Midway through April I knew that Tommy would not be rideable this year. This was shaping up to be our last year staying at the farm, and I really wanted to be able to ride around all the fields and trails one last time.
I knew that I didn't want to spend the money to board three horses beginning this December, so purchasing a third was out of the question. That left me with leasing. I sat down and wrote up a list of criteria I was looking for in a horse, and those issues that would disqualify him/her from being considered. Once I had everything hammered down I wrote up the following ad:
What I'm looking for:
Off site lease - at my farm. I'm ONLY interested in an off site lease. I'm sure your place is great. So is mine, and that's where I'd like to ride :) Seasonal lease through end of October or am willing to look at a shorter term lease.
Experienced trail horse that's been there and done that.
Road and traffic safe.
Fully trained - w/t/c or gait on cue
Must ride safely alone. I very rarely have a chance to ride with others.
An older horse is no problem.
Loads and Hauls easily enough that one person can handle it.
I'm looking for a horse that's the same whether I'm able to ride once a week or twice a month, my work schedule can get the better of me occasionally.
The horse needs to be capable of carrying an adult rider - 5'8 and 200lbs.
What I don't want:
A horse that will be great with more work/training/riding.
A horse that requires an experienced rider and/or consistent riding.
A horse who is hot, flighty, spooky, or otherwise a pita. If his barn name is Loco, I probably don't want to ride him!
No rearing, bucking, biting, or kicking.
No age or soundness issues that requires pricey supplements (unless you're going to provide them), rehabilitation, or have riding restrictions placed on the horse.
I'm an experienced adult rider. I currently own two horses, one is 31 and retired and the other is on long term rehabilitation for an injury. I'd really love to be able to ride this spring/summer/fall, so I'm looking for a lease. I am a capable rider, but I am content to cruise along and enjoy the scenery, and have no desire to race madly about.
Your horse will have his own 2 acre grass pasture with a run in shed.
I am willing to pay a reasonable price for the lease depending on what you will provide; or we can work out a free lease situation where I would cover the daily care of the horse as well as routine farrier work.
I thought it was pretty well done if I do say so myself. Maybe not the friendliest ad out there, but I was hoping that horse owners would read it fully to see if their horse would be a good fit before responding. I surely didn't want to waste anyone's time; including my own.
I posted this on Craigslist, Dream Horse, Equine.com, and other sites I hoped would attract some interested parties. I had some interest all right! Boy. There are a lot of horse owners out there with ill mannered, young, untrained, and slightly dangerous horses that would love to pass them along so that I could trail ride the horse for them. I did also meet some lovely horse owners, and it was a pleasure to meet their "herds". I looked at quite a few, the majority of which I didn't even get on. Some because they were clearly not as described, and some because I knew my tack just would not fit them. As much as the tack ho in me protested, I just could not justify buying a saddle to fit a lease horse.
I finally had success on the Dayton Horse Owners group on Facebook. I was linked up with a lovely horse owner with a couple of extra horses. I went out to look at Pretty Boy and Echo, then Renee was kind enough to haul Echo to a local trail so that I could get first hand experience on how she reacted to real life obstacles.
We had a lovely time and we set up a date and time for me to come and sign the lease papers and take her home.