practice what I've learned in a lesson on another day so by the time the next lesson comes, I'm ready and we can move forward. But I don't wanna risk hurting myself and possibly the horse by leasing one just so I could practice away from the lesson times.
 

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When starting out it’s better to practice under an instructor or trainer, however I love your eagerness to ride! I’m the same way!

Edit: Also, it will take more than just a lesson and a couple of hours of practice to “perfect” a part of your riding; it is a lot of muscle memory and I, even after 11 years of riding, am not perfect. Many members here have been riding for far longer than I have, too!
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
When starting out it’s better to practice under an instructor or trainer, however I love your eagerness to ride! I’m the same way!

Edit: Also, it will take more than just a lesson and a couple of hours of practice to “perfect” a part of your riding; it is a lot of muscle memory and I, even after 11 years of riding, am not perfect. Many members here have been riding for far longer than I have, too!
Yes, I just don't want to waste time and money. I'd like to practice it so I'm not just working on the same thing for 5 lessons. I've always been a go-getter and I put my best in everything I do, especially when money is involved. I'd hate to have only learned a couple things in 5 lessons. I don't mind not being perfect right off the bat but I'd love some additional riding time without it being an instructing time so I can focus on my mistakes and how I can fix them before I take the next lesson.
 

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I was using two different lesson horses depending on their schedule would decide which one I had that day. It was weekly lessons. It was winter in Wisconsin and the indoor arena roof would have ice slide off of it and give them small to medium spooks. I learned how to handle those real fast, to relax immediately to give the horse confidence that their life wasn't in danger and to move on.


I also thought that an hour of walking/trotting a week with an instructor telling me what patterns and things to work on was okay, but it would be great to just do it on my own and get more ridding time doing exactly what I wanted to do.


I thought my solution was a lease or purchasing, so I did both! Lease to own!


To be honest.... it wasn't my brightest idea ever.


Lesson horses are lesson horses for a reason.


Someone wanting more ride time on their horse and leasing it or selling.... its probably not lesson horse material and WAY different than what past experience has been.


There is SOOOO much more to it.


I should have gotten more time in the saddle and then asked for alternating lesson/open ride time with paying same hourly rate or something similar.


Of course everyone is different, but I should have waited at least a year after starting lessons. Instead of the five months I had!!


In that time you will probably start talking to more people at the barn and such and inevitably hear of horses up for lease and the conditions each one has to go along with the lease. Or start putting feelers out there that you would have this interest in the future.


Many people wont lease their horse to someone that doesn't have quite a bit of experience because they want to keep their horse happy and inexperienced riders isn't how to do it.


Just my opinions of course!


I do understand wanting that alone time to do what ever you want on that lesson horse. I really would talk to trainer and see if anything can be worked out. One suggestion is if they give lots of lessons, maybe you could pay for time in the arena on the lesson horse while they are training someone else. That way they can still keep an eye on things but you also get some freedom.
 

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Yes, I just don't want to waste time and money. I'd like to practice it so I'm not just working on the same thing for 5 lessons. I've always been a go-getter and I put my best in everything I do, especially when money is involved. I'd hate to have only learned a couple things in 5 lessons. I don't mind not being perfect right off the bat but I'd love some additional riding time without it being an instructing time so I can focus on my mistakes and how I can fix them before I take the next lesson.
Without an instructor there how will you know what mistakes you are making and whether you are fixing them?
 

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Maybe you can get some kind of situation where you can earn more time 'alone' with a horse that will satisfy that urge, but isn't actually leasing . I mean, you see if you can work off a second lesson a week, by cleaning stalls or grooming. YOu will get a behind the scenes view of things.


I have been half leasing for years, with a variety of horses. My current lease horse has been my mount for almost 6 years. It is a good situation for both of us, as I don't pay the full amount, and she gets her horse exersized regularly, and someone who keeps an eye on him, and keeps his manners tuned up.


But, if I were a beginner, I could not provide that assistance, in fact, i would be taking her horse and likely making it duller by virtue of lack of riding skill/experience. Horses rise, or sink, to level of expertise of the rider.



So, yeah, you need to have enough skill to be able to come to the owner and say " I can ride your horse and not 'ruin' him."
 

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I'd love to own a horse one day but for now, I'd just like some access to riding a horse without it being a lesson session. Like practicing the lessons without it actually being on lesson time. I want to be able to practice what I've learned in a lesson on another day so by the time the next lesson comes, I'm ready and we can move forward. But I don't wanna risk hurting myself and possibly the horse by leasing one just so I could practice away from the lesson times.
This is exactly what I did and it worked out well. I leased a horse, took lessons and then practiced what I learned in lessons. I also took some short trail rides as a relaxation for myself and the horse. This got me learning more and becoming comfortable around horses again.

I leased my first horse in June 2018. She was an older mare and had heaves so I stopped leasing her but she was a great horse to start out on. I started a new horse lease in December 2018 and she became mine on July 1st. I took lessons through the winter and into spring. I still take them, just not as often. I wanted a horse for trail riding and she is coming along great.

I recommend leasing first. It is a good way to start learning more about horses other than just riding.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Without an instructor there how will you know what mistakes you are making and whether you are fixing them?
I didn't say without an instructor--I said without it being an instructional time, as in without it being a lesson time. I mean by focusing the time completely on doing that one aspect of the lesson right without the lesson progressing into another aspect so that when the actual teaching session comes up, it's easier to keep going because I've been working on the thing that I needed to progress on.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Maybe you can get some kind of situation where you can earn more time 'alone' with a horse that will satisfy that urge, but isn't actually leasing . I mean, you see if you can work off a second lesson a week, by cleaning stalls or grooming. YOu will get a behind the scenes view of things.


I have been half leasing for years, with a variety of horses. My current lease horse has been my mount for almost 6 years. It is a good situation for both of us, as I don't pay the full amount, and she gets her horse exersized regularly, and someone who keeps an eye on him, and keeps his manners tuned up.


But, if I were a beginner, I could not provide that assistance, in fact, i would be taking her horse and likely making it duller by virtue of lack of riding skill/experience. Horses rise, or sink, to level of expertise of the rider.



So, yeah, you need to have enough skill to be able to come to the owner and say " I can ride your horse and not 'ruin' him."
I was thinking of being a working student, but my work and college schedule is already so busy that I'm actually pushing it just to take these lessons. But I really do need to take care of my mental and physical health cuz I don't get out much because of said schedule. So I actually have to force this into my schedule just so I have a hobby that lets me do active--and hopefully fun--things. I'm really hoping it works out. I've always loved just being around animals.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
This is exactly what I did and it worked out well. I leased a horse, took lessons and then practiced what I learned in lessons. I also took some short trail rides as a relaxation for myself and the horse. This got me learning more and becoming comfortable around horses again.

I leased my first horse in June 2018. She was an older mare and had heaves so I stopped leasing her but she was a great horse to start out on. I started a new horse lease in December 2018 and she became mine on July 1st. I took lessons through the winter and into spring. I still take them, just not as often. I wanted a horse for trail riding and she is coming along great.

I recommend leasing first. It is a good way to start learning more about horses other than just riding.
Oh, thank you for reminding me: How do you take care of the horse and take lessons/ride in the winter? Isn't it too cold? Do the horses stay in warmer stables somehow? I hate the idea of them staying in an outdoor stable with just a blanket. It really hurts my heart when I feel like animals aren't being taken well care of and I feel like just giving them a blanket in a cold winter is not good enough.
 

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Oh, thank you for reminding me: How do you take care of the horse and take lessons/ride in the winter? Isn't it too cold? Do the horses stay in warmer stables somehow? I hate the idea of them staying in an outdoor stable with just a blanket. It really hurts my heart when I feel like animals aren't being taken well care of and I feel like just giving them a blanket in a cold winter is not good enough.
This is actually quite a big topic of debate to some people. However, in my personal opinion, horses do not - and should not - need blankets to brave the winter unless they are elderly or have a health issue. Horses build their own jackets out of their fur! However, they only grow in sufficiently thick fur if they're not blanketed, which is another reason to leave the blankets off and let their bodies be the judge of how much heat they need to retain. Their fur is much more efficient than you would think - and it should, because it's been specifically designed (if you believe in evolution) over millions of years to keep their temperature stable in the winter. I grew up in Maine and horses, even without blankets, would prefer to stand outside in the middle of a three day blizzard in waist-high snow. I never saw a single one shiver, and I bet if I had a thermometer on me at the time I would have been able to tell you their temperature was exactly what it should be. Providing a three-walled shelter that they can go in and out of as they please is more than enough for them.

Putting on blankets and locking them in warm stables are only something we provide because it makes us feel better, it does not necessarily make the horse feel better. Blankets can actually do more harm than good by trapping snow underneath (especially if they roll, which they probably will to try to get the strange blanket off), which then melts and now the horse is only shivering because he's wet and his insulation is now compromised.

If the stable has an indoor arena, this is a great option to ride in during the winter so you can continue your normal routine. It might be chilly, but that's why you layer! You might find riding in snow pants keeps you toasty, even if it looks silly. Also, going outside your normal routine and traipsing through the snow is not a bad thing! I would only caution against riding in the same snowy area repeatedly because that sometimes compacts the snow to the point that it turns to ice and that can be slippery and dangerous.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
This is actually quite a big topic of debate to some people. However, in my personal opinion, horses do not - and should not - need blankets to brave the winter unless they are elderly or have a health issue. Horses build their own jackets out of their fur! However, they only grow in sufficiently thick fur if they're not blanketed, which is another reason to leave the blankets off and let their bodies be the judge of how much heat they need to retain. Their fur is much more efficient than you would think - and it should, because it's been specifically designed (if you believe in evolution) over millions of years to keep their temperature stable in the winter. I grew up in Maine and horses, even without blankets, would prefer to stand outside in the middle of a three day blizzard in waist-high snow. I never saw a single one shiver, and I bet if I had a thermometer on me at the time I would have been able to tell you their temperature was exactly what it should be. Providing a three-walled shelter that they can go in and out of as they please is more than enough for them.

Putting on blankets and locking them in warm stables are only something we provide because it makes us feel better, it does not necessarily make the horse feel better. Blankets can actually do more harm than good by trapping snow underneath (especially if they roll, which they probably will to try to get the strange blanket off), which then melts and now the horse is only shivering because he's wet and his insulation is now compromised.

If the stable has an indoor arena, this is a great option to ride in during the winter so you can continue your normal routine. It might be chilly, but that's why you layer! You might find riding in snow pants keeps you toasty, even if it looks silly. Also, going outside your normal routine and traipsing through the snow is not a bad thing! I would only caution against riding in the same snowy area repeatedly because that sometimes compacts the snow to the point that it turns to ice and that can be slippery and dangerous.
I'm so glad you shared this information. I know animals are very resilient and are pretty good at adapting, but I just feel so bad seeing some animals stand in the snow while I'm by my fireplace sipping some hot cocoa! But by snow pants, you mean specifically snow pants for horse riding, or just general snow pants that can also be used for skiing and snowboarding? I have the latter haha. And if the stable doesn't have an indoor arena, should I go to another stable to keep my routine? Would it matter riding another horse after getting used to a different one? Should I also try to bond with the horse that I'm learning on or is it not too big of a deal until I'm past the lessons? I'd get attached to a roomba if I had one, so I don't wanna get too attached to a horse I can't stick with.
 

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As someone who bought a horse prior to leasing, I think leasing first is the way to go. There is so much information and experience that you’ll learn outside of lessons. I had taken 7 years worth of lessons prior to owning and I was overwhelmed by everything I didn’t know my first few years of owning, despite boarding at a full care facility.

There a typically 2 types of leases that I’ve seen: on-site and off-site. On-site leases can be partial or full at a facility that the owner chooses. In this scenario, financials are often split, although it depends on the lease. I’ve had partial leases where the owner pays for everything and I’ve payed for the lease itself and I’ve known others to pay for the lease + vet bills, farrier, etc. Off-site leases are typically full term leases, where you’d cover all expenses of the horse and experience what it is actually like to own, but you are able to back out of the deal If something comes up.

I recommend looking for a partial on-site lease to begin with. Why? Because this will give you a small taste of ownership without overwhelming you with everything involved. You’ll learn how to ride and care for a horse independently and can learn from the owner as well.

Then, you can go to a full lease, on site or off-site to increase your responsibility until you are fully independent. The benifit of on-site is that you should have the guidance of boarders, barn managers and the owner when you have any questions. Off-site you may have some of that, but generally you will be making your own decisions based on your knowledge. In addition, an off-site lease will give you the full financial responsibilities including: farrier, vet, board/feed, and any other equipment involved.
 
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