Horses for Lease - Pros & Cons

Many people rush into the idea of owning a horse after a few lessons or trail rides, only to learn they have gotten into more than they can handle. While owning your own horse can certainly be an enjoyable and rewarding decision, it can create many challenges the novice rider may not be prepared to handle. Horses for lease can provide an opportunity to get a taste of horse ownership without the long-term financial commitment of purchasing a horse. Many private horse owners, trainers and instructors offer leasing options at their facilities, and these opportunities can provide a great chance for you to brush up on your skills and see if you really want to take the plunge into horse ownership.

The Benefits of Leasing a Horse

Leasing a horse provides you an opportunity to have access to a horse on set days of the week. During your scheduled lease times, you will likely be responsible for grooming, riding and caring for the horse as if it were your own. A lease gives you a chance to hang out at the stable, get to know the other riders and get some much needed riding time in without the restrictions of formal lessons.

Leases are generally structured as a full lease or a partial lease. A full lease means that you are the only one riding and working with the horse, and you will typically have access to the horse and stable six or seven days a week. In a full lease you treat the horse as if it were your own, and may be responsible for feeding, cleaning its stall or paying for basic veterinary and farrier care. While the financial burden may seem like a downside to leasing, it gives you a chance to see what these types of services will cost you when you do buy horse. A partial lease traditionally allows you access to the horse on set days of the week. Partial leases are common in lesson barns, where the leased horses are used for lessons on the days not included in your lease.

The Downside to Leasing a Horse

The biggest downside to leasing a horse is the fact that ultimately, it is not your horse. Because of this fact, many people end up broken hearted when the horse they have leased and bonded with is no longer available for lease. While the majority of the time the terms of the lease contract will be honored by the owner, the lease is renewable at the owner's discretion. The time constraints placed on the lease can also be challenging for people that have busy or fluctuating schedules.

Pay close attention to the terms of the contract before you sign, as some leases will leave you liable for expensive vet bills should the horse get sick or injured during the course of the lease. Paying for routine veterinary care, such as vaccinations and shoeing, during the term of the lease is reasonable. You should not be left responsible for emergency care or chronic health problems.