Getting a Horse: Should You Lease or Own?

Ready to add a pony or horse to your life? Whether to lease or own depends on several factors including your location, accommodations for the horse or pony, and the type of riding you want to do. There are pros and cons to owning vs. leasing a horse.

When to Lease vs. Own a Horse

There are some times when it may be more practical to lease a horse. If, for example, you want to show a valuable, well-trained horse but aren’t ready to invest thousands into a purchase, then leasing may be the ideal solution. If you have a child who’s not quite ready for a full-size horse but who will soon outgrow a pony, leasing a pony may be better than buying one.

 Before making your mind up, you should know that there are two basic types of lease: partial and full. In a partial lease (sometimes called a half lease), you share riding time with the horse’s owner in exchange for paying part of the horse’s living expenses such as board, feed, vet, and farrier bills.

In a full lease, you may pay a certain percentage of the horse’s value, along with all of the horse’s living expenses, or you may assume a free lease, which means that you’ll be paying for the horse’s living expenses without paying the owner.

All of these options are good for people who aren’t sure if they really want to take on the full responsibility of owning a horse, and they’re ideal for people who are just learning to ride and plan to change horses frequently as they become more accomplished. Before leasing, determine how long you’d like the lease to last. One year is a common time frame, although it’s possible to lease quarterly or for six months at a time.

Leasing a horse vs. buying one might seem like a win/win situation, however keep in mind that there is no way to recoup the expenses you incur, since the horse is not yours to sell. Of course if you’re showing and win prizes on a valuable leased horse, those monies are typically all yours.

When to Own vs. Lease a Horse

It may surprise you to learn that most people end up buying vs. leasing a horse. If you’re already riding, know exactly what you want to do, and are prepared to take full financial responsibility for your mount, then it’s probably best to buy or adopt!

There are quite a few advantages to keep in mind: First, you have complete control over the horse, with no extenuating circumstances and no need to ever share riding time with someone else. Second, if you ever need to recoup costs or your circumstances change, you are not bound by a contract with someone else – you can either lease your horse to another person or you can sell him.

Whether lease or own your horse, you’ll need to have the right tack and accessories on hand. In some cases, leased horses come complete with everything needed to care for and ride them; in other cases, you’re expected to own those items yourself. When you own your horse, you also need to own everything from saddles to hoofpicks! Either way, you get to enjoy quality time with an equine partner – an experience that’s worth every bit of money and time invested.