Leasing vs. buying a horse

Leasing and buying a horse are like leasing or buying a car.

(scroll down to Cost Analysis if you are already familiar with leases and just want the numbers) 

Like buying a car, when you buy a horse, you own it and are responsible for paying for its general everyday maintenance as well as bigger maintenence expenses.  In Georgia you must legally insure your car.  Its not a Georgia law but its common to have health insurance on a horse you own.

If you lease a car (or horse) you are responsible for paying a lease fee instead of buying outright.  Typically, you can afford a more expensive ride at a smaller monthly price but you dont have ownership of the car/horse.  You pay for daily running expenses as well as larger maintenance expenses.  At the end of the lease, you are usually given the option to buy it outright but not necessarily.

Its industry standard to require health and loss of use insurance on a leased horse.

Interestingly, in general, horses are similarly priced to cars.  There are exeedingly rare million -ollar cars out there; $50,000; $20,000; $10,000 and down.  It is no different with horses including a $1000 version that will get you from A to B but not necessarily fast or reliably or for very long.  If you lease a horse, you can get a nicer ride but in the end you dont own it.  In a way, each time you take a lesson, you are leasing because part of your lesson money goes toward the care and maintenance of the horse.  If you ride your own, you typically get a discount on either the lesson or your board.

Unfortunately, there are many car salesmen out there with bad reputations for talking buyers into things they do not need or selling them what they have on the lot instead of what they really need.  Buyer beware.  At the end of the day you are responsible for your own choices.  If you dont know a lot about cars take someone with you who does.  Just like needing an attorney, surgeon, workout coach, real estate agent etc., it is a good idea to pay an expert for expert advice.  This person knows your needs and will help keep you on track.  In the case of horses, take your instructor and once you find what you want, hire a large animal vet specializing in horses to do a pre-purchase exam.  They do not have a crystal ball so it is impossible for them to tell you if the horse will last or is suitable for your skills.  Because of this, they cannot tell you whether to buy the horse or not, but they will give you good information for what they see during the exam for you and your team to make an informed decision.

Now that you get the idea using the car analogy I will stick with horses:

Most riders change a lot in the early years of their riding.  Beginners get more stable in their position, so do not need a horse that is not offended by bouncy legs, seat, hands or all 3.  Novice jumpers gain confidence on experienced horses who know their job and do not need as many tune-ups.  Children grow; teens become more social.  The solid citizen slowing down from an extensive show career and packs you around 18" will not last long if you push him/her to go back to higher jumping.  There was a REASON s/he stepped down to a less demanding work load. 

Every time you ride your horse you are either training or untraining them.  If you want to train a less knowledgeable horse, YOU better have many years of experience on a "made horse" doing whatever you want to do so you know what you are after.  A young horse who does not know much is totally unsuitable for other than a professional with extensive training, and often result in big hospital bill. 

Cheap suddenly does not look so cheap anymore.

Cost analysis:   

Here at Fairhaven, I am offering shared "care leases" to suitable clients who lesson with me at least 1x/week.  A care lease vs. a paid lease means your splitting the board and care fees but there is no actual "lease fee". 

 

The typical horse owner who does not show averages 3 rides a week.  Including prorated farrier, basic vet, and board bills, I budget $500 per month.  If you also take 4 private lessons per month, thats an extra $280 per month.  Total is about $780 plus the purchase price of the horse, tack, blankets, etc.

  

If you are still learning and/or growing the horse you need now is quite different horse than you will need next year, possibly even in 6 months!!  If you share lease a horse, you will ride in a lesson 1x/week plus two other practice times for a total of $530/month making it more cost effective in this situation to share lease a horse than to buy.

 

A third option which is interesting is if you lessoned 3x/week (no practice rides).  If you converted the original $500/month care budget of a horse to lessons + the original 1x/week lessons, you could lesson just about 3 times a week based on $70 each!  If you do not think 3 lessons a week will increase your riding knowledge and polish your skills, you are very nieve.   

 

Bonus Facts: 

* Additionally, ONE horse share leased by two parties will get looked at (hooves picked, coat brushed, etc) twice as much!!

* As your skills increase you can change horses instead of being locked into the one you bought til you hit a learning plateau or you ride more than 3 times a week at which time, its more cost effective to buy.

* 1 horse on the farm vs. two decreases the wear and tear on the farm including fence repairs, over grazing the pastures, jump and arena repairs; stall maintenance, leveling, door repairs, etc.

Latte

No Lease fee.

1/2 Board & expenses

Tootsie Roll

No lease fee.

1/2 Board & expenses

Pumpkin Spice

No lease fee.

1/2 Board &

expenses.

Mustang Sally

 No Lease fee.

1/2 Board &

expenses.