Monday, December 28, 2009

The Ride is the Reward

I am looking for a horse to lease. *sigh* Here we go again! Over and over again I've gone through the pros and cons in my head... weighing the benifits of ownerships against the problems with free leasing, the cost of lessons vs. the issues of sharing a horse in a semi-lease agreement... and have come to back time and again to the same conclusion...

At this stage of my life the responsibility of horse ownership- both the time, money, stress and attention is too great of a commitment to take on given that I need to focus on advancing my education, career and other interests.

Which leaves me with leasons or leasing...


Lessons do not afford me enough time on a horse for the cost.

Free leasing isnt much less of a commitment than ownerships.

Semi-Leasing (shared riding) often leads to schedule/overuse issues.

Which leaves me with my own idea of leasing. It's simple. Straight forward. And hopelessly unobtainable.

To find some person who keeps their horse in above average condition, at an excellent facility with an indoor and close to trails, who never has times to ride, is opinionated about training methods/handling, and reasonable to deal and who just happens to own a nice, broke, sound, no-nonsense horse that they'd like to have ridden by a complete stranger (where, when and how she prefers and on her schedule.) Oh, and within a half hour drive of my house...

I want to ...

Drive to barn, groom, tack, ride, put away and drive home. End of story. I'll pay a flat monthly rate- consistent, predictable, and non-obligatory for the privilege and leave the for the owner to worry about the rest. Like a gym membership.


*hangs head in defeat*

To make matters worse...

I feel so selfish for admitting that as I've never owned a horse for the sole objective of riding- ever. In fact, I've looked down on people who seem to care nothing of their horses but of the use and enjoyment that can be derived from them... those who don't even know how to saddle their own horse, let alone care, feed or train one.

And yet still, I want to use a horse!


The choices all suck!

To own a horse is to be consumed- with the constant worry over their health and safety, of farrier appointments, worming, vetting,and the inevitable and unexpected financial costs... For me it is to stress over the where/who/what/when dynamics of boarding, of where to buy hay, or find a decent farrier. It is spending $180 on iron shoes instead of those Jessica Simpson silver pumps, buying Big D blankets instead of a fabulous purple Guess pea coat, and covering the cost of a vet bill that would have paid for a trip to New York city. It is sacrificing and reaping the reward... it is living a way of life I miss every. single. day but one that comes at a price I'm no longer willing to pay- not until I can afford both the school, the pea coat, the pumps and the hay, blankets and board.

To lease is to have to bite your tongue, to refrain from training, to mind your own business- just shut up and ride. To lease is to always remember that the horse you are riding is not your own and to respect the owners wishes. To doing things their way and having to always stress over just what their way is. Leasing is not being able to discipline, to not ride as long or as often as you see fit...

Leasing is like driving your mother-in-laws car... you have to remember just how the seat was petitioned, to park at the back of the lot, to wash it before you drive it back, to not drink or eat for fear of dropping a crumb and to expect that, no matter how consciencious you were, if there is even the smallest scratch to paint that she didnt notice before you left, you will be held to blame! And there will be hell to pay!

That is leasing a horse.

I just want to ride.

I dont want to lease. Or to buy. But I want horses in my life.

And to make things worse, I feel guilty for it. Maybe because for me having horses has always been about the my emotional attachment to an individual, my deep rooted commitment to providing for their mental and physical well being and to the process of developing a better animal. Riding has always been, for me, a byproduct of horse ownership- a reward for having succeeded in meeting my horses needs.

I do not ride my horse if he has not been fed. If he is sore. If he is wet or cold. If he is in need of shoeing. I do not ride my horse if his condition or the condition of his environment is poor. I do not ride if his stall needs cleaned, if hay needs hauled out or a fence needs fixing. I do not ride if I do not have time to put him away dry, cool,and clean. The responsibility of providing for my horse has always has come before the ride. The ride has always been the reward.

More on this next post....


  1. I wish you lived in my neck of the woods. I got two of them for you! I have 5 horses, two of which are for my kids to ride. As they get older, their interest has waned. I ride those horses when I get the notion, but I also am trying to keep my own horse in condition for competitive riding, so I don't have the time to keep up on all of them with that pesky full time job, wifehood, motherhood & all.

    I have said MANY times that I would love to have someone just come out and put some time on these horses, but finding the perfect SOMEONE is the problem. My worry is not that someone will train on my horses but that the person will overstate their experience. How do I find someone like you?

    Good luck! I really think this is a win/win idea.

  2. I don't have an answer to your problems just an idea. Why don't you just sign up for a lesson or two a week so you can ride and be around horses. School horses could really use someone like you to show them some care and respect, you would get to ride and they would appreciate you just grooming them or bringing a treat. From there you might make some contacts that would lead you to the perfect leasing situation which might lead you to ownership... when you are ready. Weigh what you've got to lose as opposed as what you've got to gain. Good luck.

  3. As the O.P. said; I would love to have someone with two brain cells still functioning, just put some quality time on my mare. Yes, she can be a handful when the cold wind gets her back up, and she is usually full of herself until you have reminded her that when the saddle goes on...the silliness stops. But from the buttes behind the ranch, you can see for the next 22 miles to the snow, or 12 miles to the only highway that is paved. And it is all yours to ride and enjoy.
    Siseley's Daddy!

  4. I'd be happy for you to ride my mare anytime you like. I'm not picky at all. She could use some firm, but kind discipline, more exercise and someone experienced to ride her more often.
    As long as you don't groom roughly and try to pull my mare's beautiful mane and tail out (like the girl that came to lease her last summer. gah!) I'm happy.

    I've even got a guest room you could stay in :)

    I sure hope your plans and dreams work out for you.


  5. I am with the others, if you lived close to me, I'd let you come ride mine whenever! I don't get to ride much this time of year because of the weather, but there are a few days in there that they could get ridden, unfortunately those few good days usually end up being while I am at work!
    Even in the summer, I typically only get to ride Brandy. Poor Fritz gets to stand around. My OH won't ride in the arena, and trying to get our schedules together so he can go on a trail ride can be hard to do.
    I sure hope something works out for you. With all of us wishing you could ride our horses, I am sure there has to be someone your way that feels the same way!! Good luck my friend!!

  6. I feel for you, and I as well have a horse or 2 or 3 I would be glad someone else would ride for me so I could put more time into my babies. Wish you lived closer to someone who wanted that for you, good luck finding the right horse.

  7. I would go to nearby barns and tell them exactly this. I think you would be surprised to find what you are looking for. At my barn there are very few people that come out and regularly ride their horses. Come to think of it there are four barns at my stable that are completely full and only three of us that ride regularly.

  8. Like horsemom says, there are barns where horses need exercise and you may be able to persuade them to let you ride on a regular basis, perhaps if you also take some lessons. Good luck!

  9. Ditto here on riding anytime you want. Your perfect situation is out there, it's just a matter of finding it.

  10. Tough situation to be in... I've had both good and bad luck with leasing. Maybe if you put the word out with some friends/contacts you'll find something that might work...???

    You could come to Ottawa and teach Rusty some reining moves! lol Oh wait, it's too cold here. Never mind. We'll come to you instead! :-)

  11. Dont overwhelm your self with the details of the responsibilities , you are missing out on having a relationship with one of the greatest creatures on earth, the horse. There are great horse out there that need someone like you to "own" them. the responsibiltys will give you pride in ownership. I have 4 horses, 2 cats 1 dog , various chickens 10 acres , 2 grandchildren and I work 40 hrs a week. There will allways be an excuse to NOT do something if you look for one. get your self a horse you will never regret it!

  12. Wow, all these people with horses that need riding and I'm paying to lease, lol! Why can I never find people like you??

    My two cents - it is hard to find the right situation unless you are regularly at a barn and/or working with a trainer, that is where the networking happens. Maybe take some lessons and ask around, as others suggested. Also, although lessons are expensive given the amount of horse time, it might be worth it for the convenience.

    I have pretty much the situation you described as ideal with my current lease. I pay a flat fee plus half farrier and I also pay for lessons with my instructor at my own discretion. We worked out a schedule of who gets which days pretty easily too. A little more responsibility than purely riding school horses but not nearly as much as owning. Most days I can just do the groom, tack up, ride, clean up, go home routine. I do have to do things the way the owner wants but this isn't bad since the standard of care is excellent. The horse is greener than I'd like ideally but that's about it.

    All that to say it IS possible with a little searching. Your post made me realize how lucky I am to be in this situation, so I owe you a thanks! I needed a reminder to be grateful for it. I still shake my head about how much I am spending on someone else's horse though, lol! My fault for getting hooked on private lessons :-/

    Good luck! As a first-time leaser I know how hard it can be to make these decisions.

  13. I agree with Ruckus, you can find the right situation but it will take networking.

    But I suspect you'll miss the relationship more than you realize. Still, as a temporary stop on the journey, I say put energy into making it happen.

  14. Oh goodness! I too would happily toss you on my horse - but I'm a bit of a jaunt for you. lol! I know of a girl who put an ad on Kijiji saying basically what you said and got a ton of responses. She's now riding for a couple who have horses but no time for them and loving it. Just a thought.

    Good luck in your searching! I totally understand what it means to look at a cool pair of shoes and walk away because the "fun" money for the month is headed towards a vet bill. No fun! But my payoff is a fabulous group of animals!

  15. I have always known you needed a horse - not one sent away to be bred or leased out, but one you can call your own.

    I am on your side. Go find one - a nice broke one, a nice broke maybe older than 5, athletic, cute kind of one. No pressure.

  16. Sounds like a great plan to me! I'm with you though, logical does not always equal practical. I tried looking for a similar scenario for years and finally gave up. It does look like there is lots of support on here though, maybe some ads in a tack store outlining what you're looking for? Who knows...something might pan out....

  17. Just remember my story....I was leasing My Boy first. The rest, they say, is history! :)
    I got really lucky though, to find someone as casual as MB's owner. Who eventually wanted to sell him, especially after she went through a divorce. So he kind of fell into my lap. But, the lease itself was so casual, not a lot of rules...she was so great and flexible! The only time we ever signed anything was when I moved him to the Painted Creek to do a "care lease." Which only lastest 4 months because then I bought him!
    Best of luck, hope you find your dream situation!
    Happy new Year!!

  18. Girl, there are 17 horses here that need you!! Ha ha ha! Just like others have said, "I wish you lived near me!" I would have you riding as many horses as you wanted! And you could do what ever you wanted on them, because I trust that you wouldn't jump on and just run them into the ground!! So, if you ever move to Louisiana, I would LOVE for you to come and just ride my horses for me!! I even have an arena in my backyard!!

    And if I could I would send ya one for you to lease if you wanted!! :)