Friday, August 28, 2009

Reality check...but for who?

I mentioned a few posts ago that I was considering leasing a particular horse. I've actually been thinking about it for awhile, not only that particular horse but leasing in general. I was especially interested in that guy because I think we would both benefit and he is just one of those horses you feel a special affection for. Unlike my other love Justine , who needs someone more skilled at training than I am, this boy needs regular work, thoughtful exercises and refining. I can do that.

I got a quote for half-leasing (3 rides/week) at the stable where I take lessons. It varies depending on the horse but I was given an initial estimate (minimum). I was very surprised at how high the amount was. I've also been looking at other stables, on the internet etc., so that I know what is out there. I am a researcher, it's what I do. To me, it seems high when compared to other available leases too. To be fair, I haven't seen a perfectly comparable situation so it's hard to say if it's fair.

I would like your opinion! I know it will be hard with different countries etc. but I would like to know if I am being unreasonable, or if it really IS a lot to ask for a lease.

The main base price is (at minimum) half the price of board. That's $350 Canadian.

That doesn't include lessons and I would want to do at least one/week. Add $176.

That's $526/month for 3 rides/week, one in a lesson. On top of that, I would have to pay half of all farrier costs AND vet costs! So I'd be looking at at least $550/month but likely more. Ok, seriously, to me one reason to lease a horse is that you can ride more without the commitment and worry over vet bills!

Consider also that if I were to take 3 lessons per week at the same barn it would cost me $528/month. So it actually costs less to have qualified instruction for the same number of rides! I find that seriously odd.

What do you think? Am I just naive?

Now, some photos just for fun.
Hazel loves to run
the jump fields.
My pretty girl.
Warming up.


HorseOfCourse said...

You know, the one true disadvantage about horses is the cost.

I do not know the Canadian price level, but I can tell you how it works here?
If a horse owner takes on a co-rider, that co-rider pays part of the monthly rent (about the same as in the proposal you got). But said rider does not pay part of costs for vet or farrier,that is the owner's responsibility.
Costs for training comes in addition.
But here I wonder - what training is it? Is it a session only for you by a qualified trainer, or is together with several others? I would say that is perhaps where the real difference lies; not in cost but in the possibility to have a better horse and better instruction and thus learning more!

RuckusButt said...

:) Yes, I know that disadvantage well!

It sounds to me like it's relatively the same for leases in your area, HoC, except for the vet/farrier.

The training is indeed where things get interesting. The sessions would be with 3 others whether I lease or just keep taking lessons. The horse(s) are also the same. The difference is with a lease, I choose the horse and it's always the same horse, whereas sometimes in lessons my horse changes. That just doesn't seem like enough of a difference to make leasing wothwhile! I generally like the variety although they aren't all well-trained (like the OTTB).

If I lease somewhere else, I would have a better horse but no lessons with that horse. Well, possibly some lessons once in awhile but those would be on top of the lease and in addition to the lessons at my current barn (I will keep taking lessons there regardless of where I lease, at least for awhile).

I wish I had better horse with better instruction, combined. But at my barn it is the same instruction with one of the same horses, for more money. Which is why I thought it was unfair. Why wouldn't you just take more lessons/week and not have to worry about vet etc? It's cheaper AND you get more instruction!!

Leases off site would be a better horse and that is why I'm leaning that way, even if the instruction is lacking. If I'm paying I want to ride something nice or enjoyable.

Oy! I don't know what to do :-\

HorseOfCourse said...

Well, then I agree with you, it doesn't sound as the best of deals if you get same things for more money!
Isn't it possible to negotiate about terms and possibilities?

RuckusButt said...


I am working on negotiations :)

Chelsi said...

I have round that there is no standard for prices when it comes to totally depends on the type of horse and the intended use. But... around here a free lease is usually unlimited riding and free access to the horse and you pay for everything (shoes, board, vet etc.) but the owner is totally hands off. Half leases are usually half the cost of board and about 2-3 rides a week but no "care" costs (shoes, vet)... more like a pay to ride deal. Any lesssons on top of the lease come at the standard rate for lessons (with maybe a 10-20% discount). If you are a skilled rider and just looking to trail ride or poke around in the arena I found that some people will let you ride in exchange for the cost of shoes, (if that) because they need someone to work their horse and dont want some new-be messing them up. Hope that helps;)

HorseOfCourse said...

RuckusButt - how does the horse owners in your area train their horses?
There must be a facility somewhere where it might be possible to get access both to a good horse and a good trainer?

RuckusButt said...

Adventures - I would fully expect to pay more for a good quality, well trained horse. What you propose sounds reasonable to me. But paying more to "lease" when I could pay the same, without worrying about vet & farrier, for instructed lessons for the same number of rides on the same horse?? Just doesn't make much sense to me!

HoC - it varies how people approach training. Most serious competitive riders have unlimited funds :) I certainly do have access to other facilities where I could lease and pay for private instruction. That is the option I am looking at now. I was hoping to stay at my current barn since I really quite like it there, aside from the strange rates. Sure, there are things I don't like about this place but overall the care and facilities are great.

It's funny because, after talking to others, they would get many more people leasing if they used some sense when setting prices. They just can't compete with other leases in the area on better horses.

I currently have 2 options at another barn. I would be able to have the same instructor for private lessons there. Right now, I'm thinking I will keep 1 lesson/wk at my current barn with this instructor and then lease and do occasional private lessons with her.

Thanks for your input! It's a hard decision and I appreciate just being able to air my thoughts and feelings to knowledgeable horse-people.

Chelsi said...

I understand what you mean but the big difference (to me anyways) between a free lease (with vet costs) and a semi lease (without) is that with a free lease you can generally treat the horse as your own, which means that you ride, shoe, feed, board, train, etc. to your own preference and with my mare Abby (she is on a free lease), I have a contract that says I can inspect her to ensure proper care but so long as she is well fed, uninjured and not being abused, I have no say in anything else with respect to her care and use. With a semi-lease you are simply paying to ride and the owner is still in control of the horse...which can be tough if you have a difference of opinion about the care or treatment of the horse. Like, I went to semi-lease a horse from a local stables but pulled out when I found that she would be ridden in a camp once a day 6 days a week and my rides would be ON TOP of her usual use... YAH, No THANKS! I also leased once before in a semi type deal where the horse needed work... I'd be working on trying to help him get over a saddling issue and almost have it nailed when the owners would take him out for a ride and he'd come back right back where he started from. It can be VERY frustrating to share a horse so I prefer free leases....however, if you are talking about a performance horse, stabled, and lessons, I think it makes more sense to spend all your $$ on taking lesson on a schooling horse. $40 a lesson x 3 days a week x month = $480... most stables will are neg. about rates when you are riding that much. Hope that helps:) Good luck.