First off I want to begin with saying that before you lease or buy a horse you must be ready. You must have the proper skills and knowledge before doing either of these things. Taking lessons to build a good solid foundation in riding and horsemanship is highly recommended. Don’t jump forward before you are ready, because in the end you may end up hurting yourself or the horse.
Now my warning aside, assuming that you are ready for the next step of either horse leasing or ownership, let’s figure out which is best for you.
Also another side note there are different kinds of leases. Full lease, Half Lease, Quarter Lease and Free Lease. Riding lesson barns lease out there horses and Horse Owners lease out there horses. There may be different expectations, requirements, restrictions depending on who you lease from.
Horses are not cheap pets. Whether you lease or own it is going to cost you a chunk of change.
Leasing: It is my experience that leasing usually has a fixed price that you pay monthly but that is depending on your lease contract, and with the exception of a free lease.
I won’t be going over free leasing too much but I can tell you it is not free. It is much like horse ownership, except you don’t own the horse. It is usually an off farm lease. You lease the horse from the owner for free, taking it over as if it were yours. You take the horse to your farm and you are responsible for all the horses expenses.
Keep in mind you may also be paying for lessons extra over the cost of the fixed lease price. I have seen lease prices range from $100-$1200 a month. Usually no one time cost. And you are usually not responsible for emergency costs. Make sure you check over your contract to be sure.
Ownership: The cost of horse ownership varies depending on where you live, how you care for your horse and how frugal you are. It’s really easy to spend too much when it comes to horses. If you do full board, semi rough board, rough board, or keep your horse at home, these will all affect the costs.
It is most often cheaper to lease than it is to own a horse. You will have the extra costs of veterinary care, farrier work, not to mention all the equipment you need. Make sure if you decide to purchase a horse. You have the money for the upfront costs, the continued costs and emergency costs.
Cost of ownership: one time cost can range from $1500-$25000+ and the monthly cost can range $450-$1800 a month. Then the emergency costs can be from $250-10,000+
Leasing: The amount of time that you get with the horse will be determined by the type of lease you choose. Generally in a full lease you have full use of the horse and can ride 5-6 days a week. In a half lease you may be able to ride 2-3 times a week. In a quarter lease it is probably 1-2 times per week. You may have to schedule days for your rides or the owner may be more flexible. Sometimes the horse may be used more than just in your lease maybe in lessons, with another leaser or with the owner. Depending on the contract usually there is a limit to the amount of time you are allowed to ride.
Ownership: You have as much time as you are able or want to spend with your horse. Of course you don’t want to over do riding. Keep in mind your horses fitness level and state of health.
Leasing: There are not too many responsibilities compared to ownership, aside from free leasing. You come on your ride days and ride the horse. You are responsible for getting your horse ready, grooming, warming up and cooling out the horse properly. Staying within the time frame allowed for riding. Putting the horse away. Taking care of the equipment and putting it away in it’s place.
Ownership: Not only do you have to make sure your horse is properly exercised and ridden 4-6 times a week, you also have to make sure every other part of your horses care is covered.
You must have a place for your horse to live. I do not suggest beginners keep horses at home. There is so much to learn, horses are accident prone and have specific requirements of care to keep them safe and healthy. You need to find a boarding stables that can care for your horse properly. You will want full care board. Do your research as there are good barns and bad barns out there. Full board usually provides feed, hay, shavings and all the basic care.
You will need an equine veterinarian you can call for emergencies, yearly checkups, vaccinations, worming, coggins, teeth floating, saddle fitting.
You will need a farrier so your horse can get his feet done every 4-8 weeks, depending on your horses needs. Some can go barefoot and some need shoes.
You are responsible for all your horses supplies and equipment besides what the boarding facility provides.
Mortality, Medical Surgical, Loss of Use Insurance
Having a plan for your horses retirement
Leasing: You don’t have much control over a horse you are leasing. You have to run everything by the owner to get approved. Some owners may not want you to do certain things and may put restrictions on what you can do with the horse. The owner could decide to sell the horse and you wouldn’t be able to stop them because it is not your horse.
Ownership: You can make the choices about what you want to do with your horse. You have full control. You won’t have to run it by anyone if you are interested in showing, clinics, or going to events with your horse.
Leasing: You get to spend time riding a certain horse without the full expense and responsibility of owning a horse.
Ownership: You get to build a long term partnership with your horse, have control over the care and activities of your horse and have more opportunities for events, shows, clinics and whatever other adventures there are. Of course depending on what you can afford.
I am sure there are other aspects to consider that I haven’t thought of. So if there are more experienced horse people out there reading this be sure to add some factors to consider in the comments below.
Cheers and God Bless