Half leasing is a great opportunity for both owners and potential leasers. There are many benefits for both parties. I have previously been a leaser in the past, and this is my first time being on the other side of the deal. Half leasing out Z has opened up many doors for us that were not previously available. However, with any situation like this, there are going to be challenges. Over the next six months, I plan on writing about my half leasing journey to give you insight on if it is the right situation for you, either as an owner or a potential leaser.
Half leasing out Z has lifted a huge burden from us financially. Z’s expenses are now split between myself and the leaser, including but not limited to board, vet, and farrier. Previously, I was not able to afford to put Z in full service board. Since the half lease started, he has been in the best care at our new barn with his own stall! That doesn’t sound like much, but since I’ve had him, he has always been on pasture board. It has been wonderful to not have to worry about his daily care and knowing he is in the best hands. In the past, showing was only an option a few times a year due to how expensive it is. Now that we can split show fees and I’m saving money in general, I’m looking forward to more frequent show opportunities this season. Z is a younger horse, still in training, that needs to be working 5-6 days a week. Usually with my schedule, I have only been able to ride 3-4 days a week. It is so nice to not feel guilty about not making it to the barn enough. No matter what is going on with me, I know Z will get 3 days a week of work with our half leaser. Lastly, I am not committed to this situation long term, which is a feeling of relief. We have signed a six month lease, and if at the end of the term I do not want/need to lease out Z anymore, then I am not obligated to.
If horse ownership is something of interest to you, but you are not ready to make the time or financial commitment, half leasing can show you what owning is like, without jumping the gun. Typically half leasers have three days of access to the horse per week. They can be used as lessons or hacks. Working with the same horse, you will have consistency in your rides and (in my opinion) begin to see improvements quickly. You get a good view of the expenses to expect when owning a horse, and how often they come up. That can really help you determine if ownership is right for you in the future. If you want, you can step up your amount of showing without breaking the bank. Splitting shows with the owner will result in half of the travel/care expenses you would expect in a show weekend. Finally, like the owner, you are also not committed to this situation long term. Unlike purchasing a horse, you are able to walk away from the lease when the term has ended. If you want to look at other options, you are certainly able to.
I’ll admit that it has been a huge adjustment for me to begin this new schedule and learning to share Z. Z is the first horse I’ve owned and he is VERY special to me. He is my baby and I am super protective of him. Giving him up for another rider to have complete control three days a week was hard for me. As the owner, you have to learn to back off and let the leaser enjoy their time with the horse. That time can be riding, grooming, bathing, or just loving on Z. I am still struggling some, but I know that our leaser is under the instruction of our trainer and is being guided through out this process by her. I completely trust my trainer’s judgement and I’m accepting that it is ok for the leaser to not do everything the exact same way as I do with Z. Having a set schedule of days has been very different for me. I was so used to just going to the barn whenever I wanted. Now, I have to work around the three days that he is with the leaser. Having him used for special events without me, such as clinics and shows will effect my days with Z as well…. something else I’m learning to be flexible with.
Personally, as a leaser in the past, I know how easy it is to get attached to the horse. You spend so much time with them and form a special bond. However, if you are going to half lease, you have to be able to accept the fact that it is not your horse. Some things are going to be out of your control and you will not get to have a say in them. You have to keep in mind that at the end of the term, you may or may not be with this horse anymore. Like the owner, you will have to learn to work on a schedule. You will have designated days with the horse and they will not alternate. Sometimes days can be switched with the owner on certain weeks, but for the majority your scheduled days will stay the same. You may or may not have other limitations on what you can do with the horse on hacks and what shows/events you can take it to.
I am only one month into this journey, but so far I am content with how things are going. With shows approaching, I will definitely write about the experiences of showing in a half lease. If you have any questions about half leasing (as an owner or a leaser), please reach out to me!
-Hannah + Z