How Much Does It Cost To Lease A Horse

Last Updated on December 24, 2022

All about the 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 would 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 horse’s dreams may never come true. Learning what the concept is and how much leasing a horse costs could help you to follow your horse-loving heart.

What Does It Mean to Lease a Horse?

Leasing a horse is a means of having a substantial amount of equestrian engagement without all of the financial obligations. It is an arrangement between the horse owner and rider and is comparable to a formal rental agreement. 

You and the horse owner will have a contract of the lease terms and conditions, including the agreed-upon days in which he is “your horse.” On those days, it is your responsibility to ride and care for him. 

For example, an owner’s mare is leased out to you three times a week, so you are only allowed to ride and care for her on those agreed-upon days. The owner does not ride or care for the horse except on her allotted days.

What Does It Mean to Lease a Horse


Horse trainer and riding instructor Ellison Hartley explains on Pet Helpful that, each horse owner will have his or her own expectations, but the great thing about leasing is that the two parties can come to an agreement that works out for the both of them.

Many training barns lease horses, but the ads are also 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 riders 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 decision, but 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 responsibilities 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 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.” 

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Cost to lease a horse: What are your options?

When you are leasing a horse, you have created 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 “lessor” is the owner of the horse, and the “lessee” is the person leasing the horse. The leasing options coincide with the costs and can vary from the agreements that you and the lessor have made.

Cost to lease a horse- What are your options


Two of the most common lease options are:

  • What does it mean to full-lease a horse?

This option is almost like owning the horse because you would pay for 50% to 100% of the horse’s costs, including boarding fees, veterinarian and farrier bills, and feed. Full leases usually include a lease fee of about 25% to 30% of the horse’s yearly value. This option is in exchange for being with the horse as much as you want.

There are two options to consider 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?

This is the most common and cost-effective option. According to litigation lawyer Karen Weslowski from Horse Journals, “In a half-lease, the expenses are split equally between the lessee and the lessor in exchange for the lessee’s right to care for and ride the horse 50% of the time.” At this point, you’ll only be paying about half or a flat rate of the horse’s expenses. 

A partial or half lease is commonly used when one or more people lease the same horse. Riding days are divided between the riders.

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.

The exact prices of leasing a horse would be difficult to determine since every barn and owner is different. However, it’s best to inquire about availabilities, but keeping in mind what your main equestrian priorities are and the various options available.


  • 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.
  • 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

Here, I believe we’ve learned that there are many benefits to leasing a horse instead of owning one, and the cost to lease a horse can vary from barn to owner. Knowing that you have options will make the process easier. 

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.