Guide to Loaning a Horse or Pony
Owning a horse is a rewarding experience but can become very time consuming and costly. When personal circumstances change it can sometimes mean we cannot always spend as much time as we like with our horses or afford to pay for their upkeep. When this happens many people can be forced to sell their horses. However, there is another option. Loaning is a popular choice for those who cannot keep their horse, yet do not want to sell it. For example, someone who is going to university may put their horse out on loan until they graduate.
From the other perspective, loaning is a good option if you cannot commit to buying your own horse, as buying a horse should be thought of as a long term commitment. It is also good for people who can afford the upkeep of a horse but not the initial cost.
What exactly is loaning?Loaning is essentially like owning a horse. The loaner is usually responsible for all financial costs and other responsibilities of keeping the horse but all without the responsibility of actually owning the horse. The horse is also usually kept at the loaner's choice of yard unless the owner states it must stay at the present yard. The owner is not as involved with the horse's day-to-day care but will often visit to see their horse from time-to-time. The downside being that the horse has to go back to the owner after a set period of time and that time may be cut short, depending on the contract.
There is also the option of "loan with view to buy". This tends to mean that the horse is for sale but the buyer has the option of loaning the horse for a set period of time before purchasing the horse. After the loan period, the loaner will usually purchase the horse or it will return to its owners if it is found to be unsuitable. It is advisable not to agree to a "loan with view to buy" agreement unless you are looking to buy the horse.
Suggestions For the OwnerAlthough it is simple enough to place an advertisement seeking a loaner, you must think it all through carefully beforehand. You have to be honest about your horses ability and any faults they may have and the type of home it needs, for example a competition home. When someone gets in contact about loaning your horse ask as many questions as you can. If you like the person, ask to meet them at the yard to try your horse. Assess each person who wants to loan your horse. If you get more than one phone call see each person but inform them of the others and that you will choose the best person for your horse. Only accept a loan agreement if you are happy that the person is suited to your horse.
Once your horse is in the hands of the loaner, visit unannounced a few times (make sure you have it written in the contract that you have the right to do this) to ensure your horse is being cared for properly. It will help to put your mind at rest.