Many of you know back in October I moved to New York City and made the decision to lease out my mare, Rumor. You can read that post from the beginning here > It was a tough choice to make but it so far the lease has been working out above my expectations. The purpose of blog post is to give you some updates from myself and shed some light on what a real life lease is like.
If you are considering leasing a horse or leasing out your own horse, this post is for you.
Let’s go back to the beginning; in September my husband was offered a job in NYC that he couldn’t pass up. I knew it wasn’t going to be financially possible to bring a horse to keep even outside of the city. I had the option of leaving my horse behind to stay in Ohio at my parents and basically be a pasture pet, sell or ding, ding – what about a lease? I knew a lease would only work with the right person.
This is where Ashley came in, I had posted on Facebook that I was going to be offering Rumor for sale soon and was basically putting the word out there. Ashley and I had been blogging friends for a number of years so I filled her in with a private message and she half-joking mentioned she would take her and I half-joking said that would be perfect. Neither of us thought this would actually happen at this time but the more we both thought about it, we started talking about the realities and both started to commit to the idea.
Determine a length of the lease and the terms. You and your lessee need to be on the same page with everything. Talk about who is in charge of expenses, transportation and what happens if an unforeseen injury or death occurs to the horse. Anything can happen when animals are involved and both parties need to be aware. Think about things like insuring your horse and how you would handle things if the unspeakable would happen. Ashley is currently doing a free lease with Rumor which means I don’t charge her for using Rumor but she pays for all her basic care as if she were her own.
Make a contract
Although Ashley and I verbally agreed on everything there still needed to be a contract, this is your just in case security blanket. Do not lease your horse out without a contract, this is how horses get sold, stolen or relationships can turn ugly very quickly. If there is no contract it turns into he said, she said. Your contract can include anything you want (I found a basic lease contract online and edited to my needs) keeping it simple. Ashley and I both signed it and I haven’t looked at it since then, but it’s there.
Some contracts are very wordy and are filled with dos and don’ts for both parties. Is there anything the lessor isn’t allowed to do with your horse? For me the answer was no, but there are some people who won’t allow their horses to go to certain shows or participate in certain classes.
Our contract says that I can take Rumor back at any point in time if I feel like she isn’t being properly treated. Likewise, it says Ashley can send Rumor back before the year is up if things just aren’t working out. I did this because the goal of this relationship and lease is to make everyone happy! Now if you are leasing your horse for money you might want to put a clause that says if your horse is returned, the lessee has to pay the remaining term.
How things are working
Now lets fast forward to present day, I am currently living in California and this has assured me that leasing Rumor was the best idea. Adam was offered another job here in December so we moved half way across the country, Rumor and I are on opposite coasts.
Sometimes when you lease a horse you still keep them at your barn or you see them often but Ashley and I are doing a long distance lease, I haven’t seen Rumor since December but Ashley sends me photos, videos and keeps me up to date on what she and Rumor are up to.
At this point everyone is happy, Rumor and Ashley have been learning and growing together and with the exception of misbehaving a few times I usually only get good updates. It’s very comforting to me to know that Rumor is happy doing her job, she enjoys the fuss and being ridden. Ashley has been doing barrels with Rumor and they are getting to know each other more with each show. She even blogs about her over on her site, The North Carolina Cowgirl.
Considering a lease:
Okay, maybe you are considering leasing a horse or leasing out your own horse there are a few things that need to be permanently etched in the back of your mind.
Horses react differently to new riders/owners. Like I said before, horses are unpredictable animals. I had been honest and upfront with Ashley about all of Rumor’s behavior and training. But remember your horse is going to prove your right or wrong. I had NEVER been able to get Rumor to back off a trailer since I had owned her… you wouldn’t believe my surprise when I got a text from Ashley saying, “guess what Rumor just did…” I always considered that be a quirk that just wasn’t going to happen, but now she backs off a trailer like a pro for Ashley. Ashley had also never ridden Rumor or seen her in person before this lease but I sent her videos and gave her as many details as I could. We both got really lucky because there could have been a chance that these two didn’t click.
New environments introduce new situations. Rumor has been used to being by herself since I owned her, but hauled with other horses to shows. Ashley has three other horses and she hasn’t been turned out with a group since I owned her. Ashley slowly introduced Rumor to her herd and everyone gets along great, especially Rumor and Gracie. If your horse is being leased outside of your current barn or property, you need to consider environmental changes. Speaking of environments, North Carolina weather is a little different than Ohio weather. And we have found out that Rumor has mild allegories that she didn’t have in Ohio. It’s probably from a plant or pollen that doesn’t exist in Ohio. Think about new situations your horse could be introduced to and how they might handle them.
Not everyone does what they say they will. I don’t have any examples of this because so far Ashley and I have done everything we said. But I have heard a few lease horror stories and I am sure you have as well.
Are you the kind of person who can lease your horse? Leasing isn’t for everyone, plain and simple. People who like to be in control of every situation probably shouldn’t lease out their horse. If you have any doubts about a lease, don’t do it. A lease shouldn’t be entered into lightly and it takes the right kind of people to make them work.
Do you have any experiences leasing a horse before?