Leasing a horse can be an ideal situation for many horse enthusiasts. This can benefit the leaser because their horse is being worked on a continuous basis, being taken care of with all expenses covered, and in some cases, is even relocated to another location for a period of time. The lessee gets to enjoy all of the privileges of having a horse, without actually purchasing one.
Although leasing a horse can be a great idea for many people, there are also a number of risks that are associated with leasing. What if the horse is hurt? What if the lessee doesn’t pay for certain bills (board, farrier, vet)? What if the horse is stolen? What if the horse comes up lame a few days after the lease has been signed? Every one of the questions has come up at some point in time for a leaser or lessee. Don’t let yourself get the short end of the stick on any of these matters.
When leasing a horse, the first thing you need to do is try the horse out; ride the horse, ask the owner questions, get a vet check, etc. Treat this “try-out” as if you would buy the horse – because in a way, you will be responsible for ownership without the owner title. If you decide that this is the horse that you want to lease, create a lease agreement with the owner. A lease agreement is a written statement that will cover a number of topics to protect both the leaser and the lessee. This document should be VERY thorough, not just “take care of my horse and sign here.” Here are some things that need to be included in the lease:
- Shipping costs – (if applicable) Who is responsible for transporting the to and from the leaser’s barn?
- Upkeep – What fees will the lessee cover for the upkeep of the horse? Will they cover vet bills, farrier bills, deworming, etc.?
- Included with the horse – What will be included with the horse when they leave your farm? A halter, lead rope, bridle, bit, saddle, etc.? Make a note of this and put it in the lease.
- Injured horse – What happens if the horse gets hurt? Will the lease continue? Who needs to pay for the vet bills?
- Insured horse – Is the horse insured? Which party insures the horse?
- Showing the horse – Will the horse be shown during the lease?
- Length of lease – How long will the lease last? What is the cost to break the lease early?
As a leaser or lessee, make sure to protect yourself from the worst-case scenarios. When both parties verbally agree upon the lease, it wouldn’t hurt to have a lawyer look over it and then have the agreement notarized. Don’t let yourself get hurt financially in a lease agreement! Good luck and enjoy your lease (and protection!).
For more information on lease agreements, visit: http://cs.thehorse.com/blogs/winning-edge-performance-horse-health/archive/2015/01/16/when-on-trial-put-it-in-writing.aspx