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Horse Leasing Question

B.E.G.

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#1
Hi ladies,

I have a (potentially dumb) question. I'd like to start up horseback riding lessons this summer, and eventually look into leasing a horse. The beauty of where I live is that we have many stables a fairly short distance away!

I'm doing some online research to get a sense of prices, and I was wondering... when an owner lists a lease cost, is this weekly? Monthly? I have no idea! And it makes a big difference, when the lease cost is listed as $250 and I have no idea what the frequency of that pay rate will be :smile:

Thanks!
 

valli

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#2
I'm a horse owner but also leased horses before I bought one, and we have also done leases on our horses. Usually the lease is monthly, and if you are leasing from the owner it's a share of expenses (board, shoeing, routine vet). Sometimes people will pay extra to lease a fancy competition horse, but that's usually just on the A show circuit. Are you in the Bay Area? I might be able to give you the inside scoop on some of the places.
 

Serafina

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#3
You also need to check the terms of the lease, because there are full leases, free leases, and half leases. With a "free lease" usually it means that you'll be totally responsible for the horse - vet, boarding, dentist, farrier, etc. - and you can take the horse and board it where you want to (the owner may reserve the right to approve the facility). The only difference between free leasing and owning a horse is the question of who holds the title, so to speak. Full leases usually mean you're picking up 100% of the horse's bills, but you can't necessarily move the horse at your discretion. Half-leases, which is what I'd recommend since IIRC you're in grad school, require you to pay either a flat fee, like your $250/month, or to pay a set percentage of the horse's costs (typically these will be spelled out), and what you get in exchange for this is a certain number of riding opportunities per week, and possibly a stipulated number of shows you could take the horse to. Be sure to ask about the tack, too. All the free leases I've encountered require you to supply the tack for the horse, and this runs into $$$$$$$$. Kind of money that makes skiing look like an inexpensive hobby...
 

B.E.G.

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#4
Thanks Valli and Serafina!

And thanks for the advice. I'm so clueless about this - I'm just now beginning research for the summer. Serafina, I didn't know all of those distinctions between leases and costs covered. I do remember you got hooked on riding last year, I think? Oh, no longer a grad student!! Hence, more discretionary income to pursue this :smile: It sounds like a half-lease is what I'm looking for.
 

Serafina

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#5
Not last year - year before. I own His Royal Highness Huey The Wonder Horse now. In all his accident-prone, dramatic, king-of-all-he-surveys, opinionated, cribbing, blanket-destroying, treat-scrounging, trot-pole-jumping, shoe-removing, horse-fighting, dirt-and-dandruff covered glory. Saw him on Saturday and he wore both my arms out demanding butt and wither scratches. I'd like to see him today but I don't think my fingers can take any more quite yet, and I still have horse hair in my eyeballs. Will definitely be seeing him later this week, as it's time to throw more money at him. Farrier is coming to put shoes on.

I worry about him constantly. He eats every spare dollar and minute I have. And I wouldn't trade him for the world.
 
#6
Half leases are great. I half leased out my horse to make it affordable and so that I didn't have to ride every day--if I hadn't half leased, I don't think I would have had any life outside of work and horse.
 

Ashleigh Lawrence

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#8
If you are totally new to the world of horses, I would spend your money on regular, top quality lessons before leasing (or loaning as we in the UK say) a horse. To be honest there is no way I would loan a horse to someone who has only just started riding, and if you find someone who does, then there will be something very badly wrong with either them or the horse. Horses are not just pieces of equipment, they are living, breathing sentient beings with very complex needs, and if you are looking to get the most out of learning about horses, I would avoid taking on full responsibility for one for as long as possible.

I'm really sorry if this sounds snotty, it really isn't meant to, but I have been around horses in a professional and amateur capacity for thirty years, and I have seen what happens when someone who is new to horses takes on a horse before they have the requisite experience, and it is ALWAYS the horse that suffers. When I say requisite experience, I mean YEARS of experience, not just a few weeks in the summer.

I really hope you enjoy having lessons, and I hope you fall in love with horses as much as I have, but please, please, think very carefully before taking on full responsibility for a being who will be as dependent upon you as a human child.
 

contesstant

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#9
It really is something you want to test the waters in with lessons first. Good advice, Ashleigh. Take some lessons for sure. (And if you think SKIING is expensive!!! :eek:)
 

Serafina

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#10
OMG. Huey had a $500 vet bill this spring. Granted, that was most of his shots (still need to get the West Nile and Lyme), a float with sedation, a fecal, a Coggins, and a sheath-cleaning, and there wasn't anyone who could split the farm-call charge with me due to time constraints. And then last winter? Got drive-in studded eggbars for His Royal Highness, WITH snow pads, and the little bugger pulled them off inside of 3 weeks and lost everything in the snow. We just found them 2 day ago, the shoes with most of the blasted nails still in them, all bent up and rusting. The snow pads were totally intact. Cost of this? $250.

Horses are every bit as expensive as kids. Cost you every bit as much sleep, too.
 

perma-grin

Instructor PSIA L 3, APD Alpine Ski training MHSP
#11
Here's my two cents on the subject: I both own horses, and have leased horses out to someone I thought I could trust. I have 2 horses now I originally started with 3! Make sure everything is spelt out very clearly and witnessed in a written contract! Note I said I originally owned 3 horses, that's because I did a hand shake free lease off site to a "Friend of a Friend "and they sold one of my horses (tried to sell 2!!!!!!!!! I went through a nasty 6 month long lawsuit over the whole thing, if you have everything very clearly stated in writting you are much better off I wish that I had done this in the first place. And I am NOT a rookie horsewomen! There is way to much "She said this and she said that" when there isn't a written contract luckly I still have my other two (thank God for registration papers and bill of sales on those two) horse I lost wasn't registered, and never had a bill of sale for him:doh:. Did I mention getting everything in writing? Over the 45yrs of riding I have both leased horses, and leased horses out (some very high dollar show horses) always in the past it had been on a "handshake" agreement but never again. Equine lawsuits are extremely expensive, and emotionally draining. Horses are a HUGH emotional and financial investment proceed by all means BUT proceed with deliberate caution!:wink:PS on a side note if I'm leasing a horse out I have to approve everything from tack fit, bad fitting tack can leave a horse sour mouthed,and /or permenantly lame, I approve where the horse is board/trainer. I have learned my lesson the hard way!
 

contesstant

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#12
I am trying to do a co-lease on my show gelding this spring/summer. Caveat is the horse stays with MY trainer and I make ALL decisions, including if he needs to be scratched from a show, etc. And yes, my tack, my feed program, etc. So far, only people who want to move him to their own trainer have been interested. Their loss! ;)
 

NewEnglandSkier

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#13
Another thing you might look into is depending on the barn where you end up riding you might be able to half lease one of the school horses. If the barn isn't super busy with a huge lesson program, some barns do offer half leases of the school horses. That way the instructor or barn owner knows who you are, how you will likely treat the horse and they will know if a horse is appropriate for you or not and best of all, your instructor will be familiar with the horse too. If you do decide to pursue a half lease that is not a school horse, I'd definitely try to find something within the barn where you'll be taking lessons and not leasing something at a separate barn.
I'd suggest taking several months worth of lessons before stepping up to the half lease option--have a good solid grounding in basic walk and posting trot. When you first start riding you'll want/need to be supervised for much of the time so having a half lease won't really be useful at that point. Wait until you've gotten to the point of being fairly solid and then you'll be at the point where you'll have things to practice on your own on your days to ride.
 

valli

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#14
I have half-leased horses, but having a good contract that specifies as much as possible makes things much easier. I also had major medical insurance on the horse I leased. A place like Spring Down in Portola Valley has a nice string of lesson horses that you can part lease when you are ready, I leased a very nice gelding there before I bought my own.
 

num

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#15
After a while of just taking lessons, I started shareboarding/leasing from the stable itself. It was great to ride my usual lessons horse for pleasure and practice, and getting to know each other better was helpful for our lesson times as well. It was done monthly, and there was a set arrangement of days/times per week I would have the horse.

I'd recommend starting out by finding a stable you like for lessons and checking if they do shareboards, then taking lessons to learn about riding, tacking, horse care etc, and shareboarding from them when you're ready. I think leasing from a lessons barn rather than an individual is extra helpful for someone new to riding because they can match you to a horse that's suited for you, be there to help out and answer questions and work specifically on you and your particular lease horse during your lessons.
 

B.E.G.

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#16
Ah I forgot about this! Thank you all for the excellent advice. Unfortunately, I've fallen into a new expensive obsession/hobby (which is ballroom dancing), and being a teacher, I can't afford that AND horseback riding. I may come back to this another time though :smile:
 

num

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#17
Ooh, my partner and I have been meaning to learn some ballroom dancing. So far we've managed to get an instruction book/dvd combo and make fools of ourselves around the living room, but lessons are a goal in the future.
 

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