Is there an alternative to selling or giving my horse away?

Is there an alternative to selling or giving my horse away?

22 September 2014


By Debi Metcalfe

SEPTEMBER 22, 2014 - There comes a time when many of us find we have horses that we can no longer use for one reason or another. Maybe it is a pony that your child has outgrown. Or, maybe you lost your job and are finding it hard to make ends meet.

You love your horse and think you are doing the right thing when you sell or give them to a good home. Are you?

We read this recent article, Renowned stallion among horses found seemingly starving, recently in the news.

According to the article, this renowned stallion was one of eight horses discovered in a barn with horse carcasses in Black Forest, Colorado.

Terroux-Barrett, the person who found Dual Peppy said, "It's been eye-opening to a lot of the people to see a horse of this caliber in this particular situation."

Terroux-Barret found Peppy's former broker Pete Bowling, who@found it very hard to see this beautiful horse under these circumstances.

According to KRDO News, he said, "Dual Peppy was a sweet horse with a great disposition. He said these are not adjectives typically used to describe a stallion."

Now that Peppy has been found Bowling is going to try and right this situation.

He continues with, "I put him in this hell. I am responsible for selling him to those people. I owe him, I told these people I will take him and give him a home for the rest of his life and take care of him like he deserves to be."

What happen to Peppy is all too common and just one example how things can go wrong for a horse@who was thought to go to a good home.

Is there a way to protect your horse? How do you help protect yourself from having regrets later? What is the alternative?

How about a free lease for your horse? Yes, we know this can go all kinds of sideways too. Sometimes there are no perfect solutions but don't you owe it to your horse to try and do the best you can for them?

This is something we have done for two of our horses and all as gone well. There may be a reason why we have had good luck. It may be all about our contract and how it is written.

We had two people tell us they’d never sign the contract. Well, guess what? Those people did not get our horses. Instead our horses were in loving situations.

Charliehorse sadly died years ago but Skeeter (picture above with our daughter) lives on with his very loving family. We are all happy and thankful for this wonderful horse!

A horse lease contract is a legal document which is entered between the owner of the horse and the person who uses the horse on lease. It includes details of the horse, and other terms and conditions.

I know many of you are thinking, "A contract is no guarantee either." And, you would be right. There may be no perfect solution if you have to let go of your horse. But a contract may give you a leg up in many situations. It is certainly better than doing nothing at all or a verbal agreement.

How do you prove a verbal contract? It’s hard enough to fight back with a written contract!

Most of our civil cases involve "gifted", loaned, adopted horses and scams. We also have situations with rights for the owner to take back a horse when the person is finished no longer needs the horse.

Most of these are verbal, not written contracts? Many of our cases that go bad also involve a "trusted" friend or family member.

For legal reasons we cannot give you our contract or tell you what is in the contract. We can give you a few suggestions to think about including in a future lease contract.

Some of the usual terms and conditions may be some of the following but are not limited to the following:

  • Name of horse 
  • Age 
  • Color 
  • Height 
  • Breed 
  • Description 
  • Registrations 
  • Equine ID descriptions 
  • Pictures of the horse. Include visible ID pictures and specific markings. 
  • The lessee is responsible for all liability issues and care for your horse. 
  • Beginning and end date of lease 
  • Any rental fees if not a free lease 
  • Activities the horse can be used 
  • Horse health terms 
  • Signatures with date 

What are the types of situations where your horse could disappear? The horse could be sold. It could "die" when it really is not dead. It could be "stolen" or just disappear from a pasture. It could be starved or abused. None of these are things that you’d wish upon a horse you love.

Now go a step further and think outside the box, way outside the box! Put a few quirky little stipulations in your contract to help ensure the health and safety of your horse. Her are a few examples to get you started thinking. For example:

  • You can visit your horse at any time without prior notification. 
  • You can remove your horse without notification. 
  • If the horse is hurt under the care of the lessee, they are still responsible for medical care of the horse if the lease is terminated. 
  • If your horse dies, you will need to see the body personally. If that is not possible you have the right to have an agent acting on your behalf view the body before disposal. No pictures allowed as proof and you must be notified immediately of the death. 
  • If the horse is stolen or disappears then you the lessee must pay you "X" amount of money. You decide how much and make it way higher than meat prices. 
  • If you go to court the lessee agrees to pay all legal expense no matter who wins the case. 

Are you getting our point? If anyone signs a lease with contract obligations similar to these, do you think they will take care of your horse? You bet they will.

You can write a contract yourself but it is best to have an attorney to write it or go over it for you.

Expect to be turned down by most people when they read your contract. When the right one comes along that does sign on the dotted line, you may just have the most wonderful lessee in the world for your horse.

I know we do!


Click this image to read Skeeter's story, Free Lease, Free Horse


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