Leasing Nightmare

I needed to vent, so here goes…

For some context, I was an equine professional, but recently closed my equine business to pursue other career paths. I was the head instructor (instructor A) Earlier this year, I brought in some help by recruiting another instructor to teach under the barn (not my business, Instructor B). She has been wonderful for sure! The barn owner held an adults only camp for handling horses, grooming and lunging. It was well attended, I volunteered my time to be there to help supervise and instruct… The barn owner acquired two lesson students from this camp that she passed onto Instructor B. Well one of these students has been riding my person horse in lessons, and just presented interest in leasing. This got back to the barn owner, and she has now made new rules that all students must ride her horses, unless they board there and then they can ride their own horse, or if the instructor owns the horse. She also made a comment about how I should pay back those fees to her because it’s her program. I flat out refused.

The lease has gone to the wayside too. She says it’s “too complicated” for liability reasons, and it’s “not fair” for her to lose out on the lesson commission and lease money she would get if this student leased one of her horses. She did also say she wanted to figure out how to “handle leasing personal horses out of her barn.” Due to the “additional liability” and how the owner of the horse giving directions on how to ride the horse can be considered instruction… I fail to see how this is any different than me bringing in a guest and having them ride MY horse after signing a barn waiver. This happens quite often through all boarders in the barn. I have a really bad feeling she won’t allow us to lease our horses out, make it so incredibly difficult to lease, or charge the horse owners to lease their own horses out…

It seems like she won’t allow anything that she cannot profit off of, even if it doesn’t affect her negatively. It just seems like a sour way to think…

Edited to add: I’ve boarded here for 5 years. I ran the barn for 3 years, and was the head instructor from 2017 until now. I know the owner well. I worked for both her small businesses. I was with her 40+ hours a week… This isn’t the first time something like this has come up… Frankly it’s tiring.

Could you “sell” a 1/100th share in the horse to the leasee ?


That’s actually a really good way around that, since they would be an owner at that point. Good idea!


Would the “owner” then have the right negate potential sales, object to training methods and/or medical treatment,etc.

I’m sure you could get a signed release, but would courts uphold it?


I effing knew it. She implemented FEES TO LEASE MY OWN FREAKING HORSE OUT. WTF.


Right or wrong, barn owners can make their own rules. It’s their place after all.

I do think that the situation you mentioned above is based on greed - the barn owner wants to have it all. Lesson money, leasing money, boarding money. You do not owe the barn owner any proceeds from the leasing fees you have collected so far.

At my current barn, the barn owner is the coach. She does require boarders to take lessons as her business is based on lessons & providing safe & fun school horses. If a student has their own horse, or wants to own/full lease then boarding is available, but it’s not the farm’s focused income generator.

At the end of the day, If you do want to lease your horse out, you will need to find another place to board your horse. It’s frustrating, but I highly doubt your barn owner will change her mind in the foreseeable future.


She also said all leasers will have to sign a contract that has them act as owners no matter what I say. So I’m out. I’ll be looking for other places to board.


She would make more money from lessons on horses she doesn’t own )ie yours) that she doesn’t pay to shoe, feed, vet, etc.
She’s forgetting that part.


Even if you could find a work-around, this person is obviously untrustworthy and you don’t want to deal with her; certainly, you don’t want her in any capacity to have control over the care of your horse.

She’s also an idiot. I don’t own my own horse, and I can speak from personal experience fewer and fewer barns have school horses or barn horses for part-lease. And I am not complaining, because I understand why. School horses are hard to maintain and there’s often terrible mistrust between a casual part-leaser on a lesson horse and barn owner, because the barn owner is responsible for any wear and tear on the horse, but the leaser can feel micromanaged as a result, or held responsible for stuff that happens when other riders are on the horse. It’s better off in the long run if people have their own horses or independently lease a horse the barn owner isn’t financially or emotionally responsible for.


I am with you on the WTF but can you explain this? Because it’s so alien to me… So she is charging YOU a fee? Or the leaser? How much of a fee? So the horse owner owes board + “lease fee” every month? And leaser owes you a lease fee or whatever arrangement every month? And BO still charges for lessons through her employee Instructor B on the same, correct? How very… odd… I mean I want to say immoral but as stated, it’s her barn, but I certainly would not pay it. She sounds like a kook.


She said it doesn’t matter who pays the fee but it’s due with board every month the horse is leased. Someone would have to pay it, so I am leaving. I found another barn to board at, explained the situation without giving too many details, and I’m moving my horse tomorrow.


Here’s an update:
I had an older mare on extended lease from this person. I gave her back this morning formally, which didn’t go over well. I offered to feed and keep her for another couple days to give her time to figure out, instead she just got snarky and said she would “deal” with MY quarter life crisis… rolls eyes* She said on more than one occasion that I was screwing her over… I don’t’ know, maybe don’t make deals your wallet can’t cash…

After that, she asked what my plans were for my other horse who I self care board. I offered to let her keep the remained of the board I paid through the end of this month on the horse I gave back to her, in exchange for the use of the paddock I was already in. She refused and again said since I’m screwing her over, she can’t give me any extras, them promptly tried to charge me another $50 for the month to use the pen, that I was ALREADY IN. She said there was no refunds on partial board. So for 8 days of self care boarding my two horses, she will get $475, and the horse! She literally will profit $400+ off of me this month because she doesn’t do anything with my horses. I pay for the stalls and the paddock. I pay for feed, I clean and do all my own care…

I contacted another local barn who I know more than a few gals who board there. They had one stall left, and I took it. I’ll be moving Goose tomorrow and away from that greedy scammers hell hole. I’m sad about the entire situations but relieved and will be even more relieved tomorrow when Goose is settling into the new place…

5 years of friendship, out the window. It’s good to know I’m only worth what I can spend.


Amazing how fast it all went wrong and it makes no sense at all.


I fail to see how this is any different than me bringing in a guest and having them ride MY horse after signing a barn waiver

not addressing anything but this comment quoted

The difference is in lease you are being compensated by the user, a guest is just a none paying invited person … the liability shifts from personal if a guest to business relationship when the lessor runs the horse into someone injuring both parties

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So she tried to bump up the cost of board you had already paid? I hope you laughed at her. I had a former BO do this to me and it cost her an additional two horses’ board. Short version, I was boarding two horses and a donkey with my trainer at the time, but my ex was boarding two with this woman, and I had previous boarded with her for about five years before deciding I needed to get serious. Fast forward, my donkey needed a stall for a broken leg, she agreed to let him use a vacant stall at half price because they weren’t supplying anything beyond the spot. Then she told me with a week’s notice that she was kicking the donkey, still casted mind you, into a soupy paddock with no shelter because after the stall being vacant for months she had an interested party. We came to an agreement that I would move him into one of ex’s horse’s stalls and that horse would get booted into her paddock with leanto and no stall, but they refused to reduce the cost we were paying (so getting 1.5x board for the same spot), and then two weeks later said they were bumping the donkey to a daily rate that was well over the monthly cost for board for one of ex’s horses, and when that put us over the edge and ex gave notice, she tried to raise the board on ex’s two by $100 a month… She thought she had us by the short hairs. She did not. She lost our checks and our good opinions and recommendations.


Sorry to see this story. Some BOs do not seem to understand that turnover is not a good thing. If you have boarders you get along with, then trying to squeeze ever cent out of them is not a good idea.


I literally just told her “okay” and took my horse elsewhere. So instead of keeping my easy monthly money, she gets nothing. She won’t be able to find another self care boarder. She profited so much off me because she didn’t have to do anything, no feeding, she didn’t provide feed! I was tired of being her cash cow, that’s for sure. She also wouldn’t let me sign a contract, now I know why! She wanted to charge me whatever she wanted, when she wanted.


She’s had a lot of turnover. Most people in her barn don’t stay more than a year or two. I’ve seen so many people come and go in the 5 years I was around.


It is very telling when barns have high turnover, especially if it is not a high-traffic area. Barn I worked at has many boarders who’ve been there 10-20+ years (I’ve only known most of them about 8). People don’t generally move on unless something is wrong.


This is true. People usually stayed at our agistment unless they moved house, bought their own property or got out of horses.