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If you own a horse and are struggling to make ends meet, or if you are considering buying a horse or pony but find that the cost of their day to day care and upkeep is just a little bit out of your reach, then there is an option that could make life easier that you might not have considered. Few riders have the luxury of being able to ride every single day, and many horse and pony owners struggle with being able to fit in the day-to-day care of their horse while still maintaining a good balance with their other commitments such as work and family, and having something of a social life too. That being the case, a good solution for many horse owners and riders is to share their horse or pony with another keen rider in a formal horse share agreement. But what exactly does horse sharing entail, is it a good idea, and are there any downsides to the arrangement? Read on to find out more!
Horse sharing can be undertaken in a variety of different ways, such as two people jointly owning a horse or pony together. After paying half of the initial purchase price each, the parties involved will split the day-to-day care costs, large expenses and everything else that is needed, and evenly split the amount of time that each party gets to spend riding or doing things with the horse or pony in question. Generally, however, horse sharing occurs when a person who owns a horse or pony outright forms a partnership with another rider. The owner gives the other rider certain rights to ride the horse or pony at certain times, on certain days, or for a set amount of hours per week, and the other rider will generally help out with the care of said horse or pony at set times as well. In return for these rights to ride and spend time with the horse or pony in question, the secondary rider will normally pay an agreed fee per week to the owner of the horse or pony to contribute towards the ongoing cost of looking after the horse or pony.
How any given horse share works in practice is generally very much down to the personal agreement made between the owner of the horse and the secondary rider. How much freedom the secondary rider has in terms of what they can do with the horse or pony, when they can do it and what they contribute financially very much comes down to the preferences of the owner, and no two horse share arrangements are ever exactly the same. Some horse share arrangements are very casual, with an informal agreement made on an ad-hoc basis and a small amount of money changing hands sporadically, or when the owner needs help with a large expense. Other arrangements are very formal and may have a written contract drawn up denoting the exact rights and responsibilities of both the owner and the secondary rider, and a formal agreement of financial payment.
In any given area where horse riding is popular, there are generally many keen and competent riders who are looking for an interim stage between riding lessons and horse ownership, or who are unable to make either the time or financial commitment required for buying their own horse. Asking around in the local area, putting up adverts in local tack shops and livery yards and advertising on the internet are all potential ways to find people who might like to share your horse.
While there is a lot to recommend horse sharing, there are also a few potential issues that can arise from doing so. Before considering sharing your horse with any other rider, you should spend a lot of time with them finding out about their riding experience, what they hope to achieve, their level of competency and generally, establish if their style of riding and what they want to do with your horse fits in with your own plans. You will of course want to see how they handle your horse or pony, both on the ground and in the saddle, and establish if their care protocols and how they would take care of your horse are in line with your own; and if they are prepared to change their ideas to match yours if not. You should also really think through what sharing your horse entails- you will limit somewhat your ability to ride and spend time with your horse, have to consider another person’s wishes, and accept that your horse will eventually bond with another person as well as yourself. If you find a competent and skilled rider, sharing your horse with them can have a positive impact on your horse’s schooling and training levels. However, if you are unlucky you might potentially find that a rider who appears responsible and competent when you are watching them will let your horse fall into bad habits that you would want to avoid when you’re not around. Some tips for making horse sharing work for you
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