Splitting the bill

Owning a horse is a luxury, and an expensive luxury at that. It’s every rider’s dream to own a horse, but in reality, this can’t always be the case. Horses require you to have money, time and energy.Many riders make the mistake of rushing into buying a horse, after what can sometimes be only a short time of riding, only to find out that they bit off more than they can chew. Leasing is the perfect way for riders to experience the joys and responsibility of having a horse without the long-term financial commitment that comes with buying a horse. Leasing allows riders the flexibility of walking away from a horse when it’s no longer working for them. Leasing a horse who is particularly strong and experienced in your preferred discipline is a good way to help you grow as a rider and figure out what you might want in a future horse of your own.

Splitting the bill

Why should you lease your horse out?

From an owner’s perspective, leasing your horse out will ensure that he has a productive life and will be well looked after in the care of another rider. It also means having reduced financial responsibility. Many owners opt to lease out their horses owing to time or financial constraints, while others simply cannot let go of their beloved horses. Many ponies go on to be leased out when their riders have outgrown them and moved on to horses. Leasing a horse out also allows the owners some input as to where and how the horses are kept. The fear that a treasured horse ends up in the wrong hands is many owners’ worst nightmare, and leasing allows owners to keep a watchful eye on the horse without certain burdens.

Is leasing for you?

Leasing a horse is an ideal way of finding out whether or not you are ready for horse ownership. Leasing allows riders to pursue their interests in respective disciplines without making a full-time commitment. Through trying out different horses, your strengths and weaknesses will soon become apparent and will allow you to make a more informed decision when it comes to purchasing a horse of your own. Leasing gives you the bump up from just riding any old horse available to you, but also means you will have a greater responsibility toward the horse. Being more hands-on and involved means that you’ll figure out more of what you want in a horse in terms of stable manners, temperament and rideability.

Moving from a pony to a horse is an intimidating step for young riders. Leasing a horse can make the transition from pony to horse easier, and you can once again get a better idea of what you’d like in a horse once you’re ready to commit. Riding different horses will teach you to alter your riding to complement each horse’s individual personality and way of going. By leasing an experienced and honest horse, your confidence as a rider will slowly begin to grow. It can become an expensive task when growing teens, who enjoy competing in shows, have to keep on buying new horses who will suit both their ambition and their size. Leasing is not only a cheaper option for parents of growing teens, but it also saves parents from the stressful task of buying and selling a horse.

Leasing allows you to have more interaction at the stables while allowing you to clock in some extra riding time without the restrictions and financial expectation of formal lessons. That being said, you should always continue to join regular lessons so that your instructor can assist you as a combination and give you ‘homework’ to work on during your unsupervised rides. In addition to all this, leasing allows you to have more intimate interaction with the horse and he will learn to trust you more as a result.

Splitting the bill

Should I opt for half or full lease?

Lease agreements are designed to protect the owner as well as the lessee. Lease agreements can be set up in a number of ways. The lease terms and conditions can vary as individual owners may want different agreements according to their needs. Since you are going to be riding and caring for somebody else’s horse, it is important to establish boundaries and rules in the lease agreement. The two basic types are a full lease and a half lease.

In a full lease, the rider, or the lessee, assumes all or the majority of the responsibility for the horse. This usually entails paying for the full stabling and routine farriery of the horse in return for being able to ride the horse throughout the week. Some owners expect the lessee to cover medical bills and the horse’s insurance, while others accept this responsibility themselves since they are the rightful owner of the horse. This is the more expensive option of the two. The horse generally stays on the owner’s property or at the owner’s choice of stables, but this is determined and agreed upon in the contract. A full lease option usually allows the lessee to transport and compete the horse at away shows.

This option is great for riders who are ready to take the next step towards horse ownership and responsibility, because the only real thing left out of the deal is the actual financial ownership of the horse. Some horses are advertised for lease with an option to buy, meaning that if the owner is happy with the partnership and arrangement that develops during the lease period, he or she may be willing to sell the horse to the lessee, knowing that the horse will be in good hands.

A half lease usually means that the owner is either leasing the horse out to two different riders or sharing the horse with one other rider. This is the cheaper lease option. This is ideal if there are financial constraints involved. Typically, there are a set number of days that each individual gets to ride the horse. A half lease is also an ideal option when the horse is older as it restricts the number of days the horse can be ridden. It’s important that the owner and lessee have frequent contact with each other in order to avoid conflict, especially with regard to riding times and possibly with shows. It’s important to always have the horse’s best interest in mind when half-leasing. Two different riders on a weekly basis can sometimes lead to the horse being overworked and there can be a conflict in riding styles.

Text: Jessi Louw

The full article appears in the December issue (117) of HQ magazine > Shop now