When I leased a horse two days a week, my perspective on the whole situation was so different. I loved the horses I leased. I loved them as though they were my own and tried to be communicative with the owners and defer to their various care choices. On the lessee side of the fence, I didn't love that I wasn't in full control. In the case of both horses I leased, the owners decided to ride more and I lost access to the horses.
So now I am the lessor. I've only had my horse for one month and 6 days. I'm still getting to know him and I've been so busy with my new responsibilities at the barn that I haven't had as much time for him as I would like. Regardless, the pressure is on from my husband to find a lessee.
I have a friend who may be interested in leasing Crafty for herself or her daughter. She came by the other day to take a lesson on him. It was really difficult for me. I don't necessarily want to share him. I want to be his person. If I share him, he won't know he's mine. I had a hard time watching my friend lead him and tack him up. I'm very particular about how he is lead. He's not allowed to wander, drag his person off, start grazing, etc. I'm working to establish myself as his leader on the ground and under saddle. Will leasing my horse undermine that work?
My friend did a great job riding Crafty and I think she had fun. She will likely try him again but I'm not sure if he will work out for her or her daughter. They use a different trainer and I only want one trainer working with my horse, especially during the first year when we are still getting to know him. Having two riders is confusing enough. Two trainers, two different agendas and approaches, would not be fair to the horse.
I think there will be someone wonderful who wants to lease Crafty. He's a nice horse. But I think it will be interesting to see how people feel about the cost. He can be ridden 6 times per week. I will ride 3 times and lease him out for 3 rides which is a half lease. From where I am now sitting, half of board and $100.00 towards shoes sounds like a bargain. I am paying for all supplements, most of the shoes, routine vet care. I am providing really nice, brand new tack. I am providing a lovely horse, boarded at a barn with awesome facilities for riding.
I will require my lessee to take one lesson a week, at least for the first 6 months. I will also require them to do at least two sessions with our natural horsemanship trainer so that we are all on the same program. My poor lessee. I'm starting to feel sorry for her already.
If my lessee ends up being someone who wants to take Crafty to shows or camps, I will expect them to contribute to maintenance type veterinary care such as Adequan or joint injections. The reality is that my level of riding is putting very little wear and tear on the horse. I will also ask them to have their own saddle pads. I hate washing saddle pads. I don't really want to do it when I don't even get the pleasure of riding!
I think I'm ok with my lessee taking my horse places even though it feels terribly wrong. I will have to get over it but I feel like he's one of my children. I've been a stay at home mom for 17 years. I have rarely spent a day without at least one of my children. I don't know how people who are divorced with joint custody do it. On the one hand it looks so glamorous to have every other weekend to yourself but on the other hand, it would feel like a limb was missing.
This post seems to be more about personal therapy than about leasing a horse but if you are out looking to lease, I'm hoping my thoughts will help you think a little more kindly of the horse owner and the price they set for sharing their precious steed with another rider.