June 26, 2012 - Several years ago, we leased Annie, a cute little Arab/Welsh cross.? We had been looking for a good kids pony for our son who was then about 3 years old.? Annie was recommended by a colleague at Michigan State.? She had leased Annie for her daughter, who was making that big girl transition from pony to horse.? Annie?s owner was a past student at Michigan State and had another Arabian mare she boarded and rode daily.? She worked and didn't have the time or finances to support two horses.? Being newly married, she wanted to keep Annie in the family, so to speak, for when she had kids of her own.? Leasing Annie was the ideal solution for her circumstances.
I had never leased a horse before and was a little hesitant.? I had known youth and amateurs who had leased horses specifically to show when I was growing up.? I wasn?t sure what our liability was with someone else?s horse.? It ended up pretty cut and dry.? We paid for all expenses except emergency care (like colic surgery).? We also paid for a liability/death insurance policy on Annie at the amount her owner specified (approximately $300/year).? So Annie was taken into our small herd of horses, where she proceeded to boss our two big horses around. Cute as she was, after a year, we decided that Annie was too spicy for our young son to ride.? I actually had a blast jumping on her bareback and herding our goats all over the farm.? It brought me back to my youth and riding Blue all over creation.? But having three horses was 1/3 more expensive than having two on the farm, and after a year, we decided that Annie wasn?t the right fit for our family.? At the same time, Annie?s owner lost her mare and wanted Annie back to help fill her loss. My one and only leasing experience gave me a good appreciation for the leasing process.? It's kind of like swimming in the shallow end of the pool.? You swim the same as you do in the deep end but you can still touch bottom so your risks are greatly reduced.? Leasing a horse gives you the day to day experience of owning a horse but you don't assume all of the risks associated with ownership and you have an easy way to get out if needed. Some points to ponder when considering a leasing option:
- ?Leasing is best when all of the parties involved know each other or come with trustworthy ?references
- Make sure the horse is a good fit, even in a temporary situation
- Have a well written agreement that clearly specifies who is responsible for daily care, routine hoof and health care, as well as emergency medical care
- Write down the standard of care that the horse will be given ? housing, feed, daily exercise, riding, etc.
- Write down any restrictions or requirements that the owner has put on the use and care of the horse
- Don?t get too emotionally attached to the horse ? remember that the horse is most likely a temporary companion
- Communicate with the owner on a monthly basis or if an emergency or question arises
Make sure that you keep your line of communication open with the owner.?? You should have an emergency contact in case you can't reach the owner directly.? Sending pictures and short reports via e-mail will help keep everyone in the loop and comfortable with the lease arrangement. If you have a leasing experience or are considering leasing as an option, share your experience, comments, or questions!?LEARN MORE by reading the following article from discoverhorses.com:? Leasing a HorseDr. Christine Skelly is an extension specialist at Michigan State University where she founded and directs My Horse University, an online horse management education program.? Dr. Skelly developed the free online course Purchasing and Owning a Horse 101, in partnership with Discover Horses. Follow My Horse University on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube and take the?FREE online course Purchasing and Owning a Horse 101. ?