Buying vs Leasing A Horse

As a parent of a horse-crazed child who wants to take the next step in their child’s riding experience the big question is always lease or buy? What are the pros and cons of each and how do you decide?

Buying a Horse

  • Pros
    • You can ride
      • when you want
      • where you want
      • how you want
      • however long you want
    • You don’t have to share your horse with anyone else unless you want to
    • You can take your horse places you may not have been able to before
    • You can show where and when you want
    • You can breed your horse (unless it’s a gelding…)
    • You can train your horse
    • You can lease your horse
    • You can sell your horse
  • Cons
    • You pay all the bills for
      • vet
        • coggins
        • teeth floating
        • shots
        • injuries and illnesses
        • medicines
      • farrier
      • tack
      • stable supplies and/or boarding
      • blankets and fly sheets
      • worming
    • You are the only one responsible for your horse’s well being
      • EVEN if you are boarding it somewhere — it’s still your responsibility to make sure it’s being well cared for
    • You sometimes have to make tough decisions for your horse
      • selling
      • retiring
      • leasing
      • putting down
    • The financial responsibility is there until the horse dies or you sell it

Leasing A Horse

  • Pros
    • You can stop paying for the lease whenever you want (if not in a long term lease contract)
    • Typically much cheaper than buying a horse
    • No long-term commitment unless you want it
    • You can ride whenever you want
    • You have more flexibility in when and how and where you ride
    • It feels pretty close to owning your own horse
    • You don’t have to share your horse or, if it’s a half lease, you share your horse less often
    • You may have more opportunities to take the horse places you couldn’t before
    • You can have many different horses over your lifetime instead of being limited to just the few you can afford to own
  • Cons
    • The horse still doesn’t belong to you so the owner has the final say
    • You may still have to share your horse with other people, depends on the terms of the lease
    • You can’t ride when, where or how you want without the owner’s permission first
    • You may have to pay farrier and some of the vet fees

The Truth

Riding lessons are always the least expensive and most practical option for most riders.  However, to anyone who is thinking about taking the next step in horse ownership I always suggest that you lease first. Leasing is like a preview of what’s in store for someone who wants to buy a horse. You get a taste for the flexibility that owning a horse will offer you as well as the reality of what your finances will look like pre-horse ownership. Leasing is often cheaper than owning and it offers more flexibility and you can always stop leasing if you need to. Once you own a horse you’re in it for the long haul or until you can find your horsey friend a new owner.

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