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A free lease doesn't make sense in this situation- generally a free lease means you take over all the horse's expenses and pay the owner nothing (the "free" part of it).

What you want is a partial lease- usually a flat fee paid monthly to the owner that covers approximately half of the horse's upkeep. Since the cost of keeping a horse varies significantly by location, I can't say if $300 is a reasonable half lease in your area, but it would be on the high end in my area (eg a horse boarded in a nicer facility)

My guess is that he's pricing it as a full lease, since you're the only one riding the horse even if it's only twice a week. He's basically keeping the horse for you to ride, whether you take advantage of that daily or not. It sounds like the horse is at his property (?) which means he could likely cover the horse's hay/grain/bedding/etc costs for the month with $300 (assuming you're not in an overly expensive area).

You can try negotiating it lower, but he may or may not budge on the price. Perhaps you could offer to do some of the barn chores on the days you're there for a price break.
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