Leasing is a wonderful opportunity for a potential new owner to expose themselves to multiple horses before buying. It can be a rewarding experience for both the leaser/lessee and the horse. Planning ahead in a lease agreement will ensure a smooth transition for everyone involved.
Why lease your horse to someone else?
There are a variety of reasons that owners choose to lease their beloved animal to someone. Often it promotes a sale in the future, the owner is away and would like to keep the horse’s training current, defray costs for later personal use, or as simple as the owner is not ready to sell his/her horse. A person wanting to lease their horse should be upfront and make sure the leasing individual has full disclosure of their intentions for future consideration.
Why lease a horse for yourself?
There are a myriad of reasons for someone to choose to lease a horse; affordability, change in discipline, or ability in the rider and horse. Usually there is a specific reason a person chooses to lease; full disclosure should be given to the owner to assure a cooperative understanding between the two parties. Many leases just require taking over all expenses of the owner. In some cases it is recommended to have a full vet check before leasing a horse from an outside party.
The trainer’s role.
In many cases a trainer will be involved. Their expertise can prove to be invaluable when looking to find a horse to lease or leasing to a potential leaser. They know other trainers, are familiar with the rider’s ability, and often times they will be currently working with the horse in training for current events, or the horse may return to them for future training. It is important to involve your trainer with your decision to move forward; whether leasing the horse to someone or leasing for yourself. Many training pitfalls can be avoided in the future by involving them.
So let’s lease!
Leasing a horse is much like buying a horse except there are not as many people willing to do so; especially from an owner standpoint. It is more than handing off a lead rope a waving goodbye. A formal agreement is imperative between the two parties, this is the lease agreement. Many considerations to this document are important so in the future there are no ramifications for either party involved. It is advantageous to consult an attorney with equine leasing agreements. The amount is nominal and in the end can prove to benefit both parties.
Verbal agreements should never be entered into, someone will not be happy and it can be very detrimental in the long run. The liability issues can be astronomical to both parties involved.
It’s always best to have your agreement in writing. Considerations in a lease should include but not limited too are; length of contract, minor or major vet care, farrier, show schedules, training schedules, nutritional diet and supplements and insurance. All of these things must be agreed upon as well as a ceiling cap for medical treatment, termination of contract due to one party failing to adhere to lease agreement, or in a mare lease, breeding rights and embryo retrieval.
Sometimes a very loving owner can offer too much input and cause friction between themselves, the lessee and the trainer. Everyone usually means the best, but in this triangle it is just too easy for feelings of intrusion, confusion or miscommunication to happen. It is important to discuss the expectations of involvement with all parties before completing the agreement. Often the parties are just trying to make the transition smoother, but it can feel controlling. Put the parties’ expectations into writing and no one will have hurt feelings in the end.
This may sound like an overwhelming amount of information, that is why you need an equine attorney specializing in all aspects of horse ownership including leasing, that will ensure a smooth transition between all parties involved and a successful leasing experience. I do this, but there are a couple others in the area that do so as well. Find someone you are comfortable to work with and understands the issues.