Making the decision to lease a horse is not to be taken lightly, whether you are the person leasing your horse out or the one who needs to a horse to ride. A lease agreement should always be written up to ensure that all parties understand what is agreed upon. The horse owner needs to know that the horse will be well taken care of, and there may be certain situations that she does not want her horse to participate in. As a lessee, you may desire the option of riding and caring for a horse but do want the long term commitment of owning one. An equine lease agreement offers legal, binding protection for the horse, owner and lessee.
Determine the agreement. When the horse's owner and potential lessee agree that they are the right combination, terms must be determined and agreed upon prior to a equine lease being written. For example, the horse's owner may be okay with the lessee riding the horse and using it at the stable, but may not want the lessee to take the horse to shows. On the other hand, the agreement may include the lessee having the choice of where to stable the horse. The horse owner may charge a lease fee above and beyond the cost of boarding and maintaining the horse. All these terms, and possibly more, have to be spelled out. It is up to the lessee to ask questions and the horse owner to be diligent about expectations. The main factors to consider are costs of the horse's care (board, farrier, vet, routine maintenance, supplements), use of equipment, horse usage (is this a full or partial lease), length of the lease, cost of the lease, where the horse will be kept and what to do in the event of an emergency. Added agreements can include showing, option to buy and who can ride the horse.
Use of the horse. This is one area that must be hashed over and spelled out completely. Owners leasing their horse may not want anyone but the lessee riding the animal. If that is true, it must be specified in the agreement. Use of the horse also means whether or not the horse can be used for jumping, trail riding or other activities. If you do not want the person leasing your horse to take him off the property for a trail ride, then that must be written into the lease. Use of the horse also defines what days the horse will be available to the lessee if the lease is partial. A partial lease means that the lessee can ride on certain days and only pays a partial amount of the horse's care.
Insure the horse. Smart horse owners always insure their horses, and your insurance agent needs to know that you are leasing out your horse. In this case, the insurance agency will add the lessee on to the insurance policy. This protects everyone in the event that the horse is injured, dies or is stolen. Contact your insurance agent as soon as possible after you know that you want to lease your horse out.
Write the agreement. Now that you've come to agreeable terms including costs, usage and insurance, you can write the agreement. Many horse owners will complete an agreement on their own. It is wise to have your equine insurance agent, barn owner and attorney look over the agreement prior to having it signed. The lessee should also have an attorney review the terms before signing.
Include a liability release. Always include a liability release that is separate from the equine lease agreement. A liability release states that the owner is not responsible for accidents caused by or that happen while the lessee is working with the horse. This grants the horse owner immunity should the lessee be injured while riding or handling the horse.
Tips & Warnings
- Always consult an attorney if you need clarification or additional help.
- Equestrian activities are dangerous. Always wear approved, protective headgear when working around the horse and while mounted.
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