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Half Lease Contract - red flags or normal stuff?

Hi - used to post here a bit and lurk a lot. Got out of riding for a while and I’m getting back into it. Kind of cool to see some old familiar user names on here as I scrolled through. Lost my password so I made a new account.

I have the opportunity to half lease a horse who is in a great training program with a very awesome trainer. The program/board is quite expensive, so there’s a fair bit of money involved even in just half leasing. I’m fine with the cost. There are some things in the contract that make me uncomfortable.

The owner wants me to pay half of the board (totally fine), and half of: farrier, teeth, vet visits other than “major” medical, injections, clipping, blanket maintenance. The owner will have full control of any vet decisions, I will be paying half the bill.

The half lease is for a 6 month term. As I said, it is not a small amount of money by any means for half the board (I don’t want to get too specific but it’s over $1000). There is a clause in the contract that says that if the horse becomes unrideable due to illness or lameness, after 60 consecutive days of the horse being lame/ill, I can then give 30 days’ notice to be released from the contract. In signing this, I could potentially be paying for an unrideable horse for 90 days. And according to the contract, the owner can terminate the lease at any time for any reason with no notice.

There are some other things in the contract that make me uncomfortable: I’m to pay for damages to the saddle (I will not be the only one using the saddle and it’s already damaged), “major medical” is not defined by a dollar amount. Additionally, she wanted me to pay for the whole month of October despite starting the lease several days into the month.

When I asked the owner some questions about this, I get vague or defensive replies.

For example
How much do his injections cost? “They cost whatever the vet charges based on what injections he gets at that time.”
I’m uncomfortable potentially paying thousands of dollars for an unrideable horse if there’s an injury or problem, can we shorten the length of time I’m obligated to keep half leasing an unrideable horse? “This is a VERY generous lease. All the lease contracts I’ve seen wouldn’t let you out at all.”

So, more experienced horse people of COTH: are these red flags or am I being silly?


Run as fast as possible in the opposite direction. To me that seems more than a bit excessive for a lease which is not exclusive and is not a full lease. I’d be very worried that if anything happened to go wrong with the horse, the owner would be looking to blame you/suck as much money out of you as possible.


I think the answer here is very much - it depends.

When I half leased out my safe/sane not fancy horse I figured out a price that included half of basically keeping him going, farrier, supplements, maintenance vet and the cost was that plush half board. Not a huge number but for sure more than half board. No one that leased him had a problem with that number. But, I was giving them a set amount every month, not some - you will pay for stuff open wallet thing.
I did have clauses about them using my tack and damaging it, or vet bills for injuries caused by their negligence.

It bothers me that this owner is not willing to give her an idea of expenses. That seems weird and it would bother me.

I have no problem with someone having to pay out a six month lease on an unsound horse. I can see how that does not feel good, I can see both sides of it. The horse owner is ending up with an unsound horse too.


Yeah, that’s super-weird. The “correct” response is, “last time the injections cost X.”

I personally wouldn’t want a lease with that 90 day clause. That could end up being half the lease with an unrideable horse.


I see a lot of red flags…


Does that price include any lessons?

Yeah, lessons are included.

With those conditions in the lease, I wouldn’t sign it and I’d keep looking.

Alternatively, you could try negotiating with the owner. Ask her to come up with a number that would incorporate on a monthly basis some part of the predictable costs, like farrier and vet bills (including injections). I wouldn’t want to be in a position of not being able to control what treatments the horse is receiving while still being responsible for half the bill.

I’d also want to change the after 90 days of unsoundness you can terminate the lease. That’s crazy.


I see red flags. The undefined vet bills and 90-day obligation to a lame horse are absolute deal breakers for me on a 6 month half-lease and I’m not too thrilled with some of the other items.

If you’re really interested in leasing the horse, I would counter back with terms you are comfortable with. I would at least insist on a cap on your obligation to pay vet bills and an agreement that after the horse has been unfit for your intended purposes for 30 days, you are released from the lease with no penalty. And I’d push back on the saddle damage thing, too.


It feels like the owner is wanting to push some terms that I believe are common in full leases, onto this half lease. So I think if this were a full year lease where you were taking over this horse, you would pay for vet care, farrier, and that lengthier cancellation time frame for unsoundness would be common. I’m not totally sure, but those are things I have picked up on as common in a full lease.

I half lease now and have several times in the past. My expectation with a half lease is that it will be month-to-month with a contract (i.e. we have a contract for the cost and terms, and either party can terminate with 30 days notice), and that the owner will have built in to the lease price an amount of money that represents a share they can live with of all of the horse’s expenses including wear and tear on tack. So that I would not be paying anything for each vet visit, farrier visit, etc., just a flat fee that the owner feels is a reasonable contribution toward the expenses.

If someone suggested the terms you are talking about for a half lease, I would say “thanks but no thanks” and walk away. I wouldn’t even try to negotiate the terms because to me, it’s a red flag that this person will be difficult to get along with. Maybe I’d have one conversation to see if it was just totally unintentional or something, but …


I’ve also half leased in the past and this is how it worked.


This sounds like Emily’s father on Friends who tried to stiff Jack Gellar with his home remodel expenses on shared wedding bill! :rofl:


Based on the other stipulations of this contract, this would also make me nervous.

Do you know this horse and his health history?

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I have half leased my horse many times, and I just math it out what the average expenses are, and tack that to half the boarding cost. I would never leave that open-ended the way its stated here.

I say red flag.


I was considering asking for a vet reference or health history. Do you think that’s reasonable?

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that is so one sided favoring the owner there is no way I would ever sign that, the way its worded you could sign that lease today make the first payments then be told even later that day Horse is being taken back that afternoon without recourse


I’ve never leased a horse, nor would I ever lease my horse so I have no experience other than watching others. What if the horse is injured while being ridden by the person leasing it?? It seems that person should have some financial responsibility.

The contract stated something regarding negligence, I don’t recall exactly. But if it’s a freak accident no, I did not expect them to cover any of it.

Just like if my horse bucked them off, I didn’t bear any special liability to that.


Feel free to DM for more context.

Some red flags but some of these terms are not unheard of unfortunately. @trubandloki is correct - I see this as someone protecting their animals - but their unwillingness to disclose a range is sh*tty and concerning.

I once had a partial lease contract say “horse must be returned in the condition originally leased” – I redlined that and renegotiated and required re-execution of the contract that I would have an insurance policy (of my OWN) for the animal and that if the horse was injured my lease would terminate in 30 days, if the horse was unridable. I also paid for a full vetting to prove pre-existing conditions that were then documented in the lease (quarter crack, previous soft tissue injuries, etc.). I also kept a record log of my rides, typically rode in lessons and only took horse to shows / clinics with trainer present so I could prove I was not negligent.

I wouldn’t sign this lease …

Is this a premium show horse with a lease fee on top of expenses?

I would expect to pay:

  • 1/2 insurance policy (or full if owner isn’t interested in maintaining one)
  • 1/2 board
  • 1/2 ALL other expenses - shoes, hay/ supplements
  • 1/2 of hock injections and routine maintenance which they should disclose a range but you can ask a few local vets – this one I’ve seen it go both ways, but it isn’t an unheard of condition
  • 1/2 of specialized tack fee (I think I paid something dumb like $40/month for access to specially fitted saddle)

I too live in an area where half leases are over 4 figures a month


This is a lot, and unusual in my experience, but half leases vary so much that this could be standard for your area. It’s hard to tell. None of my half leases have included vet expenses, but it isn’t uncommon for routine vet care to fall under a half lease fee. “Blanket maintenance” is a first for me though. Her horse, her blankets to maintain. That seems excessive.

This is pretty standard. All of my leases have had 60-90 day termination clauses. None of them were contingent on the horse being consistently lame for a certain amount of time first, but since you’re only leasing for 6 months anyway I think that’s reasonable. You’re committing to a set length of time which comes with higher standards for termination, vs a month-to-month lease which is usually more flexible.

Yeah this doesn’t strike me as odd either. Pro-rating would be nice but not pro-rating isn’t a red flag IMO.

This is mildly annoying and she probably could have given you a ballpark to be nice, but she’s also not wrong. Prices fluctuate, she’s telling you upfront that you’ll be responsible for half of injections regardless of what they cost at the time. That seems fair to me.

Your lease should have language in there about paying for damages to equipment that YOU cause, not any general damages. If not it’d be fair to ask for something like that to be added in.

This is definitely a red flag. If the owner can’t address basic questions about the lease terms now there’s a really good chance they won’t be able to communicate effectively during the lease. I would walk away on this front alone. Everything else is either normal or borderline, this is the only real red flag I see.