If you don’t want to buy a horse, but want the consistency of having the same horse like it would be if you had bought them, a lease is a great thing to look into. A free allows you to have a horse for a certain amount of time all to yourself without the added cost of buying them.
There are several types of leases that work very similar. Each one works almost identical but have different reasons, responsibilities, and flexibilities that come with them. Knowing what each one is and which one suits you the best will save you much confusion down the road.
A partial and full lease are what most barns use to lease out their lesson horses. A partial lease allows you to have a horse exclusively to yourself for several days a week. Most of the time a partial lease is 3-4 days a week, maybe less depending on your schedule.If you are partial leasing, it is very likely the horse will still be used in lessons or be partially leased to another person in addition to you. It isn’t uncommon for a horse to be partially leased to 2 people at a time.
A full lease is like owning that horse, but not buying it. You have that horse you leased to yourself for 6-7 days a week. (Most barns require a day off from ride hence the 6 days a week.) These leases require you to pay a certain amount of the horses cost each month depending on how many days you are leasing them. Lesson horse leases can be long term or month by month depending on the barn.
A free lease is the most common type of offsite lease. For example, I have a free lease on Gus for a year from a lady in Kentucky. Most free leases are a year, but I have known some to be 6 months. The difference in cost is that you pay all of the horse’s expenses for however long you have them. You also have to provide tack and all supplies for the horse unless a special deal is made between you and the leaser.
If you are going to be leasing an upper-level horse with all the button from a top level professional, there may be an added cost. These types of leases are very rare because of the horse that is being leased. Most of the time these leases are used as a lease to own program but not always.
All leases require some sort of lease contract. Ask your instructor if they can draft one for you or if they have one on file they use. If you are doing an offsite lease, the person you are leasing from usually makes the contract. Don’t be afraid the ask questions and try out the horse before you sign anything. Treat this like you would if you are buying the horse and feel free to think through your options. Don’t be afraid to say yes if all the pieces fall into place!