Buying and leasing allow you to spend more quality time with your mount and improve your equine management skills while you learn how to horse ride. Unlike weekly lessons, both options afford you much more time for horse riding.
In horseback riding, how to choose between buying or leasing will be easier after you’ve considered the following.
When you own a horse, paying all his expenses falls on you. These include boarding fees, farrier and veterinarian costs, as well as the price of saddlery, blankets and other accessories, plus liability insurance.
If the horse turns out to be unsuitable you’re left with the hassle of trying to sell him.
In a full lease agreement, you still take the burden of these expenses off the owner (except saddlery and accessories) in return for the benefits of ownership without the cost of buying.
But if you don’t get on with the horse, you can give him back to the owner and he is no longer your financial responsibility.
Alternatively you can enter into a shared lease agreement. The lessee shares the horse with the owner and his expenses are divided between both parties.
Ownership and Full Lease
Ownership of the horse means you ride him when you like. This is also true of a full lease, the difference being that a lease is for a predetermined length of time: a month, six months or a year.
Some lease arrangements include the option of buying the horse. During the time of the lease you can decide whether horse ownership is for you and whether this particular animal is the right one. If the answer is ‘yes,’ then buying the horse when the lease ends may be a good choice.
The riding time in a shared lease will be three or four days a week, as specified in the lease agreement. You’ll pay less, but ride less. This may suit if you’re just learning how to horse ride.
Put everything in writing to avoid disputes!
Making the Decision
Whether buying or leasing a horse, have him vetted to ensure he’s sound and has no pre-existing conditions affecting his insurance status. You don’t later want to be saddled with expensive veterinarian costs for a problem you weren’t aware of.
If leasing, decide with the owner who pays the horse’s medical bills, and get liability insurance to cover you in the event of a third party getting hurt by the horse when he’s under your control. Liability horse insurance is a must for you as a horse owner, as well.
Taking on a horse is not a responsibility to be taken lightly. But it can help you learn how to horse ride faster and is a rewarding experience if approached sensibly.
Posted on 2010-06-10
Maybe your eventual goal in learning how to horse ride is to enter a horse show. You won’t be ready for a long while, but there are things you can already do to take the anxiety out of competing when the big day comes.
Check Out the Competition
Rather than waiting until you’ve learned how to horse ride and have entered a show, find an annual event now where you aim to compete when you’re ready.
Go on foot and discover showing basics e.g. how entrants park their trailers and the location of the secretary’s tent (usually a table) where competitors pick up their ‘packets.’ The packet is a large manila envelope with competitors’ bridle numbers in it and a list of their names and ride times.
See what a bridle number looks like and how it’s attached to the horse.
The Warm-Up Arena
Watch riders prepare in the warm-up arena to understand what you and your horse will have to deal with. You’ll spend more time here than actually competing and will need to feel comfortable with many other riders.
At home, if you usually ride alone, start riding with others and get used to avoiding them. The warm-up arena is a big shock to first time competitors who are not accustomed to a lot of horses around them.
Observe riders competing at your level. How are they dressed? How do their horses look?
The Dry Run
When you know how to horse ride well enough, go to a show as a non- competitor. Ask the secretary if this is O.K. as you may need to pay a nominal fee and get a bridle number.
Once there, mount your horse and walk him round the grounds to relax before riding in the warm-up arena. This is a wonderful way to get used to the show atmosphere without the pressure.
At your first real show you’ll be glad you put in this preparation, and ride your best without a rookie’s anxiety.