There are three common scenarios where people share horses and ponies, or look for a horse or pony for loan.
- Riding for pleasure
- Competition riding
- Polo and race horses
Here are the current horse share listings.
Riding for pleasure
Two riders get together to co-own a horse or pony which they ride for pleasure. This saves them a considerable amount of money. They usually keep the horse at a third party livery and ride the horse on alternate weeks. Alternatively one owner rides during the week and the other at weekends.
If the horse is kept at livery, this is a straightforward arrangement and common across the country. If one of the owners stables the horse, then the owners need to agree the livery costs to be paid to this owner.
The partners need to agree upon:
- The type of horse and likely cost, if the horse has yet to be bought
- Where they will look to buy the horse, if the horse has yet to be bought,
- When they want to ride the horse
- How the costs will be split up and paid for – costs include livery, food, rugs, tack, veterinary, farriery and dental care and insurance
- Where the horse will be liveried, whether full livery is taken, or are the owners performing some or all of the feeding, watering, mucking out, grooming, exercise, and how this is decided
- Whether you require a horse box or trainer, and if so, does one partner owns this, or it is bought in joint ownership
- Who decides upon key issues for the horse’s well being
- Who is responsible for ensuring that the horse is insured and decides upon the insurer
- Who holds the horse’s passport.
Horses and ponies can also be shared by loaning either part-time, where owner and sharer split the riding time, or full-time where the sharer loans the horse permanently for a period. Horse loan is popular for hacking and riding for pleasure. There are many variations in sharing and loaning. Horses and ponies are often loaned part-time in return for help in looking after and riding the horse, rather than for rental.
This kind of sharing is ideal for people who, for a variety of reasons, cannot devote the amount of time or money that the horse requires. Usually, the owner is still very much involved with their horse and it usually stays at the same yard.
The owner and sharer share the responsibility of owning the horse and have agreed times when they will look after and ride the horse. Each sharing arrangement is different and designed to suit the needs of the horse and owner. Sometimes the owner requires a contribution towards the cost of keeping the horse, sometimes the share is set up on a ‘work for rides’ basis. In these cases, the sharer does stable chores such as mucking out and rides the horse in return.
There are some further issues to consider with a loan arrangement:
- Where the horse is stabled and any facilities there to which the sharer has access
- The time that the sharer spends with the horse each week, defining exactly how long they spend riding, feeding, grooming and mucking out.
- Any other benefits the sharer receives, such as going to shows or lessons
- Information the sharer needs to know for their and the horse’s safety, anything that scares the horse, any or all roads that should not used
- The amount and frequency of payments to be made by the sharer and the method of payment (if any)
- Details and condition of any equipment such as saddles, tackle, riding hats; stating the make, size and colour
- Who cares for the horse if either party is on holiday or ill?
- How the agreement is terminated, for example if the owner is unhappy with the way the horse is cared for
Joint ownership of a horse to enable competition riding is also common. This applies at all levels of competition. Usually the rider holds a small motivational share and the non-rider pays the rest. Normally, the non-rider has the bigger share and pays all the bills. The rider may pay some expenses or not. Often the horse has been trained by the rider for a period, as their own, and there then comes a time when it must either be sold at a good profit or taken further. The costs are high and the rider often cannot afford to take all the risk themselves. So they find a wealthy partner to buy the horse and allow them to continue to train and ride it. This is common in dressage, eventing and show jumping at all levels.
All issues for riding for pleasure scenario above apply to competition riding, but there are a few additional upon which the partners need to agree:
- The non-rider owner’s access to the horse and training sessions
- The level which the rider is expected to attain
- The competitions at which the horse will compete
- How expenses will be paid
Templates contract for sharing horses are available here for both pleasure and competition. You are strongly advised to write down the agreement formally – horse and pony sharing agreements have tended to be recorded badly in the past and, as a result, have often ended in litigation.
Polo and race horses
Polo and racing horses are a well established area of shared ownership with many syndicates. There is good advice at the British Horseracing Board on setting up syndicates.