Today is the last day of the lease of your horse and it’s time for him to come back to your barn. But wait…did you make any arrangements up front on how that was supposed to happen? When the lease started, the leasor made arrangements to pick up the horse and have it delivered to their barn. Now that it’s over, do you go get it, do they deliver it back, who pays for the cost of getting the horse back to your barn? What if they don’t respond when you try to contact them? Can you just go and get the horse? Have they moved it? Oops, did you think about any of this up front?
What is your liability if you just go into someone else’s barn and pick up your horse? Can you do that? Repossessing a horse is an issue to undertake with care. If the horse is in a boarding or training barn, you may not be allowed to get him. If you enter the barn to take the animal it might be considered trespassing or possibly even theft of property. Those raise another big can of worms.
Problems can and do happen, especially when a lease agreement is not in writing or worse yet, it is but you didn’t really read it or think it through thoroughly when you signed it. There may even be confusion about the length of the agreement, a lease to purchase discussion you might have had or even shared winnings from a show season.
To me, the best way to solve problems is to put a plan in place beforehand so you don’t run into the problems in the first place! So of course I’m going to suggest you consult with a lawyer up front to prevent problems from happening. If you didn’t do that up front and you’ve got a problem now, you may need to contact an attorney and file a civil suit to address the issues to get the horse back into your hands…and barn. Law suits, in my opinion mostly benefit the lawyers; that being said however, they often may be the best or only option if the other party refuses to cooperate or talk.
Leases can be simple or quite complex, depending on the nature of the arrangement and the interests of the parties involved. The legal fee to prevent disputes through a lease agreement is a small fraction of the legal fee to resolve a dispute.
If you have any issue with an equine lease or have any questions, please give me a call.