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Leasing vs. Buying a Horse


Woman petting a horse with his head hanging over a stall door

Have you ever pondered what would be the best option, leasing or buying a new car or home? The same advantages and disadvantages can apply to acquiring a new horse. Adding a new horse to the family is one of the biggest financial commitments an equestrian will make, so what makes the most sense for your situation?

Leasing allows you to get your feet wet in the world of horse ownership without the long term commitment of buying a horse. This is a good option for someone just starting their equine endeavors; if you aren't sure that you have the time or resources to support your horse habit; or want to make sure your child is truly dedicated to the sport. Leasing is also a good option if your owned horse is temporarily out of commission due to illness/injury or doesn't match your current skill set.

When you lease a horse, you will have access to it and associated financial responsibilities based upon the terms of your lease agreement. The most common lease types include:

  • Full Lease - A full lease means you are the only one who will be riding the horse, with the ability to ride it at your leisure. Generally, you will pay a fee to lease the horse in addition to any boarding, shoeing, routine veterinary care and training expenses you incur.
  • Partial or Half-Lease -Typically the lessee will be able to ride the horse three days a week, on a fairly fixed schedule. The horse may be shared with another lessee or with the owner, as they try to reduce their own expenses. The lessee is usually responsible for half of the horse's expenses, including board.
  • Show Lease - Riders looking to use a horse for horse show purposes only, may elect to do a show lease where they meet their mount at the show. A show lease is typically a flat usage fee for the show, with the rider paying all entry, shipping, day care, braiding and training related expenses.
  • Woman and horse going over a jump
  • Free Lease - In a free lease the horse is leased to the lessee without a lease fee. In exchange, the leesee assumes all financial responsibility for the horse.
  • *NOTE- Terms of lease agreements can vary. Carefully read your lease agreement prior to signing at the dotted line to make sure you are comfortable with the terms and conditions.

The biggest disadvantage about leasing a horse, is that at the end of the lease term you may have to say goodbye to your beloved mount. Likewise if you have a busy work or extracurricular schedule, you may find having a set riding schedule to be too constraining. If this is the case, once you have determined you have the finances and drive to pursue your riding, it may be time to consider buying a horse.

If you decide to make the leap to horse ownership it truly is a life changing event. Once you sign the dotted line on the bill of sale you will have full responsibility for care, custody, training and financing your new horse. As long as you know what you're getting into, being a horse owner is a dream come true for many horse lovers.

There is no right or wrong answer when it comes to deciding whether you should lease or buy a horse. The answer is dependent upon what makes the most sense for you and your circumstances at this moment in time. Regardless of what you choose, if you're lucky enough to have a horse in your life that's all that matters.


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