I'm hoping my horse Max is on lifetime loan because I don't and won't ever want him back. But he's an apparently sound horse who would probably break down under ridden work and is very dangerous when that happens. He has a back injury and has reared over backwards in the past when in pain so I'm not risking him being ridden again. But it would be easy for someone unscrupulous to bring him back into work for a week and sell on as a ridden prospect. So he won't ever be sold. Legally the term means nothing though. I could ask for him back and the loaner could send him back. I get photos and updates and I'm welcome to visit but ite very hard to find the time tbh. I've now got horses in 3 places!! In work, on loan and at grass livery!
It can mean 'we don't want the horse right now but if you improve it to a point where we can sell it and at that point we could do with a bit of cash we will hold you to ransom to buy it because you now love it, or rip it away from you and sell it to someone else'.
I've only loaned from a sanctuary so maybe this is a bit more formal than a private loan - though the principles and the formality are a very good model for any agreement that has potential for dispute:
Pony lives at loan home and the loaner has all responsibility for (and pays for) ensuring day to day care, including arranging timely veterinary attention and insurance cover.
Agreed timetable for worming, feet, teeth, injections and other periodic management stuff.
What activities the pony can do ie can it be ridden (including exactly what ie no jumping) and usually a no breeding clause (breeding loans are very specialised and I presume this is not one)
Home visit before start of loan and then periodically through the loan
Owner to be informed about any changes in living arrangements or changes in health such as being diagnosed with a long-term condition such as Cushings
Agreement on what happens at end of life.
I had a horse on lifetime loan, and in my circumstance I paid for everything, but he still remained the property of the owner, so I could not sell him. They came a saw him for a couple of years and I kept them updated, and I had him to the end of his life.
We had no formal contract, but when I loan out I always have one, which states that it remains the property of the owner, and what it is to be used for. I had a friend who loaned out a well bred youngster, and they found out that the loaners were planning to sell it and there were all sorts of upset before she got it back. So both sides should be sure what the contract means.
Lifetime loan usually it is not suitable to be sold, I have a friend who has a nine year old who is not fit to be ridden but has no other issues and the Blue Cross are helping with the rehoming. As part of the process it has been seen by a vet and a statement produced that it is suitable to be a companion.
i have 2 on effectively lifetime loan from a charity, they are the most secure as I know they won't want them back. they are basically mine forever subject to me proving periodically that they are well cared for.
loaning privately does have the risk that the owner might change their mind and want the horse back.
I have loaned privately before and the owner really had zero involvement - she handed horse over, drove away and we weren't in contact again until I offered to buy him a couple of years later. And I only did that because the horse was improving and i thought she'd want him back!
I have others bought for a nominal sum and that's a very different arrangement.
I have a few out on loan and also have lifetime loan for others.
when I give them out for loan I pretty much leave the new owner alone but expect
- to be able to visit the horse occasionally
- have the power to take it back if circumstances changed or if there was a welfare issue
- to be informed if there's any major health issues
- to be told if horse was in a particularly bad state or needed to be pts (unless it was an emergency)
I have only ever had one on lifetime loan and owner trusted me and didn't interfere, she appreciated the odd update. the only issue we had was when it came time to its life and had to be put to sleep, we had different views on what the best way would be. I kept my opinion to myself and followed her wishes but it was the wrong choice for the pony, but at the end of the day it was her pony so I had to follow what she requested.
Mine was on yearly loan, then permanent loan from the owner - and then she gave him to me, which was totally unexpected but utterly wonderful.
For the loans, we had a contract, detailed what he was used for and anything I needed to abide by. She visited twice a year and I sent her approximately monthly short updates and videos. She's friends on FB and could see anything I posted about him. The contracts had break clauses in, so I could give him back or she could take him back.
It's been a really safe introduction to having a horse, and I am so grateful there are people out there who will loan out their much-loved horses.
The problem with this type of loan the owner put them on long term loan because they can’t sell the horse . So once you train the horse up they looking for the horse to sell. I now two people that happened to . You could get the odd genuine people put there is people who do take advantage and use you as a free training.
I have one I'd like to get out on lifetime loan if I can get her right first. She was bought for a purpose she won't fulfill. Has had a string of disasters that mean I can't trust her longevity under saddle and is a lovely, willing, pretty soul so a fair chance of finding herself in the downward spiral if I sold her. She has no value if I'm honest about her... so I will try and find someone to give her the life and love she deserves, but with the knowledge I can control her fate to a degree.
I'd want to follow her progress, and would need to be involved in major health decisions where possible. I'd have a clause that I could make regular checks sometimes with short notice, take her back on welfare grounds, that sort of thing, but I would not expect to be getting reports on a frequent basis. I'd want her treated 'as their own' as far as possible.
I have 2 horses on a 'lifetime' loan from horse rehoming charities. These are the general terms of lifetime loan ...
1. I am able to keep the animals for as long as I want or my situation allows, right up until the animals death if mutually agreeable.
2. The legal owners regularly inspect the animals and the environment that I house them in, to make sure they are happy, healthy and safe.
3. All expenses, including medical and insurance, are paid by me and not the charity.
If I were to fall short of equine husbandry then the owners can remove the animals with immediate effect.
If I have broken the contact by means of use of the equine, the owners can remove the animal - ie; borrowed as a non-ridden companion but they discover I am riding the horse; breeding from a borrowed mare or, borrowed as a light hack only but I am 3 day eventing ............. you know, that kind of thing.
If I can not longer keep the animals then, the charities will allow them to be returned to be rehomed elsewhere.
If I were entering in a private lifetime loan, I would expect nothing less than that which the horse rehoming charities adopt:
1. There should be a written contract that includes specific needs of the animal (including type of work undertaken etc) shown on that agreement.
2. There should be a 'get-out' clause so that, should your situation change financially, health-wise or no long want the responsibility of the animal any more then, the owner must agree to either take the animal back or make alternative arrangements to remove the animal.
3. There should be clear cut conditions listing who is responsible for financial burdens for medical and insurance expenditure.
4. The owner should have a right to remove the animal should they have grounds (usually confirmed by a vet or similar) that equine husbandry has fallen short and the animal is suffering as a result.
5. The owner should be given the right to visit and inspect their horse regularly ie; once a year or every 6 months.
At the end of the day, if the owner simply wants to wash their hands of their horse regards responsibility but, doesn't want to hand over ownership, you have to ask yourself why? They either care enough for their animal to still be able to have some say/control over it's future or, they want to walk away and no more involvement or responsibility.
Before entering into a lifetime loan, you need to make sure you have some flexibility, as much as the owner does.