Psychology of Horse Leasing - effects on horses and humans

I have been contemplating leasing out my horses and wandering how this would affect the horses being leased psychologically and how it affects the humans in that way as well.  I know for me I am very protective of my horses and want them to be treated respectfully. How can I guarantee their safety?  Also, does leasing change the horses minds and attitudes for better or for worse?

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Thank you Charlotte for sharing your sad and horrifying experience. I have heard of such things and it is exactly why I posed the question, to find out what others have experienced. I totally agree with making out a contract outlining what my expectations are and also their obligations. Another avenue I am considering is "horse rental" where the horses don't leave my property (255 acres) and are rented on an hourly basis for lessons or trail riding. This is aimed at those people who can't afford to have a horse because of their living arrangement and where they are in there lives, but are experienced horseman and would like to keep their hand in until things change for them.
Hi, Cindy:

I have been on both sides of leases, and have had both great and awful experiences. The worst was with someone I'd known and coached since she was 8 years old, and the best was with someone I didn't know at all...the hard thing is that there are no guarantees...we lease horses internationally for Para dressage competitions, and our experiences have been wonderful, but I have seen horses and owners grossly abused by lessees, and lessees abused by owners.

You can write everything into a contract, and still get stung. On the other hand, you can gain access to horses you could never hope to purchase.

I leased a stallion a number of years ago, and treated him throughout the lease (5 years) as though he were my own, and when he developed sudden renal colic in late January of one year, my vet and I hauled him 12 hours through winter blizzards to the best veterinary research facility available to us, and managed to save his life. He recovered, thankfully, and I paid his bills. For me there was no question about doing everything possible for him - his owner was in no position to care for him, and I could not abandon him. I later negotiated him into a great retirement home for his owner, and he lives down the road from me in a lovely setting.

My Dad has leased the same Inter II dressage mare in England for the European Para Dressage Championships in 2005 and the Para Dressage World Championships in 2007, and that leasing contract has led us into a wonderful and lifelong friendship. I recently put together a lease in Holland for a friend competing at the Moorsele 3* Para Dressage competition, and that has worked beautifully for all the parties involved. It can be a wonderful and rewarding experience for all those involved, especially the horses, but I can not caution you strongly enough to check bona fides very carefully first.

As a lessee, I have always accepted and understood that I am RESPONSIBLE for the horse's care and well-being, whatever that entails, and working from that point of view seems to be successful for me, the horses, and the owners. However, having been on the other end of the agreement as a lessor, and having had a horse badly injured in a negligent stable accident, and then having had the lessee try to weasel out of the vet bills and try to ship the horse back to me (across North America) in a tie stall following the injury, I'd have to admit that there is another side to things.

I don't find it any easier to lease horses to people than to sell them, with the exception that as the registered owner I can and will intervene if necessary. I was lucky with the injured horse, as the international transporter knew me, knew my standards, and called me to verify the transport details. I paid for the box stall, and for the vet bills, and was glad to get the horse back. At least in this instance I could get him back, as he was leased and not sold, and he is happily living out his life in my pastures.

Gotta run, it's time to put the horses to bed!

As a lessee, I would recommend leasing your horse. I have been partial leasing Griffin since August (9 months) and have gotten comments from others at the barn that he has lost weight and is looking more fit. His owner is a very casual rider, only walks and trots, and does not push him much. While I have been working him harder and have jumped and cantered him when I am brave enough for his crazyness. I ride him 3 days a week and she rides him the rest of the week or hires a pony clubber if she is unable. I imagine you are unable to ride your horses enough and are considering leasing to give them more exercise and stimulation.

In our situation I barely knew the owner and rode with lesson horses at the barn next door. The owner had an injury and was not able to ride so we started out with me exercising Griffin with my trainer to help her out. After a bit I started riding him on my own and started cantering and jumping with him. As his owner got better it worked into a paid lease. We do not have any written agreement. I pay his owner a monthly fee and ride Griffin at the barn where she boards him using her tack.

I personally think it is good for him to have both of us riding since neither of us wants to ride every day but together he gets exercise every day. I think it is a win, win, win situation for all three of us.
Mary, you are exactly right when you say I am considering leasing my horses because I don't ride much anymore. Thank you Jan and slc2 for your comments it gives me lots to chew on while I consider what to do. I continue to ride when I can but 6 energetic morgans is like having 6 four to six year old kids, it's exhausting and I'm not as fit as I used to be. I'm getting better but in the mean time these "ponies" need exercise. :-)
Horses can't even be given away around here there are just too many of them. I am the only Morgan owner in the area within 100 miles north, south, east, west. People don't buy morgans here, the first thing they will buy is a quarterhorse or arabian, if they do get a morgan they trade it off. Morgans are considered an obscure breed like Haflingers and Fjords, most people figure they are draft horses. Even when I was showing it was like people thought I was lying or something, I just couldn't find anyone interested in buying my beautiful morgans when I was breeding them hence I quit breeding and showing. The standard line I get is "oh I have always loved morgans" then they go buy a quarterhorse or arabian or a paint. Left a sour taste in my mouth I tell you.
Hi, Cindy:

That's most unfortunate! I don't see a lot of Morgans, but I have a client in Clearwater with a wonderful Morgan, and they are learning dressage together. She also uses him to move cattle on the family ranch, so he really is everything a Morgan should be.

QH's, Arabs, and paints all have their charms as well, and in the Lower Mainland you can't give those away for FEI disciplines, even though they can excell as well. There's always the flavour of the month, but some of us really do try to see past that to the individuals themselves!
So true about the flavour of the month thing but I always look to the individuals themselves even though I have a family of morgans. There are some nice partbreds and grades out there doing FEI disciplines to ranching and everything in between.
I don't ride at all, but I do lots of fun things with my horses. I guess it depends on how many you have and what your time constraints are.....

I have seen both sides of it.
I part - leased a horse before who ended up getting better care with me. Mind you the owners lived far away from the barn they boarded at so I filled in the gaps.

It all depends on the person you are leasing too.

I could never lease out my personal horse as he is our baby and would be horrified that our part boarder would over work him or hurt him. It depends on your comfort level. A friend had a part boarder on her horse and after a month couldn't handle sharing her horse. And I know I couldn't share my horse. But if you have that many horses I cannot say I blame you. I would probably do an on property lease that way you can be assured they are getting proper care
I am definitely going with an on property lease, there's plenty of room here to ride trails and an arena to work in. Also, on a case by case basis people would be allowed to take the horse off the property. There would definitely be conditions.
I think an on property lease or part negates a lot of the concerns involved when leasing. You will still be the primary care provider and be able to get the vet and farrier you want. On-property leases will also allow you to keep an eye on how the person handles and treats your horse, and on how their coach teaches so you'll be able to step in early if there are any issues.
Thanks 4XChestnut....exactly what I was thinking too.


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