When you lease a horse, you are not having to pay for the purchase price of the horse, but you are responsible for the care and cost of care for a horse you lease. This means you get a "test run" as a horse owner and experience what the responsibilities are of owning a horse: paying monthly board, paying farrier fees to keep your horse's feet in good condition, any vet bills that may come up with the horse, etc. An obvious advantage to leasing is having an "out" in terms of the responsibility should you decide, the responsibilities: time and financial, are more than you want long-term. There are many different types of leases and options however, making this an affordable and attractive option for many folks who can't afford the full cost of board or who can't ride more than three (3) times per week due to other commitments.
Typical horse boarders have had to purchase a horse. We have horses ranging in value from $2500 to $40k. Usually leases involve having to pay some amount of a non-refundable lease fee and are often year-long terms. Lease fees under such common circumstances in the industry are generally about 25% to 35% of the horses value. Generally, if there is no lease fee, you are getting a great deal. You are likely getting a horse that is NOT a super competitive show quality horse. If that is what you're looking for- a competitive, show quality horse that your child can win top ribbons on, be prepared for a higher price point! Although one of Meadowthorpe Farm's talents is acquiring amazingly talented schoolmasters as potential lease horses from time to time that are no or low lease fees, this is RARE! Other farm's will charge you MUCH more than what we do & honestly, they should because they have their own out of pocket expenses and labor invested in that horse as soon as it comes onto their property!
Horse property expenses come with a price tag. When you lease an apartment or a home, you pay rent to cover costs. Same with a horse. Expenses such as property taxes, utilities (water and electric) Facility maintenance, equipment and equipment maintenance, gas, labor, insurance costs, miscellaneous expenses such as footing, fence repairs, shovels, rakes, hoses, water nozzles, buckets, feed troughs, manure management and dumpsters, haul-off's.....ADD UP QUICKLY and should all be factored into monthly boarding costs for a barn boarding business to remain, a business!
There are many benefits to leasing vs owning a horse. Especially for folks new to horses! We recommend newbies to horses lease first, and usually start off with a half-lease and ease into what it's like to be a horse owner, and all the responsibilities that go along with that! Horses are after all, living creatures, not cars, and should not be changed out like a car! Leasing gives a safe space to get ready for horse ownership without the horse paying the price if you can't afford or don't have the time to devote. We absolutely put horse welfare top at Meadowthorpe Farm, and 9 times out of 10 leasing will be a requirement for new folks before we will find you a sale horse. This makes us unique amongst many horse farms, but we work first for horses and seek out and develop clients with that like mindset.
Want to learn more about Why Lease a Horse vs Buy? Click here to read this article to find out more.
P.S. It's frustrating when expectations of what you "want" are not in line with what you are paying for. From a business standpoint, when this happens, barn owners often have to say farewell to such clients because it's good business to do so- such clients negatively affect our bottom line! Horses is not good business to be honest. Much of it is emotional and the value of what the benefits are from experiencing horses is not something that will ever make sense to an accountant, or the bottom line. So prepare yourself potential horse dad's and horse husband's that have a child or spouse involved with horses....if you look at what your child or wife does from only a bottom line perspective, horses will hit you extra hard! You must consider the emotional benefits, the physical benefits, the life skill benefits, the friendships, the benefits of up's and down's. Having a horse experience can absolutely set folks up for real life successes when it comes to soft skills and the value of hard work and dedication. Of overcoming challenges and handling failures and successes gracefully. Having a horse can build character, self-confidence, and self-esteem. Having a horse is about learning to work with another creature too, so there is a teamwork component in place here that makes it a unique sport to soccer, gymnastics, swimming, etc. Learning to work together with another creature involves awareness, intuition, troubleshooting, adapting, setting boundaries, communicating effectively, demonstrating good leadership yet being a follower and stepping back and allowing the horse to do the job most of the time, it's a dance, like life, and horses will certainly teach folks how to become better dancers!
I want to encourage horse ownership, leasing, and youth participation in the horse industry, but the realities of what horses cost, now that I'm involved in the business of boarding horses has been an enlightening education for me!
Recently, I ran across an outstanding article outlining the realities of operating a horse boarding farm and all of the associated costs. This article is spot-on! The cost breakdown (from a farm in Lexington, KY) is similar to our farm area costs. I encourage parents who are considering getting children involved with horses read this article for a price check on what owning a horse and boarding it costs in 2021. If you want to board a horse at a quality facility, in a convenient location, offering quality amenities: nice arena, lights, all-weather footing, nicely maintained facility, hot water, security, nice stalls, jumps, nice turn-out and fencing- AND most importantly, quality care for your horse, there are some high costs boarding facilities face to "house" your horse. I encourage reading this entire article for the cost breakdown, but I will also summarize the numbers for you below:
COST OF ONE HORSE PER ONE MONTH:
Our monthly board at Meadowthorpe is currently $700/mo. Boarding is NOT a profitable business. We no longer run a board-focused business for this reason. We really should raise prices- we are below prices of similar boarding farms in our area.
We want to steer you in the best direction for you horse goals for what is most realistic for your ability, budget, and your time. We are willing, however, to find creative and realistic opportunities and options to experience horses and achieve these goals if there are barriers blocking a direct path for you. Our motto is where there is a will, there is a way! We focus on good values, work ethic, learning & skill development but also on getting the family involved in horses! Keep an eye out for upcoming materials and programs available to our dedicated clients: boarders, lesson students, Memphis Youth Equestrian (Memphis IEA- a Midsouth IEA area youth equestrian team) family with more information about what we're germinating for our folks this spring and summer! If you are interested in what we're growing, but aren't a client, reach out & we'll provide you options for how you too can receive some of the benefits our dedicated customers do!