Cost of Loaning or Leasing a Horse: The Ultimate Guide

Two easy alternatives for buying a horse are to loan or lease one. These methods are much more cost-efficient, compared to the expense of purchasing a horse. However, in both cases, petting and raising a horse is a time-consuming activity. 

Certainly, a person’s life is highly affected as raising a horse requires proper care and attention. They need to compromise a lot of their time when they get a horse, irrespective of whether it’s their own or has been brought on lease or loan.  

Difference Between Leasing And Loaning A Horse 

The first few things that the horse owner needs to make sure of in the other person before opting for either method are;

  • Is he capable of raising a horse?
  • Does he have enough time on hand?
  • Is he willing to care for the horse?
  • Does he have the resources and facilities for the horse’s sustenance?

After the above-listed questions are taken care of, you must confirm that there is proper paperwork and a signed contract, before giving responsibility. 

There are multiple types of leases when it comes to horses. Firstly, a contract is established between two people, where the lessor (owner) gives their horse to the lessee (the other person) in exchange for money for a specific amount of time. 

As the horses are usually leased for competitive or breeding purposes the cost mainly depends upon the well-being, potential, and capacity of the horse. Thus, the other person assesses the horse’s health and capacity, beforehand. 

On the other hand, loaning is also variable but has limited types which depend upon duration. A horse is loaned, for a particular amount of time, with no fee in most cases. Horses are most commonly loaned by owners to save the cost of their sustenance. 

Certainly, their future associated with the horse remains secure, while their horse is raised by another person. Usually, horses are loaned by their owners, so they do not have to sell them while they are also incapable of raising them. Nevertheless, the owner must ensure that the other person is a suitable candidate.

Types Of Horse Lease 

For a horse owner, leasing a horse is quite cost-effective. In reality, it is practical and an easier option especially for competitive and breeding purposes. Adding on, the lessee gets exposure and gains knowledge about owning a horse. It allows them to explore the most suitable options for themselves, later.

A few variations of horse leases are mentioned below:

Off-Farm And On-Farm Lease

An Off-Farm lease refers to leasing a horse and transporting it away to another farm different from the one, where he was kept, and raised. It merely depends upon the type of lease, full or paid, which defines the amount of responsibility that has to be taken which is comparatively greater, irrespectively. 

While an On-Farm lease, like its name, refers to leasing a horse, which stays at the farm where it was previously residing and being raised. Usually, quarter, half, and full leases are on-farm. Moreover, in contrast to an off-farm lease, less responsibility is transferred to the lessee in this case.

Full Lease 

A full lease refers to having full access to the horse, with complete authority. There are no restrictions to riding and raising it, as long as there is any condition mentioned in the legal contract. Most commonly, people opt for a month-to-month lease. 

The payment is done, and the contract is renewed every month at a predetermined cost. It also refers to the transfer of complete responsibility of the horse, and all its expenses. The lessee must ensure the good health of the horse and must take it for veterinary appointments.

Moreover, they have to take care of any additional expenses related to the horse’s well-being, as well.

With full authority comes full responsibility. The costs of a full lease horse are higher when compared to the other types of leases. 

However, the horse remains accessible to the lessor, at all times. Adding on, it establishes a sense of horse ownership. Lastly, it is the best option for those who ride horses for leisure or to improve their riding skills.

Half Lease

Half lease, just like its name, refers to the division of access to the horse in half. This means that the lessee does not have complete access to the horse. They can ride it only on particular days, predetermined by the contract. 

The responsibility that comes along, is also reduced and the expenses are divided in half, as well. In addition, a flexibility margin can also be established when it comes to routine checkups and taking care of the horse’s well-being. Side expenses are also divided into half and are shared, making it easier on the pocket. 

How much does a half lease on a horse cost? Well, it technically costs almost half the amount of a full lease. Moreover, the fee is fixed and is usually to be paid every month, according to the legal contract. Half leases are perhaps a very cost-efficient option.

Quarter Lease

A quarter lease is quite similar to a half lease but is much cheaper. The reduced amount is because the lessee is usually allowed to ride the horse for a maximum of 2 days every week. Moreover, the amount of access granted is also very less. 

But, all of this sums up to lower the amount for the monthly lease. Similarly, the management cost that comes along is quite less. Usually, the lessee does not even have to contribute to the additional expenses of the horse and is mostly not expected to engage in veterinary visits.  

This is a much easier alternative, as there is barely any extra responsibility or additional expenses to take care of. Nevertheless, the downside is the immensely limited access to the horse. To conclude, it is perhaps the cheapest option, but the limitations do not make it very cost-effective.

Free Lease

A free lease unlike its name is not free. Instead, it refers to taking complete responsibility for the horse, in return for complete access. It is quite similar to owning a horse as if it belongs to them. 

All expenses of the horse have to be paid for, and the well-being of the horse must be ensured. However, there is no additional fee involved. Moreover, anything that is to be done to or with the horse must lie within the terms of the agreement. 

Investing in a free lease comes with a great amount of responsibility, and may become difficult to manage. Also, it is as time-consuming as owning a horse and may require the lessee to make compromises in their lifestyle.

Paid Lease

A paid lease is much similar to a free lease, except for an additional fee that has to be paid. Though it comes with the same amount of authority and power as mentioned above. Still, a predetermined, additional fee has to be paid, every month according to the contract and its terms.

An easy way to define this is to say it is similar to purchasing a horse and paying for it in monthly installments. But, the ownership of it remains in the hands of the lessee. Paid leases are considered to be an expensive option, but grants the other person a sense of ownership and complete access to the horse.

Types Of Horse Loan 

On the bright side, loaning a horse is a great alternative for all those horse owners, who do not want to sell their horses but cannot continue to raise them.

Some of the types of horse loans are as follows; 

Standard Loan

A standard loan refers to an agreement the owner signs with a suitable candidate. Foremost, the horse must be healthy and have a good capacity. Usually, horses are put up for loaning when the owner is unable to take care of them, has to move out of town, and is not willing to sell them. 

This way, they do not have to give up on their future associated with the horse, while their horse is taken care of and raised well. Although, a legal contract is drawn up, pre-hand. Similarly, people with outgrown ponies also opt to loan their horses out as it becomes much more difficult to manage their food and provisions. Hence, the horse has to be used according to the decided terms and conditions.

Permanent Or Companion Loan 

Sustaining a horse is a difficult task. In many cases, you grow tired of raising and taking care of the horses or are unable to do so. But despite all the reasons, if you are still not interested in the idea of selling them you can loan them. 

Permanent loans are usually used for ponies that have outgrown their owners or companion animals and are elderly or unable to work. Nonetheless, a legal document with appropriate terms and conditions must be drawn as this is a risky alternative. 

In many cases, the person to whom the horse has been loaned ends up selling it for a high bid or fails to take care of the horse’s well-being. Their health deteriorates quickly, destroying the future of the horse and the owner completely. This is a huge risk, over the longer run. Hence, a legal document helps reduce the risk that comes along with permanent or companion loans.

Breeding Loan 

Breeding horses are regularly leased out to mares. The loanee pledges to watch after the horse in exchange for placing the horse in foal; the newborn would then be theirs. But, this agreement is associated with several problems. 

It gives rise to many questions that are common when it comes to breeding. For example, What would happen, if the horse is unable to conceive? Or how to ensure that the horse is suitable for breeding purposes? Most importantly, what if the newborn dies during labor? 

In addition, the ownership of the foal creates various misunderstandings as technically, it shall be the property of the owner. Besides this, pregnancy and lactating the foal drains the female horse, to a great extent. Their well-being goes into danger. Hence, the loanee must put their horse’s health and well-being above any other thing including economic aspects.

Cost Breakdown Of Leasing Or Loaning A Horse 

The first thing to do before leasing or loaning a horse is to take it to a veterinarian checkup. That alone can be done for a minimum of $300. 

Moving on, when it comes to leasing, the fee is discussable. A person is usually required to pay around 30% of the horse’s market value. The average fee for a full lease horse costs $2,500, for an entire year. Moreover, for a full lease, the lessees are required to pay 50-100 percent of the maintenance cost. 

A common question associated with leasing is, how much does a half lease on a horse cost? For a half lease, the other person has to pay 50% of every expense associated with the horse. This makes the horse costs an average of $1800-$2000 over a year. 

Furthermore, other costs include;

  • Annual vaccinations cost a minimum of $95
  • Dental treatment is for $125 and must be done, every year
  • Hay costs about $3 and can go to a high of $10 per day
  • Farrier costs $35 and has to be done every three to four weeks 
  • Salt blocks cost $15
  • Monthly mineral supplements cost a minimum of $30
  • Stabling a horse can range from $3000-$7000
  • Bedding costs around $1500
  • General equipment costs you a total of $300 max

Furthermore, the additional expenses are variable. Additional expenses include treating any sudden illness, competitions, breeding, etc. Part loaning a horse costs around 13-14 dollars per month and is variable, depending upon the horse and yard/farm size. Most people permanently loan their horses for a total of $55 every month. 


Is it cheaper to own or lease a horse?

Technically, it is cheaper to lease a horse rather than buying it as horses are expensive animals. A full lease costs about $2000 per year while the price for buying even the cheapest horse starts from $10,000. Furthermore, maintaining a horse is a time-consuming task, which can become too heavy on the pocket if a person is also purchasing it. Hence it is a better option to lease a horse.

Is leasing a horse worth it?

Leasing a horse is worth it as it saves a lot of money. Purchasing a horse in itself is extremely expensive, which becomes worse due to additional and maintenance costs. Whereas, leasing allows the lessee to have good exposure and determine whether they are capable of buying one in the future and raising it properly. 

What does a horse lease or loan include? 

Leasing and loaning include the payment of a fee to the owner in exchange for access to the horse. Usually, they have to pay the monthly fee and any expense that comes under the terms of your agreement. 

What do you need to know before loaning a horse?

Before loaning a horse, it must be ensured that the horse is in good health. It is suggested to the other person that they take the horse for a veterinarian check-up themselves, for confirmation. Besides that, the owner and the borrower/lessee need to discuss terms and conditions and sign a legal contract. Both have the right to question and request to remove any doubts. 

What are the disadvantages of leasing a horse?

The major disadvantage that comes with leasing a horse is that without the authorization of the horse’s owner, there is no freedom to take the horse wherever the lessee wants. There are multiple restrictions that the other person is bound to after signing a contract. 

Do I need insurance for the loan horse?

It is necessary to get Public Liability Insurance. The loanee will be considered the horse’s custodian and may be held liable for any injuries or property damage caused by the horse to third parties. Personal accident insurance may be beneficial in the event of an accident.


Purchasing a horse is not everyone’s forte. Hence leasing or loaning a horse rather than buying one provides a lot of advantages to the lessee/borrower. Of course, you’ll still be the owner of it but the charges of a horse’s care and boarding won’t be on you any longer. 

Before loaning or leasing a horse it is better to ensure that legal documentation is drawn, this guarantees the well-being of the horse and the safety of the owner’s future associated with it.