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Dear Bridget,

Our daughter has been taking riding lessons for about three years. We are talking about buying a horse for her, but someone suggested leasing her a horse. Do you think that is a good idea and what is the typical cost of leasing a horse versus buying a horse. – To Lease or Buy

Dear To Lease or Buy,

I believe leasing a first horse is an excellent alternative to buying a first horse. Kids who have a horse for the first time will often outgrow that horse in a year’s time. You will not have to worry about selling that horse, you can quickly move on to her next horse. It may often be much easier to buy a horse than to sell a horse. Many horses that are for lease are very viable and functional schoolmasters, they are just difficult to sell because they may not pass a pre-purchase exam. Thousand of dollars may have been put into their training, not to mention the show mileage and experience they may have which would be of great advantage to your daughter.

There are a variety of ways you can arrange a lease agreement. One of the most standard lease arrangements would be 1/3 the price of the horse for one year, insurance, board and all veterinary and farrier expenses. – Bridget

Dear Bridget,

I pay $100 for a 45 minute to an hour riding lesson. I work very hard so I can afford lessons and to be able to enjoy my passion and sport in horses. I’m a good rider and I’m very excited that I have the opportunity to become a much better rider. My trainer is a big name trainer in the area and is very good as he wins a lot at the horse shows. My problem is that during my lesson my trainer takes a lot of cell phone calls and talks a lot on the phone. I find this very distracting and often I have to wait for him to get off the phone or I ride around without instruction. The lesson still ends within the designated time frame. I can’t afford to pay for these lessons and not get the paid for time from the instructor while I’m in the saddle. – On Hold

Dear On Hold,

That is frustrating and disrespectful to be placed on hold while your trainer continually accepts calls on your dollar, especially since you are paying for a service in a specified time frame. You might suggest saying something like, “Should we reschedule the lesson as it sounds like you have some matters that need to be addressed over the phone” and see if they get the hint. Make sure you keep track of your lessons and you are not charged if you do reschedule. Or you can simply take the direct approach and tell them how excited you are to train with them, but you are on limited funds and find that the lesson is cut short when they take so many calls. They may not be open to you not wanting them to take calls, in which case you need to be prepared to find training from another trainer.

Dear Bridget,

I board and train at my trainers facility and I own three horses. I have been one of her oldest clients and my horses put multiple ribbons on her stalls at shows. I have very nice horses and I purchased one recently from Europe through my trainer and paid well into the six figures. There is a very nice stall at the barn that I would like my new horse stalled in, but my trainer has her own horse in it. I do not think this is fair since I am a paying client with multiple horses. What do you think I should say to my trainer? ~ Long Time Client

Dear Long Time Client,

The only thing you should say to your trainer is THANK YOU! Your trainer has obviously done a reasonably good job for you and you think so too because you are one of her oldest clients. And she has purchased nice horses for you and has trained them very nicely so they are able to win nice ribbons for you. Additionally, have you considered that though you pay her to use her facility and for training, she is either the owner or lessee? This means she bears the risks. She is also responsible for feeding, maintenance of pastures, fencing, stalls, arena, jumps, etc… She also has to provide water hoses, buckets, mats, cross ties, shavings, tractors, harrows and not to mention hired hands to maintain the property and care for the horses. She owns the stalls and it is her business how she runs her operation, therefore she is the boss and gets to choose what horses go where, including her own. ~ Bridget

Do you have a burning question you would like to ask? For instance, protocol on how do you approach your trainer? Politics in your barn? Questions around commissions paid? Working with your veterinarian? Playing nice with other boarders?

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