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Lease pricing

I’ll probably make this longer than it needs to be so bare with me!

The good news is that I’m getting married in June and I’m so excited! The bad news is that means I have to buy a house, which leaves me in a spot where I need to make a little extra money. I considered leasing my horse out in order to take care of the board bill, maybe make some money, and give him a real job while I bust my butt working all the time! However, I can’t decide how much to price him so I get the perfect fit for us while still making some extra cash.

He is a 16.3 13yo holsteiner gelding (very handsome, not that it matters!) that’s sweet as pie on the flat, but gets energetic to the jumps. You have to ride him like the most perfect hunter or he rushes the jumps, and gets really up. Anyone can flat him, though he can be quirky if you have a really loose lower leg and it bounces on him too much (he requires little to no leg, so he gets mixed signals). We’re located in southeastern MA near a few big barns that do fun and rated shows, which could be an option. Ideally I’d like to opportunity to ride him every once in awhile when he’s on lease, and it’d have to be on farm so I can keep tabs on his weight and see him during my part time work at the barn.

Am I crazy to expect so much? Is it worth it to lease him or am I too difficult to work with? This is my heart horse and he will be with me till he dies, but I feel he deserves a job he loves and with work I can’t always give him that. How much could I charge for a half or full lease that allows me to ride him once every so often? I’m happy to answer any questions on items I missed in this long winded post!

I think you need to decide, first and foremost, if you want a full or half lease. Asking to ride your horse that is fully-leased out is not normal and would not be something that most trainers or lessees would go for. However, a half-lease would still allow you three days of riding (and to have a little more oversight into his care and day-to-day). Half-leases are very much in demand, so if you’re in a barn with a good program, that seems like it would be a good option.

For reference, my last half-lease was on horse that sounds pretty similar to yours. I paid half his board/training, every other set of shoes, and $1,500 for six months. Owner took care of vet care and insurance.


I manage a facility where I coordinate my own leases as well as leases on the facility owned horses. I also run a training/lesson program, with full insurance on myself and my horses.

We do two different packages: Half lease, $250 + every other trim. up to 3 rides a week.
Full Lease: $485 + all farrier costs. up to 6 rides a week.

I require lessons for leasers riding my personal horses, but include them in lease fees instead of charging a la carte. I teach the lessons too so I can see how they are riding and handling my horses.

Unless you’re charging more than what boarding, supplements, farrier, shots and other vet care cost, don’t plan on making money. It’s more to offset the cost of the horse. We don’t typically do any full leases on horses unless it’s for a short period of time (IE high school equestrian team season 6-8 weeks).


Congratulations on the engagement and house search!

I agree that you need to figure out what you really want/need out of a lease.

In the H/J world, there are three standard types of leases:
Paid full-lease = lessee/rider pays a fee to the horse owner in addition to all care items (board, vet, farrier, maintenance, etc.). This is typically done on A-show or fancier type horses, and the lease fee is a percentage of the horse’s salve value each year (10%, 20%, 25%, etc.). This is a full lease where the lessee has exclusive use of the horse. You may be able to find a lessee who wouldn’t mind you hopping on occasionally, but it would be a very out-of-the-norm expectation. It would also be out-of-the-norm to have this type of lease and keep the horse at your home facility. Usually people leasing these horses have an established trainer, and would take the horse to their trainer’s facility. So, unless your facility has a trainer that can find you an in-house lessee, this would also be an out-of-the-norm expectation. Is he an A-show hunter? If not, I expect it’d be difficult to find someone willing to pay a typical full-lease that puts extra cash in your pocket.

Care full-lease = the lessee has exclusive use of the horse still, and pays all expenses, but does not pay an additional fee to the horse owner. More common with non-big-show type horses, or riders that don’t plan on doing more than a few shows, probably local, per year. Your expenses would be covered, but you would not make any extra money off this. This would also be strange to expect to be able to ride your horse randomly, but not as off-putting as the first scenario. It also would not be off-putting to require the horse stay where he is on this type of lease.

Partial lease = half, 3/4, 1/4, whatever, this can look like any variety of scenarios. Usually a monthly fee is determined based on how many times the lessee wants to ride per week and the horse’s expenses. So if they want to ride three times, it’d be considered a half lease, and usually the fee would be somewhere around 50% of the horse’s expenses. Obviously in these types of leases the other days per week the horse is not ridden by the lessee, you as the owner would be able to ride at will. It also would not be off-putting to require the horse stay where he is on this type of lease.


Price is very market-dependent. For example, I’m tempted to move to @WildGooseChase’s barn, because in my area that would be an outrageously attractive lease price for a nice horse, in a good program, with lessons. My area, $250 would be impossible to find for a half-lease, except for a situation along the lines of, “I keep my horse in my backyard, you can ride him two times a week, but there’s no indoor, only trails nearby.”

From how you’ve described your horse, I think it would be very difficult to fully lease him out, have the leaser pick up all of the costs, and then charge a fee on top of that. There is the free lease option, in which you get no money, but the leaser pays all of the associated fees for horse care, including board (vet care depending on the contract). It’s a bit like the horse transferring ownership to another person for a fixed length of time. Still, that would be a savings on boarding costs. I’ve never known anyone fully leasing out a horse to have the option to “just hop on the horse every now and then,” however. Regardless, for a full lease or free lease, I’d have a clear contract.

Finally, there is a part-lease option. Usually the owner pays all or most of the costs for the horse (like board, supplements, and so forth), the leaser pays the owner a fee to ride anywhere from 2-3 days a week. One or more of those may be a lesson day, and weekly lessons are often required. The owner is unlikely to make money on this, but it can defray some costs keeping the horse, and it’s handy for owners living far away or working a great deal, who can’t get to the barn every day. Sometimes there’s a contract, sometimes it’s done through the barn, and sometimes it’s more casual. Although a contract never hurts.

I’ve also known some people not to lease their horses, but allow the horses to be used in lessons occasionally as a school horse, for a reduction in board. Obviously, you have to trust the trainer to pick suitable riders in that situation.

To be honest, speaking as someone who has always had to lease rather than own a horse, you sound very attached to your horse, and I’m not sure you’re in an emotional place to allow him to be leased out, unless you can find a friend whose riding you trust very much. Of course that’s only natural, and I understand, given many leases can get sour due to the fault of the leaser. As a leaser, I always understood that the owner owns the horse, and has to deal with anything that goes wrong for the rest of the horse’s life or as long as she owns that horse. But it’s impossible and unrealistic to be able to control every ride of a leaser 100%.

The best leasing situations are when the leaser can offer multiple benefits to the owner besides just money IMHO, unless the lease is from a trainer who has multiple horses and that’s part of their business plan. In other words, my best leases were when the owner needed someone to keep an older horse in work, or had a pony she’d outgrown but still wanted to keep. The money for a half-lease often isn’t enough to defray the anxiety and resentment of an owner who has one beloved horse she’d rather have all to herself, but is part-leasing out because she can’t afford him.

I agree that you need to sit down and determine just how much money you need and want to save, and work back from there.


I agree you’d be hard pressed to find a full lease that allows you to ride him. I’d recommend since you are so attached to him, set up a good half lease gig for a talented junior Or good riding adult so you can still ride him. The real question would be - do you want to make money on him or just get bills covered? If it’s the former, I’ve always paid half of the full year lease price to half lease the horse with the owner, plus half board and farrier/routine vet bills. If he’s very quirky and a hard ride, however, you may have to settle for less.


I’ve leased multiple horses in my life, including full lease and half leases. I’ve only seen horses that charges lease price that are fancy, show horses. I’ve only been leasing older, been there done that and needed someone to ride and help pay for board, or greener horses with little experience. Neither of these situation warranted a lease fee, so it is just a help pay for board situation.

What you want to do depends on what your needs are. Unless you half lease, i can’t see how you can just say, i want to ride him occasionally, it doesn’t really work that way. In your situation, you seem attached to horse and would want to be able to see him and make decisions and what not, half lease would be your best option.

I guess I’ll be the odd man out. I currently lease out my heart horse mare on a full lease and got 1/3 of her sale price per year. She is competitive on the “C” circuit in our area and was in the ribbons at a big “A” show this summer. I was very picky about who she went to and required that they were in once a week lessons. I have a great relationship with the lessors and they text me with updates and I go to shows to watch them a couple times a year. I have only gone out to ride her once but I feel that they would allow me to come out 3-4 times a year to ride.
I think it is possible to do a full lease and get a small fee to lease out your horse. I do think you will need to look at an offsite lease but you always have the option to say no to a particular farm or trainer. I think it can work if you have a good relationship with the lessors. Let them know upfront that you want updates and you can put in your contract that you are allowed to visit at anytime. I have specified that I can come out to check on her at anytime with 24 hours notice. As far as riding “every once in a while” that depends on how you define it. I would think once a month might be unreasonable. but to ask to ride 3-4 times a year would not. My lessors let me know when they will be out of town and I can go ride then and have gone to visit and ride one other time.
I’m not sure if you have a trainer, but,if so, maybe use there help to put the word out and help find a suitable lease. Keep in mind you can include whatever terms you want into the lease. its your horse! But the more strict you are the less likely you are to lease them. You might have to budge on how often you ride your horse and how much you charge per year and the off site option.


This is exactly my experience in the world of leasing. In the past when I have done an on property lease from my trainer, who is acting as the intermediary, I would pay either 1/2 of board(which included lessons) and the farrier bill on a 1/2 lease or full board/vet/farrier on a full lease. Only the big A show horses had a yearly lease price. As many others have said, I think you need to be sure that you can handle leasing him out and not having as much control. I know as a lessor especially if I am full leasing I don’t want an owner looking over my shoulder too much. I also urge you to involve your trainer if able to help negotiate between you and the lessor.


I would say this is a part lease for half expenses or a full care lease. There’s not really a money market for leasing flat horses or complicated hunters. Seems like a proficient adult in your barn who lessons with your trainer would be a good fit to at least reduce your expenses and allow you to save a bit each month.


If you are thinking of leasing a very large teenaged horse who rushes fences as a way to generate extra income and want to keep the horse at its current barn and stay personally involved on a day to day basis?

Think you are limiting number of potential leasers. Might want to rethink this. If the horse will be a financial strain, keep in mind leases are temporary and horse can end up back in your wallet very suddenly, possibly hurt , overused, in need of vet or farrier services and/or with an unpaid board, vet/ farrier bill. And older. Very difficult to suddenly rehome.

Would think a discussion with the barn trainer(s) will be beneficial. It is very difficult for an individual to locate a suitable lease partner plus trainers and/or barns have different protocols for lease horses that might have multiple people financially responsible as well as using a particular horse.


You could do 2 half leases (3 days a week) which would mean you still involved with the horse and could still ride occasionally. You could charge a day fee for show or clinic use.

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