The cost of leasing a horse can vary widely according to where you live and the education of the horse. Here is a general overview of fees that can be associated with leasing a horse.
One of my most popular posts is this article on the benefits (and drawbacks) of leasing a horse. However, one thing that post does cover is how much it costs to lease a horse in the first place. That’s what we are going to talk about today!
I have both leased and owned horses over the past several years and still prefer leasing. That being said, it can be HARD to find a good horse to lease. Even harder than finding an honest horse to buy.
But let’s say you are diving into the world of leasing a horse. What can you expect in terms of costs? Here are the 3 basic kinds of horse leases and the fees associated with them.
With a free lease you do not pay the owner anything for the privilege of riding their horse. But you do take over all the expenses for the horse as if you owned the horse yourself. This usually includes board, shoeing, supplements and vet bills. Sometimes the owner will already have tack that you can use, as well as blankets and other essentials required for properly taking care of a horse.
Because a free lease means taking over all the expenses of a horse, the cost can vary widely depending on where you live. Here is what that would mean where I live in Vermont:
- Board: ~ $600-$800/month. Board usually includes the stall, turn out, feed and general care like mucking out the stall and feeding the horse. Some barns will charge extra for alfalfa or for blanketing.
- Shoeing: ~ $200 every 6-8 weeks (unless special shoeing is required, in which case this will be more expensive.)
- Vet: ~$300-$400 twice a year for shots and routine care. This will be more if something happens that requires a vet visit outside of routine care.
- Supplements: Sometimes horses will have supplements that they take. This is especially true of older horses. The cost will vary depending on what the horse needs. In the past, I have had horses that use SmartPaks (pre-filled vitamin packs from SmartPak). These have run anywhere from $100-$200 per month.
- Lessons: Unless you are already an accomplished rider, you should be taking lessons at least once a week. Heck, even veteran riders often take lessons! You can never learn enough with horses. Lesson costs will depend upon your trainer. In our area lessons are usually around $90 for 45 minutes.
- Horse training: Usually you don’t need to hire a trainer to work with your leased horse. If you find yourself in that situation, then it may be time to find another horse. In my opinion, a leased horse should already have all the skills they need in order to be a good partner for you.
- Tack and Horse Supplies: Often the owner will already have the saddle, bridle, blankets and other essentials needed to ride and care for a horse. However, if you don’t like their saddle (or anything else) you will need to buy it yourself. I’m not including costs for these below because I’m assuming the horse comes with this equipment.
- Board: $7,200 – $9,600 per year
- Shoeing: ~$1,200 per year
- Vet: ~$600-$800 per year (assuming no vet visits outside of routine care)
- Supplements: ~$100-$200/month (depending on the horse’s needs)
- Lessons: $4,680 per year for one lesson a week
Total Annual Cost: $14,880 – $17,480 per year
With a half lease you split the costs listed above with another person, who also leases the horse. Sometimes there is not an additional fee for riding the horse but there can be. If there is, it would be half the cost of a paid full lease (more on that below). It really depends on the horse you are leasing.
I have half leased a horse before and the one drawback is that you will need to coordinate your lessons and riding times with another person. A horse should be given at least one day off a week, which means there are 6 days in the week that you will split with other person. This may or may not work for you.
Total Annual Cost: $7,440 – $8,740 per year (half of the costs outlined above)
When you full lease a horse you take over all the expenses listed above for a free lease. In addition, you also pay the owner a fee for the privilege of riding the horse. This cost will depend a lot on how much training the horse has.
- A walk/trot/canter school horse or trail horse will often be around $1,000-$2,000 per year, sometimes more.
- A highly trained hunter jumper, dressage or reining horse could be upwards of $15,000 to $45,000+ a year just for the lease. This may seem like a lot but horses of this caliber often sell for 5 to 6 figures. Usually the lease price on horses like this is calculated based upon their appraised sale value.
Total Annual Cost: $14,880 – $17,480 per year PLUS the lease fees of $1,000-$45,000+/year.
You CAN find highly trained horses for free lease so don’t think that a free lease horse is not as valuable as a paid lease horse. It all just depends on who the owner is , their life situation and what their goals are. For example: A private owner may have a horse worth high 5 figures but doesn’t have the time to ride and just wants to have expenses taken care of (free lease).
I hope this information is helpful!