Leasing a Horse-- Is it Right For You?

You may be wondering about leasing a horse. It's not that hard to do; in fact many horse owners help pay for the upkeep of their horses by leasing them out by the day, week or month, and often even longer.

Reasons for Leasing Horses
You may be a new rider and unsure if you want to purchase a horse. You want to find out about the upkeep of a horse; how much it costs and what it involves. This is an excellent reason for leasing a horse. Other reasons may include not having space for a horse of your own or not be able to afford a horse completely.

Types of Leases
Basically there are two kinds of leases: share-boarding and full lease. The differences between them are many. A share-boarding lease means that the owner leases his horse out to someone for riding on certain days of the week. The owner, or another lease holder, could then ride the horse on the other days. This arrangement works especially well when funds are tight, either the owner's of the lessee's.

A full lease means that the owner leases out the horse for a certain period of time agreed upon by the owner and person who is lessee. In this case, the lessee can ride the horse every day as though it were his or her own. The horse most often stays on the owner's property, but sometimes the owner may allow the horse to be moved to another property. Many new riders choose this option since they get the feel of what it is like to own a horse, without actually owning one. A full lease may offer the option of purchasing the horse at the end of the lease, much as someone who leases a house with the option to buy.

This option is also advantageous, because it you are interested in purchasing a horse, you and the horse will have bonded by the end of the lease or you will know that this is not the horse for you.

Whatever leasing arrangement you opt for you need to have a contract that both the owner and you sign. The contract should dictate details such as who pays for the veterinarian and farrier and whether you can use the owner's tack or not. It should also state the length of the lease and whether you can renew it when it is over. For a share-boarding lease it should state the days you can ride the horse.

Many owners already have contracts that you can use. Otherwise consult an attorney and have one drawn one. The lease can operate on a month to month basis, with an option that it can be terminated by either party or it may be for a six-month or year period.

For a full lease, you should be aware that it will cost you anywhere between $300 and $450 a month for an average horse. Usually the fee covers the horse's monthly board, shoeing and routine veterinary visits. A share-boarding will cost about half of that.