Emily Elek with Elizabeth Woods and Hidden Springs Woodstar – a Large Pony Hunter who embodies #4 on this list. Photo: Cindy Woods
By Emily Elek
Many equestrians dream of a horse to call their own – but is ownership the right path for you? Leasing may not sound as exciting as owning your dream horse, but there are numerous merits that should be taken into account before you choose your next equine partner. Below we will look at some of the pros and cons of owning or leasing, and help decide which is the best path for you.
- Lease the Right Horse or Pony for the Present
Lease the perfect horse or pony with the appropriate level of experience to teach the client right now. Do not forecast how a client might (or might not) progress over the course of the next year. No compromises on experience! Trainers can match green riders with older/more seasoned animals.With ponies, lease the right size pony for right now. Do not intimidate a child with a pony that is too large.
Horses and ponies that are serviceably sound but may have a Pre-Purchase Exam (PPE) issue often make great lease animals. The questionable flexion or x-ray may be a red light for resale. But, the horse’s soundness is easily maintained for one year, or often for many years!
The cost of lease is typically 1/3-1/2 of value, but can be much less than the cost of purchasing a comparable animal. Only one commission is paid to a trainer at the onset of a lease.Buying and selling a horse has two commissions – at purchase and again at sale.
Leases cost a fixed amount. If you buy a horse and sell it when it no longer fits your needs, it may not sell for its purchase price. In a worse scenario, it may never sell, but will continue to accrue board and vet bills.
- Resale issues
The perfect animal with vetting issues or advancing age may make resale harder in a year or two, which is not an issue with leasing.Leases should be written to protect the Lessee and the Lessor in case of injury. Typically, the Lessee’s responsibility terminates at the end of the lease period.
- The Unicorn
Sometimes leasing is the only way to have your child or yourself learn on the “perfect” mounts. Often, trainers and owners vow never to sell these gems! The fancy, quiet, kind teachers are hard to find at any price and many owners simply will not sell them. They choose to lease instead, insuring they always know where their ponies are for their own students, children, or grandchildren! Also, many owners vow to take care of these wonderful equine teachers forever. Leasing is a better way to make sure you maintain control of a valued animal until it is ready to retire.
Emily Elek is the owner and trainer at Stonewall Farm in Ixonia, Wisconsin. Contact her at [email protected], 920-889-0028.