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The Basics of Leasing a Horse: What You Need to Know!

Oliver Jones

When most people consider having a horse, they automatically think of purchasing one. But there are some definite drawbacks to buying a horse, and it’s not the only option. Alternatively, you could lease your horse instead.

There are some major benefits to leasing your horse, such as reduced liabilities. But it can be a daunting task with many unknown variables; especially for someone who’s never leased or bought a horse before. Our goal with this article is to simplify the process so you can get a basic understanding of how to lease a horse.

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Pros and Cons of Leasing a Horse

Leasing a horse isn’t the best option for everyone, but in some cases, it can be the best choice. Let’s discuss the positives and negatives of leasing a horse.

Pros
  • When you lease a horse, you have reduced liabilities. If it dies, you won’t lose out like you would if you owned the horse
  • Depending on the type of lease you have, you might have reduced responsibilities
  • You can give up a horse lease easier than selling a horse
  • It’s often cheaper to lease a horse than purchase one
  • The horse is usually already at a suitable boarding location
Cons
  • You don’t own the horse
  • You can’t do whatever you desire with the animal
  • You might only have access to the horse on certain days
  • You have to find a place to keep it

Types of Leases

When it comes to leasing a horse, you have two main options to choose from. Each offers some benefits and drawbacks compared to the other.

a man and a horse

Full Lease

In a full lease, you’re responsible for full care and boarding of the horse. You’ll generally get full access to the horse 24/7 for riding and shows. On the other hand, you’ll be expected to deal with veterinary visits, horseshoes, and the remainder of the horse’s care, as well as the full price of boarding.

Shared Lease

When you share a lease, you’ll have fewer responsibilities, lower cost, and less access to the horse. You’ll generally only have access on certain days. Two people usually split a shared lease, which means they each pay for 50% of the horses boarding and care, and they both get access to the horse half the time.

In a shared lease, you must take extra care to nail out all the particulars before signing, so you know who pays what, how much, when, and who will get access on what days, how special events are handled, and more.

The Costs of Leasing a Horse

One of the main reasons that many people opt to lease a horse rather than purchase is that you can potentially save quite a bit of money. Still, there are quite a few costs associated with leasing a horse that you’ll need to be aware of if you’re considering going this route.

Veterinarian Checkups

You’ll want to get the first vet checkup before you even sign a lease, so you can be sure that the horse is in good health. This can also help to ensure you’re not responsible for health conditions that were pre-existing when you signed the lease. Once you sign, you’ll be responsible for most or all of the horse’s care, including all future vet visits.

Female vet checking horse teeth
Image Credit: wavebreakmedia, Shutterstock

Boarding Fees

Boarding fees make up a large portion of the total cost of leasing a horse. On a full lease, you’ll pay anywhere from 50% – 100% of the boarding costs for your horse. For a shared lease, you’ll generally pay 50% of the boarding fees.

The Lease Fee

The lease fee varies greatly depending on the horse. There’s not always a lease fee on shared leases, and if there is, it’s usually much less than on a full lease. For a full lease, the lease fee is most often about 25% – 30% of the horse’s entire perceived value paid annually. So, for a horse worth $10,000, you can expect a lease fee of around $2500 yearly.

Insurance

If anything should happen to the horse while it’s under your care, you’ll likely be held liable. Luckily, you can protect yourself with some theft and mortality insurance on the horse. This will mean an additional expense but could save you a ton if something unfortunate occurs.

Finding a Horse to Lease

One of the hardest parts about leasing a horse is finding a horse that’s leasable! Thankfully, there are several viable places to search for a horse to lease.

Classified ads are still a great place to find horses for lease. While you might not have any luck in a newspaper these days, Craigslist and other online classified sites often have ads for horses you can lease.

If you don’t have luck with classifieds, try checking your local tack shop. They might even have a bulletin board with similar ads posted. If you’re lucky, someone working at the shop might know of a horse available for lease.

For those who are already riding at a stable, ask around and see if other horse owners know of any horses available for leasing. Many owners might even be willing to share-lease with you to help reduce the costs of owning and caring for a horse.

horses for excursions
Image Credit: travelview, Shutterstock

Your Responsibilities as a Horse Lessee

While you’re leasing a horse, the horse’s care and boarding will be your responsibility. You’ll need to provide regular maintenance for the animal. They’ll need grooming, shoes, and veterinary checkups; all of which are up to you to take care of.

Make sure you keep great records of everything you do with a horse you’re leasing. You’ll want to be able to show consistent and quality care, in case anything should happen.

Also, be aware that every lease is different. It’s up to you to thoroughly read through and understand your lease before you sign it. This will help you to be certain of your responsibilities, so you don’t end up liable for something costly that you weren’t aware of.

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Conclusion

It’s not for everyone, but leasing a horse instead of purchasing one can have numerous benefits. Of course, you’ll still be responsible for the care and boarding of a horse. It’s not a cheap endeavor, but there’s certainly a lot less liability involved, and it can be more cost-effective than buying a horse in many circumstances.

See: How to Halter Break a Horse


Featured Image: Alexas_Fotos, Pixabay

Oliver Jones

Oliver (Ollie) Jones - A zoologist and freelance writer living in South Australia with his partner Alex, their dog Pepper, and their cat Steve (who declined to be pictured). Ollie, originally from the USA, holds his master's degree in wildlife biology and moved to Australia to pursue his career and passion but has found a new love for working online and writing about animals of all types.