OwnershipHorse Leasing

Different Kinds Of Horse Leases: Choosing What Kind Is Best For You

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Before you decide on a horse to lease, first know your options. Discover the different kinds of horse leases available and choose what's best for you. Learn about full lease, half lease, quarter lease, free lease, paid lease, practice rides, and free horse riding. Make an informed decision today!

You might not know that there are different kinds of leases you can do on a horse. Before you decide on a horse to lease, first you want to know what your options are. So you can figure out what you want from a lease and what is best for your situation.

What are the different kinds of horse leases available? Different horse leases that are available include, full lease, half lease, quarter lease, free lease, paid lease, practice rides, free horse riding. The leases may be either on-farm or off-farm depending on the agreement with the owner.

Now you know different horse leases that are available. But you probably need more information if you are like me and my mom when I was first looking into horse leasing as a young teenager.

I am going to cover some details about each of the different kinds of horse leases. Then I will help you figure out which lease option is best for you.

What Is An Off-Farm And On-Farm Lease?

An off-farm lease is when you do a lease and take that horse to a different barn away from where the horse was originally kept. Off-farm leases typically include free leases and paid leases which will be described further down.

An on-farm lease is when you do a lease and the horse stays at the farm where the horse is originally from. Typically full leases, half leases, quarter leases, practice rides, and free riding are on-farm.

What Is A Full Lease?

A full lease is when the lessor has full use of the horse without restriction for when they can ride. The lessor is the only rider of the horse. Depending on the agreement full lessors may be able to ride from 5-7 times a week.

A full lease usually has a fixed cost that you pay monthly. Sometimes it may require you to pay extra when the horse gets shoes .

This is usually a month to month lease with a 30 days notice required to stop the lease. But it depends on who you lease from.

What Is A Half Lease?

In a half lease, the use of the horse is divided in half. There are usually restrictions on the days you can ride. And you will be sharing the horse with another lessor, the owner, or a lesson program.

Usually, in a half lease, you are able to ride the horse 3-4 times a week.

A half lease has a fixed monthly payment. Sometimes you may have to pay half of the cost for the horse to get hooves done.

What Is A Quarter Lease?

This is the same situation as a half lease except that you get fewer days allotted to you for riding. Usually, you are able to ride 2 days a week and the cost of the lease is cheaper.

A fixed-rate for the lease and may or may not need to contribute money to getting feet done and extra services for the horse.

What Is A Free Lease?

First of all, a free lease is not free. Basically you take on the full responsibility of the horse as if the horse was your own. 

However, you can only do with the horse that is agreed upon between you and the owner in the lease contract. 

You pay for all the horse’s expenses except you don’t have to pay an extra fee for using the horse.

What Is A Paid Lease?

This is pretty much the same as a free lease except on top of having to pay for all the horse’s expenses there is an extra fee for using the horse. The extra fee is almost like you are purchasing the horse and making payments, but you’re not, you’re just renting the horse.

This is the most expensive kind of horse lease. You would only want to do this kind of lease for a very expensive, experienced, super nice horse, that is totally worth your while.

What Is A Practice Ride

A practice ride is usually offered at most lesson barns. When you are in a regular riding lesson program usually there is an opportunity where you are able to ride on your own and practice what you learned in your lesson. 

Although jumping is often prohibited, and the riding instructor would have to approve that you are competent enough of a rider to be able to do practice rides.

Practice rides can be on different horses each time or whoever you get assigned for at that time. 

They are cheaper than lessons . To be able to do a practice ride you need to be taking lessons at that barn. 

They won’t let some random person off the street they don’t know hop on and do a practice ride on their own.

What Do You Mean Free Horse Riding?

There are opportunities for experienced riders to ride for free, maybe just maybe solid beginner riders who are willing to work for it.

By free I mean no cost to the rider except to get there and wear the proper equipment. So don’t use the excuse you can’t afford horseback riding because if you desire it enough you can make it work.

Where there is a will, there is a way!

Why Free Horseback Riding Exists

  • Horse owners who are pregnant or have a baby
  • Horse owners who jobs are keeping them really busy 
  • Lesson barns that need help schooling horses
  • Lesson barns that allow riders to work at the barn in exchange for riding
  • Horse owners who have a green horse and wants free training
  • Horse owner who has a high strung horse that needs regular work and doesn’t have enough time

These are some of the reasons free riding exists. These owners could charge to have their horses leased. But sometimes it’s easier to find good riders if they offer free riding. They will have more people to screen to find the right match for their horse. Also if money isn’t the problem and they just want their horses worked with competent riders this is a good option for them.

Beginners’ only good option would be to work at the barn in exchange for riding. This would be an amazing opportunity to learn more about horses, gain experience and really immerse themselves into the world of horses.

Figuring Out Which Lease Option Is Best For You

In order to help you figure out which horse lease is the best option for you, decide which of these reasons for leasing sound most like yours.

  • You want to lease a horse to prepare for horse ownership
  • You want to lease a horse for fun
  • You want to lease a horse to be able to compete
  • You want to lease a horse to get better at riding

Once you figure out which of these reasons sounds most like yours then you want to answer these three questions.

  1. How much money can you afford to spend every month?
  2. How much time do you have every week?
  3. How many times a week do you want to ride?

Another thing to consider when you are thinking about leasing a horse is whether you will be leasing a horse from a horse owner or from a lesson program.

If you are doing a half lease with a horse owner then the owner may be the only other rider of the horse. 

If you are doing a half lease with a lesson barn that uses the horse in the lesson program then the horse will be being ridden by all sorts of different riders.

Either situation may be a good or a bad thing.

With a horse owner, the bad side may be the horse may be more green, or be used to only how it’s owner rides. On the good side, the horse may not have been spoiled by being ridden in a lesson program with beginner riders.

With a lesson program, the bad side is that the horse may be sour and have learned bad habits from beginner riders. The good side is that the horse may be more of a schoolmaster and experienced.

When you look at the recommended leases for you below. Keep in mind the answers to the three questions to help you decide what is the best lease for you.

Recommended Leases Based On Why You Want To Lease A Horse

The recommendations for each section are listed from the typically least expensive to typically most expensive.

To Prepare For Horse Ownership

  • Full Lease
  • Free Lease
  • Paid Lease

Enjoy Riding And Have Fun

  • Free Riding
  • Practice Rides
  • Quarter Lease
  • Half Lease

For Competing

  • Half Lease
  • Full Lease
  • Free Lease 
  • Paid Lease

To Become A Better Rider

  • Free Riding
  • Practice Ride
  • Quarter Lease
  • Half Lease
  • Full Lease
  • Free Lease
  • Paid Lease

Take your time to figure out which lease is best for you.

Though this article gives you a basic idea of what these leases are like, horse leases will vary depending on which barn you are leasing a horse from, who the owner is and what is agreed upon in the lease contract.

It is not as much as a commitment as owning a horse but it is still a commitment.

If you found this article helpful check out these:

Cheers, Kacey

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Disclaimer Notice: Please be aware that horseback riding and related equestrian activities carry inherent risks. The advice and experiences shared on this blog are for informational purposes only and are not a substitute for professional training or advice. Ensure your safety and that of your horse by wearing appropriate gear, practicing safe horse handling, and consulting with certified equestrian professionals. Remember, each horse is unique, and techniques may vary accordingly. Always prioritize safety, respect, and patience in your equestrian endeavors.

Kacey Cleary Administrator
Kacey has been an equestrian since 1998. She was a working student at several eventing and dressage barns. She has owned horses, leased horses, and trained horses. Kacey received an A.S. in Equine Industries from UMass Amherst, where she rode on the dressage team. She was certified with the ARIA and is licensed to teach riding in MA. She has been a barn manager and has run her own horse farm.
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