Avoiding Disputes Before They Start: A Guide To Horse Leasing

The attorneys at Mylod & Fitzgerald aim to prevent lawsuits. The way we do this is by focusing on proper paperwork that limits the liability of our clients.

Emiline Mylod Fitzgerald and “Augustus”

Leasing a horse allows a person to experience the responsibilities and benefits of horse ownership without a permanent commitment. Equine lease agreements are popular in New Jersey, yet surprisingly, some people lease a horse based upon a mere handshake or use agreements which are vague and full of ambiguities. This exposes the parties to the possibility of costly problems down the road. A comprehensive lease agreement is necessary to facilitate the lease of a horse, and should be negotiated between the parties with the help of equine attorneys.

Jenna Bumm and “Step Right Up”          Photo Credit: Howie Shatzberg

A few things to consider when participating in a lease transaction:

  • Who is the owner and who is the leasee?
  • What is the cost of the lease?
  • What is the term of the lease? (Examples: Month-to-month, six months, yearly)
  • When does the agreement begin and terminate?
  • Who is responsible for paying for routine veterinary care and non-routine (emergency) care?
  • Where is the horse to be kept?
  • How can the horse be used?
  • What are the restrictions? (Jump height, rides per week, ect.)
  • What are the training and showing restrictions?
  • Can the horse be used for recreational trail riding?
  • What is the standard of care that the horse must receive during the lease?
  • Can the Leasor inspect the horse? If so, how often?
  • Who is the Leasee allowed to train with?
  • Is the horse insured with equine insurance during the lease?
  • What happens if the horse becomes lame mid-lease?
Kerry Duffy and “Princestana”

These are just a fraction of the considerations that should go into a lease agreement. It doesn’t matter if you are leasing a $1,000 horse or a $100,000 horse, a carefully worded written contract can prevent a legal dispute. The contact will ensure that both parties have the same understanding of the agreement being entered into. This will help to avoid a legal battle which will not be quick, easy, or cheap to resolve. The legal fees to prevent disputes through a solid lease agreement are minor in comparison to the potential legal fees in connection with equine litigation.

“Bhodium R” owned by Tori Rooney Claehsen


*All photos in this post are used with the permission of the owners*