Yearly Lease Price / Expectations / Advise PLEASE IN MIDWEST

Hello! I am looking for some insight and advise please! I am a returning amateur, I haven’t ridden competitively in almost 15 years. I have been able to keep riding on and off since then, via catch rides or friends etc. More recently I have been lessoning weekly with a H/J barn, and am hopeful to find something to lease so I am able to ride more frequently. Unfortunately my trainer doesn’t have anything in the barn that would fit the bill so we are looking outside as well, and WOW have things changed in my 15 year hiatus. :slight_smile:

I’m looking for some advise on what to expect to pay for a one year lease. I am a confident rider, but rusty, and not looking to do much over 2’6" with any regularity. Horse would be in a program, with weekly training rides, and would likely not show. Facility is well kept, daily turn out, excellent footing, and educated staff. Horse doesn’t need to be fancy, just safe and quiet, doesn’t need to pass a PP some maintenance is fine as well. Basically I’m looking for the equine version of myself. LOL

Here is where all of the questions come in, I know prices have changed a lot in the last years, but I’m somewhat shocked to hear this may cost me close to 25,000 a year? With a little effort on the looking side what would be a reasonable 1 yr lease price?

Is the fact that I don’t want to show this year part of the problem? I would think less strain on the horse would be a good thing? But does a break in the show record hurt a horses marketability?

What other terms should I expect in a lease these days? Ex, is a buy out option minus the lease price still common practice at the end of the lease? What type of insurance is required for me to carry on said horse? What is trainers commission on this type of situation?

HELP I’m feeling discouraged already…

after reading your description, i was going to say 25k per year. yup. the market is nuts. i think safe is the expensive part for 2’6 horses.

i’m sure there are foxhunters or hunter pacer types out there for less, but will they have a change and jump a course like a proper hunter, i don’t know.


H/J is primarily a show-focused discipline so the overall lease/sale market doesn’t really distinguish between showing and non-showing horses. Even lesson horses usually take their students around local shows. You might luck into an owner willing to give a discount for not showing at all, but most owners are going to be happy to take more money from someone else.

The sale market is generally crazy right now and since lease prices are generally a percentage of sale price, those will be up too.

I’d also recommend expanding your search to other disciplines (fox hunter, eventer, etc) and of course don’t get hung up on breed, size, sex, color, or age.


$20-25k or up is common. If you got super lucky and your trainer had another trainer friend who had something local, you might luck into something for $15k, but those are harder and harder to find. There is a lot of demand for leases, and a lot of risk for the owner, so the prices the owner can command have really gone up, particularly on the 2’6 or 3’ packer types! Commission structure on a lease varies by trainer, so as your trainer, but lease with option to purchase (with credit for the lease price) is very common. Prices are so high on purchases now too that you hear of lots of lease-purchase arrangements.

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Thanks everyone for the honest answers! I can’t get over how much prices have increased, even in the last 5 years. It’s definitely going to give me some things to think about. If in a two year lease you are already at 50K I feel like I might be better off just lessoning until I am more comfortable spending the $$ for a purchase at that price! It’s hard to justify the expense as a very busy working full time mom of two!

It’s funny to think that I thought I was at a point financially where I would be able to do more, and NOPE sure not, what a sport!


I feel you. Like only in hunter jumper land can you be making upper middle class money or more and still not really have the finances to swing a horse purchase.

IMO you’re smart to keep lessoning and wait until you buy. That’s what I did. Could not justify the ludicrous lease prices.

Having a top three list of expectations can help, too. For me it was 1. easy on the ground 2. good brain–no bolt/buck/rear etc 3. good jump. The one I ended up with was very green and underfed, but we’ve been able to make everything else work because he met those three criteria. What I’ve had to sacrifice is the fact he wasn’t going to be ready for an ammy to show for a year or so. He had (still has to) build up miles. He will also never win a hack class, but again, I’m OK with that.


Great advise, thank you! I do think I’m probably better off waiting. At one time I had LOTS of experience with greenies, and I wonder if in another year or so of getting my legs back I would feel more comfortable doing that again.

Man are you right on the description of H/J world, especially now. I knew 6 figure horses back in the day, but to see that as the norm now will definitely price me out moving forward. It’s just sitting pretty poorly for me right now. The whole situation, I can’t get over how unattainable some of it is. I came into this with some expectations, which clearly need to be adjusted.

The sad thing is I’m not sure if it’s worth it for me, the return on my time I’m investing. As a mom of two young kids who owns a business time is just as important to me as the $$ side of it. Every minute i spend out there is taking away from my time with my kids, and my business, and if I know I can’t go further than what I am currently doing I’m not sure if it is even worth it to continue. :frowning:

Time to stop feeling sorry for myself though, and re evaluate my expectations / ambition!

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I’ve seen typically 2’6 horses going for an annual lease of 15-25k in the MidWest market.
If you’re looking for something that could move up to 3’ with you, then you’re looking closer to the 30k starting point, unfortunately. Leasing is becoming less desirable as the numbers have become closer to 50% of horse’s current value.

$25k if you don’t want to show? Nah. Not in my part of the Midwest! We still have horses out here you can find for care lease so you pay for board, vet, farrier, and any other care expenses and that is it. Depending on where you board and how much vet/farrier runs for you this price will be much lower than $25k (again, basing this off my barn prices… not all midwest is created equal so if you are in a super expensive area then my experience is apples to oranges). If you are paying for training rides things will get more expensive, so if you can cut those out and just ride yourself more :slight_smile: Many horses that are safe and quiet, which you are looking for, don’t need the training rides often if at all. Not everyone wants to do a care lease, especially if horse goes off site, so that may be a reason for higher lease prices. It is possible that maybe a horse in your barn will come along that you could do a partial lease on or lease at your home barn for a more reasonable fee that bringing an outside horse in. I’d wait until something comes along. Let your trainer know you are looking.

Also, if you aren’t looking to show don’t narrow your search to show horses. Look at ones on the local circuit or you can find some whose owners didn’t have aspirations to show and prefer a leaser who wants to love all over their horse and not worry about winning ribbons. If you can’t find a horse to lease and want more ride time let it be known to any other boarders that you are more than happy to keep their horses fit if they go out of town.


Hmmm. $25k+ seems high since you’re not going to show & don’t need anything fancy. Probably a case of the dreaded “Location, location, location!” . I know of 3 horses at my daughter’s barn alone that could do what you’re looking for & would likely be a care lease. And that’s a fairly nice show hunter barn. And these horses are a bit older but would still pin at local shows.

I DID, in fact, care lease a 3’ show jumper/eventer-type packer for about a year so my daughter could lesson with my trainer while we were in the process of finding a new hunter barn for her. Horse was decidedly unhunter-esque but again had the ability to get you safely over a 2’6"-3’ course at a local show & pin.


If you don’t want to show, don’t look at show horses.

What you need is a care lease on some beloved 15 or 20 year old junior jumper owned by a young adult off to college or life. Maybe less likely in COVID year. A care lease means you pay all board and costs but no lease fee, and can return him if things change for you.

Around here you could buy that horse for the cost of the lease. You are OK with semi retired, doesn’t need to show, light jumping in lessons twice a week, able to hack out.


I agree with this.

At the barn I boarded at until this morning, there were multiple older horses on care leases still coursing 2’6” in a weekly lesson.

What you may bump into is those types of horses are more likely to be an in barn lease only.

Granted I’m in FL so market and customs could be wildly different

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Yes, good tip. Don’t be afraid of the older horses especially since you said you are ok with some maintenance! There are some true gems out there that are older and the owner wants to step them down a level and/or not show them anymore.That sounds like a great option to look at!

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I agree with @scribbler, if you don’t want to show and don’t need anything fancy I think you could find something for $12k - $15k/yr or even free, and I’m in a super expensive area. Is the $25k number coming from your trainer or from looking around online?

There’s always someone who knows someone with a beloved older horse that isn’t ready to retire but needs a job. Owner off to college, pregnant, has a younger horse they’re competing and doesn’t want to pay board on two, etc. Those types of leases are often not advertised and are done through connections or in-barn.


@Scribbler YES! This is EXACTLY What I need! I’m in WI, so in comparison with the Midwest it’s not the epicenter of prices, that’s our friends to the south in Chicago. Years ago thee would be many of these in the barn! Definetly not afraid of anything older. I would love an 18 yr old 16 hand (less space between me and the ground the better) with ugly legs who is sound and likes to move around twice a week. WHERE HAVE ALL THESE HORSES GONE??

Ideally I would love to find a care lease, but I’m willing to spend some $$ as well for the right type of situation. I think I am already bumping into the fact that those horses are an in barn lease only, and my trainer doesn’t have any. The problem there in is I REALLY like the trainer, and the lessons are excellent, the location is perfect, the barn is very nice, I’m not willing to entertain the idea of another trainer yet… I was hoping to spend between 10-15K max for a year lease, I can only ride 2x per week, and have zero want to show until covid is behind us.

Thanks everyone for the insight, it’s actually very relieving to hear that there are still barns out there where these “old” owner off to college, pregnant momma, horses still exist. It makes me think I need to be patient and wait for the right one!

Gosh when I was 18 I would have loved to lease my junior hunter out to my older self! Unlimited carrots, all the best blankets and wraps, kids to give her baths, and literally NEVER any stress for her… Now to find the 18 yr old me in present day.

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My trainer hasn’t given me a $$ yet - she’s looking with the possible option of a “share board” too so there are a lot of moving pieces. We are going to discuss more next week so I wanted to be more prepared for that conversation. The 25K is coming from friends I have in the community who have leased horses or have tried lease horses and they are all in the 20-30k range.
One recently, was prices at 22k a year to lease, but then they just offered to sell for 35k to have it over with.
I do need to have a more upfront conversation, but I think I’m a little afraid of what that will force as an outcome…

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Are your friends competing at rated shows? They very well COULD be spending that much and looking at horses that expensive. It doesn’t mean that is what you would expect to spend for a horse that doesn’t have to be showing. The only exception I’d see is if you are at one of those barns that is a show barn and expects all horses and riders to be geared for competing (full with training rides and mandatory lessons with the board). Just be honest with your trainer and let her know what your budget and comfort level in a lease price is. In this market if it is really going to be 25k or bust for your trainer and barn then consider pocketing that 25k into savings and wait a year or two. The market for buying will eventually calm down and you’ll have another year or two experience and maybe you are ready to move up a level and/or show and need a different equine partner than you need now.


Around here (PA) we lost our local shows and now it’s $2K a pop for the “A” (in the old vernacular) or ride for fun (hunter paces, etc) and lessons. As a result, our lease prices typically reflect the horses quality being enough to show at an “A” show. Jump decent, move decent and have a lead change. And yes, that’s $25K a year. Minimum. For 2’6”. Crazy but true.

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Yikes! $15,000 per year / (52 weeks x 2 rides/week) = $144 per ride. I wouldn’t want to shell that out either!!

It sounds like a half-lease might be more appropriate to your schedule. If you can’t find one at your own barn, could you swing half-leasing elsewhere and taking one lesson per week with your home trainer?

If you do find a full lease, do make sure the horse is okay mentally and physically with just two rides a week so you don’t end up with either a fire breathing dragon or a stiff ball of arthritis. Many horses should be fine on that schedule with adequate turnout, but some might not.


I too would assume you could find a care lease since you don’t want to show. They aren’t usually advertised, though, you’ll have to post ISO posts or try to find one through word-of-mouth.

Riding 2x a week, though, why not just stick to lesson horses for now?

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