Free off-farm lease

I have the opportunity to take advantage of a free off farm lease. No lease fees, but I would have to take care of the daily costs of the horse (Vet bills, feed, etc.). What questions do I need to ask, and what must I do before making anything official? Any advice for a first timer? I want to cover all my bases. Thank you!!

Liability, who is responsible for what. Who is responsible if you or a friend is hurt, if the horse is injured. Where the horse can go, if the owner has restrictions on service providers, restrictions on use.

I have a horse out on a free off-site lease. My contract stipulates who is responsible for what and in what situations. I’m still paying farrier service and stipulated who she can use and restrictions on time between visits, but she schedules them for her convenience. I also stipulated she stays on the same feed program, but otherwise? My lease seems strict, but I view her as MY horse, and if the lease ends, I want her returning in the same or close to same condition. Returning thin or with crappy feet is not ideal for anyone, not that I suspect that of my leaser, she is amazing, and honestly the strict lease keeps us both safe :slight_smile:

Get a copy of the contract and make sure it spells out what happens when. I also have a horse out on a free lease, and the lessee is responsible for all “routine” vet expenses, and I’m responsible for any other ones. Also, it the horse becomes unrideable for more than a couple of months the lease is terminated and the horse comes back to me (you probably want that provision!).

Good advice above. I would add that insurance is a good idea. I did a lease once where I paid the insurance fee, but it was in the owner’s name so it was on her to make all big decisions.

Yep. I’d do insurance and make sure the contract spells out very clearly who handles what and when, like The Jenners said.

Otherwise, enjoy! Leases are a great way to enjoy “having a horse” without having the commitment of owning a horse. I’m pretty sure that after 20 years of horses, I’ll never own a horse again. I’m hoping to just lease from here on out.

Whatever you decide, be sure that you have a contract and not just a verbal agreement. Spell out who pays what, any restrictions on use, who has liability, who makes veterinary decisions in the event of an accident or serious illness, notice periods, and how to terminate the contract. Termination is often overlooked.

Good advice so far. My horse has been on a free lease for 3 years. His (written) contract includes where he can be housed, what vet/farrier he uses, what care he must get (vaccinations, trims ever 6-8 weeks, etc.). It also specifies what he can be used for, who can ride him, and that I may visit him unannounced at any time. It also specifies that I must be contacted if the vet is called out for an injury/illness, and that he is not allowed to have surgery (he’s 22) or euthanasia without my consent unless he is deemed suffering by vet. Lastly it includes a clause for immediate termination in the case of neglect and termination with 30 days notice for either party at any time. This may seem like a lot but it has served me extremely well and we have no issues. I’d rather be overzealous and clear up front than surprised/disappointed later.

Thank you! All very good info!!