Whether you’re an owner placed in the tricky position of not having enough spare time to dedicate to your horse or an equestrian enthusiast without the resources to provide full care for a horse, a horse share scheme could be the perfect compromise.
Entering into a horse share agreement can often be the perfect compromise for both parties and will be particularly beneficial to the horse itself, as after all, the animal’s welfare should always be the top priority as you assess all of your options. Learn more about horse share schemes in the guide below. Alternatively, you can read our guide to horses for loan to learn about an additional compromise option.
Horse share schemes and how they work
A horse share scheme is exactly as it sounds – an agreement whereby the owner of a horse will look to spread the numerous costs and work involved with owning a horse by sharing out duties with a fellow rider keen to establish a rapport with an individual horse.
Ideally, this type of agreement would suit an owner who has built up a strong relationship with a horse but due to unforeseen circumstances no longer has the time, finances or resources to offer round-the-clock welfare to their equine companion. Much of the responsibility in terms of mucking out, feeding and exercising would be transferred to the individual entering into the horse share agreement.
However, a share horse scheme can be as complex or flexible as the owner sees fit. In some cases, a share agreement may be put in place simply to allow an inexperienced rider a little more exposure to the hobby whilst at the same time providing a realistic insight into the responsibilities involved in actually taking on a horse full time.
In most cases, the sharer will have to agree to some form of financial commitment, often a small proportion of the cost of feed or livery yard costs. Medical and veterinary bills can often be a grey area in any form of agreement – although ultimate responsibility for these costs will often fall to the owner, this is not always the case, so it’s essential to set some detailed instructions down before entering into a deal.
Finally, never into a share agreement with any individual, however nice they may seem, unless you have complete confidence that they have the credentials needed to provide adequate welfare for your horse. The same applies if you're thinking of offering a horse for loan.
Benefits for the horse owner
Whether you’re interested in a horse loan or a horse share option, you needn’t sever all your ties with your beloved equine companion. Here are some benefits that you will come across if you decide to put your horse up for a horse share scheme...
You have the freedom to set the terms. Naturally, you should try and make the agreement as fair as possible for the sharer, but you’ll have the flexibility to set the amount of access and riding time the sharer has to you horse.
Therefore, you can fit the sharer’s access to the horse around your weekly schedule – for instance, the sharer can have unlimited access during the week whilst you can take responsibility for weekends and vice versa.
It’ll ease the financial burden. In some cases, you may be keen to enter into a share horse deal due to time constraints rather than financial concerns, but you can share the costs of weekly maintenance with the sharer. For example, you might provide for all stabling and veterinary costs, the sharer might assume responsibility for feed costs as part of the terms of the agreement.
It’s the best option all round for your horse. Remember, it’s the horse’s welfare that should always be at the forefront of your thinking when entering into a horse share agreement. If your horse is benefiting from extra riding and grooming, it’ll be healthier and happier all round.