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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 Owner

Although 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.

Suggestions For the Loaner

You must be honest about your own ability and experience. Do not agree to a loan unless you are confident and happy that you can handle the horse and can offer it the home it needs. It will not work out if you find yourself over horsed as this can result in knocked confidence as well. Ask as many questions as you can before you agree to go and see a horse, and only agree to see the horse if it sounds suitable for your needs. Try the horse as many times as you feel necessary and ask as many questions as you can. When viewing a horse, it is a good idea to be as involved as you can. Do not stand around waiting to be asked to do something, ask if you can help.

Get it in Black and White

Once you find the right person/horse to loan, get together to discuss the details of the agreement. Work out exactly what the loaners responsibilities are. Make sure every eventuality is thought of and written down. It is advisable to include a clause in the contract where the owner can take the horse back at their sole discretion. In addition, make sure it is clear that you can visit your horse when you wish without prior notice. Also make sure you include any specific needs of the horse and what the loaner is allowed to use him for. Write everything down and ensure each party has a copy that is signed and dated. Make sure the agreement makes sense and it can be beneficial to get legal advice. The British Horse Society offer advice on loaning and also provide a sample loan agreement.


When looking for a loan there are a number of places to advertise. In addition to this website it may also be a good idea to post advertisements in local papers, tack shops and equestrian centres. We wish everyone good luck in finding the perfect loan agreement.