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complete lease good idea?

From: Tania

Hi Jessica! I've been getting your mail for quite some time now. All of the info is of great help to me! I have a question now, I hope that you can help! I've been riding English( pleasure) for 15 years.I am currently leasing a 15 year old Thoroughbred gelding.The owner would like me to take over completely soon. I really don't want to show or anything. I just want him for a pal. Also to do lots of ground work and trails. Is it worth it to take over, or do you think it's a little old and I would be in a jam with bills? He has no health problems currently. But if I did take over, I would get a thorough check from the vet before anything. Please help me.

Thank you for all your help:) Tania

Hi Tania! Whether this is a good idea or not depends on how the arrangement is made, and on what you and the horse's owner want from it. Are you considering PURCHASING this horse, or are you merely thinking about a full lease, under the terms of which you would be responsible for all of the regular maintenance and care of the horse?

Before you purchase this horse, or take out a full lease, sit down with your family and figure out exactly what the horse's maintenance will cost you each year. If that sum doesn't frighten you, and if you already have a good farrier, a good vet, and a good instructor, I'd say you should follow your heart. A sound, healthy 15-year-old horse is a good bet -- you may still be riding him ten years from now or even longer. If you like and enjoy this horse, and you're already doing the kind of riding that you'll want to do in the long term, and the horse seems suitable and you both enjoy your time together, don't let his age bother you at all. You could wait a long time before you found another one that you like as well as this one, and I'm sure tht your vet (ask!) could point you to any number of sweet, cute, LAME younger horses!

If you're thinking in terms of a full lease, there are a lot of things that you'll want to consider before signing the lease agreement. Put as much as you can -- every single detail you can think of -- in writing. Where the horse will be kept, in what circumstances, who will feed him and clean his stall or field, who will ride him, under what circumstances, with what tack, how often, for how long, on the property, off the property... write it all down. How often the horse will see the veterinarian and farrier for routine care, WHICH veterinarian(s) and farrier(s) are suitable for routine care, and whom he should see for emergency care, what would happen (who would pay?) in the event of expensive emergency care such as colic surgery, etc., etc..... write it all down. Every point that isn't written down is a potential source of trouble.

Your vet should be able to give you good advice -- when you have the horse checked, be sure that the vet knows exactly what you plan to do with the horse. And if you think you might want to do something that you aren't doing now (dressage? jumping? endurance riding or competitive trail riding?), tell the vet! If there is a good reason that you shouldn't plan to do something with the horse, BEFORE you buy it is a good time to find out.

Good luck! You're planning ahead, so with your own good sense and your vet's good advice, I'm sure you will make the right decision.


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