Leasing your horse: What you need to know

There are many issues to consider when leasing your horse to make sure both you and your horse are protected.

Many people take great pleasure in riding and owning horses. Anyone who regularly rides horses knows, however, that owning a horse can also be both time-consuming and expensive. For some horse owners leasing their horse is a great option to provide financial relief as well as ensure their horse gets frequent attention by a trusted rider.

Although leasing a horse can be a wonderful arrangement for the horse and all parties involved, things can also go terribly wrong. This often happens when an equine lease is not comprehensive and expectations are not properly set from the beginning.

Horse lease basics

There are two general types of horse leases: full leases and share-leases (or share-boarding). A full lease usually requires the lessee to pay for all of a horse's routine care and boarding and allows the lessee to ride the horse whenever they choose. In a share-lease or share-boarding the owner and lessee generally split the days of the week, each being allowed to ride the horse during designated times and splitting the boarding expenses.

Other issues to consider

Once you have decided on the type of lease arrangement there are several other issues you should think about specifying in the agreement:

  • What are the payment terms?
  • How long is the lease term and can it be renewed?
  • Is there an option for lease to own?
  • Who is allowed to ride and/or show the horse?
  • What types of shows can the horse participate in (e.g., disciplines, levels)?
  • Where will the horse be boarded?
  • Can the horse be used for breeding?
  • What happens if the horse gets injured?
  • Who is responsible for veterinarian and farrier expenses?
  • If the horse is insured who will pay the premium?
  • What are your remedies if the lessee defaults under the lease?

These are just a few of the many issues that should be covered in a comprehensive horse lease. In addition to a lease, you may also want a separate breeding contract if breeding the horse is anticipated.

Consult with an equine attorney

You want to ensure a horse you lease is well taken care of and you are financially protected if issues arise. An experienced equine attorney can assist in drafting a comprehensive lease that helps to properly set expectations on both sides and avoid problems down the road. The attorneys at The Roberts Law Firm, P.C. are experienced in a variety of business law matters and can assist you in the drafting of a lease or other equine law issues such as equine business formation, barn management and equine litigation.

Keywords: horse lease, equine law