Think that you're ready for a horse, but have to convince your parents? Leasing a horse might be the way to go! When you lease a horse, you are basically renting him. People usually lease out their horses if they do not have the time or money for them. Leases are beneficial for both the owner and the leaser-it will give you the experience of having a horse without owning him outright, and it will give the owner more time and money.
First off, you have to know where to look to find a horse to lease! Check your local papers. There are ads (especially on Sundays) in the livestock section that will say if anyone has horses for lease. If there is a phone number listed, have your parents call and ask details about the horse or pony. Be sure that you discuss potential ponies with your trainer as well. She may be able to rule out some ponies without you even having to see them-a big timesaver for your parents!
You can also look in your local tackshops. There is usually a board with people's business cards and horses for sale/lease somewhere in the shop. Also, ask your trainer if she know of any ponies for lease. Most likely, she knows a lot of people and can start asking around. Finally, tell your friends! Once you get the word out that you are looking for a horse, people will start calling you with potential ponies.
When leasing a horse, you need to keep in mind some of the same things you would if you were buying a horse. When you go to ride the pony for the first time, make sure that your trainer or another knowledgeable horse person is with you. Ask to see the owner ride him first so you can see how the pony is for her. Be honest about your riding ability. If the horse you are looking at is an off-the-track Thoroughbred and you have only ridden a school pony, realize that this horse may not be the one for you. There are plenty of horses out there; you don't have to love the first one you see!
Make sure that the horse you are looking to lease is schooled in the areas you want to ride. You don't need a show-quality hunter if you only want to trail ride. Alternately, you're not looking for a horse trained only to barrel race if you want her to be a dressage horse. Try to ride the horse you want to lease more than once. You want a real idea of how the horse acts before you decide you want to lease him!
Realize that you, and your parents, will be responsible for the pony. You will have to feed him, provide his vet care, pay for his worming, shots and shoes or trims. If the horse gets hurt, it will most likely be up to you to pay for his medical needs. Understand that this can be a large expense. Ask the owner for an average of how much this will cost a month. Then you'll have a better idea of whether or not you and your parents can afford it.
You might be able to half lease a horse at a barn, maybe even from your trainer. In a half-lease, you may be responsible for only a portion of the pony's care. The tradeoff is that you may only be able to ride on certain days of the week. The pony would have lessons or be ridden by his owner on the other days. Some leases, especially from training barns, require that you take lessons, which may be an additional expense. Make sure you ask before agreeing to a lease.
Both you and your parents need to sign a formal lease agreement if you decide to lease the pony. A handshake is not enough! The lease needs to answer certain questions, such as:
| * Are you the only one looking after the horse, or are there other people involved?|
| * How many times a week are you allowed to ride?|
| * Are you able to take the pony away from the barn, such as to trail ride or to show?|
| * Are you able to move the pony to live in a new location, such as in your own barn at |
| * Does the horse come with his own tack, boots and blankets, or are you expected to |
| * How long does the lease last?|
| * What aspects of the horses' health are you responsible to pay for?|
| * Are you required to take lessons with this pony?|
| * Is the pony insured?|
| * If the horse is registered, do you have to put him in your name?|
| * Is either party allowed to terminate the lease early?|
| * What would happen if the pony got injured and you couldn't ride him for a long time?|
Leasing a horse is a great way to try horse ownership without all the responsibility. It is a true test to see if you have the time and dedication to own one all by yourself. If you can prove to your parents that you have the determination, you'll be one step closer to convincing them you're ready to own a horse all your own!