Common Issues When Leasing A Horse

Common Issues When Leasing A Horse

Volume X, No. 1

 Why Lease a Horse?

Many horse owners use their horses in a variety of ways. Examples include racing, showing hunter/ jumper, dressage or eventing and breeding. Yet, the owner of the horse does not always have the need nor the desire to use the horse at all times. But, they have no desire to sell the animal. So, how do they maximize the use of the animal? Usually, this is accomplished via a lease of the horse. This has several benefits for the owner. First, it allows for the production of income without the maintenance expense. Second, the lease allows for the animal to be used in a manner that continues its competition without interruption, and third, it allows for the animal to produce offspring during its useful producing years even if the owner has no desire to breed the animal for their own account.

How Is a Lease Made?

Due to the informal nature of the horse business, horse owners often times lease a horse based on a verbal agreement. In other situations the lease is effected by a written agreement. Is one method better than another? It behooves the owner of a horse to have all major transactions documented to avoid uncertainty and ambiguity. Oral agreements are enforceable, but their terms are subject to conflicting testimony in the event of a dispute whereas a well drafted lease agreement can eliminate much confusion and make its enforcement, if needed, much easier since its terms are clearly laid out. So, having a well done writing agreement with assistance of an equine lawyer is the best way to avoid litigation problems.

What Are Common Mistakes with Lease Agreements?

The most common mistake is to use no written agreement. As noted above, the lack of a written agreement can cause major problems if a dispute arises. However, written agreements can also cause unintended consequences if they are poorly written or if they fail to address issues and matters in a clear fashion. What are some mistakes that often arise? The lease agreement fails to state who bears the risk of injury or death to the horse or the agreement fails to specify how insurance is to be maintained. Another area of concern is third party liability – who bears this expense and what limits of liability are to apply? Lease agreements many times overlook or fail to address what happens if a lease payment is not timely made and what are the remedies for a failed payment? If a breeding lease is involved and the lessee fails to make payments, does the owner of the horse have the right to keep the offspring or have the right to refuse to assist in registering the offspring if the payment is not made? Moreover, where a breeding lease is involved does the owner have the right to pre-approve the breeding before it occurs? A well written lease agreement should address these matters and more. These are just few examples why it is important to have a writing document, especially made by a specialist as an equine attorney.

How to Obtain a Form Lease Agreement?

If you have read this newsletter and are interested in a form lease from our law firm, Catanese & Wells, please contact Erika Salan at (818) 707-0407 or via e-mail at cnwlaw@hotmail.com to request a form lease document. If you have any questions pertaining to the horse business feel free to call or write T. Randolph Catanese, Esq. at the same number and e-mail. You can also learn more about Catanese & Wells’ 25 year equine law practice at www.netbyz.com.

© T. Randolph Catanese, Esq. 2006

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