Last Updated on March 28, 2023
Leasing a horse can be a great way to experience horse ownership with fewer financial obligations. But how much does it cost to lease a horse?
Do you love horses, but can’t afford to have one of your own? Maybe you’ve always wanted a horse but would prefer not having the full responsibility of ownership. If either of these sounds like you, then leasing a horse could be a great option.
Many trainers and horse owners suggest leasing a horse for a variety of reasons, but with busy schedules and expensive living costs, you might feel as though your dreams of having your own horse may never come true. However, when it comes to leasing, there are many different options, and some are more affordable than others.
What Does Leasing a Horse Mean?
Leasing a horse can be a great opportunity to have a substantial amount of equestrian engagement without as many financial obligations. A lease is a formal arrangement between the owner of the horse and the person taking on the lease and is comparable to a formal rental agreement.
The person taking on the lease (the lessee) and the horse owner will have a contract of the lease terms and conditions, including the amount of access you will have to the horse, and who is responsible for the daily care and financial upkeep of the horse.
For example, a lease agreement might state that a horse is leased out to you three times a week. On these three set days, you must provide all care for the horse, and you are permitted to ride it on these days. On the other four days,s the horse is cared for and ridden by the owner, or another lessee.
Horse trainer and riding instructor Ellison Hartley explains on Pet Helpful that, each horse owner and rider will have his or her own expectations of what they want from a lease agreement, but the great thing about leasing is that the two parties can come to an arrangement that works out for the both of them. Leasing can be a great way to experience horse ownership without the financial outlay of buying a horse. For horse owners, it can be a good solution when you are too busy to ride your horse as often as necessary.
Many training barns lease horses and the advertisements for these are posted on the internet, in your local tack shops, and in newspaper classifieds. If you have a trainer, she can give you tips on how to lease a horse and how to find one that fits your needs. Most often, trainers are supportive of their rider’s leasing because there are so many benefits.
Read more about Questions To Ask When Leasing A Horse
The Benefits of Leasing a Horse
Leasing a horse is a big commitment and should not be taken on lightly, but for most people,e the benefits by far outweigh the negatives. Here are four of the most convincing benefits of leasing a horse:
It’s more affordable
Owning a horse is notoriously expensive. Leasing, however, is a much more affordable way to have a deeper equestrian relationship while sharing the cost with someone else. The cost will vary from horse to horse and with the lease option agreement.
You get experience before deciding to buy
When you lease a horse, you will learn the financial and time commitments involved in horse ownership. This is one of the main reasons why trainers often advise their clients to test the waters by leasing a horse before buying one. You might find that owning a horse is too much time and responsibility, but leasing for a quarter or half of the time works perfectly.
It improves your skill and relationship with the horse
When leasing a horse, you have committed to one particular horse to care for and ride throughout the week. Horse experts at IHeartHorses.com agree that “When you ride the same horse, you’ll get to know the horse’s quirks, and you’ll also learn how to communicate best and work with that horse.” There’s also the possibility of becoming a more confident rider, especially when you are an anxious rider or plan to compete.
It can be temporary
A temporary situation can be very beneficial for those who will eventually want to move up in levels or change riding disciplines. If you are leasing a horse that is suited for dressage beginners, but you are ready for a more advanced horse, then you can move up to one that is more tailored to your developing techniques. Linda Allen from Practical Horseman Magazine says, “With a leased mount, a rider can easily move up to another horse without having to sell the one she’s been riding.”
This is also a good option if your circumstances are likely to change, making full-time horse ownership impractical. For example,e if your children are due to go away to college in a few years or you are planning on starting a family, a lease arrangement will be a more suitable option than buying a horse.
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How Much Does it Cost to Lease a Horse?
When you are leasing a horse, you will enter into a contract between you and the horse owner that contains specific terms and conditions about the care and obligations of the horse.
In legal terms, the owner of the horses is named as the ‘lessor’, and the person taking on the lease of the horse is called the ‘lessee’. The different leasing options will include a full breakdown of costs and which party is responsible for them, as well as any stipulations on how and when the horse can be used.
Luckily, lease agreements are very flexible, and can be negotiated to suit the individual needs of the horse owner and rider. Let’s take a look at the different ways in which you can lease a horse.
What does it mean to full-lease a horse?
A full lease on a horse is almost like owning the horse, as you will care for the horse as if it is your own on a full-time basis. Under this agreement, you would typically pay for 50% to 100% of the horse’s costs, including boarding fees, veterinarian and farrier bills, and feed. Full leases often include a lease fee of about 25% to 30% of the horse’s yearly value – think of this as renting the horse. This option is in exchange for being with the horse as much as you want.
In terms of costs, there are two options commonly used with a full horse lease:
Option #1: The person leasing the horse is responsible for all of the horse’s expenses (board, feed, veterinary, farrier, etc).
The person leasing the horse may ride or use the horse any time they’d like. Full leases rarely restrict riding days, times, or horse-related events, like attending a horse show.
Some owners may also require an additional fee for leasing the horse, which is usually 25% of the horse’s value.
Option #2: The person leasing the horse pays a monthly lease payment to the owner of the horse.
The monthly lease payment covers all or most of the horse’s expenses (boarding, farrier, routine veterinary). In the event of additional, unexpected/emergency expenses that are not in the monthly lease fee, the person responsible to pay those expenses will be determined between the two parties.
What does it mean to share or half-lease a horse?
A horse share, half lease, or partial lease is the most common and cost-effective option when it comes to leasing a horse. According to litigation lawyer Karen Weslowski from Horse Journals, “A half-lease means that the expenses are split equally between the lessee and the lessor. In return, the lessee will care for and ride the horse 50% of the time.” This should mean that you’ll only be covering about half of the horse’s expenses, either by splitting the bills or paying a flat rate. There may also be an additional lease fee, which is a form of rental payment paid for the convenience of using the horse.
A partial orhalf-leasee horse is commonly used when two or more people lease the same horse, or when the owner wants to continue riding the horse a few times a week. Riding days are divided between the riders and are normally agreed in advance, as is who will carry out which caring duties for the horse.
If either party will be competing or participating in any off-site activities with the horse, arrangements for use need to be mutually agreed upon and included in the lease agreement. Many half-lease agreements also include additional clauses such as the need for regular riding lessons to maintain the horse’s standard of schooling.
How much does it cost to lease a horse?
Giving an estimate of how much to lease a horse per month is difficult to determine since every barn and owner is different and it depends on the individual situation. Some lease agreements just require a set amount each month towards feed costs, while in others the lessee is expected to pay all living expenses for the horse. When entering into a lease agreement for a horse, be prepared to negotiate but keep in mind what your main equestrian priorities are and the various options available.
When calculating the cost of leasing a horse, there are many factors to take into account. The fairest way to calculate the lease fee is to add up all the regular care costs for the horse, such as feed, boarding costs, and farrier fees, then divide these between the lessee and the owner depending on how much access each has to the horse.
Some horse owners also add on a lease fee, which is often a proportion of the value of the horse. Think of this like a rental fee – it might seem like a lot of money, but it is still far cheaper than buying a horse of your own!
Tips for Horse Lease Agreements
- Determine lease type and length of contract; month to month, six months, or yearly.
- Indicate who will be responsible for routine/emergency veterinary care, farrier, board, and any additional expenses. State how expenses will be paid, when, and to whom
- Consider what will happen if one of the parties needs to end the lease agreement early.
- Lastly, make sure both parties are clear if the lease has the possibility of becoming a “lease option to buy”.
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“Leasing allows you to experience the joys and responsibilities of horse ownership without actually having to buy a horse, and without having to deal with certain liabilities,” says Cheryl Sutor on Equusite.com.
As we have learned, there are many benefits to leasing a horse instead of owning one, and the cost to lease a horse can vary from one horse to another. The process of negotiating a lease can be tricky, but it is worth ironing out every part of the agreement to ensure that all parties involved are happy.
Leave a comment if you have any suggestions or experiences on leasing a horse or how much it costs.
Is Leasing a Horse a Good Idea?
Leasing a horse is a good idea for many reasons and benefits the owner of the horse and the person leasing the horse.
It gives a potential horse owner the experience of owning their own horse without the initial purchase cost.
- Leasing gives a potential horse owner the chance to see if they really are able to afford the long term financial commitment, the responsibility and if they have the available time to properly care for a horse.
- It is great for young kids or beginning riders who will need a more advanced horse as they become better riders.
- Parents can see if their child maintains their interest in horses without the investment of purchasing a horse.
- Depending on the lease you chose, you can create a minimally stressful and enjoyable horse experience.
What Do You Need to Lease a Horse?
To lease a horse, begin by deciding on the type of lease you’re looking for. Once that is decided, search for horses that match your criteria and are available for lease.
Make appointments to try the horses you like. When you find the horse that is suitable for your riding level and is suitable for your intended use, begin the process of completing the lease contract.
When presented with the lease, read it thoroughly, and revise anything that is unclear or you and the owner have mutually decided to modify. After revisions are complete and both parties agree to the lease terms, sign the final contract and both parties need to retain a copy for their records.
Some tips when you lease a horse:
- Have a professional help draft an organized and detailed leasing contract that both parties agree too.
- Review the lease terms every six months to a year.
- Maintain open communication between parties to ensure the leasing process remains positive and mutually beneficial for both parties.
What Is a Horse Feed Lease?
Feed leases are not very common these days. A feed lease is going to be very similar to a full lease.
The person leasing the horse is responsible for all expenses. The horse would stay at the horse owner’s property or be on the property of the person leasing the horse, eliminating any boarding fees, but would be paying for feed and water for the horse.
If the horse is being boarded or the lessor of the horse is having to pay for the horse to stay somewhere, it is not a feed lease.
What Is a Horse Care Lease?
A horse care lease is not used as much today as it was in the past. A horse care lease started to become obsolete as many began to refer to it as a free horse lease.
The horse care lease allowed the horse owner to maintain the ownership and control of the horse while the person leasing the horse is responsible for all other expenses. Monthly lease payments are not paid to the owner and almost all of the horse care decisions are made by the lesser of the horse, unless another arrangement had been mutually agreed upon, in the event of an emergency, or life/death situation.
Michael Dehaan is a passionate horse owner, horse rider, and lover of all things equine. He has been around horses since he was a child, and has grown to become an expert in the field. He has owned and ridden a variety of horses of different breeds, and has trained many to compete in shows and competitions. He is an experienced horseman, having worked with and competed many horses, including his own. He is an active member of the equestrian community, participating in events and teaching riding lessons.