Special Message

This blog is dedicated to every woman, and especially horsewomen, who started their motherhood journey a little later than most. If you feel like your story is a theatrical event and you've just begun the 2nd act, then this blog is for you. This blog will communicate what I have learned from growing up a suburban latch key kid, to marrying a cowboy-at-heart, to relocating and raising our daughter in the heart of Rocky Mountain country.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Leasing a Horse - The How-to List

This is part 3 of my 3-part series on Leasing a Horse.  Please, if you missed the first 2 posts, check out the 2 previous blog posts.  Thanks, and enjoy!

So, you've decided leasing a horse is the right option for you? Congratulations!  I want to help your search to be fruitful and successful.  Thus, I've created the following list.  You might, in your search, come up with a situation that I don't necessarily address here....if that's the case, please feel free to comment below and I can either assist you with it in the comments section further, or add it to this list.  Your interactive use of this list is recommended and encouraged, so I can continue to assist others down the road.  

  1. Start by writing down your "wish list".  Keep it handy as you start your search.  Certain things to consider:
    • How much can I afford?  
    • Do I want to ride Western or English (do I know?  If not, consider this link:  What's the Difference? English vs Western
    • What level rider am I (or is my child)?  Beginner, intermediate, or advanced?  Be modest when you are determining this - if you rode dude ranch horses as a child 20 years ago, you are not an intermediate rider.  Consider yourself a beginner.  Trust me on this (from painful experience) - you will be so much happier with your horse selection if you underestimate your abilities!
    • How many hours a week do I want to commit?  Remember, it is NOT just showing up, jumping on the horse & riding, and then getting down & going home.....you need to spend time catching & grooming the horse, getting the tack from the barn and saddling the horse, letting the horse warm up, cooling the horse after a hard workout, brushing the horse post-ride, and feeding grain/supplements.  If you have a required lesson to attend, your instructor will probably ask you to be ready to ride 15 minutes before the lesson start time.  These are all considerations that you should think about when determining your time commitment.  
    • Do I want to be able to take the horse "off-site" for showing, competing, or trail riding?  
    • Do I want a "hands on" lessor, such as a private owner who keeps their horse at their property, or a more hands-off approach like I would find at a boarding/lesson barn?
    • Do I have any tack?  Will I need a place to store it?  
    • If some of these questions seem overwhelming, get a very experienced friend, or a professional, involved to help you. 
  2. Do a pretty open search.  Don't try to just find "the horse" - keep an open mind as your searching, remembering that the right horse for you might not end up being what you think it to be.  Also try to remember, the way the horse is "described" might not include all the fine details, so if the horse matches most of your prerequisites (and at least the most important ones, such as temperament level, experience level and pricing.....) then give it a chance and at least go to look at the horse.  
    • Here are some places to start your search:   **look in your local newspaper, **call/visit the website of your local barns, **search on craigslist (find your town or region, and then search "horse lease"), **Dreamhorse.com  (This link can be a little complicated, but once you find what you are looking for it is awesome.  I will try to guide you:  click on the advanced search link, scroll down to your location and enter in that information and the miles away you are willing to travel - do not hit search yet - scroll down to sale type and click on the down arrow, select "show NOT sold only", then check the box "must be for lease" slightly below it, then click the search button. Pricing for each lease should be in the description, or there will be a link to the website where you can find more information).  Check also with local riding groups (check on facebook, and do a google search on horse clubs in your area) - this is a great way to find a private lessor that maybe is not advertising outside their group.  
  3. Don't commit to the first horse you see in the first half hour of your search.  Keep your emotions in check.  Most likely it will not be leased out from "under" you if you are in the looking phase, and even if it is.....there is always another, just as great, animal waiting out there for you!  This decision should involve a level head....because your safety (or your child's) is on the line. 
  4. Once you find an animal you like, GET A VET CHECK!  Do NOT skip this step.  Make sure there are no lameness or hidden health issues that could not only limit your riding time but also possibly come back as a liability issue on you if not identified before your lease begins.  
  5. Once you are ready to sign an agreement, make sure you get insurance!  Protect yourself should, heaven forbid, the horse be injured or killed while in your custody.  It is so inexpensive compared to the benefits it offers.  Here is a pretty comprehensive Insurance Buying Guide where you can get started.  
Here is a link to a generic horse lease, although the lessor will most likely provide with a lease form that they prefer:

Horse lease and other legal documents (The obligatory disclaimer -- this link isn't intended to be legal advice and I am not an attorney.  Make sure to consult a duly trained professional in your state for any legal advice!)

I sincerely, truly truly, hope your new journey into the horse world is as wonderful and upbuilding as mine has been.  I thank you for taking the time to read my directions, opinions, and experiences!  Please stay tuned in the future for more "Hooves and Highchairs".