Leasing is a great option for both seasoned and new horse owners alike. For a multitude of reasons, purchasing a horse might not be an ideal option at this point in your life. But even without the immense commitment of purchasing a horse, leasing can still be a large expense and major obligation. If a possible lease is in your future, check out these 8 important questions to ask when leasing a horse:
Most Common Questions to Ask When Leasing a Horse
1. What is your Reasoning?
Although this seems like an obvious one, it is important to ask yourself why you want to lease a horse. Thoroughly understanding the motive behind a lease will help you determine what type of lease will best suit you. Some exhibitors may be looking for an “upgraded” show mount for a single show year, while another rider may have a temporary residence and is not in a situation to make a lifelong commitment. Many parents opt for leasing programs (with an option to buy, yes, like a house!) for their children. Your specific needs will help pinpoint the type of horse and contract right for your personal situation.
2. What is “Inside” vs “Outside”?
Many expenses can be considered “inside” or “outside” lease expenses. This means the inside costs are within the least and the leaser is responsible for paying these expenses. Outside costs are expenses that will typically fall on the actual owner. Determining these inside and outside costs will better assist in budgeting and financial management of your new horse.
3. What is the Cost Split of Expenses in Horse Leasing?
Once inside and outside costs are determined, the contract should clearly state the split of expenses. Some owners will split the cost of inside and/or outside expenses. If a horse is an on-site lease only, meaning the owner requires boarding at their current or personal facility, they may offer to split the cost of the board. If a major unforeseen health issue arises that the leaser is not responsible for causing, the owner may take care of veterinary expenses or split the cost. This is an important area to pay attention to, especially if there is a major health issue that pops up. It may lead to major vet bills on a horse you don’t own if the contract states all vet bills are split or on the leaser!
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4. Lease Length: Is the Lease Renewable?
A lease needs to have a specific start and end date both parties agree to. If there is a chance you may want to re-up a lease or maybe even purchase the horse, this needs to be included in the contract. It can be heartbreaking to fall in love with a horse and not have the ability to buy him/her or renew the lease contract. In the same breath, it is important to note what happens if a lease is broken by either party.
5. What is Considered a Maintenance Expense you are Responsible for?
Most leases will require the leaser to cover regular maintenance expenses. This can include farrier, deworming, grooming products, etc. However, some horses require specialty shoes that may cost hundreds of dollars each trim. It is important to clarify what maintenance expenses are and if they are split, or how much they typically total. Some contracts will also require you to use specific feeds, de-wormer brands, farriers, or vets. Budget accordingly.
6. Who is Reviewing the Contract when Leasing a Horse?
Are you reading the contract and signing away? Or is your trainer assisting you? We recommend paying the small fee and have an attorney review any lease contract prior to signing. We also recommend both parties sign at a notary for documentation purposes. An attorney can help locate missing information or expense splits, as well as correctional actions.
7. Is there a Trial Period?
Even with a leased horse, trial periods can save you a headache later on. Trials will allow you to spend time with a horse on your terms and see if there is a bond or working relationship between a horse and rider.
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8. Are there Restrictions for Horse Usage?
Some leases do not allow horses to be used at the leaser’s disposal. For example, leasing a broodmare (for breeding purposes) would require additional terms and conditions. Some owners do not want their horses in competition, while others may only lease out for competition purposes! The contract should clearly address any restrictions. If you are an avid trail rider or travel for dressage shows, it’s important to ensure the owner allows travel. Some owners may require an insurance policy to be taken out on the horse if frequently traveling.
Leasing is a big decision! For more information on leasing or the projected costs, click here. If you have friends with horses, be sure to share this article!