Half Leasing- Showing Together

We are about two months into half leasing Z out now. Things are settling in and smoothing out. Last weekend, we did our first show together, sharing Z. It was a little hectic at times, but it was a great experience for Z and very helpful on the wallet!

Sharing the Show Fees

We all know that with shows come show fees. Seemingly small here and there, add them all up and you have got quite a hefty price tag. Sharing Z at the show helped reduce many of these costs in half. Hauling, stall, tack stall, night watch, office, medic, and preschooling fees were able to be split, saving us quite a great deal of money.

Here is a first-hand look at how this cut down on the bill for me.

Hauling- $65 > $32.50

Stall (Thurs-Sun) – $85 > $42.50

Tack Stall – $15 > $7.50

Night Watch- $10 > $5

Office/Medic- $60 > $30

Preschooling- $20 > 10

Saving $127.50 in total!

Of course, we still have to pay our own coaching and division fees, but it was so nice being able to cut out a portion of the expenses!

Sharing the Horse

Sharing Z at the show had pros and cons, but in my opinion, the cons were manageable. At this show series, horses are allowed in no more than 7 over fences classes per day, including warmups. So, we had to pick out our classes carefully so that we each got to compete a fair amount without putting Z over his limit. Schooling and show times could get a little hectic since we were in different rings. Our show is really good about handling trainer conflicts though. At times, I felt like Z was being pushed a bit too hard having to carry two riders each day, but I know his work is very light with our half leaser. They only flatted and trotted cross-rails.

We were able to tackle daily care tasks like cleaning his stall and bathing faster and more efficiently together! This saved us both some much needed time and energy. Z is still a green baby, so the more experience in the show ring, the better. It was great for him to get to perform in more than 1 show ring with different populations of horses. He is still getting used to show life in general, so I’m glad I have the opportunity to expose him to it more.

As you can see, sharing a horse at a show has great benefits for both the owner and the half leaser! You both get to cut out some of the expenses and responsibilities, making for a smooth show weekend. Let me know if you have any questions about half leasing a horse, as either the owner or the half leaser!

Here are some pics from the weekend. 🙂




Hannah + Z


All photo credits to Paula Sebusch Photography 2019.

Half Leasing – Getting Started

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!


Happy Budgeting!

-Hannah + Z


Riding in College

I know many of today’s equestrians are in high school. If you are, chances are you’ve thought “What am I going to do about riding in college??” There are many different paths you can take, so first decide what you want to do, what your funds look like, and how much time you think you have. Better yet, how well do you manage your time?


Many colleges have IHSA equestrian teams. I personally did not ride on my college’s team due to the time commitment. If you think you will have the time or think you can balance riding with school and work, then IHSA is a great way to continue riding throughout college without all the responsibilities that come with owning or leasing your own horse. You will get the opportunity to ride a wide range of different horses and hone in on your equitation skills! I’m not sure about all colleges, but at mine the riders were only required to pay for their own show clothing… everything else was covered!

Half Lease

Committing to team practices, workouts, traveling, shows, and meetings may sound like too much for you to keep up with at college. A half lease is a great option if you are still wanting to ride a few times a week. Look around for local barns near your campus and see if you can find a horse available for a half lease. This option is more time manageable. However, keep in mind that half leases typically run around the price for half of board.

Weekly Lessons

Another thing you can do at a local barn is take weekly lessons. This only requires one day of the week of your time, but your riding skills will stay up to par! Plus you’ll be getting that horsey time we all crave. Sticking to weekly lessons is also much more affordable than a half lease.

Your own thing on your own time

Now for the option that I chose… a modge-podge of things on my own time. I rode at my home barn whenever I came home from college. Whether it was for the weekend or on a break, you could always catch me back at my old barn. I had many riding opportunities here such as helping hack greenies and earning lessons/rides for helping around the farm. Sometimes I went for long periods of time without returning home so I had to find some way to ride in between. I did a couple things to get in some riding, while at college. I found a local barn and took lessons when I could afford it and had the time. I also put out an ad on Facebook detailing my experience and asking if anyone was looking for an exercise rider for their horse(s). I stated I would exercise their horses for free, just in the exchange of getting the riding time! I got SO many responses from individual owners and ended up riding a lady’s OTTB gelding a couple times a week for her one year.

Let me know if you have specific questions about how I managed time and money for riding or how I got different opportunities set up. I’d be happy to help out!

Happy Budgeting!

-Hannah + Z

Leasing vs Buying

Ahhh the decision that every equestrian comes to at some point in their riding career. Choices can be easy to make if you are fortunate to be able to afford either option, but if you are on a budget like myself, there’s a lot more to it than that. When facing this decision, you need to decide what your goals are in riding.

When I went to start searching for a horse to buy, I realized with my budget I had two options. I could buy a greener horse which I would have to train up myself or I could buy a more experienced older horse that was going towards the end of its career. My personal aspiration was to purchase a horse that I would keep with me for a very long time. I had leased horses for a couple of years and I was ready for my own, but with my budget, I knew I would have to make some sacrifices to buy my own horse. I decided to go with the green horse route because I had a good bit of experience working with the green horses that my trainer had and I was looking for a long-term situation. With this decision, I knew I would have to put advancing my skills on hold to take my new horse back to the basics.

So if you have experience with green horses, can be patient, and dedicated you may want to go with a gentle green horse. I would not suggest this to anyone who only has had experience with school horses or someone not planning to be in a training program with a professional. Training up Z was and still is the hardest thing I’ve ever done. I was frustrated on a regular basis and I have wanted to give up on him several times. However, it has been so rewarding to see his progress and how my hard work has paid off.

Another option you have is to buy an older horse with more experience. Older horses are honestly the best horses and you most likely will get a few good seasons before retirement. You just need to be able to have a plan of what to do when your horse does reach that point where its time to retire. Or can you afford any maintenance the horse might need? Many things to think about.

With leasing, you have the opportunity to work with finished, more advanced horses that can push you to higher levels. You can easily lease a horse that you wouldn’t be able to afford to buy. If you are wanting to continue growing your riding skills and compete at your skill level and beyond this show season, this is the best option for you. Another great thing about leasing is if there is ever a situation where it is not working out between horse and rider, you are not stuck with this horse forever; only until your leasing contract runs out.


Hope this helps some of you who are considering leasing or buying!

Happy Budgeting!

-Hannah + Z

My Guide to Affording Lessons and Leasing

Growing up, my parents could only spend a certain amount of money on my horseback riding. They paid for my weekly lesson and that was it. Anything more than one lesson a week, I had to pay for myself. Obviously, we all crave more time in the saddle than once a week! So I had to come up with some other ways to pay for riding time.

Being a working student at my barn was the easiest and best way to earn credits for lessons or towards a lease. Now, you have to be willing to work hard. I’m talking stall mucking, water trough scrubbing, feeding, and cleaning of all kinds. I’m not going to lie, you put in a lot of hard work to earn small increments of credits. However, you get so much more than that. You learn new things about horses and taking care of a farm. You gain so much experience dealing with all sorts of equine situations. You also get to further build your relationship with your trainer and other barn mates. Pick a few days a week you can dedicate to working, not riding. Then take advantage of any school breaks or vacation time from your jobs to rack up on work days. Talk to your trainer about a working student program. I’m sure there is something they can work out with you!

Another thing you can do is to save up your outside money. Save your birthday money, Christmas money, babysitting money, whatever to put together towards a lesson or part of your lease. I always used my birthday money for more time in the saddle. Get a part-time job to earn some money! Whether it’s babysitting, working at a restaurant, or at the movie theater, if you can put in some hours each week, you’ll be earning some extra cash quick. As adults, you can still get some extra money on the side from doing small jobs like dog walking and pet care or from selling items on social media. If people are going out of town, see if you can take care of their pets! I just made $60 from taking care of some friends horses over the weekend.

So let’s talk more about leasing. That can get expensive. You have the option of a full lease or a half lease. Usually, with full leases, you are assuming all expenses of the horse without actually having to purchase a horse. If you’re on a budget, I would definitely recommend starting with a half lease. It turns into only half of the horse’s expenses and depending on who your leasee is, they may cover things like vet and farrier on their own. The half lease is a lot more manageable money wise and is a really good place to start if you think you would like to full lease or own a horse in the future.

This is a horse I leased for a little over a year before I bought Z. It taught me so much about horse ownership and I’m so thankful for the time I spent with the little red pony.



Happy Budgeting!

-Hannah + Z